Saturday, September 25, 2010


Physio is going well and not so well.  My physiotherapist is fairly certain that I have damage to muscles and nerves.  But without the MRI results she is cautious in her treatment plan.  Results should be available sometime this week.  And of course my family dr. is not in town... so she will have to request the MRI from the hospital herself, or wait until October 18th when my family dr. returns.  (I'm a perpetual run-on-thought lately... where was I?)
We are doing nerve flossing and passive motion only.  My shoulder seizes up at times and catches and won't move through the motion she is trying.  It makes progress difficult.  And she finally found my pain.  For the first few visits she could not replicate my pain by moving my shoulder.  Now, finally on Wednesday she found it and it indicates that the labrum is torn by the ball of the humorous - again.  It could have happened because my labrum was already repaired once, or could have torn in a completely new place.  She is not sure.  She also believes I might have a tear in the deltoid muscle.  My radial and my median nerves show signs of damage... And only the supraspinatous muscle in the rotator cuff appears to be working.  It's a complex problem.  But she is trying very hard just to keep me moving.  But pain management and strengthening are out of the question.  My pain is so intermittent that it is hard to manage.  It can be completely gone for hours and then it can suddenly be 8/10.  It is frustrating.  She tried ultrasound and interferential, but neither have offered me any relief unfortunately.
My physio is very happy with my knowledge and acknowledgment of my pain and my explanations of what is going on with my shoulder.  I've been through two shoulder surgeries, I know the terminology.  It helps that I understand what is happening as well.  It's just frustrating that I can't help fix it.
The worst is waking up several times a night in so much pain that I can't even roll over.  The hubby says I have woken him up - I'm whimpering in my sleep.  Yeah, I'm in pain.  But I continue to try and do normal things - cook, dishes, a little shopping, and finally driving.  But by the end of the day, and two or three sets of the physio exercises, I'm done.  My shoulder pain radiates down my entire arm, across my shoulder blade, up my neck and down across my chest.  I can reach forwards, sometimes without pain, but not abduct at all (to the side).  It's agony if I try to reach sideways.  Physio explained that some of the neck and chest pain results from the other muscles compensating for the muscles which are torn.  My pectorals and trapezius are trying to work instead of the rotator cuff muscles.  Wonderful.  I really look forward to those MRI results too... I'm in need of some answers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Appointments Galore

I feel like I'm living at a clinic, hospital or lab all this week and next!

Physio started on Monday morning with a 1 hour 20 minute very thorough assessment.  The therapist  isn't really sure what is going on.  There is a problem with my deltoid muscle for sure, and quite likely some nerve impingement as well.  She said there is definitely something neurological going on.  Could be as a result of my arm being externally rotated and in a fixed position for my 5.5 hour surgery in June.  

Physio gave me a couple of exercises to do at home three times per day.  Epic failure on the abductor extension to do a spider walk with my fingers up the wall.  I am in absolute agony trying to raise my right arm to the side.  I cannot extend my arm fully further than a foot from my side with it straight.  PAIN, burning, searing PAIN!!  And then I bend my elbow or turn my torso to lessen the pain.  Hmph... a definite sign of something terribly WRONG!

I also had my full physical on Monday afternoon.  Won't die of high blood pressure according to my family dr.  And just to be safe he sent me to the lab for the usual fasting blood work - cholesterol, sugars, B12, blood counts, etc.  Everything else looks good.

Wednesday morning before physio I went to the lab and sat for an hour... and they didn't get me in (!) so I went back after physio to see the vampires.   (Why when you tell the lab tech that you won't get blood out of my right arm did she insist on finding out for herself!! ARGH!!)  At physio it was more assessing and some nerve flossing and passive motion.  She is trying to get my shoulder moving.

Wednesday night I also had my MRI of my right shoulder to help find out what's up with it.  Results will be back in about 14 days.  The "magic fingers" sensation of the MRI bed is NOT good for a 12 week post decompression patient.  I still have a headache 2 days later... (sigh...)

Last night I went for tea with a Chiari sister.  We met before my decompression.  She has had 4 brain surgeries 7 years ago - decompression, patch, shunts... All at the age of 17!  She's a wonderful young lady and I'm so happy to know someone in town who I can sit down and talk to.  In a town of 100,000 people it's a rare find.... or not so rare... I know of 2 other Chiarians who have not had surgery and 1 sister-in-law of a co-worker who did have surgery... so in other words, Chiari is more prominent in my little town than it should be!

And back to physio this morning.  Heat, more nerve work and passive stretching, and IFC to finish off for pain management.  It's funny - I'm not generally in pain, but I go through fits and spurts.  Pain when I try to do something - fold towels, wash dishes, shampoo my hair.  But having the therapist move me through the motions is fine.  And frustrating.  It's hard to figure out what is wrong when she can't reproduce my pain.

Appointments are done for the week, thankfully.  Next week I have physio x3, massage therapy, eye doctor appointment, lunch with a friend, and that's just for starters!!  Thank heavens I'm driving again!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Orthopaedic Appointment

With luck, after I went to emergency on Friday for my shoulder, I got into the the orthopaedic surgeon today at the fracture clinic.

It was almost a three hour wait, but that is to be expected.  I've been through the fracture clinic plenty to know what to expect.

Dr. W came in and review my previous shoulder history from my last surgery in 2003.  Asked about my limitations, weigh-bearing, mobility, etc.  She recommended physio for now, and will see me again in 6 weeks to review the MRI results.  My MRI, fortunately, is on September 15th, so less than a week away.

And, I can start driving!! So, this weekend I will go out with the hubby and do some test-drives to make sure my neck and shoulder don't hurt too much to drive.  'Cause starting Monday, I have physio at 10am a bit farther from home then I would normally walk.  And I have at least 3 other appointments next week.  I'm sure everyone is getting tired of being my chauffeur.

I also got my appointment for my brain MRI - it's for November 7th! Argh!! I'm pretty sure Dr. Gentili didn't think it would take quite that long to get one done... I've e-mailed him to find out. 

Until my follow-up with Dr. W in 6 weeks, my days will now be walking, physio, and sitting on my duff with the laptop.  I'm trying to do some crafts every day but the pain is preventing me from doing much.

Monday, September 6, 2010


1.  My wonderful husband has completed the trim work in the last bedroom.  IT IS BEAUTIFUL!!!  And he brought my piano up from the basement and put it in the room.  First time my piano has lived upstairs since we moved into the house!! :)

2.  I grew an ugly tomato - a really ugly tomato - people pay big bucks for these at the grocery store.  Should have sold it on eBay or something!!  But bumps, lumps and all the splits cut away - it tasted awesome!  There are still a lot of tomatoes still to ripen on the vines and I hope to make at least one batch of tomato sauce with them.

3.  I gave into the shoulder pain on Friday and went to emergency.  The doctor had an x-ray done - of course it showed nothing.  But he did put in a referral to the fracture clinic which will fast track me in to seeing the orthopaedic surgeon - hopefully in the next couple weeks (instead of MONTHS).  I was told to use a sling and to ice it.  I have been using the sling a couple hours a day while the hubby and I watch tv or while I ice it.  It helps a little, but not a lot.

4.  This morning there was frost.  The 6th of September - it's not unheard of, but still a little early for my liking.  I covered my tomato plants last night as I would prefer they ripen on the vine and not in the basement.

5.  Surefire way to aggravate a torn shoulder - sit down at the piano your husband moved into the spare room and play for the first time since last Christmas.  Three songs and I was done.  But I do miss playing!!

6.  I watched momma and two young otters swim down-river this morning on my walk.  They were fishing.  And so pretty!  I love watching wildlife.  And the river is only a block from my house, smack-dab in the middle of town.

7.  I promised a picture of my beaded Christmas tree ornament - the one I designed from a picture I saw. Here you go!!  Nothing amazing, but I think they are cute.  Right now I'm working on spiders - Christmas spiders (not creepy crawly gross things I make the husband kill if they live on the main floor of our house).  I'm getting ready for the Christmas craft show season.  This week I have to call the consignment shop in town and find out when I can bring in my stuff for the holiday shopping season as well.  I live in such a small city that yes, we have 1 consignment craft shop, and most craft shows might see between 120 to 500 people in a day.  You have to be diverse if you want to make any money with what you are selling.  There are many years when I don't even make enough to pay for the rental table.  I know I'll do one show this year, but might look into one more.

8.  Suddenly, after 10 weeks of having no social life, things have suddenly turned around...strange! I went for lunch with my mother-in-law and aunts-in-law on Thursday.  Saturday I had tea with a dear, dear friend who is going for wrist surgery in Toronto on Wednesday - I'm praying for her!!! And this week I will be having lunch with another friend before she goes back to Bogota.  Plus appointments galore in the next two weeks - massage, shoulder MRI, physical, eye doctor, and I really need a haircut soon!!  And I should hear from the fracture clinic too, so I'll have to head up there for a day too.  I'm not complaining - it's nice to be out of the house.  And in another week or so I can actually drive!! :)