Shoulder Update

I went to the doctor back in July and had finally decided to give up on my shoulder.  I was miserable.  I wasn’t getting any relief.  I was waking up at night due to the discomfort of my shoulder.  I talked to the doctor.  He said as far as he was concerned, surgery was my option- but it was up to me to decide if I wanted it.

I left the office a little miserable.  It sounded like it might be up to a year before I was “back to as normal as I would get”.  I’ve had enough surgeries in my life to know that after surgery things can be better but they are never exactly they was they were before.  For example, my foot.  It’s MUCH better but it’s not the same as it was before the initial injury.

With that knowledge, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore and I was doing the surgery.  I scheduled it.  The soonest opening they had was September 27th.  That was two month away.  UGH.  Well I decided that I would do a little on line checking and see what recovery was like for shoulder surgery.  He made it sound like it would for sure be bicep tendon surgery and then a look at my rotator cuff- If there was damage there, they would fix it while they were there.

So I looked up rotator cuff surgery.  I stumbled upon some Youtube videos that people did each week as they recovered.  One of the biggest things that I got out of the videos is that the shoulder needs a lot of support.  They talked about pillow placement when sleeping a lot.  Time and again people were referencing pillows.  The pillow placement sounded a little uncomfortable.  Well, me being me, I thought I am going to try to sleep that way and see if I even can.  Sleeping with a pillow under my arm is just strange…and likely hot….but try it I did.

Oh my word.  I woke up in the morning and my arm oddly was feeling quite a lot better.  I continued to sleep that way and a week later, my arm was pretty good.  I started questioning whether I should have surgery or not.  I decided I would give myself until Labor Day.  If it was better, I would cancel the surgery.  If not, I would have it.

Well I went to the retreat…I brought extra pillows and slept with the pillow wedged under my arm….It was still working.  The pain was almost gone.

Back home, I saw that I had quit babying my arm.  I started being able to snap my bra again.  When I went to buckle my seat belt, I wasn’t in pain.  Hmm.  Could something be as simple as a pillow?  It’s either the pillows or the magic pillow cases (Connie made them for me!)…my arm has changed for the good.

Well today is Labor Day.  It’s decision time.  I need to cancel the surgery if I truly feel better or start planning….and I am going to-cancel the surgery.  Tomorrow morning the call is going in.  No surgery for me at least not now.

I’ve gotten back that I can do a lot of things that I previously couldn’t do….putting dishes away on the second shelf using my right arm is now no big deal.

From what I’ve observed, the only thing that still bothers just a bit is putting on deodorant.

I moved all the furniture from the garage sale with my arm.  No babying it all…I was fine.  I don’t know how long it’s going to last….I don’t know if this is the cure….I don’t know if it’s partly in my head….I don’t know.  All I do know is that I haven’t been waking up in the night due to pain.  I don’t have the sharp stinging pain I used to have if I bump my shoulder.  It’s so much better.

I can also tell when I snap my bra that my arm is gaining some of it’s mobility back.  Slowly I’ve seen continued improvement.  I can reach my arm back to the hook my bra.  At first I would reach WAY over with my left arm and my right arm could barely get around to my back.  Now my right arm moves closer and closer to the middle of my back.

When this all started my chiropractor said it could be frozen shoulder.  She said that it can take a year or two for that to go away….but it goes away on it’s own.  Hmm… I wonder if that could be it.  I wonder if it’s all the pillows….When I went to physical therapy the therapist told me some people get relief from sleeping with a pillow and putting their arm into the pillowcase.  I tried that one night and it was weird so quit.  BUT, now what I do is similar to that.

I don’t know what it is but I’m going to let nature take it’s course.  The doctor did assure me that I’m not doing damage to my arm by doing nothing…He also said if I change my mind in a year, we can do it then…So the decision is made…I’m cancelling the surgery and I couldn’t be happier!!

19 thoughts on “Shoulder Update”

  1. I am glad you are feeling better Jo. I sleep with a pillow under my left arm for shoulder support and one between my knees for left hip support. Getting older really stinks sometimes :)

  2. Judith FairchildJu

    If you’re getting better not going through the surgery keeps you from having all the hassle of recovery. Excellent decision

  3. I sleep with three pillows… for my head, one between my knees, and the latest one is to hug a travel size pillow with my arm when I sleep. I was having trouble with my hands and arms going to sleep at night. I talked to my chiropractor about it, and he suggested sleeping and hugging a pillow. I haven’t had my arms or hands go to sleep since I started doing that. I don’t blame you for canceling the surgery. I had rotator cuff surgery four years ago this coming Dec. It took me 2 and a half years to get back to normal. I hope you found your answer.

  4. What would we do without computers? I was leery of the medicine that one of my doctors prescribed, so I went to the computer to do a little research. I did buy the pills but haven’t taken any. I’ve been trying some of the things that I learned from others. So far, what I’ve learned by going to the computer has worked. Then next time I go to the doctor, I’ll let him know what I’m doing and the results that I’m getting. I was just afraid of all the possible side
    effects mentioned with the pills.
    I hope the pillows are your answer. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Mary Etherington

    Wow, Jo! That is fabulous! I had rotator cuff surgery in 1999 and although it was very successful, the recovery and rehab was not fun.

  6. I’m so intrigued by this because my husband has frozen shoulder right now. I have told him it’s a good thing that he doesn’t need to fasten a bra!! Ha ha. Would you be able to post a link to something that would show how to put your arm under the pillow? So glad you are getting relief! I hope you don’t have to do the surgery!

  7. Wonderful news, Jo! the time you given to this really shows the pillows are working! Avoiding surgery is GREAT news, anytime.

  8. Susan the Farm Quilter

    So glad you are getting to avoid surgery! I have had 3 shoulder surgeries (1L, 2R) and get to visit the surgeon on the 10th of September to set a date for another surgery on my left shoulder (3 tears on different pieces of the rotators cuff, one is a complete tear, so no options). I have slept with 4 pillows for over a decade (knees get a body pillow, arms get a feather pillow and 2 feather pillows for my head) – I even travel with my pillows unless I fly! I don’t remember my surgeries being longer than a 4 month recovery, but it depends totally on just how damaged your shoulder is. Yay for pillows!!!

  9. I’m glad your shoulder is feeling better. When you were describing your shoulder a while back, your symptoms it sounded very familiar to me. I’ve had frozen shoulder in both shoulders, first the left and 10 years later the right. It did go away both times on its own but it took many months. So when it happened on the other side, I knew it was going to take mostly patience and time. Hubby had it last year and his has gone went away now too. The pillow support was a big part of being able to sleep more comfortably for me as well. I still use it even though I’m fully recovered.

  10. I sure hope the pillows under the arm do the trick for you. I consider surgery to be the very last, drastic option. My right shoulder bothered me something terrible for about two years. You will think this is crazy, but I cured it by scrubbing ceilings with that arm. I was getting ready for our daughter’s high school graduation, and really, who else was going to do it? LOL

  11. So glad the pillows are working, Im curious how your using the pillows my mom has both bad shoulders. Love to give her some hints to help her out!

  12. Jo, I’m so happy your shoulder is feeling better! Best wishes on that!
    I saw your Halloween quilt in McCall’s Quick Quilts today! It is beautiful! Congrats to you and Kelly!

  13. Betty from Canada

    I thought it was just all in my head when I hurt my shoulder and started to sleep with my arm on a pillow and my shoulder felt much better. I have since found that I have to sleep with a pillow under my arm or my shoulder will get sore after one night. Also for your little cutie granddaughter that has tummy troubles maybe try getting her to drink a bottle of warm water.Also maybe she needs a different nipple on her bottle.Hope she gets relief somehow.

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