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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.

On a Positive Note . . .

8 Feb

Hello again – two posts in one am, why not?

On a much more POSITIVE note (than my previous post of a few minutes ago where I whine about how I can not sleep) – the physical therapy I am getting is doing wonders. I am driving again (the most – so far in one round trip was about 42 miles). So that is absolutely wonderful. Also, I can do so much more now physically for myself. I love the physical therapy location that  go to (three times a week) and it has made such a marked improvement, I am astonished – and thrilled!! (And I imagine everyone who has been driving me to doctor’s appointments, treatments, grocery stores etc. is thrilled too). 🙂

It is just really encouraging to see results so fast. I go three days a week and spend about an hour and a half there working out (not so much a traditional workout, but sort of a combination of a “normal work out”  and exercises that are designed to unlock my right “frozen” shoulder, exercises designed to stretch out muscles in my both shoulders, arms and chest (I have had significantly limited range of movement and strength since surgery).

The therapists and trainers are great. They physically work on me too – pulling, stretching and moving my arms and shoulders in ways I could not do without them (and, yeah, it hurts, but they know what they are doing and I see such good results). In addition to their forcing my arms into positions that I could not physically make my arms do, they are also working out – through some pretty deep tissue kinds of manipulation I guess – those tightened up muscles and ligaments (which I understand now have healed short since my surgery). What they do to me and ask of me can be quite painful at times. BUT, the results are amazing AND I have much, much, much less pain in my everyday life as a result.

For example, it used to be very painful just to reach back for my seatbelt, to close my car door, to DRIVE (which really meant that I couldn’t safely drive). I still have a ways to go, but I AM getting there and the results are coming fast.

It is just so encouraging to me to be able to do more for myself and it is SO encouraging to go to a place three days a week that literally each time improves my quality of life. So, it is worth every minute and I look forward to going to every session.

I am back to going for walks again (although this darn rain gets in the way of that a bit). I wish I could go running, but that is not allowed right now – not that I feel like I could do that anyway – but, I just need to do more endurance type training and with this weather, walking isn’t always an option. Plus, it isn’t a very intense kind of work out.

Unfortunately, I can’t really go to the gym right now because my white blood cell counts are too low for that. My doctor doesn’t want me to work out in that kind of environment. They would like me to supplement the exercises I do with the physical therapists and at home with time on a recumbent bike. So, I may look into trying to find a recumbent bike/exercise bike for home. I am very motivated – especially when I see the strength I have already gained and the lessened pain doing everyday things.

If anyone knows of anyone who has a stationary exercise bike or recumbent type exercise bike that they are not using and would be willing to loan out for a about three months, let me know.

I am going to check on Craig’s List too and see what I can find there. But, this not working thing makes purchases a bit difficult.

Well, I guess it’s time for breakfast. Maybe I will be able to sleep some later today.