Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Night My Right Shoulder Changed

First off, sorry for not keeping up on this blog. There has been a lot of current medical stuff going on so I've been writing more on that. Now that I have a better understanding of what is going on with my right shoulder, all the trouble I've been having with my right side since September 2012 makes a lot more sense. As a quick recap my right shoulder was stable for a record of 4 months in 2012. The end of July 2012 was ridiculously humid here in Illinois and my shoulder started subluxating for no apparent reason. It wasn't getting better and it was now a matter of trying to figure out what to do to stabilize it; but first, I was going up to Wisconsin to spend the day at the WI Alliance Burn Camp...

August 15, 2012

The experience of going to visit the WI Alliance Burn Camp in August 2012 is one I will never forget. Sometimes you get caught up in your own medical world and it's good to escape your world to see what someone else deals with. I met some amazing people, heard some very sad stories, and met individuals who have far worse scarring than I do. All of these individuals were so full of life. It was another reminder to not let your scars define you. It was a place where nobody cared if you had scars on your body and you just felt "normal". It was so cool to watch all these kids have a ton of fun and not worry about what someone else would think. While there I ended up helping out with setting up a couple activities. Me agreeing to do this was just a stupid decision and my stubborn ways got the better of me. Nobody there knew the extent of issues I had with my shoulders because I didn't want them to know. For once I just wanted to go do something I really wanted to be involved in and try to "forget" I have limitations.

The final day at the camp my mom and my nieces came with because there was a parade to honor all the firefighters, 1st Respondents, and other personnel who have helped all these kids from the fires. They also loaded up all the kids on the firetrucks and we honored them too. Those kids have been through so much. It was a great learning experience for my nieces. At this time my nieces were 9 and 7. They have grown up in a very medical filled house. It's good for them to learn that even though people might look different from the outside there's nothing to be afraid of; it's the inside that counts.
My nieces and I taking our picture in front of the flight for life helicopter

After a wonderful time at the camp we went back to our hotel. We went to Timber Ridge Lodge in Lake Geneva. There is a waterpark there which my nieces thought was amazing. It's a great place for kids and I would highly recommend it.
Smile for the camera :) 

My niece and I. Interestingly enough, this picture was taken 1 month before I
dislocated my R shoulder and went to the emergency room to have it reduced.
It is over 2 years later and my right arm still doesn't move like this. 
Week of August 20th 2012 my calculus class started up at college. Due to all the shoulder trouble I was having, I decided to only take one class. About a week after getting back from Wisconsin, I had an appointment in Illinois with Dr. K to evaluate my R shoulder. Before my appointment I had been researching shoulder stabilization surgeries and I came across a bristow-latarjet procedure. This is when the surgeon takes the tip of the coracoid process and moves it to the front of shoulder to act as a block. I printed off the information and brought it to my appointment. Sure enough my MRI arthrogram showed my capsule was all stretched out again and on exam I was really unstable. Dr. K thought the bristow-latarjet was a potential possibility. He wanted me to go see Dr. B in Kentucky to get his opinion.

September 15, 2012 I met with Dr. B. He evaluated my R shoulder too and confirmed it's unstable but the good news was that both of my shoulder blades looked to be in good shape. Yay! There's a first for everything! We talked about the possibility of doing a bristow-latarjet and he thought it was a viable option. While at my appointment I gave Dr. B a tiger drawing as a thank you for everything he has done to help me since 2007. I have to print the picture off below and send it to him in a Christmas card. Now that I think about it I forgot to send it to him.

Dr. B and I. I still miss this tiger :) 
My dad came with on this trip to Kentucky
When I got back from my appointment with Dr. B, a few days later I ended up seeing Dr. K because my R shoulder dislocated and I couldn't get it back in. Dr. K gently manipulated my shoulder and got it in without a problem. Then, on September 22, 2012 my mom, nieces, and I were watching my nephew at my brothers house. In the late evening, I was sitting on the chair with my niece Lizzy in my lap. I went to move my R arm across my body to rub Lizzy's head. My arm made it about half way and dropped. My shoulder dislocated again. It happened on a Saturday and Dr. K wasn't in. My shoulder was locked. I couldn't manipulate it and my mom couldn't manipulate back into place either. It was locked really, really bad and my arm was going purple. I had no choice but to go to the emergency room. The decision to go the emergency room was life changing. My R arm hasn't worked properly ever since.

At the emergency room the ER doctor called the orthopedic resident to come down and relocate my shoulder due to my prior surgeries and complex shoulder history. Before the orthopedic resident started putting my shoulder back in place I wished him good luck; I knew this shoulder was stuck. The resident pulled on my shoulder for quite some time. The nurse injected pain medication, and gave me strong muscle relaxants to try to get my muscles to calm down. No luck. The resident kept pulling on my arm as I was lying on my back. The pain was awful and my shoulder blade started feeling funky. I didn't want any damage to occur so I just sat up and said, "I'm leaving. I would rather go home with my shoulder out. Just get my arm in a sling and I'll wait until Monday to see Dr. K." The resident asked me to wait and he went and called Dr. K. It was really late at night. The resident came back in the room saying Dr. K said I have to relocate your shoulder and you can't leave the way it is. I rolled my eyes and started crying because the way the resident tried to put my shoulder in wasn't working. It was not gentle at all like Dr. K does it.

During the next round of " Let's Get Megan's Shoulder Back In Place" the resident brought in two other individuals to assist him. I was laying on my back and they wrapped a sheet around my upper body. The one doctor pulled my body to the left as the ortho resident pulled my right arm up to the side. There was also another person who was standing at my head with hands placed on my shoulders. The resident started pulling and the pain was excruciating. I remember turning my head to the left to "look away from the pain". I've NEVER experienced anything like this before. The doctor ordered new x-rays which showed my shoulder was now only subluxated. I refused to let anyone pull on me more so they got me into a sling and I left with my mom. The following day I felt like I had just had surgery. The pain was so bad. I literally slept the entire day and couldn't move my shoulder. Writing about this experience literally makes my blood boil. It has been 2+ years of trying to figure out why my R shoulder doesn't move properly. I went through 2 surgeries and my shoulder to this day still doesn't move. What aggravates me the most is I wanted to leave the emergency room so I didn't end up in worse shape. I should have listened to my gut and gone against medical advice.

That Monday I had to go to class in the morning. My shoulder was still killing me. I wore a brace that wrapped around my waist and locked my arm at my side. Before my class I started, I stopped by my teacher's office and talked to him about what was going on. I told him I had an appointment with Dr. K the following day and I didn't know what would be said. I've found throughout the years if you just talk to your teachers and keep them in the loop with what is going on with your situation, they will really try to work with you so you end up succeeding in their class.  

After class on Monday I went home and started researching more about various shoulder stabilization surgeries for chronic shoulder instability. It was that day where I found a procedure that I got excited about. It was an anterior capsulolabral reconstruction with allograft. The surgeon was in Colorado. I printed off the information and brought it to my appointment the following day with Dr. K. Dr. K evaluated my R shoulder and said it's sitting in a good position. I told him that's great but I can't move it and I went on to tell him how I've never experienced a shoulder reduction like that in my life and my shoulder kills. I then took out my printed information and said I came across this procedure. I think it's what I need done. I gave him the handout and he smiled. He said he knows the doctor in Colorado very well. They did their residency together and they lived across the hall from each other. He then said, "I think you need to go to CO and meet with Dr. M. He deals a lot of shoulder instability." When I got home from my appointment I called Colorado. I had an appointment with Dr. M on October 18th.
Funky depressions that appeared after I 
the emergency room visit. I've had these funky
depressions ever since. If anyone has 
any ideas of what they are please comment below.
The coming weeks leading to my appointment, I did what I do best to keep my brain occupied from thinking about the upcoming appointment; I focused on school and I tried to incorporate a little fun. Fall is my favorite season of the year. I love pumpkin patches, colorful fall leaves, and Halloween. There's a pumpkin patch not too far from our house that I love going to. The next thing I knew the weeks had flown by super fast and I was sitting on an airplane heading to Colorado to go meet with Dr. M...

My nieces and I
My sister, my mom, and me

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