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  1. #21
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Another week passed by. My shoulder started getting better until I rolled over it yesterday as I was getting out fof bed, but it seems that today's therapy session put it back togetehr. I suspect the weather has something to do with that as well - it was pretty nice when my shoulder behaved, but got worse yesterday. I'll have a chance to test that theory no later than tomorrow - the weather forecast is promising. Regardless, the amount of pain is percievably less than last week, and my range of motion is increasing in all directions, although I do not push it yet.

    My shoulder started "clicking" a lot. I think the swelling in the joint receded and humerus is trying to fit back in the socket. The scars under the cuts are dissolving slowly - most of the skin feels normal, but I can still feel them underneath, like a thin rope going from the surface into the joint. My new exercises seem to target the rear delt more - it hurts where it was cut, so I expect it to start repairing. As I was doing my new exercises for the first time my shoulder clicked, and then it felt... right. The motion was still almost as painful and difficult, but it also felt much more natural, for the lack of better word. And then I realized - that's what I do now. I'm not training for strength, endurance, hypertrophy, or a specific sport. I simply make things right - and once I do that everything else will be possible.

    I started walking for an hour during lunch break. I didn't realize how far out of shape I got: the first day I walked a little over a mile, slowly, and yet my legs and back hurt. Fortunately, my legs staretd to recover faster than I expected - yesterday's walk was pretty pleasant and at a faster pace, and downtown Manhattan with clouds obscuring the tops of the skyscrapes is a sight I never get tired of. The walks also improved my sleep quality - I still get up too early to get a decent rest, but at least I don't wake up every other hour.

    I started taking creatine, fish oil, and glucosamine complex this week. Creatine because the time seems to be right for it, and the other two because I was too lazy to order them before - I should have done it a few weeks ago.

    Last but not least - today is six weeks since the operation, and that means that I'm out of danger zone - the labrum must be fully attached by now. So, statring next week we should start phasing in strength exercises. I look forward to them.

  2. #22
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Well - all those who were expecting another report of how painful the weekend was - prepare to get disappointed. I feel much better! Not pain-free yet, but the pain is definitely diminishing, as well as changing in quality. There were stretches where I felt no pain at all, and when my shoulder does hurt, the pain is not as severe. It starts hurting mostly when I move my arm too far or too fast or when I lean on it too hard, but not spontaneously. Last, but not least - only a week ago I felt a sharp stab of pain when I moved quickly to catch a falling object - not anymore! My range of motion is increasing, and with it the range where I can move painlessly.

    Of course, it does not just happen - I work pretty hard for it, stretching twice a day and exercising with weights and rubber bands once. I missed one session last week - was way too tired and decided that staying up an extra hour (yes, it takes an hour) would do more harm than good. The exercises did funny thing to my arms - since I have to do several motions with straight arms while I cannot exercise biceps yet, I now have well-toned triceps and small, flabby biceps - this looks and feels pretty odd. I'm not too worried about it - my attention is now on fixing my shoulders, everything else will fall in place once I get back to my regular routine.

    I'm trying to watch my macros most of the time, but lately I've slacked off, especially on weekends. I excuse myself by thinking that my body is already stressed out, but I think I can do better. As I have to spend less of my willpower on dealing with pain, I should start straightening out my diet.

  3. #23
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Well, today is seven weeks since my operation, but there isn't much I have to say. Still doing the same things, getting a little better here and there. Shoulder still hurts, but not as much as last week. I'm still very protective of it, because I don't want to mess it up, but the progress is very good. My therapist's assistant told me that by this time most people hit a plateu, while I still show good progress. She also mentioned that most people slack off on their exercises - I certainly don't. I will phase out stretching at night for two reasons - it will make my exercise time 20 minutes shorter, so I can spend some time with the kids, and my therapist told me that my range of motion is pretty good, so the stretching I do in the morning is all I need.

    I miss the gym. This morning I had blues for a few hours. I think it's a good sign - my body wouldn't ask for more than it's ready to handle, and bad mood is a product of both, mind and body. I'll have to keep that feeling bottled up for a few more weeks, and pray that I don't explode.

    I've reached that stage when most changes are rather subtle and small, so I think I'll scale down my journal entries to once a week, unless something significant happens.

  4. #24
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    I don't want to write this post, but I promised to be honest. I had a very bad day yesterday. Not physically - I'm getting better every day, but emotionally I'm a wreck. I've reached this point where my shoulder feels much better, I have little to no pain when I'm inactive, and I can do most of mundane tasks easily. At this stage it's naturally to reach out for more. Except that I can't. Whenever I my arm goes too far there's pain. Whenever I pick up something too heavy there's pain. And even within my comfort zone I'm agile, but very weak. This is depressing. I feel confined, I feel weak, and as I cannot do anything I want, most of the time I don't want to do anything at all. The routine I built up helps me stay afloat during the week, but on weekends I'm in free fall, and lately it doesn't feel that great. Yesterday I gave up. I spent most of the day in a dark room in front of the computer doing meaningless things - playing old games, watching old movies, reading news that were of no interest to me... I tried looking for motivational messages on a couple of sites - they used to work for me - but most of those messages were saying something like: "Long weekend is no excuse! Get your lazy butt of that couch and get to the gym!" Some were also saying: "Try this new great workout!" They might have helped somebody who just needs and extra push and is bored of the old workouts, but the effect on me was devastating. In the afternoon we were invited to a party in the neighborhood. In less than half hour I slipped out and went home - I couldn't stand being around happy people. All I wanted is to be alone with my misery.

    This morning I decided to do something. So, I counted my blessings, tried to "put things in perspective", read my older posts and see how far I've made it in under two months. It helped somewhat, but I feel the misery and apathy beneath my skin - I can hide it, but can't get rid of it altogether. A good 40-60 minutes of high-intensity workout is the best way to shake off these feelings, the problem is - I'm depressed because even 10 minutes of any workout is completely out of reach, except for the therapeutic exercises I do anyway. After I post this I'll go take a long walk - the weather is nice and if I don't cheer up, at least I'll be too tired to stay up late and do nothing.

    Why do I write it all? Main reason - I want these notes to be an honest account of my progress. I want the people who read them to know - the challenge is not just physical - large part of it is mental. Being physically strong is nothing once they cut you up and rearrange your cartilage and tendons.

    Tempting as it may be, I do not give up, but I need to find a different kind of strength inside me. My fight is harder than I expected, but I'm standing so far.

  5. #25
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Tomorrow will be two months since my surgery. Last week I started feeling better. The shoulder almost stopped hurting spontaneously, and my comfort zone has expanded. My left shoulder still has to gain a lot in terms of flexibility, but my front-forward plane of motion is fully restored (and I promise not to mention it anymore - not until my next surgery). The joint itself hurts very little and only when I stretch or twist it too far, but my muscles hurt a plenty for two reasons. First - as the body reacts to an injury, some muscles grow overly tense and some are overly relaxed in order to protect the injured area. A large part of therapy is done to normalize the muscles, and until that is done they will hurt in response to movements. Second cause is far more trivial - the muscles that I haven't used for a long time have gone lazy, and raising my arm sideways now takes the same effort as doing lateral raises with 20-30lbs for a healthy man, and my shoulders weren't very strong to start with. That, of course, is temporary, and I'll regain my strength in a month or two once the other problems are resolved. I can lean on my arm and most times it's painless, but stilll can't do push-ups - I tried lowering myself in a push-up position for one of my exercises today and nearly toppled on a side. Oh, well, there will be time for that too.

    Since my shoulder hurts much less, my mood is getting a lot better. I do get a occasional blues when I pass by the gym or meet one of my gym buddies, but my recovery has progressed well enough to keep me afloat.

    My last therapy session went very smoothly, and many of the stretches were completely painless - a welcome change. I also got somewhet stronger. I added weight to two of my exercises - I've been doing them with body weight only (or shoudl I say "arm weight"?), and we'll start phasing out stretches as I don't need as many of them anymore.

    So, last week was mostly good news, the biggest bad news is that the good news don't come fast enough. I twisted my ankle yesterday, so for a day or two I'm left without the only cardio I can perform, but finally there's something in my body that hurts worse than the shoulder, and I'm no longer obsessed with it.

  6. #26
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    My previous post was overly optimistic. That very evening something happened to my shoulder. I have no idea what I've done to provoke that change (or whether it's a part of natural process), but it started to hurt a lot worse, and the next day I noticed light clicks in the joint when I do my exercises and go through some motions. Strangely, I had less pain in response to motions and stretches - in that aspect the shoulder was doing much better - but it kept hurting on its own, at times quite severely. Thursday night I had to use an anesthetic ointment in order to fall asleep. Then yesterday it started to get better. Last night I was pain-free for some time, and my shoulder functions much better. From the little I could figure out I either sprained my shoulder and in the process stretched it too, so it moves easier, or the scar on my labrum is already small and soft enough to move with the rest (that would explain the clicking).

    For those three days I was not only in pain, but also growing more and more desperate. I was already getting used to living with less pain and now it felt like a fall-back by almost a month. I'm still afraid very much of a repeat damage and very much concerned that something can go wrong. Now, that my shoulder feels better I feel more at ease, but still not fully calmed.

    Tomorrow I'll see my surgeon, and I hope it will put an end to many of my uncertainties. Possibly he will tell me when my recovery is complete - last month it was too early to say. It should also be clear when I'll be ready for my next surgery - my right shoulder started getting worse, so I want to have it fixed as soon as the left one fully recovers - but can't do it before. I should also know whether I can get back to the gym - I do need a more intense workout than walking around for an hour.

    Last Friday my therapist raised my weights from 8lbs to 10lbs. Small progress, but better than none.

  7. #27
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member LiftHeavyWeights's Avatar
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    Hope you hear the news you are hoping for.

  8. #28
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Well, first the bad news (sort of) - I sprained my left shoulder again while trying to get a book from high shelf. Same symptoms as earlier in the week, so I presume that one was a sprain too. I'll repair it in 2-3 days with some extra ice and rest, but it is an annoyance.

    Now the good news.

    My therapist is off, so today I had a session with his substitute, who didn't see me for a few weeks. To say she was impressed by the progress I made is an understatement. It was great to hear her assessment, and even better when she gave me several new exercises. One of them was a killer even when I had good shoulders, now is my chance to nail it.

    My surgeon is also pretty impressed with how far I recovered. He said that I'm doing really well, and in a month my left shoulder should be strong enough to handle regular load. So, my next operation is scheduled exactly 4 weeks from today. This is good news in many aspects. First, it removes plenty of uncertainty from my schedule. Second, this operation is sort of a mid-point of my treatment, so if I have it in July, then it's reasonable to assume that I'll be recovered well enough by October and proceed with my usual workouts sometime late November to early December, two months earlier than I expected. Third, I should be recovered by the time school year starts, so I'll be able to walk my kids to the bus instead of sitting home with ice pad on my shoulder. Of course, I wouldn't be myself if I didn't find any shortcomings with this scheduling, but really they are minor. One - it is a close call, but since my right shoulder is getting worse I'm willing to risk it. Two - since there's no point to reinstate my gym membership for less than a month, I won't be doing anything more serious than walking. Three - my beach season is down the drain. I can live with that.

    I slacked off a bit on my diet. Low carbs days make me sleepy and tired, so I started eating more. I know I'll make up for it once I'm back in the gym, but I have to manage for at least three more months. My pants still sit on comfortably, but they shrunk a little. I think one reason was uncertainty in my schedule - since I didn't know when I'll recover fully and get back to my regular schedule, there was no point in keeping strict regimen, so subconsciously I let myself go. Now, when I have some idea when I'll be back, I can start making right changes.

  9. #29
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Naturally, the day after we scheduled my operation I had buyer's remorse. As I half-expected, all of these "Am I doing it too soon?" "Will my left shoulder recover enough to take care of everything?" "What if..." and so on, and so forth kept popping up in my head, but several stabs of pain in my right shoulder convinced me that I should not postpone it. The doctor told me that it's OK for my shoulder to click and snap as long as it doesn't hurt when it snaps. Guess what, that evening on my way home I reached into my bag, and I felt a snap and some pain along with it. Normally I would pay no attention to it - it stopped hurting almost immediately - but after the doctor's comment I got pretty scared.

    Today I'm doing much better. The shoulder hurts less an only when I move my arm too far or too fast, and even then the pain is short-lived. I've regained some of my strength, although it will be a while before I'm ready for serious lifting. I still can't pick up my seven-year-old when she falls asleep on a couch, but at least I can handle the two-year-old.

    I saw a great article today on what happens when you can't exercise. The author is very good (other than putting plugs for his products in almost every article), and the topic fits my situation perfectly. It was good to know that I do many things right, and to get good advise on what else I can do in my situation. See for yourself: [url]http://www.t-nation.com/training/how-to-keep-muscle-during-a-layoff[/url]

  10. #30
    Senior Senior JEFIT Member is304's Avatar
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    Ten weeks from my operation. My therapist thought that it's been twelve weeks, when I told her it's only ten, today, her reaction was: "You're really ahead of the class." That is very good to know. For that I got revamp of my morning routine and three more exercises for the evening - biceps, triceps, and shoulders. Yes, I can finally do curls - very light, but it's a start.

    I still have to deal with pain, but my bad days now are much better than good days of week 5. I feel a bit stronger, my arms got toned. As far as my left shoulder is concerned - I'm not where I want to be, but I can see my destination on the horizon. All I need to do is take my time and not screw up in the last few weeks.

    I now live with both: "before" and "after" counting - after the surgery on my left shoulder and before the surgery on the right. Three weeks and a weekend left.

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