Thursday, January 2, 2014

Listen to the whispers

Double posting...... since I write better at night (or rather in the middle of the night), I'm attempting to make my dates match up!

Tonight my teabag said:

When I did  some searching using the words, I found this:

I loved The Land Before Time film when I was wee, although I remember it as a sad story - but this is a perfect sentiment, to me these both really mean to listen to your body - your heart, soul, gut.... whatever you want to call it, it means don't let your head and your thoughts dominate if your body is telling you otherwise.

Over the last few months, my shoulder has been treated by a different physio - my physio at home in Scotland, who treated me for just about every injury I ever had when I did gymnastics, and who my Dad claims is the best physio he ever had, as a professional sportsman.  He's an excellent physiotherapist, another person I feel lucky to have treating me (I'm not sure he feels the same...!).  I'm not going into all the details today, but we've been doing things a bit differently.

(He did spend the first few weeks telling me I had "blown his brains"; that he "couldn't even visualise a fully detached trapezius" - he can usually visualise EVERYTHING - it's like he peels back your skin with his eyes and can see how all the muscles and tissue fit together and work together under the skin - an amazing talent; he also told me that "any therapist who sees you coming should run fast in the opposite direction"..... and some more, I think those were the highlights!)

It was interesting for me to re-live all the discovery through someone else's eyes again.  My physio in Glasgow is probably very close in age with my surgeon Dr Kibler; as a sports physio he treats unusual injuries, but Dr K says this injury is "not in the medical encyclopedia" - and taps his head as he says it.  Basically it's still so 'new' that most  medical professionals - even the very best shoulder doctors and therapists - haven't treated it yet, or even learned it is a possible diagnosis - they get the muscle injury, can observe the shoulder not working, the scapula not moving, but they can't fix it.

Now that we've reached a stage where I think his brain no longer feels blown (as much anyway....) and he has carefully and thoroughly assessed me, we have a pattern - but it is much less passive movement and manipulation than I had been getting before; my exercises have been cut down - AGAIN!! - although this is actually in a good way.  He thinks that even making my shoulder work (or be worked) for fives minutes can be too long for it some days.  I am supposed to do my exercises frequently, but for only two minutes at a time - two minutes every hour, ideally.  Two minutes isn't very long.... but I'm pretty good with the principle.

But back to the quote... this physio is someone who has known me all my life; knows my determination, my desire to get my shoulder function back to as 'normal' as can be possible and what he frequently says to me is that I know what to do - I have the knowledge, the years of experience of training my body and I have to let that tell me what to do.  Dr F (with the nerve scans) said the same thing - that I have the tools to work on this myself, I just have to figure out what works best for me. They're basically all saying listen to your body.

And it does whisper.  It's hard to know what is taking it too easy (not much to be honest, but the whole 'no pain, no gain' thing is so ingrained - why can I not learn it doesn't apply here!?) versus what is doing a sensible amount - that 'line' everyone's been talking about for nearly 2 years now still remains elusive.  However, trying hard to listen to my heart, or my gut, or my body - whatever interpretation - and not to my head - has always produced the best results.

Is it working? Is my progress good?  Well, when I saw Angelo when I arrived back here for Xmas, he said "with any other patient, I'd be really worried about what we are missing when this is four months of progress, but with you it's great that you've taken another baby step - at least you're not going backwards"

I'm taking that as a positive! And listening to your body always seems to make the most sense and produces the best results.  So that is my plan for 2014.... and beyond.  I'm running a marathon here, not a sprint; my expectations shift frequently, just like my pain and perception of how well/ badly I am healing -  but if I have learned anything, it really is to have faith in your own body.  Listen to it whisper.

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