Friday, June 21, 2013

2011 Is Going to Be Quite a Year

So currently I am in Colorado doing physical therapy 2 times a day, 5 days a week; this is why I haven't been blogging as frequently. Needless to say, it has been rather busy. I'll get a present day one up in the next couple of weeks...

After finding out I had quadrilateral space syndrome in January, my parents and I knew 2011 was going to be a challenging year from a surgical standpoint. Just imagine looking forward knowing at least 2 big surgeries were coming your way and both of them were out of state. That's a lot of healing time, a lot of physical therapy and then you add school to the mix. Since the major expense to go see this doctor  in CA was airfare and hotel accommodations, we decided to stay a few extra days for fun; back to my mom's philosophy of trying to offset the negative things in life with a positive. Some of the things we did were going on a tour of Alcatraz Island, touring Winchester House, going to Pier 39 to see the sea lions, and we saw the Golden Gate Bridge. One of the best things about California is driving Highway 1 and stopping at a lot of various points of interest along the ocean.

 Alcatraz Island

One of the sea lions on the pier 

If you've been following my blog then you know things don't always go according to plan and mishaps tend to happen. While driving Highway 1 we stopped at a point of interest along the ocean. At this particular site, you had to walk down a path to get down to the beach and ocean. As I was walking downhill, my foot slipped. I grabbed the railing with my left hand and felt my shoulder and shoulder blade stretch in ways it shouldn't have. My shoulder blade is what hurt the most since 6 months prior I had the scapular muscle reattachment surgery. Even though I hurt pretty bad, I didn't think anything too serious happened. I finished walking down the path with my dad and the view was spectacular.

At the bottom of the path leading to the beach and ocean 

We saw lots of birds that would soar above the ocean's waves

Later that evening one of my biggest fears happened...throwing-up. In the middle of the night while my parents were sound asleep, I woke up sick and nauseous. I don't know if it was the pizza that we all ate or the red apple (just like Snow White) that only I ate. Regardless of what caused it, I lost track of how many times I threw-up. The pain was ridiculous. We all know how much it sucks to throw-up over and over. Every muscle in your torso goes crazy. In my case, it is holy hell. I still had muscles detached on my right shoulder blade and my left shoulder blade recently had surgery (yes, the same side that I overstretched earlier that day). My most vivid memory of that night was laying on the bathroom floor watching a single rambling ant that had somehow made its way in. I woke my parents up and they brought me to the emergency room so they could give me something to stop throwing-up, but most importantly, give me something for the awful shoulder blade pain. You know, life just wouldn't be complete if we didn't see an emergency room in CA. We've been to the ones in Illinois, Kentucky, and Nevada so we may as well add California to the mix. Maybe I should start writing a traveling guide to the best emergency rooms.

At the emergency room the first reality of concern hit. Between slipping on the path and vomiting all night, my poor little shoulder blades were not strong enough to withstand that type of force. The doctor told me both my shoulder blades were winging out really bad and I may have possibly retore the muscles that were repaired on my left shoulder blade. Now you know why throwing-up was one of my biggest fears.

When we got home from CA school started up once again. I met with Dr. K and Dr. B. Neither one had a definitive answer as to whether or not any damage occurred to my left shoulder/shoulder blade from the overstretching and from throwing-up. Only time would tell. In the meantime, I was preparing to have my right shoulder joint stabilized and to have the scapular muscle reattachment surgery which was set for March 2, 2011 in Kentucky. Up until recently, this specific surgery took the top honor of most painful. There was the large shoulder blade incision and then there was the large incision on the front of my right shoulder joint. I opted to have two big procedures done at one time so I could have the quadrilateral space decompression surgery done sooner.

My first memory of waking up from this surgery in recovery was having a battle-ax nurse calling me by the wrong name. There was another patient in the next bed. The nurse kept yelling at one of us to breathe but was calling us by the wrong name. Neither one of us knew who she was talking to which made things very confusing. She was a mean nurse. I kept trying to tell her my name was Megan and she didn't want to hear it. Her solution was to shoot me up with versed (amnesia medication). I was so mad.

I unfortunately have don't have any pictures of this particular surgery or bracing; however, they are just like the other procedures. We spent a week in the hotel for me to heal some before the 8 hour drive back to Illinois. Once home, it was back to the school routine and trying to heal from this double procedure. It was very, very hard. I know now, 2011 brought 5 shoulder surgeries. It was a good thing I didn't know that when I headed into the year 2011 because it would have been very overwhelming. It was better to just take things one thing at a time and get through the current situation. It doesn't do anybody any good to fret and worry about what's coming in the future. There was truly enough in the present to worry about.

A fundraising page was created to help with medical expenses. If you would like to donate follow the link below. Thank you!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

QSS...The Verdict

2011 started out with a lot of nerves and excitement. On January 5th my parents and I flew out to California. I learned on that flight, I do not like flying really low over water. Being able to see the ripples in the water, the shadow of the airplane, and the buoys floating, made things a little unsettling for me. On January 6, 2011 I would be seeing Dr. T to determine if I have Quadrilateral Space Syndrome. To say I was scared would be an understatement. What if my parents just flew me out to see this doctor and he said there is nothing wrong? What if this doctor treats me the same way as the "doctor" in St. Louis? What if I am told, I don't know what is causing your symptoms? All of these types of questions were rolling around in mind all day. It was tiring. You do what you can to keep your mind preoccupied but sometimes the nerves are too strong.

View from the window seat on the airplane.

January 6, 2011: Anybody that knows me, knows as soon as I wake up in the morning, I am eating breakfast within 5 minutes. Not this day; I was so nervous for the doctor appointment, I could not even eat breakfast. I had pancakes sitting in from of me and as soon as I would go to eat, I felt like I was going to be sick. To this day, I don't think I have ever been this nervous. All I wanted was to get to the doctor's office; 9:00am couldn't come soon enough

This is just a picture of the doctor's office. 

When my parents and I arrived at the doctor's office we headed inside. As we walked into the lobby and started for the elevator, my mom looked at me and said, "Are you okay little one?" When my mom asks me this question, it always makes me smile because I am a good 6 inches taller than her. With a smirk on my face, I looked at my mom and told her I do not feel good and I am dizzy. We both knew I didn't feel good because of the nerves. After I was brought into the exam room, the medical assistant came in to check my blood pressure and check my heart rate. The look on the medical assistant's face said it all. She turned, looked at me and asked "Do you feel okay? Are you nervous?" I couldn't speak. I just shook my head yes. She then said, "Girl, don't you worry. We're going to take good care of you." With that, my mom asked what my heart rate was? The medical assistant said, "144!" No wonder I didn't feel good and was dizzy. Nerves can do strange things to your body.

After the medical assistant left, Dr. T walked into the room. Surprisingly, Dr. T was extremely nice. We talked about my history and my symptoms. One of the questions Dr. T asked me was, "How did you find me?" I told him I only found one doctor who had written an article about QSS as I was researching and it happened to be him. Dr. T slightly smiled and told me that is how his patients usually find him. He also said he didn't know of any other doctor that deals with quadrilateral space syndrome. To test the suspicion of Quadrilateral Space Syndrome, Dr. T injected a numbing medication into the quadrilateral space in the back of my right shoulder. Within minutes, I went from being able to raise my arm about 45 degrees in front of my body to raising my arm to shoulder level. Dr. T looked at me and said, "Yes, you do have Quadrilateral Space Syndrome. The sharp pain you get when you raise your arm forward is from your axillary nerve getting compressed. You will need decompression surgery." Before I could have surgery, Dr. T informed me I had to have my right scapular muscles reattached, and my right shoulder joint stabilized first.

When I left the doctor's office and got into the lobby, my mom and I looked at each other and just started crying. My dad looked at us with the, "You were just fine. What's wrong with you look." My mom and I were crying happy validation tears. You might be thinking how in the world could we be happy when we were just told I do have QSS and I need to have other surgeries done first. There are no words to describe the emotional rollercoaster that you go through when for almost 3 years you say you are having sharp pain down the back of your arm, and you are either told there's nothing wrong with you, or your doctor's can't find the source of the pain. In its own way, flying out to California felt risky because less than 3 months earlier I had gone to St. Louis with my mom and was insulted beyond belief. Not only was this "doctor" WRONG in the diagnosis but she was wrong about me from a psychiatric perspective. It's sad, but I sometimes think doctors (like the one in St. Louis) forget they are dealing with a human beings and forget how their decisions can either positively or negatively effect our lives. Once again it scares me to think where I would be if I, or my parent's had listened to St. Louis "doctor's" advice. I can't stress it enough, you have to listen to your body. You may have learned by now through my course of treatment, I try not to let a conflicting opinion from any of the medical professionals make me doubt myself. I know what I am feeling and I know what I am experiencing. If you have been following my blog, there have been far too many incidents where opinions have been incorrect. If I hadn't pushed the issue who knows what condition I would be in today. Validation and hope are very, very strong emotions. When I left Dr. T's office that day, I felt both.

My mom and I on the California coast. 

 My dad and I