Shoulder Surgery Week 4: What I've Learned So Far

This week my 5-year-old daughter helped me on an evening interval run/walk this past week.

I can't communicate how happy I am that what I initially was told was a rotator cuff tear ended up with my just needing a synovectomy in my shoulder joint instead. I would still be in a sling and unable to use my arm for most anything had I had a tear. I might not even be cleared to drive and I would not have started PT yet either.

This is all wonderful news!

The problem though is that since my doctors, my PT therapist, and basically everyone I talk to about it tells me how lucky I am, which makes me keep thinking that I should be back to normal *right* *now*. This makes me very frustrated because I am not back to normal. Lucky, yes, but 100% better? Umm... no. I'd say I'm at 90% mobility (yay!) but only around 70% for pain.

I have had 2 1/2 weeks of PT now, with 2-3 more on the calendar. We have gone from just stretching my arm out to using resistance bands and even a 1 pound weight during some of the movements (ouch!). Last week was so great! I got the all clear to "jog" and my arm pain seemed to be getting better and my mobility was back in almost every movement I tried. Around mile 2- 21/2 my shoulder starts hurting so 3 miles is still my limit at this point (every other day at most). I go back to my surgeon in 2 weeks for the hopeful all clear to run as much as I want.

Anyone guess what I've been up to?

Alas, this week has felt like a bit of a setback and has been challenging for me though.

Let me rewind a little. I have basically been taking anti-inflammatory medications (both over the counter and prescription at different points) around-the-clock for 5 months to manage pain. Well this week I started having symptoms (TMI but some crazy stuff like Blood, Bilirubin and Protein in my urinalysis) that my liver and/or bladder was not functioning as well as it should be, best guess is damage from all the anti-inflammatory medications. In addition to the low-dose aspirin I take each day for unrelated reasons, this may be too hard on those organs. This is all speculation but to see what happens I am no longer to take Aleve, IBuprofin or other similar drugs to reduce the inflammation in my shoulder joint. Bad news... P A I N is back... sigh.

I didn't realize how dependent I had become on those medications to manage my pain. I stopped taking them this week and now running hurts, PT hurts, and sometimes significant pain while even just resting is back. It is very frustrating because I felt like I was able to do almost everything again with very little pain, but now that I am no longer taking those drugs the pain is back. I can see now that I still have a ways to go. I have been trying Tylenol but it doesn't seem to help as much.

It doesn't help either that I am back to work now this week and typing at my computer desk really bothers my shoulder after even just a few minutes.

It breaks my spirit a little that I can't go out and run 8 miles just on a whim like before... I can't run more than 2-3. This might be one of the hardest parts of the recovery process for my mental health. It is a little depressing, as running is a big part of who I am and I am unable to really do much of it right now.

In the end I am still improving every week- even daily. I am constantly reminded by those around me that it has only been 4 weeks and although not as serious as it could have been, I did still have shoulder surgery. Pain will subside; having so much mobility back so quickly and at such an improved level from before the surgery is amazing news! Being pain-free will come with time as my shoulder gets stronger and stronger.

That is really all I have learned so far. I will update you all again at 6 weeks post-surgery.

Popular Posts