Gather ’round, children, and let me tell you a story. Several years ago I started to get some severe, lightning-esque stabbing in my wrists. It only happened every once in a while for a few weeks. I thought I might have sprained something. Then, gradually, my arms started to go numb, sort of like I’d hit my funny bone. It started in my right arm first, then spread to my left. Initially it was a bit perplexing and annoying. But gradually it grew more and more difficult for me to edit. I went to several doctors who said it could be carpal tunnel “presenting strangely,” a result of overusing my mouse, typing, and editing photographs. Those things all require a great amount of small, repetitive wrist movements. So they gave me wrists braces (one for each arm – stylin’!) and I wore those around for some time.
Unfortunately my symptoms progressed. I went back to the doctor, who said that it was possible that I had cubital tunnel syndrome, a condition where the ulnar nerve in your elbow gets stretched out. This often occurs as a result of constantly having your elbow bent, so hairstylists and pitchers often get this. They thought that, since I was having my arms bent holding a camera up to my face quite frequently, that this was probably the cause. I was told to sleep with my arms straight, and to keep my arms as straight as possible the rest of the time. Unfortunately my symptoms progressed. Now it was getting more and more difficult to do basic things. I could barely hold cups, utensils, or brush my teeth. The numbness and tingling became quite painful.
At this point, I could no longer edit photographs. I could barely use my computer at all, and even answering emails was painful for me. I was forced to outsource my editing. I hired a company to whom I gave my preset and general way of doing things, and they sent me back weddings and shoots edited, which was an absolute lifesaver for both my clients and myself. During this time, my lovely chiropractor (and former client) Cortney Dice who is a miracle worker and has solved several long-standing medical mysteries for me, hypothesized that perhaps my doctor’s new diagnosis was almost correct, but not quite. I still wasn’t getting better, but rather worse. She realized that the ulnar nerve pain I was experiencing wasn’t coming from a pinch in my elbows (cubital tunnel) but rather in my shoulders (thoracic outlet). Due to carrying very heavy camera equipment bags on my shoulders, as well as using a camera strap that allowed me to carry two cameras at the same time by resting on the tops of my shoulders, I was compressing the nerves in my shoulders. That nerve compression caused a variety of symptoms down my arms. All I had to do to stop it was to start carrying my cameras on my hips (which is why it looks like we’re cowboys now) and to stop carrying a purse for a while. I laid on a foam roller and stretched out my shoulders, and that was it! It was gone in literally a matter of weeks from Cortney first identifying it to me not carrying weight on my shoulders anymore.
So what, pray tell, does any of this have to do with Sharon and Paul? Geoff and I were advertising that we would be coming to the Tucson, Arizona area around November if anyone wanted portraits, and we were contacted by Sharon. Sharon knew of us because she was one of the people who edited my photographs for me when I could not! SMALL world, but also wonderful world. We weren’t allowed to know who edited the photographs for us through this company so I didn’t know it was Sharon, and I am glad that I do now so I could thank her for helping me when I couldn’t function! Thank you, Sharon, for your amazing editing work that kept our business alive and functioning. You are truly a miracle worker who kept keep me afloat during a very scary time, and I am so glad that you are in this line of business!
Sharon is, in addition to being a wonderful editor, a professional equestrian photographer who adores horses, Halloween, and her husband Paul. You can find her lovely and talented work at http://www.sharonfibelkorn.com/. She and Paul live in California, where Paul is a sound guy. And by “sound guy” I mean SOUND GUY. Harrison Ford! George Clooney! Katy Perry! Everyone. Microphones and award shows and all sorts of crazy impressive stuff. His list of accomplishments is pretty stellar. Together, him and Sharon are one talented couple, and we could not be more honored to have them come out to Arizona to get pictures with us all the way from California! We had a blast working with them and I think they had a good time too despite the 90 degree heat and the excessive hiking and the rocks and the stabby plants. It is a small but wonderful world, and sometimes you get to meet the wonderful, helpful people who played huge roles in your life behind the scenes, and we are so, so happy we did. We love you, Sharon and Paul! Thank you for becoming our clients.