Feeling Better, Compliments of Dana the Torturer :)

20 Feb

The pain that I woke up with yesterday morning subsided and I am feeling much, much better. The pain was from the preceding day’s physical therapy. It was pretty intense (the therapy) and I really love my therapist because she is so good and really works hard to make progress for me. It is a painful process, but, when I see the results, it is so incredibly worth it. She is really amazing. Anyway, I am sore still, but it is not too bad. And, I look forward to getting worked on again this coming Tuesday.

In the meantime I have to keep up my exercises and stretches so that I do not lose the progress made thus far and so that I can make more progress. I am excited by how much improvement was made in just Thursday’s appointment and it is all because of Dana, my physical therapist. I wish I could have a video tape of one of our sessions – she has such a great sense of humor and I am so eager to make progress, that every time she applies pressure (pulls, stretches, pushes the areas that need the work) and she asks me if I am okay, I always say yes. But, then pretty quickly after I say yes, I am involuntarily crying out in pain. I know this sounds horrible. But, it isn’t. And, the reason why I wish I could get video of it is because it is kind of hysterical. We are laughing heartily one minute and then the next minute I am expressing – well – reacting to the pain she is inflicting and then right back to laughing.

I guess you kind of have to be there to see the funny side of this, but it truly is funny. I was apologizing to her last time for my “sound effects” (just my reaction to the pain) because her next client is usually waiting within hearing distance – so I was joking with her that no one is going to want to work with her after hearing me.  My “sound effects” are what just involuntarily occurs when she pushes me beyond that point – but that is EXACTLY what I need as it is the way to break up the scar tissue that has formed in my shoulder – the work she does on me literally breaks up the adhesions of scar tissue to the bones in my shoulder and as a result increases my range of motion (and yes, it hurts, but it IS working). And, the goal, of course is to get to the point that I regain all of the range of motion by working out all of those adhesions, breaking up all of that scar tissue.

Part of the cause of this frozen shoulder in my right shoulder is actually due to the radiation treatment. I had no idea that it would or could cause this problem. But, when I saw my surgeon the other day she explained to me that the pectoral muscle was much worse on my right shoulder because it had been damaged (just like your skin is affected) by the radiation. Duh, of course. But, I never thought about it. I mean here I was getting radiation to a large area, including the supraclavicular lymph nodes (so right above my collar bone on the right side). Well, the radiation went right through to my back and caused burning there on my back – amazing. So, of course everything in between would have been affected as well (muscles and whatever else is in there) 🙂

I just never thought about it. And, as my surgeon explained, since my muscle was shortened (became more tight) from the radiation, it caused my shoulder to pull forward, me to lose my range of motion and that led to the frozen shoulder – not being able to use it causes adhesions and scar tissue to build up. Anyway, it helps me mentally to understand all of these things because now I see how I can make progress. AND, I AM seeing progress.

It is tough, but so encouraging. I was so depressed about losing so much of my ability to move about, do things that required both of my arms, even little, simple things were either impossible to do or I could do them, but there was a lot of pain when I did it (for example, opening a window or my sliding glass door – do-able, but really painful).

But, now I have really improved and I feel extremely encouraged by this. I still have a lot of work to do, especially on the right shoulder. And, with two more surgeries in front of me, I need to make this progress as quickly as possible. I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.

I am so grateful to have Dana. And, I do wish I could get a video of her working on me (or as she puts it – “torturing me”) because it is really funny – pain, laughing, pain, laughing. It is just very funny. And, I really look forward to going into physical therapy both because of the laughter and because of the pain (no, I am not a masochist) but this pain is what is leading to my healing. So happy about that.

2 Responses to “Feeling Better, Compliments of Dana the Torturer :)”

  1. Sandy February 20, 2010 at 12:51 PM #

    You are amazing! When I had physical therapy after my car accident, I would cry like a baby! It HURT! Unlike you, I couldn’t see the big picture, I just wanted out of there.

  2. cancerfree2b February 20, 2010 at 11:53 PM #

    Awe, I am sorry that you had to go through that. I think the reason why this pain is not as bad as prior bad side effects of my treatments (like radiation and chemo, etc) is because it is actually making me better. Where as the chemo was hurting my body – even though it was killing cancer cells, it killed all kinds of other cells and hurt organs and well, it just isn’t a good thing for your body to have to go through. I have no idea how people get through chemo when they have other (other than cancer) underlying health problems, because the effects of it on your body are so harsh and, well, I just can’t imagine having to go through it as an older person, less strong etc.

    Anyway, i digress. My point was that I do plenty of crying – it does hurt. I just think I am having an easier time with it mentally because it its the first treatment that is only all good for me. I mean, for example, the radiation treatment is supposed to kill any remaining cancer cells that can’t be seen (assuming there are any). But, it caused pain and damage to my body – and creates some risks that – risks that I had to weigh against the potential benefits of having the radiation treatment (the benefit being a reduction in chance of my having a recurrence). Chemo did the same thing – cause pain and damaged my cells, organs, etc.

    And the surgery, even though it removed the cancer, also caused pain and did damage in that it was a lot for my body to go through.

    So, I guess I am so excited (even though it hurts like I never imagined it could) about physical therapy because – even though it hurts – it is ONLY doing me good – there are not bad side effects or risks or complications from it (it is just some pain for a while – temporary).

    And Dana is truly amazing. She is, as I said above, a cancer survivor and so there is an affinity there and well, she just cares and wants me to make as much progress as I can the quickest and healthiest way possible. I trust her, so even though it hurts, I know that it is okay and necessary. And, the increased range of motion (without pain) is proof that what she does to me is really working. I feel so grateful to have found her.

    Well, this is a pretty long comment 🙂

    I will talk to you soon,

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