Do y’all know what a ganglion cyst is?It’s a benign tumor you get on or around your joints, most commonly your hands and feet. Delightful, no? You can look ‘em up and go “agh” when you see the pictures and be thankful you’ve never had one. Unless you have. In which case, I feel you. Because I get ganglion cysts on my left wrist. And they hurt like a bastard. I once had one so painful and motion-reducing and hard that it had to be cut out of me. Surgery. It sucked. Especially since it coincided with me leaving New York. Moving with only one hand? Not recommended.
Anyway, this is important because I’ve been ganglion free for years-huzzah! Until recently, when my left wrist started feeling less than delighted during the push up portion of kickboxing class. Usually it’s my triceps that complain. But this was definitely my wrist, and in the same old spot. Le sigh. The bump was tiny, but it really hurt so I made an appointment with my doctor, who has the same name (different spelling) as a famous actor. I adore my doctor. I had a sore throat once and he “prescribed” me popsicles.
“Popsicles are soothing,” he said. “And they have no known side effects. You can keep ‘taking’ them as needed.”
I showed him my tiny bump. He moved my wrist around. I gamely did not groan or scream. And then he said.”You know, they used to take the family Bible and smack it against those cysts to break them up.”
I knew this. My pediatrician told me this same story years ago, and then made me promise I wouldn’t try it because I could break my hand.
But my current doctor told me this story in different forms three times. In other words, he was advocating it. Unlike aspirating the cyst (sticking a needle into it and draining the fluid out) smacking the cyst with a heavy book actually breaks the cyst up. Bye bye!
So I thanked him for the advice and returned to work. Then I looked on YouTube and found a video of a kid with a big old cyst on her inner wrist. A friend with a large book smacks it and–presto! It’s gone, baby, gone. I wanted that. So I found Champika in her office around the hall and said, “Champika, you are my least responsible graduate student. I need you to take a heavy book and hit my hand with it.”
Champika said, “Oh?” and then a second later “Okay!”
Her face fell. “But I don’t have a heavy book.” She looked up. “Ricarose does, though!”
In fact, Ricarose had a shelf of heavy books, including Graduate Research Methodologies.
So I sat at Ricarose’s desk and circled my cyst with a pen so Champika had a target. She hovered the corner of Graduate Research Methodologies over my ganglion and then whacked me with it. “Ow,” I said. And then, “Not hard enough.”
She whacked me harder. I pushed at the cyst. It felt better. Not gone, but better. I rotated my wrist. Range of motion: improved. Pain: lesser. Verdict: hooray for getting smacked with a book.
“I should do this for money,” Champika said. “It’s fun.”
Fast forward to the next day, when I tell the very handsome boyfriend (VHB) about my adventures in ganglion therapies.
And then fast forward weeks later to today when I complain my wrist is bothering me, again. The cyst, which had loosened but didn’t entirely break up, is hurting again.
“I could hit it with a brick,” VHB said.
“Book!” I said. “It’s a book. ”
“Right,” he said. “I was close.”
“The letters between the ‘b’ and ‘k’ are kind of important.”
“Blank,” he said.
“Block,” I replied.
“Buick,” he said.
“Not Buick!” I said. “God, if you run me over with a Buick and claim you were trying to cure my cyst, that will not be cool.”
The good news is we don’t own a Buick. And now I think we never will.
P.S. I asked the VHB if I could refer to him as something other than the very handsome boyfriend since it’s rather long to type and I always have to introduce him as such in case there are any first time readers who don’t intuitively know what VHB means (visually heightened bobcat?)
“Like what?” he said.
“No.” He likes being the very handsome boyfriend.
I should’ve known better than to bestow that title. Of course he likes it. I’m a victim of my own success.