Terri Hall is the CEO of Doubletake Marketing & PR by Design, a full-service marketing, advertising and public relations firm. When she isn’t helping her clients establish their brands, she divides her time between working with non-profit organizations and enjoying her hobbies like making jewelry, golfing and yoga.
More than 10 years ago, Terri began feeling painful ‘nodes’ in the palm of her hand.
It kept me from enjoying my hobbies where I use my hands – which is just about everything I do. Anything from computer work, intricate jewelry making, yoga (downward dogs were miserable and put a strain on my wrists) and even wearing gloves. These were all challenges with my bent fingers.
Terri was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s Contracture. Known formally as palmar fibromatosis, Dupuytren’s affects the hand, causing the fingers to contract and “freeze up” over a span of several years. After some unsuccessful treatments with her family doctor, she started doing her own research. That’s when she found Dr. Alfred V. Hess at Florida Orthopaedic Institute. Dr. Hess is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand and upper extremity disorders.
I just felt that he had extensive knowledge about hands and after researching him online, I thought my case was pretty mundane compared to some of the incredibly technical surgeries he’s performed. He never made me feel that my case was not important. We worked together to come up with a way to take a disease with no cure and manage it in the best way possible.
While there are no known cures for Dupuytren’s, both non-surgical and surgical approaches are examined and discussed with the patient. More often than not, steroid injections and collagenase injections (like Xiaflex) prove to slow the progression of the disease. However, surgery is often sought when Dupuytren’s prevents one from completing daily tasks.
When my disease finally did reach the point where surgery was my best option, I was well informed by Dr. Hess and his physician assistant, Tony, about the procedure and what to expect.
Terri underwent outpatient hand surgery. She was home recovering the very same day. Thanks to the instructions of her care team, Terri was on her way towards fast healing!
The best thing to do is listen and follow the post-op instructions. Get yourself moving and healing the best way possible. If they tell you to do exercises, do them. If you need to wear a splint to keep your fingers ‘trained’ to be straight – do it. Your outcome is only as good as your follow through.
After conducting her own research led her down the path towards recovery, Terri advises everyone to do the same. Find someone who knows about your condition and get yourself a doctor that specializes in it.
I would research who specifically knows your condition and get a good doctor that specializes in what you have. I feel so fortunate to get Dr. Hess with a team that knows what they’re doing and feel confident recommending them to anyone that would have a condition like mine or any hand issues that require a true professional.