Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Gut Feeling is Back 2014

Isn't it interesting how some weeks of our lives you wish you could relieve over and over again, while there are others you just can't wait to end. For me, this past week started off really good but as the days went by things started going south. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were a lot of fun. My nieces and I had a sleepover in my room where we shared stories and laughed. Since they were home from school due to the weather, my mom and I were able to do some fun stuff with them. We took them to see the movie Frozen and they helped out making homemade pizzas, tortilla soup, and cookies. Both my nieces are at the age where you can supervise and let them cook. They both learned there is a lot more that goes into cooking. It's not like we press a magic button and food magically appears on the table all prepared. We played games with them and it was just a nice, calm couple of days to spend time with them.

Then the middle of Monday night hit. It was a normal tossing and turning nights sleep. But for some reason I moved my right shoulder off my side and realized it moved higher than normal. I moved it again and the same thing happened. That's when I paid closer attention to how I was laying and realized I had just possibly made an important observation. I've been saying for several months my neck is hurting me. Everyone keeps telling me it is because of the muscle spasms that I get due to the muscles in my neck overcompensating for the ones in my shoulder. I know the muscle spasms are a contributing factor but I really don't think it is the underlying cause of the neck pain. I don't know how to explain it other than it's this gut feeling that I've had so many times over the past 8 years that I've learned to listen to.

As I watched the hours go by on the clock all I kept thinking was, "Come on! Be morning already. I have to show my parents my arm motion with my neck bent forward". I'm one of those people who can't turn their mind off when they think they've discovered something. I keep a notebook and pen on my nightstand and write down notes as I think of things throughout the night. It sounds kind of weird but a lot of times I have dreams of being at the doctors office and in my dream I'll ask a question that I should find the answer to. My brain is on the go 24/7 so I write things down so I don't forget. So come morning, I showed my motion.

In the pictures below you can see the difference between my motion with my head neutral and head bent. All motion increases (except flexion; not pictured) September 21, 2012 was the last time I was able to move my right shoulder that much without insanely sharp/stabbing pain over the front of my shoulder. It might not look like a lot of motion, but in my world it's a ton.






As you can see there is quite a difference in motion. Now the question is WHY? Honestly, I don't know. I've had no imaging of my neck so I don't know if there is any issue there. I'm seeing my physical therapist tomorrow to have him evaluate things. I already sent these pictures to my doctors and I'm waiting for a response. 

Then comes Wednesday January 29, 2014. Things were about to change; for the worse.  I was sitting on my bed coincidentally emailing my surgeons my questions about my motion and telling them I was considering postponing things on my left shoulder at this time and just focusing on the right. I was wearing a soft collar neck brace just to hold my head in a better position as I typed. My neck started getting stiff so I took the neck brace off. Then just like that for no apparent reason, I turned my head to the left, felting something odd at the base of my neck, followed by VERY sharp/stinging-like pain over the top inside portion of my left shoulder blade. I put the neck brace back on because I couldn't turn my head at all without this sharp pain. I couldn't bend over, bend to the side, sit comfortably or anything. The most comfortable position was laying on the floor, on my back and not moving. Originally I thought I pinched a nerve but as the day went on, the sharp/stinging pain I had began to subside. Instead of noticing the sharp pain, I realized there was a problem with my shoulder blade. It was sitting higher than usual and there was this depression/divot over the top portion of my incision. My gut feeling is my muscle ripped. I've had that sharp/stinging pain sensation before. The last time I had it was when I slipped down the stairs and retore my muscles off my shoulder blade.

My left shoulder blade (right side of picture due to the reflection in the mirror)
has a very apparent line at the top. This depression/divot has been there since Wednesday.
It is VERY tender to have pressure put on it. 
Left scapula is winging a lot more than normal. Before just the bottom used
to wing out. If you look at the top though, my scapula is winging up top too.
That's where I felt the sharp/stinging pain and where I think the tear happened. 

Thursday January 30, 2014 was rather uneventful. I had to take my muscle relaxants to try to get my muscles to calm down so my left shoulder blade would sink back into position. I called Dr. K's office but his clinics ended at 10am and I called at 11:15. Go figure, right! 

Friday January 31, 2014 rolls around and it was a long day from the get go. As soon as I opened my eyes I knew there was something going on with my right shoulder. I had a burning sensation up the right side of my neck and I was hurting more than usual. When I stood up I noticed my shoulder was subluxated out the front and I couldn't move my arm. It was locked. By 1:30 in the afternoon that day, I had subluxated 3 times simply by doing nothing; unless you consider waking up, flipping a pancake, or grabbing a cup as a reason to subluxate. After the third time, that was my cue to just sit all day with the heating pad on and not move my arm the rest of the day.  

Not a pleasant way to wake up. You can see my shoulder is sitting much higher
than it should. It's hard to describe the sensation that occurs when there is
all that pressure on a graft in the front of your shoulder doing its job by
preventing you from dislocating. 

My arm gets locked at this angle until my shoulder goes back into position.
It's definitely not the most attractive thing in the world.
At the end of a long week sometimes all you can do is be thankful that it's over and be hopeful that the following week will be better. I'm hopeful that this week I will get some questions answered and if anything be given some sort of guidance in which direction to move. Whether that be going for testing, meeting with a doctor, or staying on the same course of treatment. I still haven't gone for the botox injections. I'm still rather reluctant since nobody can give me a clear concise answer with what to expect. It's a hard scary decision to make when you know you already have an underlying connective tissue disorder. At the end of the day, I have to listen to this little voice inside my head that hasn't steered me wrong yet over all these years. It's important I listen to it because after all it's my body and I'm the one who is going to have deal with whatever happens to it at the end of the day.

Even though my shoulders are killing,
sometimes all you can do is smile, put on a brave face,
and believe you will get through this.