On the merits of doorknobs.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve posted here, hasn’t it? Part of me would claim nothing interesting has happened to me since my last post, but that is simply not true. Another part of me wants to blame a brutal commute to work that prevents carting a laptop to and fro, but the advent of smartphones effectively silences that argument. So I’m left with a mental shrug and the urge to unload on you once again.

In the time since my last post, I’ve changed churches twice, changed jobs once, and joined a gym. Of course these changes were spread out over the past two years, but they did occur and they are slowly having an effect. I have a social life when I want one, I work in NYC, and I’m fitting into my clothes. Specifically, I’ve realized I am finally where I want to be, doing the things I want to do. I’ve felt a hope and peace that I haven’t felt in… well, ever. I don’t think I’ve ever been as sure of my life as I am now.

I have prefaced this post with this much exposition because you need to understand its juxtaposition to my past week.

On Saturday, August 1st, I broke my right ring finger while twisting closed a doorknob.

Obviously, I didn’t realize out was broken. There was barely an audible snap. All I knew was I had felt a brief flash of pain and my ring finger was hanging a little strangely. But after a lifetime of inadvertently stretching my toes and dealing with momentary numbness, I thought I’d wait it out.

At the time, I was en route to watching a movie with my parents. By the end of the movie, the pain was still there. I was starting to suspect my finger was broken, but the idea that I’d broken it so easily was so ludicrous that I laughed at my own paranoia and called it a sprain.

I purchased a finger spent over the counter, took some Tylenol, and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, the pain and the awkwardness of having my dominant hand out of commission kept me in bed, riveted to Netflix while icing my finger to reduce the swelling.

On Monday, I decided that my finger was hanging too oddly for this to be a simple sprain. After some drama with my HR department over insurance coverage, I finally went to an urgent care facility on Tuesday and got X-Rays.

Sure enough, my finger was broken. But the reason for such an easy break was mind blowing. A benign tumor (called an enchondroma) had weakened my finger bone to the point that it was able to break so easily (referred to as a pathological fracture).

I couldn’t believe it. My parents couldn’t believe it. Heck, anyone who knew me could barely believe it. Other than the excess fat on my skeleton, I’m relatively healthy. The worst part was I had felt NO SYMPTOMS of this bone tumor prior to the break.

And that’s when I realized I’d become the cliche of A Patient Processing Bad News. You’ve seen this before: the patient who receives a devastating diagnosis and starts to question their life. How did they not see this coming? Could they have prevented it? What would this mean for the future? What would happen if they didn’t make a full recovery?

In my case, I need to let my fracture heal for about three months, then have surgery to remove my tumor and rebuild the inside of my bone with a graft and maybe even a pin. This entails at least 6 months of recovery time, consistent doctor visits, and relying on my left hand instead of my right.

It’s been a slow transition from right to left hands and my overall recovery is not nearly as serious as a malignant form of cancer would be. But in previous years, I’d be freaking out quite a bit. Instead, I’m feeling rather grateful to that doorknob.