Surgery Success!

shoulderpainSurgery success! It was still dark on Monday when I left for my surgical appointment to decompress and debride my left shoulder. It was nearly a year ago I had to have my left bicep tendon reattached, as it was torn and shredded due to repetitive movement, yet the origin of the injury is still unknown. I was the first patient to arrive at the surgical pavilion, as instructed by the surgery scheduler and the first to be operated on.

After the initial paperwork was filled out, it was a short wait before I was being prepped for surgery. Yet I don’t remember a damn thing after the anesthesiologist hooked me up with his “cocktail” fed through my I.V. The next thing I know I am waking up in the recovery room. As expected I was a bit groggy to come around, but was given some juice and crackers as I came around. Bandages covered my left shoulder and I couldn’t feel anything because of the nerve block that was in place. I did however feel my pinky and ring finger, as well as the outside of my forearm. It would about 20 hours before feeling had returned to my arm;.

Talking to the nurses and the surgeon, the procedure when as expected, cleaning up the shoulder joint, which was limited due to inflammation. Much like the original injury, I am not quite sure what caused this relapse, especially after making great progress the few 2 months after the bicep tendon repair last October. This time around, there was no actual repair in the shoulder, only cleaning and recovery was expected to be quick. I could point to the fact I might have done too much too soon, as I was working on the haunted house just days after my surgery. Still I don’t think that accounts for the good progress I made early on.

This time around, I laid around the remainder of Monday but got up early on Tuesday and ready to go. I had to leave the bandages on for 2 days and was told not to shower for 7 days. Really? 7 days, I would smell terrible, so my wife helped me cover the shoulder in plastic and I showered. Very little pain even after the nerve block wore off and I was busy working around the house. However I did use the sling much of Tuesday, but shed it on Wednesday, as the only pain I experienced was the actual incision points (3) in my shoulder.

Once the bandages were removed I appeared to have full motion in my shoulder, there was no more pain when I brought my shoulders together. I could get my left hand/arm behind my back and there was no pain when I lifted items with my left hand. It feels great to be on the road to recovery. Thankfully this recovery won’t hamper my running. Physical therapy begins on Monday with the therapist I was working with previously who already knows the state of my shoulder. I suspect it will be 2-4 weeks and I will be able to start lifting weights again.

Shoulder: Surgery Again!

Frozen_Shoulder_Adhesive_CapsulitisFor me the diagnosis (adhesive capsulitis) and recommendation does not come as a surprise. There comes a point in life when you get to know you body and know it well. I have been at this point for a number of years now since tearing my ACL in 2009. Along the way I changed my diet, lost a lot of weight and got healthy. That in itself has made a world of difference when it comes to my body and the aches and pains I feel. The result, surgery again on the left shoulder.

The shoulder has been an ongoing issue for the last 2 years with surgery being required in October, 2013 to reattach a torn bicep tendon. Mistakenly I pulled up my medical history and read the results from the MRI I received last year:

1. Tear of the anterior glenoid labrum. Blunting of the posterior glenoid labrum. Partial tear or thinning of the interval region of the rotator cuff.

2. Tenosynovitis of the long head of the biceps tendon.

3. Moderate degenerative changes of the glenohumeral joint with notable osteophytic spurring of the inferior articular surface of the humerus, loss of articular cartilage and slight irregularity.

To the best of my knowledge the orthopedic surgeon only reattched the bicep tendon and didn’t address the labrum tear. I could be wrong and I will inquire at my pre-surgery appointment.

Last week I received the results of my most recent MRI and the orthopedic surgeon reconfirmed his original diagnosis, ‘adhesive capsulitis’ otherwise known as frozen shoulder. Unfortunately the shoulder capsule has not responded to repeated Cortisone shots or physical therapy.

The pain has been unforgiving and my range of movement limited, not being able to raise my arm, scratch my back or squeeze my shoulder close enough together in order to squat, which is where I first experienced the problems.

Yet these problems have been ongoing since I recovered from surgery last year. The orthopedic surgeon’s PA said she had never seen anyone recover so quickly. I had no pain and my range of motion was back to normal within 4 weeks of surgery, but I took a turn for the worse near the end of November.

The reason is still unclear but I am going to assume it was too much too soon for the shoulder when I got out of the sling. I was just 2 days out of surgery and I was working on erecting the haunted house at my son’s elementary school. I can’t be sure this was the reason for the sudden increase of pain followed by the limited range of motion.

In fact I don’t know when the original injury occurred. I will guess is occurred during an adult soccer game, my last, which saw me tear my miniscus back in 2011. I do recall falling on my shoulder wrong, but I never really associated the two events until now.

Surgery is now scheduled for September 15 in Walnut Creek. It’s going to be exploratory surgery to clean up the shoulder capsule and manipulation of the shoulder in order to tear the scar tissue. It’s was described as being “simple and quick” procedure with minimal recovery time. Once the scar tissue is cleared up, the capsule will be filled with Cortisone and physical therapy will be prescribed.

I am just looking forward to FINALLY having some relief and being able to do what I want when using my shoulder, pain free. More important I can’t wait to strengthen the shoulder up and get back to lifting weights.

Torn Bicep Repaired

surgeryOn September 6 I wrote about shoulder pain I had experienced for as long as I could remember. Soccer related? Maybe. Age related? Possibly. Now 4 weeks after surgery, after speaking with the doctors I wonder if it was actually the weight lifting that caused this pain, requiring surgery in order to correct the torn bicep tendon. The surgery was successful and based on the doctor’s comment yesterday, she had never seen anyone recover so quickly from a bicep tenodesis. Currently I am about a month ahead of where she thought I would be when I spoke with her yesterday.

While I am still limited to 12 ounces when lifting things with my left arm, 3 weeks of physical therapy have been very beneficial so far. We have been working on strengthening the shoulder and bicep, since they work together. Unfortunately, strength training using weights will have to wait until the start of 2014, as I must give the actual repair time to heal. While the physical therapist didn’t release me starting running, my doctor did, during my visit yesterday. So I look forward to getting back on the trails and starting to build my weekly miles up again.

The current pain level is minimal. What pain I do have is associated with the physical therapy I have been going through. Last Thursday, Rob worked my shoulder over and it’s been sore, but that soreness is associated with the stretching and strengthening work we did. Time will tell if the sharp, shooting pains I had prior to surgery have subsided, but I can only guess they will. Based on the opinions I have heard, I will make a full recovery. Thankfully due to my plant based lifestyle my recovery is ahead of schedule.

I am sure there will be many who don’t attribute my recovery to my diet, but I am a firm believer that changing my diet has provided me quicker recovery times, not only when working out, either running or weight training, but also this surgery, as well as a meniscus tear I had in 2012. I don’t plan on making these surgeries part of my yearly routine, but having the ability to recovery quickly has been wonderful. Hopefully with the strength training I have planned come January, along with starting to build running stamina, the outlook is bright!

I do have one more appointment scheduled with the doctor, as well as 5-9 weeks of physical therapy remaining, depending on the progress I make each week. That’s a good thing, as I have some big events planned in 2014 including the Endeavor Team Challenge, Tough Mudder and hopefully my first marathon. Life after 40 has been nothing short of amazing so far!

Is it over yet?

December has been an absolutely horrible month! I won’t go into all the details just now, but hopefully things turn around in 2 days as I start vacation. While we won’t be going anywhere for Christmas, I will be attending to my wife, who is scheduled to have lower back surgery…the day after Christmas. This followed by a 3 night stay in the hospital.

Hopefully this surgery will alleviate the pain she has really suffered through the last few years, get her inch and a half back in height and overall give her a better life. We don’t know what to expect after the surgery or the recuperation time. Hopefully the hospital stay will be just 3 days. Thankfully we have many gracious offers from family and friends to help us out as she recovers.

More importantly I requested Family Medical Leave (FMLA) from work. I was able to obtain a doctor’s note from her physician. This will allow me to call in and take days off as necessary to tend to my wife, with no retribution from work in terms of time missed. This is easily something that COULD be abused, but it’s the second time I have requested it. The first was back in 2009 when I had my ACL surgery on my right knee. At that time I didn’t use it very much.

I suspect I won’t be really active the rest of the year, possibly 2 posts forthcoming. One will be my resolutions, which I have posted for the last 5-7 years. The other post will be the bombshell, so to speak, but we will wait on that information to help ring in the new year.

Knee: Post Op

I had what was hopefully the final appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Monday and he released me to start being more active with the knee. the stitches were removed and sutures were glued on to the three incisions on my knee. I was also provided a comparison of what a healthy meniscus looks like and what mind looked like when he got in there with his light and camera. In the image, the healthy meniscus are the top two images. The lower two images are how mine looked.

My meniscus was torn on the medial (inner) part of my knee and bent back 180 degrees causing the pain, which in turn caused the pain and swelling I had been experiencing for 2 months. He trimmed out of the torn piece of meniscus, while preserving a majority of the meniscus on the front and anterior of my knee.

I only worked out once last week after my surgery, doing 30 minutes on an elliptical machine. Last night was the second time I worked out and noticed a firm bump on the front of my knee. Thankfully it coincidences with one of the incisions, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time before than swelling (if that is what it is) decreases and the pain subsides.

I still have pain on the inside of my knee, more where the ligament is located at. I am sure we would have seen something on the MRI, but that pain has not gone away. I will give it 4-6 weeks and if the pain still exists might request my MRI and send it to another doctor for a second opinion. Thankfully I have very little pain now walking up stairs or during my daily routine.