WHEN A DISABILITY MAKES WRITING HARD
The title of this article is taken from #amwiting last year. Another writer discussed how difficult it is to keep working with physical ailments. Some folks know a little of my story. I have not divulged a great deal about what happened to me because I was so engrossed in a comeback to my writing.
For me it all started with a rotator cuff shoulder surgery which went haywire. In March, 2018, I underwent a reverse shoulder replacement –left – which is also my dominant side. During that surgery the surgeon fractured my humerus, my upper arm, which in turn cut the radial nerve. I ended up with a replacement, rod and screws and an inability to use my left hand at all due to drop wrist.
It gor very complicated. Soon after the replacement surgery, my physical therapist determined I developed lymphedema of the left arm. This caused me to see three different therapists every week for several weeks for shoulder therapy, hand therapy, and lymphedema. I had breast cancer of both left and right breasts but I had been in remission for 18 years by that time. Never had that type of swelling before this, but when it started, it was a mess to say the least and hindered the progress of restoring function to shoulder, arm and hand. The physical and occupational therapists and I never gave up.
I wish I could say I was able to lift my arm, straighten my elbow and use my hand, but that was not the ease. It took aa lot of work at therapy for two years and home exercises. It also took a couple of more surgeries. I had a neuropathy (nerve surgery) in January, 2019, which didn’t take. Then in February, right before the quarantine, I had a tendon transfer to hopefully restore the use of my hand. The picture in the full cast at the top of the page is about six weeks after that surgery.
So what happened with my writing? In March, 2018, I had written 16 chapters of my novel, CC’S Road Home. After the surgery, I was tied up completely with the therapies and medical appointments. Frankly, I didn’t think about it. Also, I couldn’t write longhand – I had wrist drop. At the beginning of 2019, I started journaling about my experiences with Cortana and using a headset to write orally. I hated it, but plowed ahead. I tried to do the same to write my novel, but soon learned I could not write fiction orally.
On the one year anniversary of the surgery, March, 2019, I woke up and thought, “I’m going to just sit and write. One hand. My right hand.”
And that’s what I did. I proceeded to create and type my novel with the fingers of my right hand. By October, I had written 48,000 words, twenty eight -28- chapters to complete CC’S Road Home.
What ensued next was research to learn how to query and the process of siubmission, all with my right hand. As you probably know, there is more to this story. In the next blog I will write about how I found a publisher and how I got published, and what happened because of the hand surgery this year.
For now, this is what I have to say on how it got hard, what I did when it got hard, and how to keep going when it gets hard. LBE