Mine started to be problematic 3 years ago. I had to not work for 2 years because of it, and that was rather terrifying, finding a new career is not really a thing I wanna do (surgery is a very last resort for me). In that 2 years of, I did some occasional catering work, and tried to work twice. The first time I lasted 6 weeks before it came back, the second time I made it 10 days. That one was really bad, it took 2 months before I got the feeling back in my hands.
For 1.5 years I've been sleeping with a brace that immobilizes my arm from elbow to fingertips, and that's been incredibly helpful. About this time last year, a friend of mine was finishing up his massage therapy training and needed to do a case study, he asked me to be his subject and I got 10 free treatments! He essentially healed me, and now I have pec stretches and other exercises I do regularly to keep things at bay.
I've been working full time at my current job since August, and it's not been too much of a problem. I've found though that my limit is about 6-8 weeks of full time work before I need to take a break. I do a lot of traveling and have been able to coordinate my travel schedule with that time frame, for the most part anyways. I recently did an 11-week stint at work though, and that last week was brutal, I was dropping things, couldn't do pans and had to take myself off lead and go onto second a few times, and I actually cried more than once from the pain (and the frustration of the whole thing). Fortunately I had 2 weeks booked off and when I went back to work I was all good. My employers are pretty amazing, and I proposed to them that I take a couple of weeks off every 2 months to avoid that happening again, and they agreed!
These days my wrists aren't too bad. I get the occasional twinge here and there, but no screaming pain, and no tingling or numbness. I have wrist braces that I wear to work on bad days, but I haven't had to wear them for a few weeks.
So how do you deal with your carpal tunnel? What do you do when it gets really bad at work? What's your game plan for if/when it gets to the point that you can't cook anymore?