Recently friend and fellow moto-blogger Tina Walker asked herself the the question, “What if I couldn’t ride a motorcycle anymore?” I asked myself that question and then quickly dismissed it thinking, “I’ll always be able to ride.” That thought may have been a little short sighted on my part because I found out earlier this week that I have moderate carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands.
|You Can't Ride Without Them!|
I’ve known for a long time that something wasn’t quite right because my fingers would routinely go numb and my hands would ache. Over the past few months, the numbness and pain have become more frequent and intense. So much so, that I sometimes wake-up in the middle of the night feeling like my hands and forearms are on fire. After more than a few restless nights, I decided it was time to see a doctor. After listening to my “symptoms” and performing a quick exam, the doc said I most likely had carpal tunnel syndrome and then referred me to a neurologist for a nerve conduction study.
If you enjoyed putting a fully charged 9-volt battery on your tongue as a kid, you’d love a nerve conduction study. I lay on the exam table for an hour as the neurologist placed sensors on both hands and forearms and used what looked like a mini stun gun to “stimulate” my nerves and muscles. It was a shocking experience, literally. It didn’t really hurt, but it was uncomfortable. When the neurologist was finished, he told me my median nerve was damaged and that I would likely need carpal tunnel release surgery on both hands. He referred me to an orthopedic surgeon to discuss treatment options.
I have an ortho appointment in two-weeks and to say the least I’m nervous about it. It’s a little ironic given my last post was titled “Don’t Let Fear be a Factor forYou.” At this point, my biggest fear is how surgery will affect my ability to ride. I don’t know what the ortho folks will say but after doing a little research, I’ve learned it can take three months or longer to return to your normal activities after surgery. Anything that requires heavy use of the hands is off-limits. I think riding a motorcycle falls squarely in this category.
Being unable to ride for three months or more is a scary thought because it’s become such an important part of my life over the past few years. I cannot adequately describe the sense of peace and freedom I feel when I’m on my bike. It is truly indescribable. When I’m not riding, I’m obsessed with planning my next ride. Strangely enough, the prospect of not being able to ride makes me think of it even more.
I wish I had given Tina’s question more thought at the time, but even now, I don’t have an answer. The thought of not being able to ride makes me sad. Over the next few months, I may have to face the realityof not being able to ride. When and if that time comes, I’ll deal with it the best I can knowing it should only be temporary. I hope my love of riding will serve as a motivator to get me back in the saddle as quickly as possible.
If you’ve dealt with carpal tunnel or had carpal tunnel release surgery, I’d really be interested in hearing about your experiences…good and bad. You can leave a comment or send me an e-mail. Your perspective is appreciated. Thanks!