Whittling Masterpieces after Hand Surgery at Altru

700x700-FB-Whittle-WithSharonFor the past 20 years, Sharon Brennan has been working with her hands as an artist and woodcarver.

“When I had to quit temporarily due to rheumatoid arthritis in my thumbs, I was devastated,” she explains. “Dr. Brad Meland fixed my hands and renewed my hope.”

Self-Taught Artist
Sharon got started as an artist in oil painting. Later, she explored quilting, then moved to woodcarving, learning from pictures in books. “I love creating beautiful things with my hands,” she says.

Several years ago, rheumatoid arthritis began flaring up in her thumbs. Sharon wore braces on both thumbs, but the pain eventually forced her to quit carving. A family friend recommended she see Dr. Meland, hand surgeon, of Altru Advanced Orthopedics.

Soon after, Sharon scheduled surgery on her right hand with Dr. Meland. After three months of recovery, he also mended her left hand. “I was lucky to have an extra tendon in my arm needed to do the surgery,” she explains.

Gifting her Handiwork
Sharon brought two custom carvings to Dr. Meland as a gift of appreciation. “Each is a unique design. The wood comes from an old cottonwood tree that used to be in my front yard,” she explains.


“Since the gift was made with her hands, the hands that I helped to fix, it was one of the most meaningful presents I’ve ever received,” smiles Dr. Meland. “I have a strong appreciation for art.” From secretaries to teachers to carpenters, many of Dr. Meland’s hand surgery patients rely on their fine motor skills to make a living.

Sharon continues to whittle wood, often donating her one-of-a-kind masterpieces to charity fundraisers. Most recently, one of her whimsical houses sold for over $1,400, benefiting Larimore Public School. “I’m not looking for fame in my artistic pursuits,” she shares. “I like to work quietly from home, and I’m so thankful I can continue to do just that, thanks to Dr. Meland.”

Altru Advanced Orthopedics offers many advanced treatment options for a wide range of hand injuries and conditions. Learn more about hand surgery at Altru.

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