[SUMMER ’13 UPDATE: I can write with my right hand! And it’s pretty!]
(My birthday was exactly ONE month ago! Woohoo! Now on to some business…)
Are you able to write? I don’t mean “to write” as in “to put your thoughts out there” (through a blog, a book, etc), because we all know there are thousands of people out there who do just that. Instead, I’m referring to the act of taking a writing instrument and moving it on a surface (like paper) in such a way that yields words.
Up until my Senior year in high school, I was a regular writer, and my handwriting, modesty aside, was gorgeous. It really was! I loved writing; I loved what it afforded me; I loved being handed something and asked to fill it out or sign it; I loved taking notes everywhere I had too–in class, at meetings, etc. In short, I loved doing whatever had to do with writing.
However, the thing is that up until my Senior year in high school, I wasn’t aware of how much I loved everything that writing entailed because I definitely took writing for granted. In other words, it wasn’t until I lost my ability to write well that I realized how thankful I truly was for having been able to write well in the first place.
Enter a thing called Dystonia. Dystonia has many forms, and the one I was diagnosed with during my Senior year in high school is called Focal Dystonia, aka, in my case, “Writer’s Cramp” because it occurred on my (right) hand. This was really RANDOM. Actually, random is an understatement. They say genetics can explain part of it, but there isn’t a history of it in my family, so that explanation doesn’t apply here.
Anyways, so after my diagnosis, I began to study everything about Dystonia. I learned that it didn’t have anything to do with my hand at all, but rather with some part of my brain : |… Psh yeah right! When I was a Frosh in college, I received one and only Botox treatment to try to help alleviate the pain on my hand. I said “only” because although it was supposed to last six months, this one was only effective for about four, since I spent the first two months not being able to write: I had gotten so much Botox, my hand was literally unable to do anything.
That is, part of my hand was FROZEN. Like this (see below) but on my hand:
Yup, it was way annoying.
Then during my Sophomore year, after having had to type my notes during class and working with my school’s Disabilities Office to take those exams with writing portions in a room where I could type my answers instead, I finally thought, “I’M DONE with this!” So on one fateful afternoon, I decided to start using my left hand. Because I had an exam to study for, and I usually study for exams by rewriting my notes, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity for me to begin practicing with my left hand.
And you guys, after a few hours, I was writing SO WELL with a hand that I never thought I would ever need to write with! It was a miracle! Some say God works in mysterious ways. But I’d say that He also works in really obvious ways. I mean He was amazing enough to tell me to get over it and use my other remaining hand… What a blessing, right?
(Now this is somewhat ironic because in high school, I participated in an exercise where we had to write with our non-dominant hand as a way to show us what disabled people went through. And though I’m not disabled by any means, I’m totally having the last laugh now b/c I CHOSE to use my non-dominant hand. God’s that great.)
Fast-forward a few years and both my parents have started to think that given how easily (all things considered) I was able to overcome it, perhaps I don’t have Dystonia after all! But honestly, although saying I have it is in no way a thing to brag about, I would much rather know there’s something that could explain what’s happened to my right hand. Knowing that, believe it or not, is a relief.
In addition to this peace of mind, I have to admit I do enjoy telling the students I tutor that yes, I’m ambidextrous when they ask me (after seeing me write with both hands) :).
Most of the time, God works in really obvious ways. So our job is to listen to them and act accordingly. Besides, He doesn’t give us more than we can’t handle.
What have YOU taken for granted or promise you won’t ever take for granted anymore?