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Saturday, September 7, 2013


The subject of this entry is seemingly bland. In fact, if you retrieve the singular definition of the subject word from the dictionary, we'll really start to fall asleep.  So, let's start by doing just that! Here are a couple of definitions straight from

hand  noun
  1. the terminal, prehensile part of the upper limb in humans and other primates, consisting of the wrist, metacarpal area, fingers, and thumb
  2. the corresponding part of the forelimb in any of the higher vertebrates

Exciting stuff, right?  Way to state the obvious, Nicole! But... let's think a little deeper.

There is so much to feel down about these days.  War.  The economy.  Debt.  Stories about infidelity, greed, cruelty, illness, family falling-outs, jealousy.  Honestly, the list of all of the bad things in the world today is virtually infinite.

So, what does this have to do with hands?  Well, let's start here... what can we do with our hands?  How can we positively impact the lives of others through the use of our palms and a few digits?  Why is this so important?   How can we make the world a better place through our hands?

First and foremost, we need to reference & utilize item to the left in order to put our own hands to positive use.  I'm not a holy roller, really.  I don't press my religious views upon anyone.  However, I do believe when we put God first in our lives, leaving all of our worries, problems, hopes and dreams in His hands, we'll find peace. Really.  I know that's very hard to believe most of the time, but I really think it's true. Regardless of your religious denomination, trust God.  Everything is in His hands.

"Let go and let God? What's that got to do with our hands?"

Text from husband...
Our hands. The smallest and simplest actions and expressions of love can be demonstrated through the use of our hands.  Waving hello to someone.  Holding the hand of a loved one.  Giving the peace sign.  Picking up the phone and giving an old friend or family member you haven't spoken to in a while a call.  Texting someone to tell them you love them. These simplest of gestures can be expressed through the utilization of our hands, and they can all make a huge difference in someone's life, even if we don't realize it.

Fr. Francis presiding at our wedding
Laying of hands. In July 2010, my then fiance and I were in church.  Our wedding was about two months away.  I'd had probably the most successful Deep Brain Stimulation for dystonia that my doctors had ever seen about a year and a half prior.  My dystonia was basically gone.  I didn't consider myself a medical miracle, but rather extremely fortunate to have incredible doctors and a form of dystonia that responded so well to deep brain stimulation.  That day in church, my left foot cranked in at the ankle.  I was in a near panic.  As I hobbled to communion, tears started to stream down my face.  Why was this suddenly happening?  Would I be able to walk down the aisle in October?  I'd needed a few "tweaks" now and again for back pain, but I had not experienced anything like this since pre-DBS.  The priest, Fr. Francis, a really awesome member of the clergy at our church was presiding that day.  He's very contemporary for someone of his generation.  He was also the priest Nate and I had scheduled to preside at our wedding.  He kind of sounds like Ed Wynn -- you know -- the "I love to laugh" guy from Mary Poppins.  He noticed my tears.  This 70-something-year-old man cared so much about my pain, that he asked me and Nate to please stay after Mass so he could pray with us and anoint me with oil.  After church ended, he brought us back behind the altar and asked what was going on with my dystonia.  Fr. Francis called over to another priest, Fr. Paul, and asked if he would pray with us.  Fr. Paul was/is awesome; former Air Force. He actually recently left the priesthood, but he's still just such a cool guy.  They laid hands on me and prayed, anointing me with oil.  Fr. Paul motioned for Nate to come over and join them.  The sense of peace and comfort I felt was awesome beyond words.  The love and compassion demonstrated by these men was something I did not feel worthy of, yet they offered it anyway.  It really helped me, if not physically, at the very least emotionally.      

Letter from neurologist to me & hockey ticket
My neurologist's hands. Writing a letter and sending an expensive gift is not something that many doctors would do for their patients.  My neurologist, Dr. Guttuso, knew I loved hockey.  Sometimes at my appointments, we'd chat hockey more than actually have an appointment.  In 2008, there wasn't much he could do for me anymore except for refill my medications.  I needed DBS and I was terrified. All other options had been exhausted.  I was no longer even responding well to Botox.  Dr. Guttuso was so proud of me for pulling though that surgery -- he wrote me the nicest letter and along with it, sent a pair of his season tickets to a Sabres game.  Ryan Miller shutout the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-0 on February 4, 2009.  Thomas Vanek scored a hat trick.  I threw my hat in excitement, despite my shaved head from the DBS.  The hands of my neurologist wrote me a letter and mailed me tickets, yet another act of kindness demonstrated through the use of hands.

My hands. Having dystonia is no picnic.  Today has been an extremely bad day for me.  I'm
"In the end, only kindness matters..." ~ Jewel
chalking it up to the cooler, rainy weather.  My back and neck have a mind of their own and it is extremely painful and debilitating for me at the moment.  Still, I'm trying to remain optimistic.  There are people out there who have it so much worse than I do.  These are the people I need to help.  Others can benefit from my helping hands despite my disability.  I need to keep that in mind whenever I start to feel sorry for myself.  I can donate to the poor, volunteer, advocate for dystonia, and of course use my hands to type away in my blog.  With my head, my heart and my hands combined, I know I have so much to offer in my lifetime.  I just need to be open to everything it is that I am being called to do.


  1. I liked this post. Fine words. My hands are untamable, but I did not stop writing. Check out:

    1. Good for you! Dystonic writer's cramp can be tough... My entry was actually meant to be more symbolic... I think. Maybe I was a bit too literal. :) I did realize as I was typing this that may people cannot write and do have problems using their hands in a literal sense - myself included. Still, we all can do things to help each other out in the crazy world by utilization of our natural gifts and talents. So glad you can type! Keep blogging!

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