Shouldering On: good news/bad news

Just when I thought I was on the brink of surgery to repair the two torn rotator cuff tendons (supraspinatis & subscapularis in case you were wondering), we are re-setting the clock on non-surgical options.

Hospital gowns are getting more stylish.

Hospital gowns are getting more stylish! The new orthopedist must be good – the gowns coordinate with the walls.

I sobbed to my new orthopedist when she told me she wants to start over. It’s been 10 months since my injury, and I just don’t know how much more of the excruciating pain I can handle. In the middle of one night about a week before I saw her, I almost took too many pain meds. They weren’t working, so took more. And then more. And then I realized I had to remind my body to breath. I was too sedated. THAT WAS SCARY.

The pain prevents me from doing things. The endless doctors appointments, x-rays, MRI and PT appointments seriously disrupts my schedule.

I’ve been through so much, but I just wanted a second opinion. Because that’s what you do when a doctor says you need surgery. AND SHE WANTS TO START OVER?

But I’m here to say – a week later – that I think the new treatment plan is working.

First orthopedist visit in May. Note the jauntily-tied hospital gown, to provide shoulder access to the doc without having to disrobe.

The new orthopedist ordered a “flouroscopically guided” cortisone injection, deep into my shoulder joint. That means they inject dye into my joint, and use x-rays to make sure the injection goes in the right place. I’ve had two previous cortisone injections for this injury, so I was both skeptical that it would work and wary of having a third steroid injection (too many can actually weaken your tendon tissues).

As horrifying and painful as that procedure was {I still shudder to think about it – I actually levitated off the table when the giant needle bumped into my bone when the anesthesia hadn’t fully set in yet} what was I saying? Oh yes. As horrifying as that was, I actually think the cortisone is working this time.

I still have fair amount of pain, but it’s not as debilitating. She also recommended that I switch from ibuprofen to naproxen, suggesting that our bodies get used to the medication and it stops being as effective.

So — I don’t know if it’s the cortisone, the naproxen, the fact that I started seeing a new chiropractor, or just that I’ve been so distracted by giving three different presentations at a national conference this week – but I’m feeling a bit better.

For the first time in MONTHS, I feel a little hopeful that there is a light at the end of this awful tunnel.

Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and caring and compassionate to me during this horrible ordeal. I hate to feel like a whiny complainer, and you all have been so gracious and wonderful to me. I will get better, dammit!





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