Wednesday, February 13, 2013


It's been an, um... interesting week.  I think it has been one of the most challenging weeks since my surgery.  I am optimistic and very pleased that my muscles are trying to work again, but I really didn't expect them to hurt this much while they're trying!  I realise this is another stage in the process... but nothing has been going very quickly... so it is a mental challenge to accept that the intense pain is a positive thing; to manage it appropriately and to try really hard not to let it beat me, emotionally.

It's amazing how draining the pain is.  When I get these 'episodes' of extreme pain, the muscle spasms very suddenly and severely, I sweat and feel really nauseous, the black dots and sparkly lights are back with a vengeance - I feel like my body's been through a traumatic event and just wants to sleep it off - it sounds so dramatic, but people keep telling me it is my body's response to severe pain, it is not something I can control.  It makes it so difficult to do anything else, to concentrate or even think about other things when the pain is all-consuming.  (The drugs don't really help with that either!)  Again, it's another thing I think I should be able to control more and to just power through and make myself do things... but then it's another thing that all my medical professionals explain to me is outwith my control...

However,  I have been shown how to try to minimise the reaction/ spasming.  So, today - when walking down stairs caused my rhomboid to spasm, I got myself into a position (kind of half lying my upper body on a table.. or worktop... or closest available surface) where the weight was taken off my shoulder and got my arm into a position where any strain or stretch on my rhomboids is relieved (scapula retracted), and my mum very very tentatively, and very very gently massaged the area, as my physio said.  It did help.  I think the heat, painkillers, muscle relaxant and anti-spasmodic drugs also really helped; but I also think I did manage to stop it turning into a full-blown, close-to-blacking-out, biting-the-pillow experience this time........... which is an improvement.

It's a bit frustrating realising that my muscles and brain seem to be communicating again but not knowing what is going to set off the cramping and spasms.  I had a chat with my physio yesterday about trying (STILL) to find that balance between doing enough to get a steady improvement without causing setbacks, and doing too much and exacerbating the pain again (more).  I am, as ever, determined to keep working at it.

Everyone seems VERY encouraged that this is happening.  My physio said to me yesterday, "You probably had times this year when you wondered if you were ever going to be able to use your right arm again - this means you definitely are."

(I think this means he had times this year when he wondered that too... So I think it's a good thing he's saying it now - when that worry has subsided!)

Honestly, it worried me how long things were going to take, and how much pain I was going to have for a long time - and I still don't know the answers to those questions.  But I really didn't entertain not getting the use of my arm back as an option.  I knew it was a concern, but I felt more determined to find something that would work; anything; that would let me use it - I never actually considered the rest of my life without the use of my arm, even though I knew doctors had talked about it.  It just wasn't an option for me.

This quote fits really well with that.  I find my blog really beneficial for positive re-enforcement - if I say it out loud, I am also saying it to myself, and hopefully also passing along some positive encouragement to others.  But I think the quiet determination inside has to be louder.

And I think there will be plenty of determination required to get me through the next few weeks.

People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.
   ~ Zig Ziglar

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