I feel as though I have taken this diagnosis pretty well. I do my best to continue with my daily tasks and have learned not to complain when I have flares, because NO one understands me.. However, the other Sunday Morning while playing the piano, for the 1st time in my life my hands hurt so badly it scared me.

While I was playing, I had to keep shaking my hands (one at a time) to try and get some relief... My knuckles and wrists were swollen and achy. It was if my fingers would not play as quickly as my brain wanted them to...
I have been a musician since I was 8years old. And, I cannot imagine life without the ability to play music!

Giving up playing instruments was difficult for me. I gave up violin after my freshman year in college. I was in the pit orchestra for "Oklahoma!" and was in such pain during practice, rehearsals, and the performance that I realized it just couldn't do it anymore. Add to that a major flare involving my hands for months afterwards, and that was the last time I seriously played violin. Mallet percussion wasn't far behind. Piano was last to go, although I still play it every once in a while. I've found that playing a keyboard is much easier on the hands than playing a piano, so I can get more time playing that way. I also love joining drum circles and my kids are teaching me recorder. I've joined the church choir as well, so still using my musical abilities, just not in the same way as before.

im not a musician but i underdstand how you feel. Ive been a swimmer all my life and havent been able to swim since I started with all this. I find myself avoiding even getting in the pool since it makes me feel bad that i cant do everything i used to in it. I havent tried any warm water exercises either although i have heard they help some people, i dont want to be in there limited to moving around slowly without being able to swim laps.

What ever you do, DON'T STOP PLAYING. I know it sounds rough but if you stop, it will get worse. I continue to play guitar and use the late Les Paul as an inspiration. He played til literally a week before his death although he had many reasons to stop including his elbow that was fused after a car accident. Maybe not play quite as much when flares are strong, but don't stop because you will lose some of the flexibility. As long as you keep your fingers moving, it will help keep them moving. Last winter I thought I would not be able to play either but I stayed with it and continued to play but rested my hands more often. I can still play, in fact I just accompanied my classes today with my guitar. I have modified drum playing (I now use a mallet or a stick of some nature) but I refuse to give it up and I will not let this disease steal my talents. The things I truly enjoy in life, music, spinning yarn and crocheting, actually have been helping my hands stay flexible. Sometimes when I get up in the morning and my hands are the stiffest and most swollen, I do some exercises I learned when I thought this was carpol tunnel - opening and closing my fingers, gentle massage, and aligning my finger tips and then pushing my palms together (this gently straightens the fingers). Hang in there!!

xvanex - I love to swim as well as water aerobics, but had to stop due to the pool itself - no steps, just a ladder which my hands cannot handle. I am looking for another pool in the area so I can get back to it.