Decision Support - what did you do and why?

rcol

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I am currently scheduled for a RSR on Aug 9, and I am really dreading it. My only point of reference is a cardiac bypass 25 years ago, and I think this is going to be even worse. When I had open-heart surgery, I was 50 years old and was pretty much over recovery about three to four weeks later, without too much pain. I think RSR recovery will be very long (6-8 months) and quite painful. I keep thinking about having my left arm bolted to my waist for 4 or 5 weeks.

My primary caregiver is a bad-news alcoholic, and may not be reliable despite the best of intentions. COVID is surging again locally. Wouldn't it be great to start recovery with a hospital-acquired case of COVID-19? Just shoot me. If I delay again, the most carefully selected surgeon and hospital may dump me.

I keep thinking about elective shoulder surgery vs. longevity. Suppose it is going to be a long and painful recovery over 6 months. Would you do it if your life expectancy was 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years???

If you would be so kind, hows did you deal with similar situation, and how did you decide to go ahead, or not
 

djklaugh

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@rcol I sincerely hope that your experience with shoulder replacement is much less painful and arduous than you think! Having had 2 myself I can tell you it really was not that bad for me. Yes the first couple of weeks are painful but medication and icing do help a lot. And the sling, while awkward, was actually comfortable to wear. AND it did not stay on 24/7! I was told to take it off for bathing, dressing, and several times a day for gentle "swing the arm" exercises. If you are having your dominant side shoulder replaced it helps to practice being one handed before the surgery. Though you can still use that hand to hold things so you are not totally one handed. While the physical therapy after surgery is lengthy I think you will find it very helpful in regaining ROM and flexibility.

Would I go through 2 shoulder replacement surgeries even if I knew I'd only need them for a relatively short length of time? YES! I can sleep and do everything else I need to do without pain, I have full range of motion, and as much strength as a 75 yo LOL (little old lady) can expect to have. One of my "new" shoulders (right) is now 9 years old and the other (left) is 5 years old and both function very well!

As for the COVID issue - alas that is a concern everywhere! But hospitals are doing everything they can to minimize the risks to all their patients and staff. You probably will not need to stay in the hospital very long -- many surgeries these days are actually day surgeries where patient comes in in the morning and goes home late afternoon.

Anxiety prior to surgery is normal! And given that your prior experience with surgery was a heart procedure I can understand! This surgery though will be different! And as I said, I sincerely hope it will not be as horrid as you anticipate!
 
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rcol

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Thank you for your comments. I was actually about to cancel, but will now reconsider.
 

Jaycey

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@rcol Please don't cancel your op. You need to get on with life and living. I think you will find that shoulder surgery is a whole lot easier than bypass. Pain is controlled. And many don't have to have the restricted movement for weeks and weeks.

Our former colleague @Celle had RSR in 2021 and found it a fairly straight forward recovery. Here is her recovery thread Celle's Reverse Shoulder Replacement I've tagged her so if she stops by the forum she might come and chat with you here.
 
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rcol

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Reading about Celle's experiences makes me want to delay or cancel my surgery date.
 

Celle

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Reading about Celle's experiences makes me want to delay or cancel my surgery date.
Hello @rcol Please don't let my experience make you cancel your surgery.

In spite of the impression you've gained, my recovery was surprisingly easy and the end-result is fantastic.

I didn't have a lot of pain post-op - much less than I had after my knee replacements - and I now have no pain at all from that shoulder.
I know I complained a lot about having to wear a sling for 6 weeks, but it was necessary and I ended up with a superb result.

I was able to take the sling off while getting dressed and showering, and for the exercises I had to do. I could still use my hand to help with some tasks, even though my arm was in a sling.

I now have no pain at all from my shoulder and its range of motion is more than the surgeon predicted.

At my last PT session, my therapist tested the strength of my operated shoulder and found that the replaced shoulder was just as strong as my other shoulder.

I know that my other shoulder has arthritis and if the time comes when it also needs to be replaced, I will go ahead and get it done. Looking back now, at 19 months after my shoulder replacement, I have so many benefits from that surgery.

Having no pain from that shoulder and being able to use it normally, is well worth the 6 weeks in a sling.

Before having my shoulder replaced, I was considering giving up driving, as it was so painful. Now I'm still driving and that has enabled me to keep my precious independence.


I hope you decide to go ahead with your shoulder replacement. From my experience, the benefits are well worth the few weeks of down-time and frustration.
 

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