Monday, September 30, 2013

A Big Ol' Mess 2013

Chronic ongoing medical problems can cause a lot of stress on relationships with friends and family. I don't think it is something that happens on purpose. I think it is something that comes with the territory when it has been going on for a number of years. It takes a lot of effort to keep those relationships strong. There are feelings of guilt, jealousy, tension, not being able to relate, not wanting to be involved, confusion, not being able to physically help, frustration. The list goes on. From a patients perspective, I think guilt is something we feel a lot. It's not a matter of wanting to be the center of attention, or being spoiled compared to others. It's more an issue of we might need more help because we physically CAN'T and out bodies need "down time" to get through the day. There is a HUGE difference.

Ex: my sister needs a wrist fusion surgery. She has needed it for quite some time. Of course she hurts (who wouldn't) and it obviously limits her ability to do certain tasks; however, in the big picture she is still very functional. Getting dressed doesn't cause a problem, it doesn't effect her entire upper body, she can drive, she can work. She is way more independent than me. My sister lives in our house with her two children (my nieces). When she has surgery that means my mom and I primarily inherit 3 individuals to take care of. Plus my soon to be 91 year old grandpa. I'm very limited in what I can do to help out which means my mom is the primary caregiver. My mom has her own medical conditions that she deals with daily. I feel a ton of guilt that my sister hasn't had her surgery done yet. I can't magically make my body physically able to do things that I can't or shouldn't be doing to help out in a way that is needed to help take care of a post-op person plus a 7 and 10 year old who have their own activities and schedules. It is really hard when you are put in this type of position.

Since my last post on September 12th I've had my 8 year injury anniversary on September 21, 2013, had 2 doctor appointments, been to Cleveland, Ohio and back to Illinois, got a lot of information about what's going on with my shoulders, and have just about made up my mind with how to proceed.

On September 23, 2013 my mom drove me to Cleveland, Ohio to get a second opinion about treatment for my right shoulder from Dr. G. It was one very long day. We were up at 4:45am. In the car by 5:45am and didn't get to Ohio until about 3:30pm. This gave me enough time to shower, chill out and get to the doctor by 5:15. It was so busy. Luckily, Dr. G couldn't have been nicer. Coincidentally he was trained by my Colorado doctor, Dr. M. At the appointment, Dr. G tried to examine my shoulder and was very unsuccessful. Since the 23rd I haven't been able to bend my elbow up all the way to my shoulder. Tasks such as eating and brushing my teeth have to be done with my left hand because I can't reach my mouth with my right. Dr. G is going to call me back with his opinion. He wants to talk to Dr. M and consult with a few doctors that he knows. I respect this a lot. I'd rather a doctor take the time to get all his facts straight before giving me their opinion.

 Elbow still doesn't bend past here

After the appointment with Dr. G
Luckily I can dangle again and the
above picture only lasted a couple days.

Ready for the car ride home to Illinois. I had 5 different
pillows to prop with to be as comfortable as possible and have
support for my shoulder with all the bumpy roads.

September 26, 2013 I saw my long time Illinois doctor, Dr. K. He is in agreement with Dr. M that I should have the reverse total shoulder replacement done. Dr. K felt bad telling me this because I am only 24 and the replacements only last approximately 10-15 years. Like I told him, I am young but my shoulder is old. My shoulder is non-functional and it kills. Dr. K then said, "Your shoulder is ancient. It is that of a 78 year old woman". He couldn't believe what my MRI looked like. Not only did it show all of the arthritis, but it also showed inflammation is within the bone. When Dr. K was in my shoulder in March of 2012 I had moderate chondromalacia (softening of the cartilage). In a matter of a year I went from some soft cartilage to bone-on-bone arthritis. Dr. K then said to my mom and I we might want to go to France because they have been doing the procedure a lot longer than the United States and it might be cheaper than Vail, Colorado. When you deal with chronic medical things, you prepare yourself for various scenarios. Hearing you might want to go to France was not one of those scenarios we prepared ourselves for. We were both shocked. I highly doubt we will go to France but I guess you never know for sure.

Yesterday I was washing a cup and the handle broke off. The little bit that my shoulder moved forward when the handle broke, caused my shoulder to subluxate and my muscles to freak out. Trying to do a basic little task shouldn't cause my shoulder to act the way that it does. It is like a ticking time bomb. I never know when it will go nuts.

The muscles surrounding my shoulder and in my neck
tighten so bad. When my shoulder reacts like this, I can't
begin to express how much it hurts. 

So at this point I am pretty sure I am going to have the reverse total shoulder replacement. The way my shoulder is now is not an option to live with. Even though there is a relatively high complication rate (10-15%) then you add in my history, I think I would regret not having the procedure done knowing I have this option. I know my shoulder has the potential to have more function than what it does now. I was told by my CO therapist that in order for this procedure to be successful I have to get my deltoid as strong as possible. I honestly do not know how I am supposed to strengthen. I have an email in to Dr. M to see if there is something to ease the pain within the joint to allow me to strengthen. Right now any sort of muscle contraction causes nothing but sharp pain and I constantly sit forward it seems. So until I know when the surgery will be done or unless something crazy happens, I will be trying to write about more about the story of how I got to where I am today. I left off in 2011.

Here's a short 5:40 second YouTube video that was made.
23 Orthopedic Surgeries More to Come...Please Help!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Sorry to seem like I was trolling, that was really meant in good faith. Hope you feel better and find something that works.

    2. Thank you very much. I wasn't trying to delete your whole comment. Just the link. I know it was meant in good faith. I just don't want people to get the wrong idea that I am passing out medical advice or get the mentality of if your link helped me, it will help them too. Thanks again though.