Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Work of My Hands

 Today I decided to focus my camera on my hands. My hands have become a big issue in my life because 3 years ago, I lost all the feeling in my hands. It was caused by the damage MS did to my spinal cord. I can now only sense hot, cold and pain and those sensations are blown way out of proportion. (A paper cut feels like I've chopped a finger off, touching something cold or hot hurts.)

 When I first lost the feeling in my hands, it was pretty scary. I was in the process of being diagnosed and so I didn't tell anyone, other than my close friends and family. It took a long time for my brain to adjust. I had to relearn how to do everything you do with your hands, on my own. It was very trying, struggling with even the simplest of tasks. I got frustrated alot and many times I thought I'd have to stop making art, the thought of which was just soul crushing.

If you put on a pair of oven mitts and then spend even an hour trying to go about your normal day, you'd have a small glimpse into what it feels like to live with no feeling in your hands. Try buttoning something or zipping a zipper, brushing your teeth or tying your shoe. Not so simple now, is it?

I feel a sense of awe at how the body trouble shoots the things it can't heal. After about a year, with alot of hard work and persistence, I managed to regain understanding between my brain and my hands. The communication between them is not the same anymore-instead of using a cellphone, they are using two tin cans and a string, but it works. It means I can sit here and type this post. It means I can make art. It might take me a little longer-somethings are still challenging, but I still get the job done.

When I think about my hands, I can't help but think of my Gramps. He suffered multiple strokes over my lifetime. He was a gifted carpenter and cabinet maker. He worked with his hands his whole life, even when he too was robbed of the feeling from neurological damage from the strokes and the effects of diabetes. I think about how hard it was for him and he never complained-he just quietly went about his business. He taught me everything  about resilience, grace and courage.

So that is why I have turned the lense towards my hands today. I wanted to honour how they serve me and in turn serve others in my life. They are powerful tools. The work they do is sacred and vital and I look at them with awe and respect.


Michelle @ Give a Girl a Fig said...

What a beautiful post...I'm in awe of our body's ability to overcome challenges. You have pretty hands...:)

Debbie said...

Here's to your beautiful hands, Lelainia...and to the awesome artwork you produce with them. Your story is very inspiring...thanks for sharing it with us.

greta ann said...

LOVE THESE PICS! i am so inspired and understand what a gift the use of our hands is! they are beautiful!

Pilar said...

These pictures are so powerful especially since I know they are your hands. These images are both exquisite and breath taking. I can see them in a gallery hanging somewhere. You are beautiful, dear friend. xoxoxo

Lorraina said...

Beautiful and heartbreaking post. I'm so sorry what's happening to you but the way you've adjusted is mighty inspiring.
Your pics are really awesome, different and unusual. You definitely inheirited your grandpas resilience, grace and courage.
I was wondering; is there no rehab or therapy place available to maybe learn other ways to improve the use of your hands?

Karenann Young said...

Your hand pictures are awesome, as you are also.

Unknown said...

Thank you for sharing your story! Beautiful pictures!