An Arm Update


A lot of you have asked, and I’m here to spill. I had surgery almost two months ago to correct my carpal/cubital tunnel syndrome. Here’s the progress on my recovery, and if I think the surgery is worth it!

First off, what the heck is carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome?
These are two separate disorders, both affecting the nerves in your hand and arm. Carpal tunnel was a nerve that was being compressed in my wrist, and the cubital tunnel was a nerve that was being compressed in my elbow. I was diagnosed with both of these disorders at the age of 17 by my neurologist, but my symptoms got really bad in 2014 and kept getting worse. Hence why my doctor recommended surgery.

What was surgery like?
It was an outpatient procedure, and I was in a cast and pretty much on bed rest for almost 2 weeks afterwards. I was in a considerable amount of pain afterwards, so I really couldn’t be super productive during those few weeks after surgery. You’ll definitely need someone to take care of you when you’re in the cast, and a little assistance after you get the cast off because your hand won’t be back to normal!


One thing I didn’t expect…
Nerves take a really, really long time to regenerate. After I got my cast off, my arm just fell to my side and I couldn’t even make the motion with my hand to pick up a piece of paper. I joked and called it my “decorative arm,” because it was essentially useless.

You have to keep using your arm as much as possible during the recovery stages. Physical therapy was optional, but I decided to do it to get the range of motion and strength back in my arm as much as possible.

How are you now?
I’m doing pretty ok! It’s a fine balance of using your arm to get strength back and making sure you don’t over-use your arm and irritate it. A week ago, my elbow was swelling up really bad after the weekend and my PT told me to just take it easy for a few days. As badly as I want to get back to normal, I know that I still have a few more months until I make a complete recovery.

I’m able to lift water bottles and light shopping bags almost 2 months post-op, and I’ve gotten complete range of motion in my elbow and about 90% range of motion in my wrist back, which is pretty good in my book! I’m still not able to do heavy lifting or do a lot of arm exercises in the gym, but hopefully I’ll be able to do that in a couple of months.


Was surgery worth it?
In my opinion, yes. While I don’t have full strength back in my arm yet, I have noticed that the numbness/tingling I was experiencing in my hand/forearm before the surgery is completely gone. 

If you think you have carpal/cubital tunnel…
Go see a doctor! We’re in the age of Web MD and are prone to self-diagnose, but really, I can’t diagnose you. You need to go see a doctor if you think you do. There are a lot of preventative steps you can take to avoid having surgery that your doctor can recommend if you do have it. 

Photos by Jen Eun

Leave a Comment


  1. Dana Mannarino wrote:

    So happy for you! My mom had a pretty bad fall last April and needed reconstructive elbow surgery, and she still has some problems/swelling. So happy to hear you’re doing well though – I could only imagine how frustrating not being able to do certain things!

    Pink Champagne Problems

    Posted 2.16.16 Reply
  2. I can totally relate to the swelling/not being able to do what you used to. Not from surgery but from a sprained ankle. It’s tough to be strong willed and have your body tell you that you can only do XYZ. Keep on keeping on!

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

    Posted 2.16.16 Reply
  3. Iris wrote:

    Glad to hear you’re healing up! I wish you a smooth recovery.

    Posted 2.17.16 Reply
  4. Alissa wrote:

    So glad to hear you’re able to work out again!!

    I have to thank you – reading your pre-surgery post about how you waited so long that it got worse really made me think. I’ve had issues with my gums for years thanks to braces and I knew I’d have to have gum surgery to correct it. I knew I was looking at a costly procedure that wouldn’t be covered by my insurance but, after reading your post, I made an appointment with a specialist. I figured it’s better for me to get it done now than lose my teeth and have to deal with A LOT more. It’s been a week since my surgery and it’s painful as hell… but it’ll be worth it!! So thank you girl!! 🙂


    Posted 3.1.16 Reply