Monday, August 25, 2014

My Six Cutting-Edge Hand and Arm Surgeries

NOTE: An update to this post is available here.

This year I had six cutting-edge surgeries done on my right hand and arm, all at the same time, by the ever-amazing and wonderfully talented Dr. William B. Ericson of Seattle, WA, USA.

The surgeries I had are listed below:
  1. Right thumb CMC Joint Arthroplasty with FCR tendon transfer
  2. Lateral Humeral Epicondylectomy
  3. Carpectomy of the pisiform
  4. Neurolysis of proximal medial and radial nerves
  5. Tenotomy of pronator teres and common extensor fascia
  6. Capsulodesis of the wrist
To explain what these are and why I needed them, please watch the video below. Bear with the length, these surgeries are complex and I am trying my best to explain them in a way everyone can understand:

Dr. Ericson's chart is available for viewing in larger format here.

Dr. Ericson's paper on dual oblique incisions for proximal median nerve entrapment is available for viewing in larger format here.

 Photos of arm and hand a couple days after surgery (mind you, I look all healed now):

Dr. William B. Ericson
The Ericson Hand and Nerve Center 
6100 219th Street SW, Ste 540
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Phone: (425) 776-4444
Fax: (425) 272-2730

From EDNF:
Dr. Ericson is an award winning orthopedic hand surgeon with a special interest in painful conditions that do not show on standard diagnostic tests, including joint instability and peripheral nerve problems. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from MIT with a thesis on collagen and elastin, and then graduated from Harvard Medical School. He is board certified in orthopedic surgery and hand surgery, and is in private practice in the Seattle area, with a large number of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome patients in his practice. He has developed a unique and highly successful approach to treating upper extremity pain and weakness in this patient population.

Dr. Ericson belongs over 20 specialty societies and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and a Fellow of the Association of Extremity Nerve Surgeons, who awarded him the Jules Tinel MD Award in 2009 for his work in this area. He was the Chief of Hand Surgery at Winchester Hospital, Winchester, MA from 1994 until 2005, and he is a past-President of the Massachusetts Orthopedic Association.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Ultima Replenisher: PoTS Drink & Giveaway

Hi there, PoTSies! Here's the 411 on the best alternative to Gatorade that I've found: Ultima Replenisher. (Remember, I did that post about PoTS drinks for the summer? One of my recipes called for Ultima.) I know I've talked up coconut water in the past, and I still am an avid coconut fan and consumer, but this stuff is even better than coconut water. Seriously.

I met the owner of the company and we talked about PoTS and how getting electrolytes was extremely important for a PoTSy. The company is born out of the Pacific Northwest, USA, and for me, that is as local as it gets. The company really is so kind and generous, they really aren't doing this to just get money, they are doing it to change the way people think about getting their nutrients and staying hydrated. It is really a perfect product for someone with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, and so it was great to share with them and learn from them.

The great thing about Ultima, to me, is that it mimics what is found in natural, whole foods. The balances are spot on. And, there is no sugar. HUGE. Especially when comparing it to something like Gatorade which has high-fructose corn syrup in it. This uses stevia as a sweetener. Now, I am not a fan of stevia, at all, but you don't get a funky stevia taste with this; it just tastes a lot like Kool-aid. By the way, if you aren't familiar, stevia is a plant that has very sweet leaves and is used in health foods as a sugar alternative.

I tried Ultima Replenisher for two solid months and was thoroughly satisfied with the results, so much so, that I had to tell you all about it and I am now a repeat customer. I will buying this as a staple from here on out. I won't be giving up my coconut water (which I use sparingly) or my sodium (we PoTSies need lots of it!), but this is a great way to get electrolytes and keep up the fluid intake --so vital for us. And, nope, as usual, I am not a paid spokesperson, I just like sharing what I find helpful.

Here's the breakdown; notice that Ultima has 13 electrolytes and minerals:

Each serving contains vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, chloride, sodium, and potassium. A serving is one scoop or packet mixed with 8 ounces of water. I usually double the water though, just to make sure I am getting extra water and to keep it a little more cost effective. I will have 3 servings a day, with about 16 ounces of water in each, so that right there is 48 ounces of water I am taking in, plus the regular water I drink and my IV fluids through my port. Hydration is key in helping PoTS symptoms stay under control.


I would love to share with you, so I am giving away some samples of Ultima to two different people. I can't afford to give you a ton, but I have some packets to spare. If you would like to try Ultima Replenisher, just enter the giveaway by subscribing to the site (upper right corner of this page) and by commenting below. If you already have subscribed, just let me know in the comments. I will pick two random winners and update this post on August 25th, 2014.

Where to buy Ultima Replenisher

You can purchase Ultima through their website or via Amazon through the LifeWithEDS store. The cheapest way, I have found, is to buy it through the Amazon link. You can purchase a 90-serving container for around $20. That gives you 3 servings a day for an entire month for around $20--- much cheaper than 3 bottles a day of Gatorade or coconut water, with more electrolytes and minerals. Stretch it out and double the water, if you'd like, like I do. My favorite flavor is raspberry. 

Update 8/25/14: WINNERS!

Cynthia and Fiddlin' Dandi, you have both won samples of Ultima! Please contact me via the email form with your name and mailing info and I will get it out to you ASAP. Much love!

Hope you found this post helpful! Love and gentle hugs.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Perfect Cane for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

Hey EDSers - I have found the perfect cane for those of you that need to use a cane for balance, after surgeries, etc. I have had mine for a few years and I absolutely love it.

The Strongarm cane provides the perfect support while taking the weight off of your wrist and placing it on your forearm instead.

The cane is interchangeable and can be used on the right or left arm. There is nice foam cushioning, so it isn't uncomfortable at all. I highly recommend the Strongarm!

Make sure, if you are using a cane, that you use it properly. I am out everyday and see people not using them correctly, which is bad on the body and doesn't aid in mobility. You can actually cause damage walking with a cane incorrectly. Here's how to properly walk with a cane:

Where to buy this cane:

You can purchase the Strongarm via Amazon through the LifeWithEDS store.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

LPHS Surgery Fundraiser

Hi friends, family, and everyone else out there in web-land...

I am finally (if we raise enough money) having the major surgery to fix my Loin Pain-Hematuria Syndrome, the renal autotransplant, and we need some help to be able to do this. We currently live in Washington state, but have to travel to Cleveland, Ohio, for the surgery. Between the cost of the surgery itself, the hotel, airfare, food, etc., we are struggling. If you can't afford to donate, I completely understand, but you can still help by sharing the link to the fundraiser with everyone you know via email, social media, etc. I would be so very grateful if you were to help. Every dollar does count, so even a $5 donation is huge to us. Thank you a million times over.

To view the fundraiser, please visit (or share the link): 

If you don't remember what LPHS is or you need a recap, along with a detailed explanation of the surgery, visit my other posts:


Friday, August 1, 2014

Giveaway: Silver Ring Splint Winner!!

This post is short...just going to announce the winner of the Silver Ring Splint Giveaway!

The winner was selected using

Drum roll...

Sari Valda!!!! Swooped in at the last minute and won herself a splint. Greatness!

Congrats again, and thanks to all that entered! I will be doing more giveaways in the coming weeks. Stay tuned...