Anne's Story: Finding My Purpose

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

“It all seemed so simple at the time but who knew that the pain and numbness in my hands would turn my life completely around.”

Having worked at a paint store for several years, Anne was used to working with her hands, but it was unusual when she first started experiencing numbness in her hands. Then one day she lifted a can of paint and her right hand gave way to severe pain.

Anne went to see a doctor, who confirmed that the tendons in her right hand were stretched beyond use. The doctor splinted her right hand and Anne was back at work a few days later….this time using her left hand to lift and load the paints. Eventually, the strain and overuse of the left hand led to its injury, the end of Anne’s job at the paint store, and landing on EI for nine months.

At this point in her life, Anne’s hands were so bad she could not even lift a cup of coffee.  She purchased kitchen equipment like food processors and changed up her routine and recipes, so that she could continue to cook. Her husband was also instrumental in helping her adjust to her new life. “I never thought of myself as disabled, says Anne. “I simply couldn’t use my hands and had to find new ways to do things.”

Anne was successful in landing a position with TD Bank for four years, and despite her injuries extending to now include her elbows, she worked there until the department was closed. Soon afterwards, she obtained a job with Calgary Health region as a receptionist, but was only able to work three months before the pain in her hands from the repetition of using computer keys became unbearable. She was laid off once again and forced to go on EI for six months.  

 “This was the first time in my life where I had no idea where to turn,” says Anne. “Your self-esteem takes a beating when you feel as if you can’t do anything anymore.”

After this, Anne tried her hand at several different positions, like working as a Recreational Aide to seniors, but the combination of the pain in her hands and the physical requirements of pushing seniors in wheelchairs eventually resulted in Anne being laid off once again.
Back on EI, Anne felt hopeless.

“I wanted my life to have purpose again. I knew I could do something, besides sit on social programs, and that is when I found Champions, “says Anne.  “Champions provided me with the direction and supports I needed to get my life back on track. Through their workshops, I learned new skills and met others who were also in the same position as me.”

Today, Anne is enjoying her new job as a companion for seniors.  “I love my new job – as a companion I visit with the seniors, play games, go for walks, push some of them in wheelchairs and sometimes even help feed them.  "Thanks to Champions, my life has purpose once again."

And thanks to new technology, Anne has undergone laser treatments for her hands and elbows. While she isn’t completely pain free, she still feels the results have been nothing short of amazing.  

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