New Year, New Shoulder? (Not quite, but almost)

Well, I am finally writing my first blog post of 2012.

We had a wonderful Christmas. We rung in the New Year in Panama City Beach, Florida. We flew home on the 3rd and celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary on the 4th. And yesterday I returned to physical therapy for my shoulder after a week's rest.

I think the rest must have been good for my shoulder because I was able to sleep pretty well two nights in a row without any pain medication (Tuesday and Wednesday night). I hadn't been able to do that since September. And I was pleased to tell my therapist that the last time I needed pain relief during the day had been Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. He said my neck was moving better and then we tackled the stretching, pulling and pushing of my arm. He seemed really pleased with the additional movement I was getting and reminded me of where I started. It's weird because I have no frame of reference when it comes to where I was when I started. All I remember is such horrible pain with any movement. How far my arm would go in any direction is a blur. It just didn't want to move, period. Every movement they tried to increase felt like sheer torture to me. It wasn't degrees of movement that had meaning. It was simply degrees of pain. Most of the time my eyes were closed and I was just trying so hard not to cry while they stretched, pushed and pulled. (I am never successful at "trying" not to cry, by the way.)

I must be starting the thawing phase because although PT is still painful, it wasn't nearly as intense yesterday. And the moments that were the most painful were more tolerable than they have ever been. There is one specific thing they do to me that made me want to scream (I didn't) in the beginning. And it still hurts. But I am amazed at how much better I tolerate that now. I was very pleased with how well I did in PT yesterday and I did not feel like I'd been "overworked." I was not hurting last night. So I went to bed without taking a pain pill again. My expectation was that it would be like the past two nights. But I woke up at 12:30 in a lot of pain. And I was so disappointed. Because every time I have good days and good nights, I am overly optimistic that I've "turned the corner."

I didn't want to break my streak. I so wanted not to take a pain pill that I got up and put my heat wrap in the microwave instead of taking a pill. I went back to bed with heat and dozed for a few minutes (until the wrap lost its warmth). I got up and heated it again. This is how determined I was not to take a pain pill. But after tossing and turning and hurting for two hours, I finally just got up and took the pain pill at 2:30. That got me two hours of sleep. And the tossing and turning started again at 4:30. I finally got up between 6:30 and 7:00. And I've had heat on my shoulder ever since.

So, therapy most definitely causes inflammation for me. And I'm so glad I'm not going back again until Monday. At the same time, I know how far I've come. I had lunch with a friend yesterday and she told me my whole countenance is different. (I'm me again.) She said, "I knew how bad the pain was because you couldn't even talk about the pain without crying."

It's true. I remember seeing friends while trying to Christmas shop and not being able to talk without crying when they asked how I was doing. I hated it. It was embarrassing to be such an emotional mess. But the pain took a huge toll on me. I'm glad I'm past that part. Even with the ups and downs I still have, I feel 100% better mentally and emotionally.

I will have a dilemma tonight. After last night, I'm probably going to take a pain pill and make sure I sleep. I thought I was done with that.

I have another fun appointment today. I have to get a cortisone injection in my foot. I actually need an injection in both feet, but I don't know if they will give me one in both at the same time. I have neuromas (scar tissue wrapped around nerves). Yeah. That's not fun either. And they need to be surgically removed, but I keep putting it off. And I can't do crutches with a frozen shoulder. Sometimes I feel like my body is falling apart. But I know that my health issues are minor. It's easy to feel sorry for yourself in the middle of the night. But even then I remind myself of real suffering, like chemo.

I have two pieces of advice today for young women reading this:

1) Don't wear those really high heels. (They damage your feet. Trust me on this.)

and ...

2) Enjoy your youth!

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