Tennison has lived with severe chronic pain since 12/20/2001. Twenty years later, in 2020, they started waking up with headaches and a stiff neck. In the span of six months, they went from the pain they were used to living with to being unable to walk, pull on their own pants, or even use the restroom without assistance. They were put on high-dose steroids while they waited for an opening with a rheumatologist. Medication and therapy over the course of two years helped quiet their autoimmune disease just enough to let them get around again. But it had already taken a toll and Tennison was fast losing dexterity and strength in their hands.
In late 2022 they were diagnosed with cancer and had to come off of their medications to prepare for surgery. So being without immune regulating medications, they have chronic pain in their joints, typically at a level 7 or so but the pain is the worst in their hands.
Signing books requires a lot of dexterity and stamina of the hands. Still, it’s important to Tennison to connect with their readers. Yet their hands get sore and you’ll notice that their signatures and notes get shakier and less smooth over the course of a signing. But they rock on with what they do have, like a true GenX.
They hit on the idea to stop signing their surname to reduce the pressure on their hands by some small amount—which may not sound like much but it adds up over the course of a signing—so they replaced that with a stamp that’s drawn from their own crooked, often inflamed, hand—with the sign they’ve been throwing up in photos and at events since they were a teen metal-head—a sign, a hope, an offering, a wish—that means simply, in this context, “Rock on.”