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Mendy Smith

Cold Dead Hands...

November 13, 2011 at 1:10 AM

Diabetes runs in my family. One of the things that happens with diabetes is called neuropathy where the nerves in your hands and/or legs dies. Of all of the health issues I face as I age, this is the one that scares me the most as a violist. There are things I can do to stave off the effects, but it is a heavy weight on my shoulders. That right arm tingling sensation that I've had for years? What if it is the first signs of diabetes and is irreversible?

The worse fear I have is not being able to play viola in my retirement years when I have the time to put all my energy into it. What I can do is to change my diet and focus on my posture and technique. Years of hunching over a keyboard has taken its toll on my body, but its not to late to correct my posture. Playing without tension... the sooner I deal with that the better I will be for the long run.

I had a wake-up call that demands attention if I wish to keep on playing until they have to pry the viola from my cold dead hands.

From Emily Liz
Posted on November 13, 2011 at 3:09 AM
I hear you!! I have a connective tissue disorder that almost guarantees I will not have a particularly lengthy playing career. It's a difficult thing to think about. I guess we just have to enjoy the moments and abilities we do have and give thanks for them and do our best to take whatever preventative measures we can to avoid injury...
From Emily Grossman
Posted on November 13, 2011 at 5:42 AM
I plan on being eaten by a bear, which will abbreviate my playing career as well. A toast to today, and I'm off practice now, freshly inspired by your blog.
From julie Littleton
Posted on November 13, 2011 at 2:32 PM
I have diabetes I've had it now for 8 years. I take insulin a few times a day as needed. When I started playing violin 9 months ago I had no feel in my fingers or feet. Now I can feel the strings vibrate. Its a great feeling. When I play now I am keeping busy body and mind it keeps me away from the foods I should not be eatting. So I think that playing will keep away diabetes. My
friends and family who don't play are always having problems so I thank God for my violin that keeps me busy.
From Rebecca Hopkins
Posted on November 13, 2011 at 4:37 PM
Losing little bits of ability is very frightening. I have arthritis in my right hand some fierce. I sometimes apply one of a variety of topical products and wear a glove to bed and it sometimes helps. I also wear gloves when it is the least bit chilly, or at least try to. I also applied a few things to my bow that seems to help with grip, but the progressing stiffness in my fingers is hard to accept, so I know where you are coming from.
From Peter Kent
Posted on November 13, 2011 at 10:08 PM
As a fellow sufferer of neuropathy, one has to look on the bright side of things....with little feeling in feet or finger tips,I can't efficiently turn pages in an orchestral venue, and always am offered the outside chair ! After cancer treatment, numerous remedies were offered and tried....about the best was to keep away from salt and beer....this seems to lessen the effects and is generally a reasonable tactic for continued good health.
From Tony Boone
Posted on November 14, 2011 at 3:22 AM
As I'm sure you know the first signs of Type 1 Diabetes are frequent urination, unusual thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, and extreme fatigue and irritability. If you don't already have Type 1 Diabetes at this point in life then it's unlikely you'll get it. Stay away from all added sugar, go easy on sweets, and avoid refined, processed foods.

If you're not Diabetic then it's unlikely you'll develop Diabetic neuropathy.

From Mendy Smith
Posted on November 15, 2011 at 1:48 AM
What I'm worried about is called "pre-diabetes". It can go on for years or even decades un-diagnosed until bad things start to happen.

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