A short while ago my middle finger on my left hand started acting weird. It was sticking in a bent position, for lack of a better term. If you’ve ever seen Jim Carrey in the comedy movie Liar, Liar doing his version of “The Claw,” where his hand suddenly has a mind of its own, that’s a somewhat accurate account of how my hand was behaving. Unfortunately though, this was no comedy, this was beginning to be an extremely painful problem.
I stayed quiet about my finger, although softly yelping when it stuck and while doing everyday tasks like dishes. I’d inadvertently make a funny pained face but act like nothing was wrong when my husband would look at me sideways and inquire as to why I suddenly looked as though someone stabbed me. I didn’t want to face it that something was actually wrong. Some days seemed better than others, and I just kept trying to think positive and hoping it would just go away on its own.
I knew in the back of my mind it was probably somehow related to my diabetes, like my frozen shoulder had been a few years ago. Truly the worst part of anything is feeling alone, that’s when my diabetes really scares the heck out of me.
Then I saw it. I wasn’t alone at all. As I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed, the lovely, talented blogger from Diabetesaliciousness, Kelly Kunik, posted a picture of her bandaged hand. It was bandaged right near the base of her finger where she’d just received a cortisone shot for her case of “trigger finger.”
Many people started commenting on her post with tales of similar pain and I instantly knew what was happening to my finger. The sticking, the locking and snapping, the inability to grasp things properly, they were all a result of trigger finger. This is a condition that strikes people with diabetes, especially women quite often. A variety of treatment methods are used to correct it.
I commented on her post myself with a version of my “Aha!” moment and discovery that I was in the same uncomfortable boat and Kelly kindly gave me some advice. She recommended I get to the doctor right away, ice it, take an anti-inflammatory, and sleep in a splint. There’s the kind of caring and kinship that happens in the diabetes online community. We find ourselves in a scary situation, and find out we are not at all alone. Kelly had a long thread of comments on that Facebook post and many were from people that had been right where we were.
I came away thinking that while treatment will probably be expensive and painful, the worst thing I could feel is fear and somehow I felt a little less scared after seeing that. I wasn’t thrilled that I would need treatment for it, or that I had it, but the knowledge that it was a common problem for others living with diabetes comforted me.
The reality is that we’re all going through things. Some are brave enough to post it online so others can know that they are not alone. I was grateful to Kelly for sharing her experience and advice with me. The diabetes online community is the family that understands having health concerns along this journey, and being scared. Somehow everything becomes less scary and even less painful when we all stick together.