Tuesday, February 10, 2015

t minus 13: Inspiration Required

Looking ahead towards my physio session tomorrow, all I can think about is how hard this is.  Not the exercises, the passive movements, the assisted movements; not the pain, the frustration that I can't make my body do more; not even suppressing the constant urge I have to throw things at any other patient (especially new ones!) doing 'advanced' shoulder exercises that I have been working towards for 3 bloody years! 

The hard bit is trying so f*****g hard and not making any significant progress; of feeling like things had been going "relatively ok" - as in during week one the room did not spin or go black; nobody had to come running towards me with a chair, a cup of water, or to catch me before I fell; and importantly, my physio did not make his 'what the hell is going on with your body?' face - that is definitely what would be termed 'relative progress'.  With those baselines, it really shouldn't be that difficult to make some 'relative improvements'.  So, I guess for a whole week, I did. 

I think it's fair to say this philosophy seemed to be working last week

Until Monday.  When I found my knees curling themselves into my chest and my left hand trying to 'soothe' my right shoulder by just touching it, unable to leave it alone; when I tried to 'hold up' my arm and it just flopped, as if lifeless, back into my physio's hand; when I had to give up on a couple of exercises for that reason; when I could trace the exact location of the long thoracic nerve the entire way down my physio's back to show him exactly where my pain was; when doing one exercise made it feel like that nerve was filling with icy cold water; when I had to keep checking the walls to make sure the sparkling wasn't turning into big black dots (only a couple); when I told the new intern that if I looked like I was just staring into space and not doing anything, it would probably be necessary to get a chair close to me asap, "Why?" he asked. "So I don't hit the floor." and explained my weird 'syncope without loss of consciousness' ('fainting without fainting'); when I realised mascara had been a ridiculously optimistic idea - sleepy half-shut eyes would have been better.  Oh, and when the 'what the hell is going on with your body?' face appeared far too often.

I guess 'relative improvement' is that I didn't need that chair, and the black dots didn't last long.  However, 'significant improvement' it is most definitely not. 

Because, like it or not body, brain says you are going back!

As I think about my next physio session - honestly wondering what surprises my body is going to throw at me next, I also wonder sometimes: how long can I do this for? 

But I remind myself of this quote, because it is the truest one I know:

Nobody can argue with that

At different times, my physios and doctors have acknowledged this difficulty - which quite honestly I think stops me from totally losing it, or feeling crazy.  When someone you are trusting with your health, and therefore your life, acknowledges how you feel - even shares in those feelings with you, it is one of the greatest comforts I think any health care professional can offer.


"Once something goes on this long, it becomes a mental challenge as much as a physical one.... for all of us." 

Said my surgeon, to both my physios, my mum and me - 8 months after my first surgery.  So that would be just over 26 months ago now.

Reckon the words "indomitable will" might sound good on a CV.  Proof? I have this blog...


"Why have you not gone crazy yet?"

My specialist physio asked....... or rather half asked, I just filled in "crazy" as he struggled to search for a more appropriate word - around 18 months ago.

I sent him this.  He liked it.


After another attempt to 'push through' failed and various discussions followed, I grumbled to my Doctor, 

"If I wasn't going to try hard, I think I would have thrown myself off a roof a long time ago."

"Probably something much higher."

He replied, as if we were having a perfectly normal conversation - sometimes it feels like his sense of humour keeps me sane. That would be about 20 months ago.

Because my awesome doctor is as crazy as I am, apparently

I think back over everything I've tried - I've had some little successes, like the incredibly significant shoulder shrug that held so much optimism and brought so much excitement to everyone - myself included, but that was 26 months ago too.   I really feel like I'm still waiting on the next 'shoulder shrug' - the next significant thing that lights the way with optimism again; that whispers quietly to me, "this is working".  And even more importantly, I believe it.

Inspiration is always good; actually sometimes, it's essential:

Not planning on it.......

"Success  and  failure.  We  think  of them  as  opposites,  but  they're  really not.  They're  companions - the  hero and  the  sidekick."

~ Laurence  Shames  ~


  1. You find the most incredibly apt quotes and sayings. I use them for personal inspiration quite often. Here's wishing you the best as you soldier on.

    1. I have always loved quotes and found them inspiring - I've been collecting since I copied them, or cut them out of magazines or newspapers and stuck them in notebooks! Now I have a massive collection on my computer. I am glad you find them inspirational too. I use Pinterest quite a lot now - I have even more on there: https://www.pinterest.com/gmun22/