Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MRI

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

Atrophy

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).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

PiYo Highs and Lows

It's been bit more than a week since I started PiYo and I thought I would give a little update.  First of all, I'm really enjoying the program overall.   I like the combo of pilates and yoga a lot.  I've always enjoyed pilates (probably partly because it's something I can do with my strong swimmer's core), but have sometimes found straight yoga classes to be a little dull.  So sorry to my friends who are yoga devotees, but it's just not my thing.  The combination of the two and the constant movement is really appealing to me.  I feel challenged and I sweat, but PiYo doesn't have all of that plyometric stuff that other workouts do and that completely shred my shins.


I have had to adjust some things.  Instead of push-ups, I hold plank.  Push-ups are too unstable for my shoulder, but I've done plank in PT so I know it's approved.  I can't do anything that has me balancing a lot of weight on just my right arm, but fortunately there aren't too many exercises like that. 


I've noticed I'm a bit stronger and while down dog hurt a week ago, I now seem to have the muscle support around my rotator cuff to do it along with the DVD most of the time


Finally, and as I've just crowed about on Facebook, in less than 2 weeks I have lost an inch on my waist, half an inch on my hips, 3/4 inch on each thigh and 3/4 inch on my chest!  Batteries are dead on my scale so I couldn't weigh, but I think measurements are so much more telling.  Yesterday I noticed that I just felt a little different.  A little less wiggly maybe?  Turns out it wasn't my imagination.


So here's the down side.  My shoulder continues to be a struggle.  It's so frustrating.  On Tuesday night I did two of the PiYo workouts for a total of 42 minutes.  I had minimal pain while I was doing it, iced my shoulder afterward, and felt pretty great.  Then yesterday morning I woke up and discovered that all of the muscles around my right shoulder blade and in my neck had knotted up.  I took my prescription anti-inflammatory Tuesday morning, but I think I need to take it shortly before the workout so it's at maximum strength while I'm working out and right after.


Anyway, this morning, I'm just coming out of a migraine brought on by all of the muscles in the right side of my neck seizing up.  I've determined that the majority of the migraines I've had over the last couple of years have probably been shoulder-related.  This has probably been a problem for a lot longer than I realized.  Thanks a lot, shoulder.


It's really disheartening because PiYo is low impact and I have been modifying, and yet my shoulder is still a problem.  Working out has shoulder-related repercussions that can last for a couple of days.  It may be awhile before I can swim again.  I probably won't be able to kayak this summer.  All my favorite things are slipping through my fingers.


I have to admit, I'm a bit down about that.  But I'm encouraged by the inches lost and the fact that I can do PiYo, so long as I'm careful.  No more doubling up on workouts.  I think what I'm going to do is shoot for doing PiYo every other day, and walking on the days when I don't do PiYo (and maybe on the days that I do too).  At least I can still walk.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Starting A Challenge and Office Improvements

No, the improvement isn't that there's less junk food in the office.  However, today I got an office again!  I figured since I moaned about not having an office on here a little bit ago, I should talk about the exciting development that is having an office again!


The people in charge have finally accepted that we're not going to be out of this temporary space by September and something needed be done about the cramped environs.  For instance, I was in a cubicle and 3 other people were all sitting in a large conference room together.  Cozy!  So the landlord rented us some space on the second floor, which means all the lawyers actually have offices now.  Hurrah!


The benefits so far are: (1) I have an office;  (2) people will no longer be sneaking up behind me and opening a file cabinet, scaring the crap out of me; (3) I can close my door and have a private phone conversation; (4) unlike the first floor, the AC seems to work pretty well up here; (5) since we still don't have bathroom keys on the second floor, every trip to the bathroom means taking the stairs so bonus steps and floors for the Fitbit.  (I could take the elevator, but it's the slowest elevator in the world.  And it's one floor.)


As an extra bonus, I also now have a parking spot.  It came with the additional office space we rented.  I've been resisting getting a parking spot because I don't usually mind taking the bus, but I've needed my car a lot lately, and the bus routes and schedules just changed significantly, so what better time to just admit that I'm part of the problem and drive my car to work every day?


In other news, I started PiYo officially yesterday as part of the PiYo Facebook challenge I'm doing.  I've done two workouts, and have had to tweak some things for my shoulder, but so far it's not so bad.  Tomorrow's workout is called "Sweat", so I may change my tune.


As part of the challenge I post pictures of my meals, which means they better be healthy or I get no points.  Points are excellent motivation for me.


It's like when the teachers on The Simpsons are on strike and Lisa pleads with Marge, "Grade me!  Grade me!"  I always thought  Lisa was my nerdy, bookworm soulmate.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Struggle At the Office

Our office used to consist of me, my boss and our assistant.  We also had a junior associate periodically.  So there were 3 or 4 of us and we had an unspoken arrangement that we would not be bringing junk food into the office.  I swim, my boss bikes, our assistant walks and does P90X.  Office snacks available for general consumption consisted of trail mix and granola bars.  We got birthday cake at the appropriate time, but since the assistant's and my birthdays are 3 days apart, cake happened twice a year.


Then the office grew.  We now have 9 people, but we knew we were in trouble when numbers 5 and 6 joined us at the beginning of March.  Within a week, number 5 had brought in donuts, cookies and cupcakes to share with everyone.  We also learned that number 6, probably one of the skinniest women I have ever seen in my life, lives on chocolate and pizza.


Now, in addition to trail mix, our office kitchen is also stocked with Nutter Butters (my personal kryptonite), those crappy crackers with cheese or peanut butter that are full of trans fats, and chocolate chip cookies.


I really miss the unspoken arrangement of no junk food.  It made it much, much easier to stick to my food plan.  Now I have to exercise actual willpower and not pick up that package of Nutter Butters.  It's hard, y'all.