Friday, May 8, 2015

Getting on with life


I had my pity party yesterday and I'm ok now. I've booked in physiotherapy for Monday and I'll see how that goes, with the possibility of looking into surgery later.

I never had a particular incident that caused the tear, that I am aware of, just gradually increasing pain over a period of several months. That coincided with my push to go to the gym regularly and starting BodyPump. My best guess, given my history with the other shoulder, is that I have a predisposition to problems in that area and might be best to stay away from excessive exercise of that joint. Tendon tears are very common, but I am young for getting an gradual tear like this. The recent recurrence of it really bothering me (although it never stopped troubling me) seems to coincide with me doing that Fantasia game that is all arms. Until/unless I find out different, I am going to be super careful and the only exercise my shoulders get will be physiotherapist-sanctioned. I copied the below info more for myself, please feel free to skip it if you are sick of hearing about my shoulder.

The Rotator Cuff is a group of muscles and tendons around the shoulder. These muscles are important for the shoulder to function normally. They help balance the ball of the upper arm on the shoulder blade socket. A tear in one or more of these tendons can unbalance the shoulder and cause pain and weakness. It is common for these tendons to tear as people get older. Greater than 50% of people over 70 years of age have a full thickness tear at autopsy.The rotator cuff tears do not spontaneously heal. Despite the lack of healing there is greater than a 90% chance that a patient will have no pain and a return of most shoulder strength after 6-12 months.
Tendon firmly attached to boneFull thickness tear of tendon from bone
a. Tendon firmly attached to boneb. Full thickness tear of tendon from bone
The non-operative treatment of a painful rotator cuff tear includes activity modification, pain management and physiotherapy.
  • Activities should be modified to decrease the demands and stress on the effected shoulder during the painful phase
  • Pain management includes simple analgesics, anti-inflammatories and steroid injections
  • Physiotherapy helps restore shoulder range of motion and strength
Surgery is generally reserved for those who despite 6-12 months of non-operative therapy have ongoing pain and disability that is interfering with their quality of life. If a patient is considering surgery an MRI scan is organised to better define the abnormalities and ensure surgery is worthwhile.

Following rotator cuff repair, the risk of infection and nerve injury is less than 1%. The risk of stiffness is around 10% but normally resolves spontaneously by 10 months after surgery. Stiffness is more common in diabetic patients. The healing rate is not 100% following surgery, and surgery is most successful for smaller tears, in younger patients and in non-smokers.

The rehabilitation for rotator cuff repairs is longer than most patients would prefer. Tendon to bone healing takes 3 months. As a result, most patients spend 6 weeks in a sling during which driving a vehicle is not allowed. Surgeons will vary in their approach to resumption of active movement, strengthening and return to work or recreation. Patients will continue to improve for up to 2 years following surgery.

On a lighter note, a funny thing happened yesterday. I had just got in my car and was pulling out of a car park. A couple of car spaces away from where mine had been was ... my car. I stared at it. Same model and colour, but that is not so unusual. But same number plate?? In a sudden panic, I checked my surroundings. Was I in the right car? Had my key somehow worked in someone else's car and here I was driving it away? No, this was definitely my car with my junk in it. But there was my car out there. After several confused seconds I realised that the number plate was not exactly mine. Mine finishes with 67. This car's number plate finished with 76. Otherwise identical letters and numbers. Maybe the odds of that happening aren't so long, maybe there is a whole series of gold Mazda 323 with number plates counting up from 60 to 80 or something. And it's not a big city, I was going to park next to one of them eventually. But it was kind of exciting at the time to be in a weird car-warp.

I weighed-out yesterday for month three of my six-month dietbet. I didn't make the cumulative 8%, of course, or even my goal of 4%, but I had lost some weight and at the time I felt ok with that. After getting my shoulder results I wasn't really ok with anything! Today I'm back on an even keel and ready to analyse my 16 day experiment with carb cycling.

I did eat some things off-plan but I mostly stuck to it. I wasn't perfect but then I never am so that needs to be taken into account.

If I'd only weighed at the beginning and the end the small amount of weight lost might seem ok for two weeks. But I weigh every day so I know that what really happened was that I lost that weight in the first three days and then have stayed the same for most of the two weeks. On one hand, you could say I just lost water weight and the diet did nothing. On the other hand, I'd been hovering around the higher weight for weeks and now I'm consistently (for two weeks) bobbing around the lower weight and that is better than nothing.

I am considering starting a 4 week dietbet, hosted by the people who wrote the carb cycling book I'm using, starting on Monday. Being so far behind in my long-term dietbet is a bit discouraging and I think having a short term goal would be better for me to focus on. If I decide to stay with carb cycling this would be a good one to do. I love the dietbet activity board, everyone is so supportive and it is a great social network to be part of. I log on there at least twice a day so I still like being part of that community. I haven't made any decisions yet.

I went out for a walk at lunchtime, after to treating myself to a nice lunch next to the small lake near us. It was quite pleasantly warm as long as I stayed in the sun. I was annoyed at my fitbit though. I had charged it in the morning but didn't realise it didn't connect properly. So it ran out of power and didn't record my steps.

And here is a duck.

I saw my friend Annabelle with her kids in the park so had a brief chat. It was very nice to get out of the house.

Yesterday after school I took my children to the dentist, a new place we hadn't been before, for a clean and check-up. It was nice there, I was happy with it. But afterwards they gave both children a "bravery award" which was sponsored by McDonalds and had a voucher attached. This seemed an odd choice for a health practitioner! And junk food aside, I think suggesting that kids need to be brave to go to the dentist is sending the wrong message. It reinforces the idea that dentists are scary. I try not to show my own fear and hang-ups about dentists in front of them. I want them to be calm about it, sure it can be noisy and stuff they put on your teeth can taste yucky, but nothing to be scared of. Nothing you need a bravery award to get through!


  1. Sounds like a much better day! I hope the physio really helps you out. That lake looks like a very relaxing and beautiful area. My kind of place!

    That is a little surprising about the dentist!

    1. Canberra is a planned city with several nice lakes. It's very pretty here. But a bit cold in winter!

  2. Funny story about your car... my wife did that, one time we had a van and she was doing grocery shopping. At the third store she got out and when in. When she came back to the car, she put the bags in the rear beside the bags from the 2 earlier store. She started to backup but noticed a music tape that was not ours. She started to look further and there was more stuff that was not ours. She got out of the van, look at the plate, NOT the same plate. She had found a van, same year same color and the keys worked. The owner even had bags from the same grocery in the back.

    I sure hope the physio work, just remember it's not a quick fix, you have to be patient.

    I'm with you for the dentist!

    1. So I have to be a patient patient?

      That is amazing with the van! At least she noticed straight away (I assume) - she could have done the car switch earlier on and been driving around town while the real owner freaked out!

  3. That graphic really puts your condition into perspective, you poor thing. The car thing was rather funny.

    I have a major problem with your doctor giving out McDonald's voucher. I think the scarier suggestion is that Fast food should be the reward to begin with, and of all places McDonald's. I don't think that can have positive or healthy effects long term whatsoever! It's a smart and unethical way for McDonald's to market their brand to your kids under your nose, while seeming innocent to the naked eye. Rant over.

    I like the shot of the duck, the trees in the background make for a nice burst of color with the sky, and they almost line up leading towards the duck 📷

    1. Yeah it gets harder and harder to avoid invasive fast food corporations and keep stuff like that to just occasional convenience food when it's shoved under our noses all the time. I wasn't impressed, but being me I didn't say anything. I hate confrontation of any kind.