Sunday, February 6, 2011

Arthrogram Scheduled

At the risk of having to rename this blog:  "Ann's continuing complaints about her" I plan to update you with current news of my shoulder.  Like any gray-haired old lady, I like nothing more than describing my medical procedures and tests.  Pretty soon I'll think nothing of going into details about my bowel movements at a dinner party,  just you wait and see.

While my shoulder injury is not part of breast cancer per se, the fact that I have it is a direct result from breast cancer surgery, so I figure it belongs on this blog too. Hey, it could happen to you too, although I hope it doesn't.

I have an MRI Arthrogram scheduled for the 10th and a follow-up visit with the orthopedist on the 14th.  Valentine's Day because I love doctors so much.  

I've given up on the physical therapy for now.  To be honest, fighting this pain is making me tired and cranky.   I don't have the energy to go anywhere after work and am lacking in the patience to deal with  a succession of Ms. Granolas lecture me on the healing properties of ice.

Saturday, my son participated in the Science Bowl Regional Competion and I was there to root him on.  I couldn't help but remember the last time I was cheering for him - it  was his 8th grade Science Olympiad competition, which I blogged about.   I had just finished chemo and was very tired and bald, but grateful to be there watching these brilliant young kids demonstrate their interest in science, and looking forward to the following year when I'd be watching these competitions with full health.

Yesterday, I was just as proud (the A team from his school won the entire thing) and I have a lot more hair.  But disappointingly, because of some stupid shoulder injury, I'm not healthy yet.  The pain is pretty intense and I can feel the humerus coming out of the socket at times, and it also feels like bone on bone when I move it.  It also feels like the biceps and triceps muscles are disconnecting and I have lost strength in my arm.  On the plus side, the shoulder makes nice, crunchy noises when I rub it.  I am driving with my left hand only still and that is getting pretty wearing, even though I have a very short commute to work.  I can't blow dry my now abundant hair, or straighten it.  

Dealing with hot flashes is even a problem - I can't easily take a sweater off or on.  My office has no heat so it's freezing in the morning and I rely on  a space heater.  Yet a hot flash makes me instantly feel like I've been plunged into boiling water - so I wear tanks with sweaters and rip off the sweater as necessary.  That ripping off is a motion my arm no longer makes.  Even putting on a bra is impossible.  At first, I could still do it because my left arm is flexible and reaches all the way around to my right side.  All I had to do was hold it to the side, no problem.  Now, I can't move my arm even to my side, it's only position is to the front of my stomach.   I have to pull my bra on over my hips.  (Fortunately, I have no hips so that's not too hard.)

I am looking forward to this arthrogram for one reason - they are going to numb my shoulder.  The procedure is to inject some contrast into the space of the joint and then MRI it to see if any of the contrast leaks into places it shouldn't.  The injection hurts, so they numb you up.

I am very eager to be numbed in that area right now.

There is a recovery period for this test.  It is supposed to leave your shoulder with even more pain than you had before.  I can't imagine.

I'll let you know.

Here is my whine:  After enduring a breast amputation and reconstruction, six rounds of chemo and a year of herceptin - totalling 16 months of constant treatment - all that time I have cheerfully been looking forward to getting back to normal.  And, I'm feeling quite sorry for myself that I am probably looking at another surgery, another recovery period, more time off of work and more disability without even ONE DAY of normality.

Over something completely dumb, like a SLAP tear of the shoulder.

I would definitely like some cheese with that whine.

Actually, make that just wine.  I'll risk the headache.


  1. I feel your pain. I have more health issues now than ever before. Good luck with your MRI.

  2. OMG if I drank that "whine" I would have a serious migraine. But you enjoy. I'm so sorry about your shoulder. When you talked about all the months of chemo, surgery, and after-care and how you looked forward to some normal life again, my heart just flopped. That's exactly how I feel, too. I can't imagine what you're going through. -Megan-

  3. Man, I'm so sorry! My mother had a torn rotator cuff and THEN breast cancer. She had said she'd have had another mastectomy over the torn rotator cuff - that made her miserable - she hated the inability to do anything. She wore my graduation gown as her clothes because she could get it on. Hope it all goes as well as it can!

  4. My thoughts are with you today. Hope the procedure goes well. You have every right to complain.

    After my lovely treatments and surgery, I also have those pesky hot flashes. In addition, my abdomenal wall and lower back are always in pain, always a reminder of the cancer.


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