Saturday, February 19, 2011


I went to see my cute young doctor for the results of the MRI Arthrogram.  I knew what he was going to say, "this is really bad, we are going to schedule surgery for tomorrow - I'm quite afraid your arm is going to fall off if we don't."

I'd already purchased a post-surgical pillow wedge pillow on Amazon, knowing I would have to sleep sitting up again, and wanting to do it better than I had the last time.

I sat in the waiting room, arm throbbing, looking at a big red sign that says they will charge you a $50.00 fee if you cancel an appointment within 24 hours.  Since I was already an hour past my appointment time, and I'd shown up early, I thought I would write my own sign that says, "Patients have the right to charge a doctor for each 15 minute increment past their appointment time."  and hang it underneath their warning. 

Except, of course, my right arm doesn't work well enough to write, and I can't reach up to hang anything.

So, in he came and I steeled myself for my surgical appointment the next morning.  Instead, he said, "You have a level one slap tear."

In case you don't know, that is the most minor kind of labrum injury you can have and it doesn't always even require surgery.

I was stunned.  I said, "Are you SURE?"  I can't believe I can be in this much pain with only something minor going on."  He said that it is likely that the constellation of the injury, the mastectomy, the reconstruction has my body mechanics out of whack, and is causing me more severe pain than others might have.  He also said the MRI was just a snapshot in time and if they could do these tests with people using their arms they might see more, but for now, that was the diagnosis.  The only way to know for sure is to look inside with a scope.

So, apparently, I'm some sort of wimp.  A level four wimp with a level one injury.

Anyway, he wants me to do a full month of physical therapy, three times a week,  to see if I can get the muscles functioning well enough to take the pressure off my shoulder and maybe ease up the pain. I'm also supposed to take anti-inflammatories round the clock.   He's scheduling surgery to look inside and clean it up at the end of March, but in the meantime, if I get relief after PT, then I can cancel the surgery.

Now I have to do the one thing I have always hated:  exercise.  Life can be so cruel.



  1. You aren't a wimp. Cute doctors can be cute but also not provide the desired information. But no surgery is good, PT can do wonders. Good luck!

  2. I have been having severe arm problems the whole way.
    Lyrica helped with the pain but it gave me edema.

    Cortisone shot helped alot but may have contributed to lymphedema.

    Just make sure they don't give you lymphadema with what ever they do!!!

  3. wow - So now you have to do PT? Hmmm... I agree with joinourloop, be sure your therapist knows about your lymphadema risk. That's the last thing that needs to come out of this.

    You know, it's kinda funny (in a non amusing sort of way) that I've just read this whole blog from 2009 and figured by the time I got to 2011 you'd be breezing through life by now.

    Seems that there are still a few bumps in the road. Bummer.

    PS - You'll love this next part (I totally thought of your post "what not to say to a cancer patient") I ran into a lady from work today and she said she 'heard about what is going on with me' and 'I'm so lucky that at least I get to be off work' - how's that for sensitive huh? - almost wanted to punch her but I had my offspring in tow.

  4. Llymphoma has been one of my fears. I only had three nodes removed so it's not likely but I still protect that side.

    And, yes, I thought I'd be done and this blog languishing by now. But, as I have discovered, it takes a lot longer to return to full health for some of us.

    And, I can't believe what that woman said to you! OMG. "Lucky" you get to be off work? I sure wish somebody had said that to me. I would have loved to respond to a comment like that. "Yes, amputation is a great way to get some time off - you should try it. I think there is an appendage attached to your neck that might be useless and can go. " :-)


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