Ouch, My Aching Thumb

Photos by MJ Klein

Be sure to read the sequel to this story!

Ouch, My Aching Thumb

Long-time readers of our blog will know that not too long ago, I attended a local university to study Chinese.  It was during that time that my right thumb started to hurt from all the writing I was doing, practicing and memorizing the language.  Now, what started out as a minor inconvenience has developed into a problem requiring surgery.

Back when it first began, I went to the hospital where x-rays were taken.  The doctor advised me that I had cracked the bone and that immobilization for a month would solve the problem.  At that point I couldn’t bend the first joint (closest to the end of the thumb).  After a month, the splint was removed and I could bend the joint normally.  The pain was gone.  A subsequent x-ray revealed that the bone had healed.  But, another doctor examined the previous x-ray and proclaimed that my bone had not been broken in the first place, and that what was diagnosed as a crack in the bone was an artifact on the x-ray.

Some time after, I had experienced a return of the pain and discomfort when bending the thumb and I went back for another look.  This time, I was diagnosed with gout, but a uric acid test did not confirm that diagnosis.  I was told that the gout would go away and so would the pain.  But the pain never did go away.  Until recently I’ve just lived with the pain and limitation of the joint.  But in the last few months the pain has become unbearable.

Ouch, My Aching Thumb

This time, I went to a different hospital and showed them the visible lump on my thumb, clearly seen here.  Another x-ray was taken and it was determined that some kind of tumor has been growing under the skin.

Ouch, My Aching Thumb

The solution is to cut the thumb open and remove it.  The doctor said that he can accomplish this in 30 minutes under a local anesthetic, with no use of blood.  The surgery will take place on March 14.  I will of course, have updates after the procedure.

Ouch, My Aching Thumb

For reference, this is what my left thumb looks like.  The good news is that the tumor has never interfered with my ability to play guitar.  I only sought medical attention when the pain became so great that it interfered with my sleep and normal activities.

Thanks for reading and I’ll keep you posted.

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  1. Hey MJ,

    Sorry to hear you are having problems with your thumb and that it has taken so long to get resolved. I certainly hope this time the surgery resolves the issue and you can live pain free. Best get this dealt with sooner rather than later. At least it is under a local and not a general anesthetic. I certainly have had my fair share of run arounds at hospitals here so hope this time the diagnosis is correct and resolved.

    Good luck. You will be in our thoughts and prayers.
    Paul´s last post ..Lost (and found) Bag in Matara, Sri Lanka – 2012

    1. thanks Paul. i hope that the tumor is really involved and tricky to remove. that’s my greatest concern. we’ll know on Wednesday. i wonder if they’ll allow me to take photos of the procedure itself? hehe i always appreciate prayers, so thanks again, Paul.

    1. Gualailiau, this is the second opinion actually. but it’s not rocket science. i personally saw the x-ray, and sure enough it’s a dense tissue mass that needs to come out. thanks.

  2. Ah. Sorry my computer was down for a few days due to some ceiling repair work at home. I also agree it aint rocket science but I have been always wondering why human beings still can’t solve some seemingly very simple problems such as my skin rash that bothered me for more than half a year!

    I hope you can find the right doctor and get it taken care of as soon as possible. Anything that becomes CHRONICLE is not good for me. 🙁 Take care!

    1. hey Yu-Fen! nice to see your comments in our blog 🙂 glad to have you back online too. a wise man once said that “earthling man is walking to direct his own step.” often, simple problems elude us. i certainly hope that your skin rash problem can be solved! i’ll keep you posted. take care!

  3. Best wishes for that – hope they’ll let you take pictures, that would be interesting. If you have to endure the pain, at least you can have some fun with it. 🙂

    1. thanks Stefan. i’ve not nothing to do but lay there and stare at the ceiling while they hack on my hand. maybe i can get the doctor or a nurse to snap some photos. hehe take care Stefan.

    1. thank you, Jim. this operation couldn’t come at a better time, as recently almost my entire hand is experiencing pain and discomfort. my initial fear of having an operation has been replaced by the anticipation of relief! take care.

  4. Good luck with the surgery. I must say, I am quite disappointed by the inaccurate diagnosis by your doctors. There must have been other tests available other than xray to determine that there’s tumor growing in there. Anyway, it looks like you can reuse that stint.

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