Friday, December 16, 2016

December Thoughts: One Year Post-op

I didn't really know what to write about this week. It's bitter freezing cold outside, but everyone already knows that. I decide to discuss something else that's crossed my mind a lot lately.

One Year Post-Op

As of Dec 10, it's been one year since my shoulder surgery. The surgeon cleaned up bursitis, bone spurs, and minor rotator cuff tears (debridement, I think it's called). I won't say my shoulder is completely back to its pre-boo-boo days. However, I am thankful for the many activities I can once again do which no longer cause pain: reach up to get a dish from the top shelf; push down on the faucet handle; hold my arm out to the side; turn the steering wheel; buckle the seat belt; rest my elbow on the table; lift a gallon of milk from the shopping cart; put on a coat; wash and brush my hair; hang from a bar. I can also shovel snow from the driveway again which I refuse to put on my "happy to do again" list, but I'm sure T is enjoying my regained strength to accomplish this chore. The year has proven to test my patience, but I'm thankful to have toughed it out.

I was told my surgical procedure was the easiest to recover from; however, the recovery process has been far from easy. Of course the few days after surgery were difficult and painful. Anesthesia made me horrendously nauseous. I despised the prescribed narcotics. And I couldn't sleep lying down for a month; recliner sleeping it was. Physical therapy and gentle stretches were all I managed for the first several weeks. After very slow healing, my shoulder still had stiffness and I opted for another cortisone injection (I already had three in the months leading up to surgery). The doctor and physical therapist reminded me that I dealt with my bum shoulder on and off for two years, so expect some extra time to regain full strength.

A large adjustment was electing not to return to CrossFit. Due to loose joints that contributed to my injury, it was best to cease activities that could exasperate this condition. I decided to obtain a gym membership at MUV fitness instead. I started attending the group fitness classes such as P90X and Pump. These incorporate weights but at a less intense level. I will not lie: beginning these exercise classes with even a three pound weight was tough! I couldn't use any weight for some movements and my shoulder was sore after many of the sessions. Little by little, as I gained strength and stamina, I increased load. In fact, I have gain enough confidence in my shoulder to return to CrossFit for the occasional Saturday class. I can now hang from a bar and do pull-ups! I can't do twenty-five unbroken like before; more like six. Wooot!

As difficult as it's been to be patient, I'm glad I got the surgery. I was lucky to have wonderful, caring medical professionals helping me along the way. Here's to recovery year number two!

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