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Reverse Shoulder Replacement It's Finally Time to do This

Laurelbla

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Apologies for the long post. I have been researching about RSR and came across this forum this morning. I am so glad there is a place to talk to real people with experience.

I will be 59 in a few weeks. I've been dealing with shoulder pain for years. For the last couple of years it's been pain management. I get cortisone injections every 6-8 weeks and take 3200 mg of Ibuprofen many days. My Dr. originally wanted to wait years before he did surgery because he said I was too young (HA)! My guess is that most of the RSR are done are people older than me. I went back last week and after talking with him, he decided it was time. I have to get blood work first and then they will call and schedule.

A little bit of background in hopes that someone can relate and let me know a good outcome. I am a personal trainer and own my own gym. I do small group boot camp classes as well as personal training. I am also a Kettlebell instructor. For years I have been active and participated in GORUCK events which are hardcore endurance events led by Special Forces Cadre. The events require wearing a ruck weighing about 35 pounds. There is all kinds of PT (with ruck), bear crawls, burpees, log and sandbag carrying and miles and miles of rucking with up to 120 extra pounds on your back.

I had been training for a 48 hour event in January but got Covid in Dec and couldn't train for a month so I missed it. I have always been in pain while training and during events but I just suck it up. I always figured that if I have to have my shoulders replaced in the future, I might as well do what I love until then.

Because I am strong and healthy, I am wondering if my recovery might be faster and if I will ever get back to lifting heavy, rucking and training with Kettlebells. I was thinking of taking a week off of work. My clients have been great at getting out and putting away equipment for me and also demonstrating certain exercises to new people for me. I can't imagine a life without doing my kind of workouts.

My other issue is that I am a full time caregiver for my mom. She lives with me. I have someone come in a few hours a week so I can go to work. My sister lives with me and helps but she works all day. I know there is no way I can take care of her for the first week. She uses a gait belt so we have to help her get up and on and off the toilet plus do meals, put her to bed etc. We sleep with a monitor in case we need to get up with her.

I know I will have to get someone 8-10 hours a day for the first week to take care of her. I am wondering how the PT works after surgery. How many days a week do you have to go? Can you just do the exercises at home? In order to go to a PT session, I'd have to hire someone with a 3 hour minimum so that would cost my mom a lot of money. Anyway, I can't wait to get this surgery and get on with my life. I'm hoping to do it in June.

Any help, advice and experience would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
 

Celle

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Hello @Laurelbla - and :welome: to BoneSmart.

I had a reverse shoulder replacement on January 21st and I am having what they tell me is a good recovery.
Because I am strong and healthy, I am wondering if my recovery might be faster and if I will ever get back to lifting heavy, rucking and training with Kettlebells.
I'm sorry to tell you this, but being strong and healthy won't make your shoulder recovery any faster.

Joint replacement is major surgery, and the recovery is a slow process. Any surgery that involves bone and muscles demands a long recovery process. For a reverse shoulder replacement, you will have bones cut and shaped and muscle attachments re-positioned.

If you try to do too much, too soon, you will undo the good work your surgeon has done and then you will need a revision of the surgery.

I was thinking of taking a week off of work.
Think of taking much longer than that. Your surgical arm will be immobilised in a sling for about 6 weeks, and then you will have to gradually let it get back to doing normal activities.

You are going to need help with some things yourself. For example, I could shower myself, but I could not dry myself properly. On some occasions, I even needed help to pull my pants up - doing it one-handed can be very difficult. (Buy clothes at least one size too big. They will be looser and easier to put on.)

My other issue is that I am a full time caregiver for my mom. She lives with me. I have someone come in a few hours a week so I can go to work. My sister lives with me and helps but she works all day. I know there is no way I can take care of her for the first week.
You will not be able to take care of your mother for some time. Think at least 3 months. Nor will you be able to do housework for a while, and your ability to cook will be restricted for a few weeks.

For the first 3 months after surgery, I was not allowed to lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee with my surgical arm. Now I have a lifting restriction of 5 Kg (about 11 pounds) for several years, possibly even for life.

I am wondering how the PT works after surgery. How many days a week do you have to go? Can you just do the exercises at home? In order to go to a PT session, I'd have to hire someone with a 3 hour minimum so that would cost my mom a lot of money. Anyway, I can't wait to get this surgery and get on with my life. I'm hoping to do it in June.
I was shown some exercises while in hospital - passive shoulder movements, straightening and bending my elbow, and wrist and finger movements. I did these several times a day, removing the sling for a short time to do them. Initially, I needed help to put the sling back on properly.

I didn't have to start going to PT until 6 weeks post-op. My PT assessed my shoulder and she gave me some more exercises to do, gently, for a month. I still only go to PT once a month.


Quite honestly, I don't think you're prepared enough to have your shoulder replaced in June. You need to ask your surgeon about his/her protocol for recovery from a RSR, and learn about the limitations that will be imposed initially.

You will not be able to bounce back quickly from this major surgery and you certainly won't be able to go back to work or take care of your mother by one week after surgery. At that stage, you will still be needing help yourself.

Here's a link to my surgeon's protocol for recovery from a reverse shoulder replacement:
https://static1.squarespace.com/sta...01a176ca/1556829868227/Reverse_TSJR_rehab.pdf
 
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Laurelbla

Laurelbla

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Thank you! I know I’m being unrealistic and it looks like I have a lot of planning to do.
 

Celle

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Keep researching and planning. Read some of the recovery stories on here and you'll get a good impression of what recovery is like.
I truly hated my sling, but I knew it was doing a good job and it was completely necessary.

Make sensible plans for care of your mother and of yourself.
Do talk to your sister about how your recovery will be, so she is aware as well.

Good preparation beforehand will help you to have an easier recovery.
 
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Laurelbla

Laurelbla

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Now I’m wondering if I should wait until my mom passes. I’ve been in pain for so long that I’m used to it and could probably suck it up.
 

Celle

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Sucking up the pain for an unknown number of years sounds hard . And if your pain continues to increase, would you be able to look after your mother even without the surgery? You'd certainly have to give up all strenuous activities, such as endurance events and kettlebell.

There are so many unknowns, including how long you might have to wait.

It sounds like time to have a long discussion with your sister and your mother, if possible. If you go ahead with the surgery, you will need someone to take care of your mother and also to help you when necessary. You won't be completely helpless, but you will need help with some things for a short time.

Are there any other family members who could step up and help for a while, even if they had to take turns?

Can you ask your own doctor/PCP if there are any services available in your area to help take care of an elderly relative, for a limited number of weeks?
 

HandyWOMAN

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Because you have been doing what you're saying you do, and you don't say you had injuries to your shoulder. I'm wondering why you need the Reverse Shoulder Replacement? I was fit & was/am building my own house. I made my living with 45+ yrs of home building, and have dislocated my shoulders(horses & I was always able to get them back in), & separated my RT. But I had my left Shoulder Replacement (normal) 11/23/20(don't know why my left went 1st??? I had nerve damage problems early on in recovery, but can now pretty well everything I used to, down to lifting/carrying 50# chicken/dog food. What I was before, down from 100# of horse grain in my 20/30/40's(bad back). I don't understand all the RSRs I reading being done? As it sounds you can never recover to what were?
 
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Laurelbla

Laurelbla

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I’m bone on bone. The RSR is much more stable and will last way longer than a regular replacement.
 

Railroad man

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68 and just had my left shoulder replaced in Jan , ab 4 months of pt 2x week and pretty much back to normal. Still cautious on lifting things but stay active all day. I have had both of my shoulders replaced, dealt with the arthritis pain for many years. When you get tired of dealing with the pain, it’s time to get a fix.
Good luck on yours.
 

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