Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Update on My Shoulder . . .

Many thanks for all the good wishes - it was a good thing I decided to fish . . .

Turns out that I had a partial tear in my rotator cuff in addition to my shoulder being partially frozen.

Once he got in with the scope, he found a partial tear that hadn't shown up on the MRI nor the x-rays.  It's fixed now, and I was also told that when they manipulated my arm under anesthesia that it was very stiff. I guess they broke up those adhesions so it will be able to move freely again. Yay!

I had a very rough afternoon yesterday as the anesthesia left my body - thank goodness for Linda the Chicken Lady being here to help me.  Otherwise I would have had to have gone to a rehab facility for a few days.

The big bandage comes off this morning. The nerve block should wear off some time today.  When it does, I take the sling off.  I start PT again this morning - it will be aggressive to keep it from freezing up again. Every day for 2-3 weeks and then back to 2-3 times a week for, I guess, 3-5 months.

This will sound odd, but I'm actually very grateful that he found something. It makes sense now why I didn't respond to PT well before.

I have my massive dose of Advil, and they are trying me on Norco in the hope that I won't be allergic to it. I've had one and will take another before PT today.  They want to be sure I don't have an issue with it before the nerve block wears off. So far, so good. Please cross your fingers that I will be able to take it without issue. Once this nerve block wears off, I think I might need it.

So, onward. It's a new journey, one that I undertake gladly because it means that I regain the full use of my arm again :-)

Friday, June 24, 2016

It's on the Horizon . . .

I'm doing my best to not think about my upcoming surgery.

And when I do think about it, I remind myself that it's arthroscopic and I don't even have to miss much work, and I most likely won't even have to have general anesthesia because they'll do a nerve block and twilight sleep (extra grateful for this last).

But I still think about it.

Why?  Because I'm allergic to narcotic pain medication - both codeine and tramadol.  That means I'm going to have a surgery without pain medication other than Advil, and I'm a bit anxious about it.

I asked the surgeon what type of pain control there would be for me since I couldn't take the stuff they usually use.  He said, "Advil.  800mg three times a day."  That's it.  It gave me pause, that's for sure, and I am so glad that Linda the Chicken Lady is here for a visit and will be helping me through the first days after the surgery, much as she did after my car accident a year or so ago.

The surgeon's office sent me all the pre-surgery stuff last week.  I don't drink very much at all any more.  But, when I read it, I told one of my friends, "I could use a Pearblossom martini from Gibson's right about now . . ." I know that the pre-surgery instructions and info are generic in nature and they cover way more traumatic surgeries than mine will be, but it's startling to read the part about narcotic pain killers (which I can't take) and how you need to start taking them right away (which I can't) so you can stay ahead of the pain because you don't know when the nerve block will wear off (oh joy . . . ).

My friend Michelle commented awhile ago that due to her insurance deductible she would have cut bait.  I'm still thinking about cutting bait, Michelle!  But my shoulder doesn't work, and I'm pretty active - waiting for two years for it to resolve itself doesn't seem a good choice for me.  I met my deductible pretty quickly this year thanks to the MRI I had to have for this shoulder (that was spendy).  In fact, with all the PT and other general doctor visits and drug stuff, I'm already within a few hundred dollars of my Out of Pocket Maximum for this year and it's not even July yet.  Once I reach that max, everything is covered at 100% for the rest of the year. I'll reach it with the shoulder surgery.

Part of my brain keeps thinking that I'm getting better even as I move my shoulder less and less.  Thankfully my left shoulder has not progressed - I'm hoping it won't.

And this morning I'm finishing up the "split prep" for my colonoscopy scheduled for right around lunchtime.  Oh joy.  :-D  Seriously, the prep was not all that bad.  Last time I had the pills, and this time I had something called Prepopik.  The glop wasn't glop and it tasted lemony.  Really wasn't bad at all, so that was a relief.  My bum is a little sore, though  ;-)

I'll let you know how it all goes . . .

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

I had this post already going on to be ready for today - but I can't post it without first sharing with you some words I posted on Facebook yesterday, Monday, June 13, 2016:
All day long in the wake of the unbelievable loss of life in Orlando, I have seen post after post about guns. I do not believe that more guns is an effective response to this senseless loss of life. There is NO reason for any civilian living here in the U.S. to have a military-style assault rifle. The only use for this type of weapon is to kill as many humans as possible in as short a time as possible. 
My heart hurts for so many gone. So many young lives taken in this violent and horrific manner - and so many more still in hospital from the devastation of an assault rifle and the fact that it's EASY to get one . . . 
Should you wish to contact your Senators about this issue, here is a link.
This post engendered excellent and civil discourse among a number of my friends - not all of whom agree with me.  I am thankful that we were able to talk about this issue.  I don't know what the answer is - but I believe that we must start somewhere and I'm going to write to both senators from Illinois about it.

Onward . . .

Today's Ten on Tuesday email advises the following topic for this week:  10 Things on This Summer's Bucket List My List of the Things I've Always Wanted to Do 

First, let me say that I find the term "bucket list" to be offensive/icky.  It's like you have this list of all the stuff you want to accomplish - and then you croak.  It's morbid.  I've always just called it my List of Things I've Always Wanted to Do.  This list changes for me regularly, and it's had all manner of things on it over the years - from buying myself some good jewelry to traveling to getting a tattoo.  :-D

Because I am so very lucky, I have been able to accomplish many of the things I've always wanted to do thus far in my life.  Yes, I have some good jewelry that I bought for myself (since neither of my husbands was ever particularly interested in getting me something truly lasting). And yes I have been to some beautiful and amazing places (like Morocco, Egypt, Scotland and Northern Ireland). And yes, I have a tattoo.  More than one, actually ;-)

It has been awhile since I've really looked at my list (it's in my head most of the time), but I think it's time to get it down on the page again.  Makes it more concrete - and more achievable.  In addition, I haven't ever put time limits on my list in any of its formats- mostly these are just things I've always wanted to do . . .

  1. Visit Mt. Rushmore
  2. Be a more than adequate bagpiper (um . . . practice . . . )
  3. Go to Russia
  4. Go to Sweden
  5. Have a strong, healthy body
  6. Visit the Corn Palace (guess I'm going to have to plan a trip to South Dakota, huh?)
  7. Go to Hawaii
  8. Work  (and maybe live) in a living history museum like Colonial Williamsburg
  9. To be in a strong, healthy relationship with a man I love who thinks I'm all that and a bag of chips  
  10. To be happy in my life
As for this summer of 2016 . . . it's just a regular list  :-)

  1. Get successfully through my shoulder surgery
  2. Heal well and quickly
  3. Become the Queen of PT and regain full mobility in my right shoulder
  4. Delete 12 pounds from my frame by September 1st
  5. Enjoy time spent with friends and family
  6. Set aside enough time to physically take care of myself - i.e., cook more, walk more, sleep more, create more, love more, laugh more . . .
  7. Spend some quality time in my hammock in the shade
  8. Finish The Big Easy Gansey sweater
  9. Listen to all of Outlander on Audible
  10. Get started listening to Dragonfly in Amber on Audible

Do you have a list?

Friday, June 10, 2016

I Keep Thinking I'm Getting Better . . .

So, as you read yesterday, my shoulder is - unfortunately - not cooperating.  And here's the thing - I keep thinking I'm getting better.  Except that, apparently, I'm not - the measurements clearly show that I'm not.  And I realized yesterday morning that, of course, there is a big part of me hoping against hope that I am getting better.  That I'm going to be perfectly fine and won't have to have surgery.

I grasp at every straw . . .

I was sure I was getting better - I raised both my arms straight up because, you know, I can do straight up!  Yay Me!!! Straight! Up!  And then I looked in the mirror - the difference between what my left arm is doing and what my right shoulder won't allow is substantial - about 5-6 inches different.  And then I slowly forced my right arm up a little more, and found myself shifting my arms out to the front slightly to get them even.  Up and out toward the front, and up and out diagonally front are the paths of least resistant for the shoulder.  I see my body compensating for its inability to match the right to the capability of the left.

I was at the club Wednesday night for a workout with my trainer - let's be clear:  it wasn't a "real" workout with weight training, it was mostly a long walk and some core work on a bench, not the floor (because getting up from the floor is dicey at the moment because I need both arms and the right doesn't currently work reliably all the time).  Anyway, I was showing him how great my straight back range is now, because, you know, I can do straight back!  Yay Me!!!  Straight! Back!  Except my right arm stops at my butt and my left zips back as though I'm flying and gliding like you did when you were a kid pretending to be an airplane or a bird on the wing . . .

I slept with a different pillow Wednesday night and had a much better night's sleep than I did on Sunday night.  Take a look:

Sunday - this was the probably the worst night I've had since this all started back in December - it was very, very bad with a lot of pain and very little sleep.

Wednesday - Still not great, but WAY better.

A better night's sleep makes a huge difference in my outlook, that's for sure, because when I work up yesterday morning I was sure I was better, because, you know, I slept better and things didn't hurt so much when I got up.  Surely I'm getting better . . .  And I did my PT and I iced for 40 minutes instead of 20 because you know 40 is twice as good as 20 where ice is concerned.  And then, as I was getting out of the shower, I had an epiphany . . .

I'm not getting better.  I think I'm getting better because I'm unconsciously and instinctively compensating - altering my posture and/or reducing my own range of motion and taking the natural paths of least resistance to avoid the pain of my shoulder not working as it should.


And still I think I'm getting better.  it's almost like a PT vacation is letting things settle down a little.  Last night was way better for sleep, too - I actually was dreaming again, which means I did get some restorative REM sleep (finally!). 

Thursday, June 9, 2016

My Shoulder . . .

So - it's time for a shoulder update.  We last talked about my shoulder on May 8th.  I had just been to see the surgeon because I wasn't progressing at physical therapy and the therapist felt it was time to see a shoulder specialist and possibly have a shot of cortisone.

You'll likely recall that the result of that visit was no cortisone - just another 4-6 weeks of therapy and a follow up visit to the surgeon scheduled for five weeks later.

So, it's five weeks later and I went to see the surgeon on Tuesday.  I took with me a note from my physical therapist that said, in essence, she couldn't do anything else for me - that after two months of PT I had plateaued and my shoulder was no longer responding.  I have been diligent and committed to PT.  I've never missed an appointment and I do my home PT.  I even got a list from the therapist and did PT twice daily when I was on vacation.  Seriously - do you know anyone else who takes their gel ice on vacation with them so they can ice after PT???  On Vacation?????

But not only had I made no measurable progress in the reach-behind-your-back-and-unhook-your-bra motion according to the measurements the therapist documented, I had begun to regress in some of my other ranges of motion.


So - back to the surgeon.  He's a pretty cool guy and very good at what he does.  One of the best, in fact.  He gave the therapist's note a quick once-over, He checked my range of motion and my strength - and of course made me move in the way that hurts the worst.  Then he looked at the note again, and settled his six foot six inch (at least) self comfortably on the examination table as I was left standing in the middle of the room rubbing my shoulder.  The words "fish or cut bait" made an early appearance in our conversation.  My surgeon said them.  And I heard them.  No cortisone - he is not in favor of it - and neither am I, so that choice was off the table immediately, which left me with two.  I either have arthroscopic surgery where the surgeon will manipulate my shoulder under anesthesia to get it to move again, and then clean out whatever is making it hurt and keeping it from moving properly (fish), or I do nothing, leave it alone, and hope that within the next two years (!) it will resolve on its own (cut bait).

So . . . I'm going fishing toward the end of the month.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Plant Break . . .

What happens to the plants when you take a vacation?  I am lucky enough to have cousins who will stop by and top off the reservoirs when I go out of town, but that's all they do.  Still, that keeps everything alive and I'm grateful for it  :-) 

Here's a violet that was not turned for close to two weeks.  You can clearly see it leaning toward the light.  This is why it's so important to check your plants daily and give them a quarter turn regularly.  The lean is easily remedied - and quickly, too - by a half turn and then regular maintenance  :-)

Other things happen while you're away, too . . .


I took that photo on May 23rd.  Here is a photo of the same leaves (Linda Darnel - a semi-miniature trailer that I'm happy to have back in my collection) taken on Sunday:

They've grown substantially in less than two weeks.  It's that time of year - and these are semi-miniature leaves; they grow faster than standards do.  All the semis are going to town - and the few standard leaves I put down are taking their time - as usual  :-) 

There will be work for me to do soon down on the potting bench!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Ten on Tuesday . . .

Today's Ten on Tuesday topic is:  10 Things you are Curious About

  1. Hmmmm - I think I am curious about just about everything.
  2. About what is actually going on with my shoulder
  3. About inflammation and why no one really knows that much about it
  4. About why some people are the way they are
  5. Lately curious about yoga
  6. And about meditation
  7. And about how these ancient practices work with my very modern life
  8. About why it's so easy for me to embrace the new while still honoring to the past
  9. And about why it's so hard to maintain and sustain health and healthy habits
  10. About how things work . . .
I could go on  . . .   :-)


Sunday, June 5, 2016

I Learn Every Day . . .

While I was looking for Girish to share with you yesterday, I learned something awesome! 

I first heard the song on the video below on my first trip to the Isle of Iona, and whenever I hear it, it takes me right back there.  I had no idea until just now that it's not Celtic in nature!  But it's based on a beautiful Buddhist chant, and Chloe Goodchild is using the same style of chant form and English lyrics that Girish uses so well.  I guess I didn't figure it out because I don't speak Sanskrit . . .  ;-D 

This is such a beautiful and peaceful piece - and, in fact, I just typed "peace" and had to correct it.  The singer is Chloe Goodchild.

Sometimes it's good to just listen and go with the flow . . .

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Vacation . . .

As mentioned on Tuesday, I didn't mean to take such a long blog break.

I went on vacation for about two weeks!  I headed to the Northeast to visit my friend, T, in Connecticut.  We had a great time!  I got to visit WEBS America's Yarn Store!  And, being on vacation and all, yes, I bought yarn  :-D  And interestingly enough, a lot of it was yarn either without wool or with a very small percentage of wool in it.

I happen to love a couple of Berroco yarns - ReMix and Comfort Sock.  So, what you see here are sweater quantities for two sweaters of the ReMix, in Ocean and Eggplant (on either end), and in the middle, five skeins of Comfort Sock.  I also got some Hempathy, in green and cream on the left, for a shawl called Edradour that Linda the Chicken Lady and I are both going to knit.  Finally, there are three skeins of Noro Taiyo because it makes awesome hats, and one skein of Opal for good measure (and because it's one of my all-time favorite sock yarns).  So, quite a haul, but with all their discounts, not all that spendy in the grand scheme of things!  Wheeeeeee!

The main reason for my trip East, however, was to go to Kripalu and study yoga with Peggy Cappy for a week.  Disclaimer up front.  I'm not a yogini.  Most of the poses are not things I can do (at least not at this time), but Peggy's focus is on adaptive yoga and on making it accessible for all people - hence her DVD series:  Yoga for the Rest of Us.  I've talked about them before  :-)  It was a great week, and Kripalu is a pretty amazing and inclusive place.  The food was extremely healthy, although much of it was not to my taste, but I tried a lot of new things, and they always had some other, more traditional options on their Sandwich bar.  They also have a Buddha bar that is vegan, and a lot of vegetarian choices. 

Kripalu itself used to be a Jesuit monastery, so our room was cell-like and very small, with only a sink.  The main building it not air conditioned, but thankfully it was cool in initially.  Every room has a box fan and we used our occasionally. The beds were mattresses on a frame - no box spring, so that made them very low, and they were memory foam, which a lot of people like.  They were certainly comfortable once you were lying down, but I find that stuff very difficult to roll over on.  Thankfully I have strong quads and was able to make pillow nests for my shoulder. We went down the hall to use the bathroom and shower, which would have been OK except that I was thinking it would be like it was in Germany in a gasthaus, where you always go down the hall.  But that's a house-like structure - Kripalu's main building is a massive structure (a LOT of monks must have been there back in the day), so it was more like hiking to the bathroom.  Not ideal if you wake up to pee in the middle of the night - you have to attempt to roll over to get out of the memory foam, get your quads ready for a strong squat and push to get up from the really low bed, remember to grab your room keycard, and then be blinded by the bright hallway light as you stumble down what felt like a block-long hall to get to the bathroom  :-D

There are other accommodations available - and I will choose them in the future, because I definitely see myself returning - but it was my first time there so I didn't know what to expect.  Live and learn  :-)

It was a great week and Peggy Cappy is amazing.  I'm hoping to study with her again next year.  Our class was small - 20 people.  It was the perfect size, and it was a very diverse group.  There were a number of yoga teachers in the class wanting to learn more about adapting poses because they were getting a lot of seniors in their classes.  There were people of all ages, both men and women, from early 20s to early 80s!  It was so great and I met some really wonderful people there.

Kripalu has a great shop, and so, of course, I did some shopping.  I bought mostly books - which necessitated my shipping boxes home filled with them and yarn  :-D

Books - mostly on Ayurveda because I wanted to have a better understanding of it, but also some written by one of the staff members, Aruni - I heard her speak and she was very interesting.  She also has a blog that I'm going to check out.  I got a sweet fountain - over on the left - unfortunately it doesn't work  :-(  I took some photos and need to contact the Kripalu store. Some beautiful cards came home with me, too  :-)

I got some great CDs.  One of Girish's older CDs, Diamonds in the Sun that Peggy used in class.  He combines the chant form with English lyrics and it's really beautiful stuff. 

Enjoy . . .