Wednesday, December 31, 2014


It's that time to assess where I am and plan for the new year.  This year my resolutions center around (1) knitting (which you probably don't care about.  The gist is, stop buying yarn until a chunk of my stash has been knitted.), and (2) health and fitness.

My healthy ways have been completely disregarded as I continued to feel more and more depressed about my shoulder hurting.  I'm a little scared that I'll never swim again.  I still need to try acupuncture, and if that doesn't work, then I guess I'll consult with a surgeon and see if he or she has any thoughts.

However, I don't want to weigh 300 pounds eventually, so it's time to do something, anything, to be healthier.  So here's the plan for January, starting January 2 (Jason is making bread to go with tomorrow's black-eyed peas, so I'm going to have that as a last hurrah):

1) 30 days without the crap.  No caffeine, no sugar, no grains.  Last night Jason and I were talking about this and he said, Well, but you could have some occasional sourdough bread that I make...  Nope.  I need to do 30 real compliant days and get this stuff out of my system.  I've done it before, it's just been really hard for me to find the motivation to stick to it recently.  But I know I can do it.

2) Walk 10,000 steps 5 out of 7 days per week.  We took a trip in October and spent the first few days walking a bunch.  It was amazing how in just that short amount of time, I felt like my clothes were fitting a tad looser, and my attitude improved immensely.  Walking is about all I can do right now, so walking it is!  My fitbit just broke (sad!), but until I get a new one I know if I can walk the path near my house, that's about 8000 steps, and getting 2000 more during the day is a given.  If it snows, then I'll go to the gym and do the treadmill or elliptical. 

These aren't mind-blowing resolutions, but then it's only January.  2015 will be the year I get all of this under control again.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Cautiously Optimistic

Last night when Jason and I were driving home from pub trivia (1st!), I commented to him that right at that moment, my shoulder wasn't hurting.  That's kind of a big thing since most of the time there's at least a slight ache there.  This morning I woke up and it didn't hurt.

Now I'm sitting at my desk and my lousy ergonomic set up is causing it to ache again, but I'm paying attention and doing what I can to adjust my arm to the most painless position.  It's better.

I had planned to get up and start PiYo again this morning, since I figured out that my shoulder hurts whether I'm active or not, so I might as well be active.  Only since my shoulder didn't hurt, I thought, maybe it's getting better.  Maybe I shouldn't put it through a stressful workout with a bunch of down dog and such and see if it keeps getting better...

I don't know if that was the right choice, but it was my instinct in the moment.  I'm going for a walk later today, so I'll get some activity, but I'm going to cool it with the PiYo for now and maybe I can heal.  That's a novel thought.  Since my shoulder started hurting almost a year ago I don't think there has been a time when I took a few weeks off from everything like I've done lately.  Maybe that's what I needed.

I'll give it a week.  If it's still feeling better, I will cautiously try to do some exercise that uses my shoulder and see how it goes.

Monday, August 25, 2014


And the MRI result is - there's no injury.  Wah wah.

I went to my PA on Friday and he told me that the MRI definitely shows inflammation, and some bursitis and tendonitis, but no tears anywhere.  Which to me just sounds like I have to learn to live with it.  He did say that there might be a surgical option where if there's some impingement they can go in arthroscopically and shave off some bone, and clean out the bursa, and that's helped some people.  He said surgeons usually like to see you've tried everything else, including more than one cortisone shot.

So I got another cortisone shot and promptly almost passed out.  I had a stomach ache Friday so I hadn't eaten lunch. Whoops.  It's actually been a few years since a needle has made me pass out, and that was when I got blood drawn.  The soreness from the shot is finally wearing off today and I can still feel that one painful pinpoint right in the front of my shoulder, which tells me the cortisone hasn't touched it.

I'm just not sure what else I can do.  I did PT for 4 months and have been on a prescription anti-inflammatory for 5 months. I've had 2 cortisone shots and now the MRI just shows vague "inflammation."  I guess the next step is to meet with a surgeon in a couple of months (after we take a trip in October) and see if that would be useful for me to consider.

In the meantime, I am so bummed out by my lack of activity.  I was so excited for PiYo, and I've had a couple of friends and teammates who worked the program for the 60 days and have seen incredible results.  Meanwhile I purposely did nothing last week just to see what happened and my shoulder is still sore.  I suppose that shows that I can work out some and as long as I ice my shoulder after, it doesn't really make it worse, so that's something.

I need to walk more, since I can do that.  I was going to wake up early this morning and do just that, but then I had a really restless night and couldn't pull myself out of bed at 6 AM.  Tomorrow!  Or maybe today after work, actually.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Had my MRI this morning.  Afterward I was wondering if experienced MRI techs know enough to read and interpret what's on the screen?  My tech was an older lady who seemed to know her way around the MRI machine, adjusting me and switching out coils to get the best image possible, and checking on me periodically to make sure I wasn't freaking out during the 40 minutes I had to lay super still while magnets grinded and ka-chunked in a huge plate about 3 inches from my forehead.  Thank goodness for open MRIs.  I can see how people get claustrophobic in the tubes.

Anyway, she casually chatted with me when I first got there about what happened to my shoulder.  Then after the MRI, she probed a little bit, asking about the trauma and the stress my shoulder has experienced to get me to this point.  It made me wonder if she saw an injury on the image.

I'll find out Friday when I see my doctor, but of course I'm impatient.  I think at this point I want there to be a discernible injury.  Something to assure me I'm not just crying wolf and that there's actually a problem.  But a fixable problem.  That's key.  I don't want swimming, kayaking, rowing, yoga, etc. to be things I just don't do anymore, because, you know, bum shoulder.

Thursday, August 07, 2014


I saw my orthopedic PA this morning and we agreed that I should get an MRI.  He asked if it shows some fraying or tearing if I would be open to having surgery and I said, definitely.  It's not that I want surgery of course, but I do want to feel better and get back to my normal activity level.  I'm so pleased when I hear my PiYo teammates talk about their successes, but I'm also a little jealous that I'm not right there with them. 

So we're working on scheduling an MRI because insurance, pre-approvals, blah, blah, blah. 

I'm not going to lie - I'm struggling.  I have been really down and snippy with Jason and all I want to do is hole up and escape in knitting and cheesy TV shows (currently making my way through Buffy for the first time).

And the PA made a casual comment this morning about how he can visually see atrophy in one of my right shoulder muscles as compared to the left because I'm obviously babying it.  Super.

At this point, I hope the MRI shows something because if it doesn't, I'm out of ideas.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Limiting Factors

My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.  Yesterday I did a PiYo workout called "Sweat", which, yes, that's what you do.  I felt fabulous doing it, as usual.  My balance and wrist strength are both improving a lot after only a few weeks of doing these exercises.  I still modify some things so as not to strain my shoulder too much (no burpees, no push ups, only plank), but I'm able to do a lot of it. Then Jason and I fixed a super healthy dinner (in which we both invented a dish and I determined that we are both brilliant cooks).

Every so often I get these glimpses into how I would  be doing it if I could.  I love that feeling when the pieces of my healthy living puzzle fall neatly into place.  I feel happy and inspired to continue.  I planned to get up early this morning and do PiYo Lower Body.

Only, I woke up to a sore and stiff right shoulder and I knew if I did another workout I would probably get a headache and I'm tired of plowing through my work days with a headache.  Instead I spent a little while laying on the heating pad before I got up for the day.  Since getting to work I keep pausing to do some stretching exercises to hopefully keep my muscles from getting too tight.

I have an ortho appointment next Thursday and I will be requesting an MRI.  I'm tired of this and sad about what I'm missing out on this summer - like swimming at the fancy Brown pool while the swim team isn't crowding out the lap swim schedule.

Like kayaking.  Tomorrow if the weather holds out Jason and two of our friends are going kayaking in our favorite spot with the Groupons we bought in May.  Me?  I'll be starting at the local town beach and walking down to meet them where the river flows into the ocean.  I love a nice beach walk, but I'd rather be paddling.

I know I'm being whiny, but these are the highs and lows of my summer.  I'm hopeful that by next summer I'll be able to enjoy normal again.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Keep On Keeping On

So my shoulder is still wonky.  I started doing PiYo a few weeks ago and am really enjoying the short but intense workouts.  However, I've discovered that I can't double up on workouts and I can't do it 6 days a week like the schedule calls for.  Even with modifications, it's too much for my shoulder and if I push too hard I wind up with tingling and numbness, a massive headache, or both.  I've been feeling so discouraged.

I have an appointment with my PA next week and I'm going to insist I get an MRI to see if there is any real damage.  As everyone keeps telling me, if the rotator cuff or any tendons are damaged, they don't heal on their own and surgery is the only option.  I've been doing PT for over 3 months now and my therapist and I agree that I have plateaued and am not improving anymore.  I'm kind of to the point where if surgery is the key, then let's get in there and get it done!

Last week after working out too hard, I had a 2-day migraine.  Too hard = 2, 20-minute PiYo workouts.  I felt great while I was doing them, but the next day all of the muscles around my right shoulder blade and in the right side of my neck had completely seized up.  My boss suggested going to his chiropractor.  I am open to any and all suggestions at this point so I made an appointment and went yesterday. 

The chiropractor also wanted to see an MRI, but he said if there is damage, he might be able to help with some of the peripheral pain and stiffness.  And he did.  He tested the strength in both of my arms and it was obvious my right one was struggling to do some of the resistance tests.  He checked my alignment and told me my right clavicle was drooping.  He used this tool to push it back into place with a little *pop*.  Then he tested my resistance strength again using my shoulder muscle and suddenly I could resist without any pain.  Wow!  I actually said, "Wow!" which I think pleased him.

So I'm definitely going to keep going to him, get the MRI, see what's going on, and go from there.

In the meantime, Jason asked me yesterday if I was going to be able to use my kayaking Groupons.  Every summer we buy several Groupons from our favorite kayaking place when they pop up in May and I'm really sad to say, I don't think I'm going to be able to kayak this year.  The shoulder has now taken away swimming and kayaking, two of my very favorite things.  So.  Frustrating.

I just hope by next summer, my shoulder will be better, whether that means surgery or just time (though I think it might mean surgery).