On fire: the burning sensation in my hands

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"Burning sensation in my hands" a photo of a person holding their hands together in pain, hiding their face.

On Fire: "The burning sensation in my hands"

Lev Raphael describes the chronic burning sensation pain he feels in his hands despite two reconstructive surgeries. 

I shouldn't think of Diana Ross and the Supremes when my hands hurt, but I do. I can't help it. Their greatest hits was the first record album I bought for myself way back when I was fourteen. A double album that came with a poster. I didn't have to wait for their songs I'd memorized to play on the radio, they were mine whenever I needed them. Ross's plangent sweet voice, those rousing choruses.... 


I didn't know anything about the love the Supremes said was like "a burning sensation." But that's what happens to me now decades later, in both my hands. 


The burning sensation in my hands is what was happening before surgery: arthritis and bone spurs in my thumbs waking me up at night like a nagging fear that you forgot to lock the car you left in the driveway.


Recovery from the reconstructive surgery wasn't just slow, at the beginning it was agony. With months of physical therapy, I thought I'd be free since the post-op pain eventually eased.


Read more: My chronic pain is killing me


But I'm not free. The burning sensation in my hands has not been fixed.


A few years on from both operations, I can feel the burning when I've picked up something too heavy. I can feel the burning when I shovel even light, fluffy snow. I can feel the burning when a storm is coming--or when it's going. I can feel the burning when I'm holding a book the wrong way, whatever that is. I can feel the burning for no damned reason at all. 


Like the song goes: "I can't stop the fire."

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Article by
Lev Raphael

The author of 27 books in genres from memoir to mystery, Lev Raphael has dreamed about being a writer since he fell in love with storytelling in second grade. Living his dream, he's even seen his fiction and essays become homework, thanks to university syllabi from around the country.

Caption:

"Despite two surgeries I'm not free. The burning sensation in my hands has not been fixed." Photo: ©mrmohock / Adobe Stock

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