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  1. #11
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    While great achievements are out of reach, I have to enjoy small ones, like being able to put on socks, or taking shower on my own. Last night I removed extra pillows and had almost normal sleep. In less than a week I'll take the sling off - two weeks ago it was a necessity, but now it's becoming more and more of a nuisance - especially the way it pulls against my neck, giving me serious backache. Yet, I can already type with both hands freely and do minor tasks in the kitchen. Healing is a slow process, but I try to ignore the slow and cncentrate on the process. Shoulder mobility exercises and passive stretches every day twice a day - that's all I have for now. Small progress there, and, I hope, a precursor of greater one.

  2. #12
    I think you're doing good, keep up the log. I know that it may be bad now, but just know that you're passages serve as a blessing in my life perhaps the most inspiring things I've read to see you carry on. I feel a bit guilty for skipping out on my gym days when you have a real struggle of the body Keeping healing man.

  3. #13
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Today was the day I planned to start a much praised 6-weeks program, before I found out about my shoulders and had to postpone it for at least a year. To top that, the author of that program just sent out a mass email - he's coming up with the next one. Needless to say, my mood is pretty far from happy and cheerful. I would be outright depressed, but I got a secret weapon which kept me balanced and focused, so far.

    My therapy session was extra painful today for some reason, but it looks like my range of motion is increasing. Unfortunately, it will be a long haul until I'm anywhere near "normal". The therapist gave me two more exercises to perform. With my good arm I can do them without thinking. With the arm that was operated on - very tough and hurts a lot. Yet another reminder that there is a long way to go and another reason to work hard. He did warn me that it will get harder next week, but just the fact that he gave me those exercises ahead of time is a sign that my progress is better than average (given the pain, I'm not so certain it's a good thing, although I may reconsider in a month or so).

    The bruise is almost gone (it's funny how it started all the way up on the shoulder, and now trickled down the arm). The cuts are fully closed, and the scar tissue underneath started to dissolve. I think when the same thing happens with the real scar inside, I'll start reganing control over my shoulder - but that's a number of weeks in the future. The swelling in my shoulder is mostly gone, I can feel the part of the joint with the stitches.

    So, it looks like my recovery is about to become more intense and likely to get more painful. Bring it on!

    P.S. I've reread this and a couple of other posts, and it looks like there's a lot of whining and self-pity in them, so I need to clarify a few things. Expressing whining and self-pity was never my goal. What I want to do is present a clear and honest picture of what is happening in my body and in my head as I go through the healing process. There is a lot of pain involved, there is plenty of uncertainty and self-doubt, there's fear that I'll never recover fully, and plenty of other bad stuff - and I'd be lying if I told you otherwise. I do try to find as many positive aspects in the situation as I can, and not just hypocritical "Oh, it could be much worse", but actual signs of healing as well as personal growth, and believe me, in a situation like this, when even a simple action like putting on socks becomes a challenge, there's plenty of room for personal growth. Yet I reiterate that I do not need anyone's pity - I'm fortunate enough to make my own choices, pay for them, and live to tell the tale. The operation itself was optional to an extent - I could quit working out and live reasonably happy life for the next 20 or 30 years. I was not coersed or tricked into it, I made a choice with full knowledge and awareness, and my current experience, while not pleasant, is the option I chose and will choose again. I need no pity. I'll take support, I could use some compassion, and by the same time next year I hope to earn respect, but keep the pity - I have no use for it.

    There are two more reasons why I keep on writing these posts.
    First reason is a selfish one: it helps me externalize my experience. Once I put it on a record, my sensations and feelings become an independent entity, existing separately from me, and easier to deal with. The emphasis here is not on going through pain, fear, and other bad stuff all over again, not on telling everyone about them, but on getting rid of them and moving on. It's more about doing than about feeling. If it inspires you - good, if it helps you in a tough situation - good, but first and foremost - it's about me healing physically and emotionally.
    Second reason to write this all down is to help others. My injury is a common one, and there is a good chance that some people on this forum will go through similar experience. To those people, present and future, I want to say: you are not alone. No two experiences are the same, but if mine can provide guidance and hope to at least one more person, it is more than enough to justify these postings, and yet another reason why I cannot and will not fail.

    Well, now that I got this off my chest, time to get back to work, then go home and do some more exercises. And did I tell you that I can already type with both hands just like I did before the operation?

  4. #14
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    After a long rant yesterday I didn't plan to say anything today, but there are a few things I simply must share.

    One of my exercises is a passive overhead stretch: I get on my back, grab a broomstick with both hands, then, keeping left (weaker) arm as relaxed as possible, I use the right arm to move the broomstick as far over my head as possible. I do 3 sets of 10, and as I warm up I can move my arm further up and back. Two weeks ago I started at 90 degrees to 120 degrees move (so if I were standing my first raise would end up with my arm strictly horizontal and on my last raise my hand would be slightly above head level). Yesterday morning I statred at 135 degrees, and finished at slightly over 170 degrees, but on the last move my hand still ended 3-4 inches above the floor - stretching any further was painful, and I decided not to take the risk.

    Now, I mentioned yesterday that my therapy session was more painful than usual. That was an understatement - for about 5 minutes it was pure torture. I half-expected my joint to snap off (it did click in the end). I had to bite my lip or take long breaths a few times, and once or twice I said "It hurts", which I normally don't do. I just kept saying to myself that my therapist is very experienced and he must know what he does. Indeed he did. When I started stretching last night my first move brought my arm over 150 degrees (elbow above head) before I felt any pain, and on my last set, both last night and this morning, I touched the floor with my knuckles a couple of times. It's still a passive move (it will be a few weeks before I can do an active one), and it still hurts, however in less than three weeks my front-vertical range of motion is almost 100% restored. Looking back at my therapy session, I'd take twice the pain if I could recover twice as fast. Too bad it doesn't work this way...

    I also want to share a new exercise with you. It's very simple - get on your back, put your arm vertically up, and then move your shoulder up and down, so your straight arm moves towards the ceiling and back. Simple, right? Now comes the catch - I cannot put any strain on the front part of my shoulder joint, so chest, biceps, and triceps must be as relaxed as possible. All movements are done with the back muscles sliding shoulder blade out and front, than pulling it back and in along the ribs, so effectively it's a push movement done with the back, and not with the chest. It is much harder than it sounds, but it's great for learning control over the muscles. I have a feeling that control will be one of the defining themes over next few weeks, and it can't be bad.

    I no longer feel jolts in my shoulder when I walk (still do when I jump though), so I took advantage of sunny weather and went for a long walk on one of the piers on Hudson river. Sunshine, cool wind, and smell of salt water - a perfect fix for my mood. Of course, if it were up to me I'd go for something more intense than a long leisurely stroll, but it's not up to me. Yet.

    Achievement of the day - I can scratch my ear. Laugh all you want, but having to scratch left ear with right hand was a major nuisance, and it looked ridiculous too.
    Last edited by is304; 04-24-2014 at 09:09 PM.

  5. #15
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Three weeks after surgery and doing pretty well. Front-vertical range of motion is almost restored, although there's still pain at the top of the arc. Today was another therapy session and we started strethcing for side movements.

    The pain is still there, but to a lesser degree. It will persist for a few more weeks, but I intend to outlast it.

    Next week I'll start strength exercises. Not intense ones - these will start in three weeks, once my labrum is fully healed - but whatever they are this will be a welcome change.

    The best part - my sling is coming off tonight once I get home. I intend to have a great weekend, and so should you!

  6. #16
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Apparently, taking the sling off was liberating, but not pleasant. In the last three weeks my shoulder muscles got lazy, and when they had to carry the weight of my arm I got lots of muscle ache. The weight of the arm also started to stretch the ligament that was fixed, and I got minor inflammation there. It's the way it ought to be, but the weekend was not very pleasant. To top it, since there is no sling to restrain my movements, once in a while I move my arm too far or too fast (like when catching an item that was dropped), and that is pretty painful. A few times the pain was so severe, it gave me a real scare that I torm my ligament again. I know that's unlikely, but fear is not rational and cannot be explained away easily, I'll just have to live with it for the next couple of weeks. This whole experience made me realize that no matter how well I recover, it's still a long way before I'm back to normal. Fortunately, I know how to deal with it - one step at a time.

    This morning started much better. First, the pain was percievably less than yesterday. By the time I got to work I felt much batter. Since I sit most of the day, my shoulder had enough time to rest, so it almost doesn't hurt, although I feel tension when I reach or walk. My therapist started a couple of stretches in a different plane of motion. Plus I got dumbbell exercises - rows and rotations. Not too many, and only 5lbs weights, but doing them less than a month after the operation has rekindled my hope. After all, it's not about going super-heavy or insane volume (I'll get there too, in due time) - it's about doing a little more every day. Plus, doing an exercise with a light weight means I can work on my technique.

    Saturday night in bed I had a feeling that I'm missing something, then I realized - I'm so used to the sling I expect it to be there. It made me think - how many things in our lives give us a sence of protection and comfort, but end up making us weaker and more limited, and eventually dependent on them? I'm still thinking...

  7. #17
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    Today is four weeks from my surgey and one week since I took the sling off. It's a mixed experience. On the positive side my arm's mobility, strength, and range of motion started improving drastically. I can't do regular stuff yet, but I can lean on this arm a little, I can raise it high enough for most housework with little to no pain, and my stretching exersices progress nicely. On the negative - I am far less protected, and when I forget myself and move my arm too far or too quickly, I receive a very painful reminder of my situation. Most of the time my shoulder aches simply because the regular motions are enough to irritate it, and dealing with the pain takes a lion's share of my willpower. I've been too grumpy and far more aggressive than my normal self last week, and while I try not to take it on my family, sometimes I just lose it. I know I'll have to make it up when I feel better - I owe them a ton, but dealing with kids requires lots of patience, dealing with pain requires lots of patience, and I don't have enough patience for both all the time.

    On the days when I don't have therapy I try to get outside and walk, but last couple of days it was raining, so I was stuck inside with no physical activity whatsoever. In addition I got a bad cold, and when the weather turned to the worse my shoulder responded with more pain. I felt very depressed.

    I started to appreciete exercise even more when I can't have it. This winter was unusually long and cold, but as I've been eating right and exercising with more intensity than ever before, I made it without a single sick day, the worst I had was a few hours of scratchy throat when my entire family was down with a bug. Now, when I can't work out and had to revisit what and how much I eat, two weeks after the operation I came down with a bad cold - my throat was sore for days, and I keep going through tissues like my kids go through candy when they think I'm not looking.

    Hopefully in a week or so I'll be able to get back to the gym and start some light exercises plus cardio - I need to restart my metabolism and immune system soon. So far I'm just doing rows and rotations for the shoulder with very light weights (1-5lbs) and lots of volume, as my therapist had told me, but even those are tough to do at home where I don't have proper equipment and have to improvise. There is one advantage to going light - I can concentrate on the form and the motion - just go slow and squeeze - when done properly it takes a lot of effort, even with my healthy arm. My back feels sore enough.

    I try to tell myself that pain is temporary and I'll heal soon, but it still takes a lot more effort to go through my usual routine, and even more effort to hold depression and desperation at bay. I try to keep perspective - seeing how much ground I already covered (and these notes do help), but keeping perspective is a hard thing to do. However, I made one important achievement this week - I can tie shoelaces, which means I can put on sneakers. Gym is one step closer now.

  8. #18
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Yesterday was one month since my surgery. Still hurting (supposed to), still can't lift anything heavy, still limited motions. Yet, the pain is not as severe as last week, and my range of motion has increased visibly - last week top shelf of the fridge was off limits completely, today I can pick the food in front. I can see progress almost every day, and if this keeps on, by the end of week 6 I should get my arm back start working on strength.

    My therapist started new series of stretches in a different direction. Pretty painful session today, and I hope it will translate into something good tomorrow. I also got a new series of exercises - this time with rubber bands. It's good news - I tried working with weights at home, but weights, kids, and hardwood floor is not the best combination.

    Fear remains a big part of my life - both the fear that I will do something wrong and mess up my shoulder, and the fear that I already did something wrong and won't heal properly. My mood changes too rapidly, one minute I'm happy and full of hope, another minute I'm near despair. There is a clever name for this in clinical psychiatry, but I don't care what this name is. All I need is to leave it behind. Fortunately, as I progress there's more of hope and less of fear, and I just try to stay positive. I know that after week 6, once the joint heals completely, I won't be that afraid, and now all I need is to last two more weeks, less than that already. So, I do my best.

    I'll see my surgeon in a few days, hope for some good news.

  9. #19
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Five weeks since surgery. Last few days were pretty painful. It may be my fault too - I started exercises with rubber bands and treated them as my regular exercises, meaning I went as hard as I could. Last night I backed off, and this morning I felt much better, but not as well as I'd like to. So, I'll take it easy as far as exercises are concerned and see where it takes me in the next week or two.

    I saw my surgeon yesterday. He made some assessments, said that I'm ahead of the curve and should just be careful and keep positive outlook. As far as a couple of accidents last week (I made a few moves after which my shoulder really hurt) he didn't say anything concrete. I guess only time will tell if there was permanent damage from those, but right now I'm just trying to stay positive. He said also that it's normal to hurt for up to three months. It didn't make me feel better, but blunted the fear somewhat. Alas, he thinks I should not get back to the gym for at least another month. Of course, he knows better, and I'll do what he tells me, but I don't know how much longer I can last without exercising. My brain is screaming for dopamine, I can feel my metabolism slowing, and my sleep pattern is seriously disturbed. When the weather is good I can at least go outside and take a long walk during my lunch break, but in days like today the closest I have to exercise is "Temple run" on my phone - not quite what I need.

    On the positive side - my therapy session today was surprisingly painless, even though the stretches were the same. Maybe I do get better after all. I just wish it was a touch faster, but there's nothing I can do except stay positive, stay focused, and take one step at a time.

    My daily exercises is a trial in a very different way. I'm used to working hard, but now I have to hold myself back. There is no satisfaction of lifting heavy, no sweat, no elevated heartbeat, no sense of achievement. Besides, since I cannot do them in the gym, I have to do them in the morning before I leave and then at night when I get home, either with the kids running around, or after they get to bed. This seriously messes up my schedule. In short - I no longer excersice because I want to, I only do it because I have to, my biggest reward - going back to my old self. I've been through worse, but this is not an enjoyable arrangement, to put it mildly.

    One more week left of healing, then, hopefully, I'll start getting something more challenging. So far my life is too painful to relax, too simple to be interesting, and good enough to stop complaining. That's all I have to say today.

  10. #20
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Another weekend passed. It started quite painfully, at one time on Saturday morning I was reduced to tears. I cried quietly, as I was in a public place, but the pain was too much to bear. I spent most of the morning half-crying half-praying for the pain to go away. I seems that my prayers did reach the right destination - Sunday I felt considerably better. Not pain-free completely, but there were stretches with no or very little pain, and overall the pain is less severe. Still a bother, but I noticed two important changes. One - there is no sharp stabbing pain when I overreach or make a sudden move. Two - the quality of the pain changes - it feels more like a nagging ache you have in an old wound that started to heal. Another change - previously I was hurting in one spot only - where the joint was fixed. Now the pain in that particular location is less intense and less frequent, but I started getting aches in delts, upper arms, and upper chest where they merge with the shoulder. Some of it is due to my exercises, whether the rest is good news or bad news I can't tell.

    Speaking of exercises - I got two new ones today. For a change, they involve upper delts now. They are weight free and largely passive, but this is another small step to regaining my shoulder functions. Up to now it was just rows and rotations, now I'm up to side raises. My guess is that front raises will be next, in two to three weeks, but serious pushing and overhead motions are not in sight so far.

    Yesterday I've done something I shouldn't have done yet - i weighted myself, and to my delighgt I discovered that I actually lost weight. Encouraged, I've done the second thing I wasn't supposed to do - measured my body fat. It increased, so most of the weight I lost was muscles - I got lighter and fatter. I know that this was inevitable, that this is temporary, and very likely will go away as soon as I can get back to serious work. Yet, I felt pathetic and helpless. I just wanted to sit down and cry! I still do, when I think about it. I also look worse - the abs are gone, love handles are back, and my chest looks depleted, left side visibly smaller as it is even less active. There's a fool's consolation that it will even up after the surgery on the other shoulder. Regardless, I don't like the way I look.

    Apparently, those 50 to 90 minutes a day I spent on exercise was something that held me together. These days I feel constantly fatiqued and sleepy, but it's been a while since I got a decent night sleep as I carry too much of unrealized physical energy and stress.

    My two allies are, as always, reason and patience. My patience is wearing thin, but it should last me long enough, and every time I see a step forward I get a boot in patience too. And when I am too depressed I ask myself - what are the options? So far all options I see are even worse than the one I selected. Time, biology, and statistics are on my side, and the rest is up to me. I'll make it. I feel down, and it's hard to keep going, but I'll make it.

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