Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Overcoming Adversity: When a pianist loses the use of three fingers

A while back, I developed a hand condition that rendered three of my fingers useless: I could no longer play basketball, type well, or play the piano the way I used to.

Indeed, the doctor said, "I'm sorry you won't be able to play the piano any more." Here is an attempt to prove him wrong:


Ruth said...

Marty - I watched the first half of the video and had to stop to write to you. Not only do you show all of us how to overcome adversity, but with 7 fingers, you still play far better than I ever did (or ever could) with all 10. And I'm so glad you proved the doctor wrong; the absence of your music these past few years was an overwhelming silence that left a void, at least for me. And now it's back. [And by the way, My Funny Valentine (by Rodgers and Hart) was originally introduced in a 1937 musical, Babes In Arms, and was later included in the movie version of Pal Joey with Frank Sinatra and Kim Novack.]
May the music continue to play... and never again stop.

Robert said...

Sounds pretty good to me. Of course sometimes the loss of use in a pianist's fingers can be merely short-term. For instance, Scriabin overstrained his right hand for a while, but eventually it healed itself.

And didn't Leon Fleisher eventually regain the use of his damaged hand, after years of being unable to play while using it? If memory serves me he has in recent years given quite a few two-handed recitals.

Marty Nemko said...

Alas, mine is permanent, probably progressive. The good news is it doesn't hurt at all.

Mary T-C said...

Marty, I don't know what your hand condition is, but have you ever heard of(or been treated with)jin shin jyutsu?


It is an ancient healing art based on gentle touch. It certainly couldn't hurt and could help. I live here in Berkeley and get regular treatments just for general overall maintenance; there are several local practitioners that you could perhaps set up an appointment with and see if it could ease your condition.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you for caring, Mary. I have explored all reasonable options. In my case, the right treatment is acceptance.

Johannes said...

Marty - You inspire me with your playing piano with 7 fingers.

A few years back, I came down with an illness. After I recovered, I had less energy and more ADD than before my illness and was unable to continue my career in engineering. For a year I thought I would never be able to reasonably contribute in any work, just because I had decreased levels of energy and concentration. Then, on a 2 week vacation, when I visited many of my friends and had a bunch of one-on-one conversations with them, I realized that building a deep connection with people is what I am really good at. Now I am a coach and love it.

My life is different now than it used to be before my illness, but no less beautiful.

mdubuque said...

Hi Marty, thanks for the inspirational video!

Is your condition aggravated by typing on a computer keyboard?

If so, perhaps there are some alternatives?

Also, what the medical community says is irreversible today may very well be found to be reversible several years from now.

What would happen if you eliminated all sugar from your diet for six weeks?

In friendship,


Marty Nemko said...

Matt, thanks for the concern but can be done about it.

mdubuque said...

OK, be well.

But please keep in mind that the very best peer reviewed research in top medical journals such as The Lancet, JAMA, the BMJ, Circulation and the Archives of Internal Medicine is now VERY strongly pointing to sugar as a real killer, implicated in heart disease, stroke, cancer, arthritis and more.

Check out the exhaustive peer reivewed cites in the bibliography here;



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