Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Two years have passed since I started this blog and this is my first post. I should be embarrassed, but I'm not. It's more of a fear factor for me. I'm actually afraid of blogging, I'll admit, but not because I fear no one gives a hoot about what I have to say, or no one will read it, or I'll get nasty feedback I'd rather not hear. No, I am afraid of blogging because I have TOS - Thoracic Outlet Syndrome - and because of it I must limit my time on the computer or I will suffer pain in my head, neck, shoulders, arms and elbows for days.  Therefore, I will have little time for blogging and will not be able to present the blog the way I intend to. So, as you can see, I am a bit of a perfectionist, an all or nothing kind of writer, with a legitimate excuse for not producing.

My wise doctor, Ekong B. Ekong, MD, an occupational medicine specialist at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York,  evidently knows me better than I ever thought, because at our last visit he advised me to "respect your limitations." This is difficult, because I want to do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and do it my way. However, those of us who have been blessed with TOS know that it pretty much rules your life, and often proof of this does not assert itself until well after you've disrespected your limitations and truly crippled yourself.

The last time I disrespected my limitations was on November 23, at my job, stubbornly working on a web site project that I would not put aside for a better day even though my right arm and shoulder were screaming at me. I finished the work, but not before allowing my shoulder to collapse, and it is still collapsed, more than a month later. I am proceeding slowly here to avoid any further injury, but I do want to follow through on my blog, and so will attempt to do so at times when the urge to write may not cause further damage to my upper extremities, or I am optimistic I will be able to readily undo any damage I may incur.

This blog is about reading. I read a lot. My first childhood memory is of wanting to learn to read. I've always hungered for words and read everything I can. I try to exercise some discretion but am known to pick up all kinds of literature, even stuff I don't particularly care for. My latest read worth writing about is "Silver Girl," by Elin Hilderbrand. My daughter gave me this book for a Christmas present and what a gift. I've read a lot by this author and she's wonderful. Her books are set on Nantucket Island, which is where I spent my honeymoon, a thoroughly romantic setting which I long to return to but have only revisited through literature. "Silver Girl" is about a woman who's husband is the biggest crook in American history, a fictional Bernie Madoff, who perpetrated a Ponzi scheme that collapsed and left thousands of people broke. He goes to jail. She's a pariah under investigation. Her oldest friend, a new widow, invites her to Nantucket for the summer and the island magic heals both of them. The characters are well-developed, the story has several romantic threads and a few surprises, and descriptions of the island and its special places awakened memories of my own romantic time there. The story is told with many flashbacks, but I like this type of writing so it works for me. I zipped through it in two days, couldn't put it down, so you may like it too, if you enjoy this sort of thing.

And you may be wondering - what is TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)? Simply, it's a collection of musculoskeletal conditions brought on by entrapment of the blood vessels and nerves from the neck to the fingers. The chief symptom is upper extremity pain, but you also get numbness and tingling from neck to fingertips, poor circulation, cold hands, blue fingers, and did I mention pain? There's really no way to cure it, but there are a number of ways to try to gain some relief, including the surgical removal of the first ribs (or cervical ribs if you've got them), which allows the entrapped nerves and blood vessels more freedom; physical therapy; occupational therapy; massage; acupuncture; chiropractic; rest; heat; ice; pain pills; topical pain relievers; and avoiding the offending activities that brought it on in the first place, although it may be too late for that to be of any benefit. Since I feel good today and it's a new year and all that, I am going to start a blog about TOS called My TOS Life  so if you'd like to know more about it, you can follow me there.
http://mytoslife.blogspot.com/  Thanks for reading.