Saturday, May 21, 2011

No News is Good News - and News about Frozen Shoulder

My CT scan was Monday, today is Saturday, and my phone has not rung. Since my doctor said he'd only call if there was bad news, you know what that means - time to exercise.

Wait, that is bad news.

At least I'm not spending today fighting demons. That would be really bad news.

On the orthopedic front, I finally got my long-awaited cortisone shot. You remember, the one I'd requested four months ago? Instead, they got side-tracked digging for more cancer and sending me for MRI's and arthrograms. Four months of agony later I finally got the shot I should have gotten in the first place.

Such is the life of a cancer patient, nothing is simple anymore.

That shot was not a pleasant experience either. But, the pain has lessened, to the point where I've become annoyed at the inability to move my arm. (Before, I didn't care, I just wanted it to stop hurting). He said in three days I can do some gentle PT with it, and I have another appointment in six weeks, for possibly another shot if I'm not cured by then. Since it's been frozen for six months, I am not optimistic it'll be quick but at least the terrible pain is reduced.

You know what I fantasize about? What my fondest wish for normalcy is? I want to push the blankets off me when I sleep! Because it has affected my right arm and is truly frozen now, I am only able to sleep on my left side - even my back is impossible. I get into bed, pull the covers up and go to sleep. A hot flash will strike (thank you tamoxifen) and I wake up, steaming, in a pool of sweat, sheets getting damp. All I want to do is throw the blankets off, but I can't. My right arm doesn't work. So, I lie there, half awake, helpless, feeling the heat and dampness surround me, like a Mississippi flood. Repeat that ten times in one night.

I also dream about sleeping on my stomach, or I would if I could stay asleep long enough to dream. That is the way I've slept my entire life and it's been a few years since I've been able. What a luxury that would be! Maybe my backache would go away.

I'm going to have to work for it though. Never my strong suit.

One very interesting thing that I was told about Adhesive Capsulitis - Frozen Shoulder - is that many of the online articles about it are incorrect. Even ones from legitimate sites, like the Mayo Clinic. Every article I read said that it would eventually heal on its own, in stages, over the course of months or years. Reading that on every site and in every citation, I really didn't push hard to get treated. I kept thinking, "any day now, the pain will be gone and I can start PT."

My doctor told me that is not true for people who get this as a result of trauma, as I did. They said they find that the pain does not go away in these cases and it doesn't follow the normal progression as it will in idiopathic frozen shoulder. I am putting this down with all the keywords I can muster, because I hope that anybody who has frozen shoulder post-surgery, post-trauma, post-mastectomy, finds this, goes to a doctor and gets treated. It may not heal on its own at all, and I have just spent months in severe pain when I didn't really have to. Once my MRIs came back cancer-free, I should have gone back in and gotten the shot, but the Internet led me astray and I didn't.

And suffered for it.

Also, I can't say this enough - ladies, if you have just had your mastectomies - get out one of those brochures they give you and check out the back. See those exercises they tell you to do, that you think don't apply to you because you feel fine?

Do them.

Tomorrow morning I will annouce the winner of the cookbook. The contest is now closed for it and I will draw the winner later today. Thank you for your participation.


  1. The cortizone shot worked like a charm. Especially 3 days out. It helped with sleep so much.
    The only dowside is they feel it may have added to my lymphedema.

  2. I'm really sorry to hear that you ended up with lymphedema. That was one of my greatest fears. So far, I've been lucky. They only took three nodes, but I'm still careful.

    I'm on day three of the shot. Gave myself my first PT session. I'm not sleeping much better yet but my body is really resenting only being able to sleep on my left side. I'm going to do PT diligently too, because I'm very very tired of not having a right arm. Yes, it hurts again but still not as bad as before the shot.

    How much movement did you get back?

  3. Ann - Your mention of fantasizing about being able to throw off the covers during a hot flash got me to thinking of the ways I have coped with that.

    I found that just getting one foot (or maybe both) out from under the covers will cool me off. I also learned to sleep with one less layer than I really wanted (& that sleeping in nightclothes is cooler than sleeping nude). I recently read that a study was done that determined visualizing snowy mountains or other cold settings will help mitigate the hot flash. I also buy either all cotton nightclothes or the kinds by Soma, etc., that are moisture/heat wicking. This past weekend I splurged on a set of Sheex sheets/pillowcases & they actually do seem to perform as indicated, evening out body temps - last night was the first in forever that I didn't wake up to my 3AM hot flash! valleycat1


Thank you for commenting. If the post is over 14 days old, the comment will be moderated and will approved later. This is a spam prevention technique - but I love to hear from you!