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Well Hello 2013.....Even if it's a little late!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Well 2013 is upon me already, and I'm still trying to get things figured out.

I had my shoulder surgery on January 3rd. Doctor said to expect about 9 months recovery period. I am doing physical therapy 3 days a week, and I know this will be a long and slow road to go. I am working very hard to keep a good attitude, but it is very frustrating.

First of all, this is my Right Shoulder and I am Right Handed. It is amazing how much you depend and rely on your Dominant Arm.

Here are the things I can do......so far.
I am finally able to tie my shoes, put clothes on my bottom half. Still struggling with the top half. No bras, can't deal with the shoulder strap just yet. Loose tops are OK, but anything snug, including shelf-bra cami's, I have to have help with.

I am going to Physical therapy 3 days a week, and they are are torturing me....LOL...Seriously it does hurt, to the point of tears sometimes, but it's something I have to do, if I ever want to play golf or tennis or anything.

Right now, I can't lift it very far, and still cannot wash or style my hair. I do go for walks everyday, and I have to consciously swing my arm, but it doesn't do it by itself.
My Dad left Wednesday, so I lost my chauffeur, my doorman, and my walking partner. Plus he helped do the laundry and washed all the dishes. Right now, I can't cook, can't drive, and I can't ride my bike.

I know that stuff will come, but it is just slow, and very painful.

I've read 4 or 5 books already.....LOL....and will be reading a lot more, plus I'll probably be working on my tan.

Hopefully when I go back to the dr he will let me get in the pool and hottub......incisions should be pretty well healed by then.

But Believe it or not, I have actually lost weight during all this. I am at 146 pounds. I know I have to be careful, because I cannot exercise at the level I am used to, but I don't have the big appetite, and it is difficult to feed myself; I can't cut up my food. I am learning how to use my left hand, but I assist myself with my left when I feed myself with my right.

Since I can't ride my bike or do the elliptical, I joined Chair Aerobics yesterday, under the advice of my physical therapist. Because I am still so limited with my movement, this was very difficult for me, but I pushed through and did it. There are things where I can't lift my right arm up to do, but I modified with movements I've learned in PT to do during those parts. When I finished I continued on with more of the home exercises/stretches I am supposed to be doing.

Just a year ago, I would have called this "Old Lady" Exercise, and not felt like it would be a challenge to me at all. I cannot tell you how hard it it is to do some of these "simple" movements, but they are Baby Steps and I know they will help me to get flexible and strong again. It is truly amazing to me how much strength I have lost. Even in PT, they had to reduce my dumbbells from 3lbs to 1 lb........this is astonishing to someone who could easily do 15-20 lbs.

I know my tracking has has been nil, but I have been walking outside. PT has encouraged this, especially to help me focus on "swinging my arm". Believe it or not, I have to consciously think about it to swing it; it just doesn't do it by itself, and it doesn't swing at the same gait or length as the left. I have been going 30 to 45 minutes at a time. And I will do better with logging it in as exercise. I have been doing it at least 4 days a week.

I am also trying to elimate my pain medicine.....if I can. Hopefully, I will only have to use it when I go to Physical therapy. I really had to use it in the beginning, but I have been tapering it off to only having to use 1/2 a pill rather than the 2 at first. It constipates me, so that is a very big reason I want to get rid of it.

Secondly, it doesn't really totally get rid of the pain.....unless you take a lot of it, and I just don't want to. The pain, post surgery; however is very different than the pain before surgery. Before it was chronic, extreme pain, now it is mostly sore, so I think I can deal with that.

Thirdly, I know the damage has been repaired. My therapist constantly reminds me that I had a lot of things going on in my shoulder, and just one of them by itself would have been bad enough. First, I had multiple tears in the Rotators Cuff, a SLAP tear that was almost torn completely, a level 3spur, which is the worse type of spur, and on top of all that, adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, which froze to protect all the other things. Now that the repairs have been done, I have to remember that everything from here on is progress, regardless of how slow and painful it is. And it is hard to do and remember, but I am really trying.

This process if very draining emotionally as well as physically. I will try to use my blog to help me with the emotional part, and well as using the trackers to help me keep up with my nutrition and exercise.

I have really missed being on here, and being with my Spark Friends! Thank you to everybody who has checked in on me and sent encouragement! And here's to gaining strength and a good 2013.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thank you Ann! I am praying for you and your Dad. I am a Daddy's girl, (and my Mom had lung cancer) so I can understand what you are going through.

    @ Barbanna, thank you so much for your following up with me and adding me as a friend. I just met another older man who had shoulder surgery last year, and then I have a friend who is 75, and he had his in the spring. Neither one of them can lift there arm much past shoulder height. I asked my husband, if he thought if maybe that because they are older than me( I'm 53), but he thinks it might be difference of commitment.

    My PT did say that just one of my issues alone would have been bad enough; let alone all at the same time.

    I had a really good day yesterday, and for the first time I wasn't afraid I would hurt it. Because of that I was a little more willing to attempt to do things besides the home exercises, including some cleaning around my house.

    I might have overdone it a little, because I was VERY SORE, but I got right back into it today. After I did my normal pt exercises, I decided I would just see if I could do the elliptical. I got on it with no problem, and just held on the the stationary bars. Then as I watched the moving bars, I thought, that is exactly the movement they want me to work on when I walk, so I grabbed the bars and went for a few minutes. It was not as fast or as long as my normal time, but I did it, and I will get back on do a little more tomorrow and everyday. I will remember your advice about the point of hurting myself.

    Thank you, I am more confident, and will try to relish in my improvements, and keep my patience in tow.

    1872 days ago
    Good afternoon! I hope you are having a great, pain free day. Everyday that passes is a day closer to regaining use of your right arm. I went back and read more about your injury and your arm had a lot of issues. You will be in much better condition now that it has been repaired. I fin it amazing how many people who opt to avoid surgery and live with limited use of an extremity. There is a high percentage of people who are unable to raise their arms higher than 90 degrees.

    Stay positive by focusing on the long term outcome and not the day to day struggles.

    This is just a temporary bump in the road. emoticon
    1872 days ago
    So sorry it's been a rough recovery Donna, Hope u start feeling better soon girl, Thinking and praying for u. I am going through a rough time myself, my dad has lung cancer and he is getting surgery Monday Morning, Please keep him in your prayers . Take care Ann emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1872 days ago
    I understand your frustration. It is very hard and annoying. I have been there and done that two different times on my right!!

    I am assuming you are talking about a rotator cuff repair. I had two shoulder tendons repaired the first time on the right arm after I damaged them skiing. I was tubbing at the lake and tore all the tendons and my bicep the second time. I am a occupational therapist so I knew what to do but I had to go to therapy and my therapist was fantastic.

    I was able to dress my upper body by inserting my affected arm in the sleeve hole first and then the other. I was unable to do my hair or makeup without cheating a little.

    It is very hard to adapt because I am very independent and stubbourn. I went back to work as a therapist after 3 weeks. The physician told me there was no scientific explanation for my success. I only visited the PT one day a week for 4 wks.

    I feel a big part of my success was working out on the treadmill and exercise. I started walking on the treadmill using the power incline as high as I could raise it, using my shoulder sling two days after my surgery and then slow jogging within a week. I had to wrap my sling in a towel to keep it from getting too wet.

    If my husband and daughter had not watched me like a hawk I would have been more delinquent. I knew the critical part of restoring my shoulder was letting it heal. I avoided too much vibration and doing too much. The exercise increased my circulation and that advanced my healing.

    I am fully healed and do all my strengthening using 12 lb weight. I avoid regular pushups or any activities using too much weight on that arm.

    My physician told me no more surgery after these repairs.

    Best of luck and success! emoticon
    1873 days ago
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