Rotator Cuff Repair SaraK - Living the Life after Rotator Cuff Surgery

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SaraK

SaraK

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I'm always impatient with recovery (or anyone telling me I can't do something) but I'm trying hard to control my natural impulses as I get back to lifting weights. Last Monday, we did deadlifts and, since I hadn't done any since before surgery, we kept the weights low. We started with 45 lbs and worked up to 65. Even though that felt light, we left it there. We'll be doing more on Saturday, but 75 will be the limit.

That same Monday, we did some benching. I had done 35 a few weeks ago so we started at 20 and worked up. It felt pretty easy until we got to the final set. It was still doable but harder than I expected. That's when I discovered my trainer had loaded 45 instead of 40 which I'd planned as my max.

I had a slight "burning" sensation at the front of the shoulder for about 3 days (but then went away). May have just been DOMS or something similar and may be the bicep adjusting to having one branch doing all of the work. I did talk to the trainer, though, about not wanting to go up more than 5 lbs from max the time before so that I can gauge how things are going. My plan is to only go up 5 a time with bench and only is I'm doing the prior Max effortlessly. I have unlimited (kind of) time to get where I want and more likely to get there if I don't push it. I'll bench again next on Saturday and we'll back off and plan to not go above 40 this time.

I also did squats this past Saturday. We did just the safety bar (doesn't go straight across the back and is designed for people with shoulder issues) which is 75 lb. It didn't feel heavy carrying it, but we lowered the squat so below parallel for the first time since surgery - definitely harder on the legs. We don't do those again for another week but we'll try 85 and may try some with the regular barbell at 45 with fewer reps before setting the bar down to see how that feels.

It's hard to get very much done right now. I'm still waiting for my home gym to arrive (probably in the next 6-8 weeks) but I don't feel comfortable from a COVID standpoint going into a regular gym since you don't have to wear a mask while exercising. Since I only get to the trainer about once week, we only get to each of the major lifts every 2 weeks. The home gym will, however, have safety bars to prevent a repeat performance with my shoulder!

Patience is NOT my middle name (nor is Grace).
 

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Hello my friend,
Saw the ortho today and reviewed the MRI. Good news for me. No new tears, thank God! There is arthritis at the top of the acremonium along with a couple of bone spurs. After much discussion, we decided to leave things as they are. I had a cortisone injection on August 10th and that helped a lot. I'm going to continue to work on my stretches and external ROM on my own. (I really did not want to go back to PT unless I had to). If in a couple of months the pain returns in earnest and I still don't have the ROM I expect then we will meet again and make new plans. The possibility of decompression surgery was still there, just not now. I'm pleased with this plan.

New Hampshire was wonderful. We own a small condo near Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia, NH. It's a 3/4 mile walk to the bayside of the big lake. It's a 3.5-hour ride from our home but worth every minute. We go up all year. In a couple of weeks we'll go back up for several days. It's a great place to escape to.
 
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SaraK

SaraK

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@momweb - yes, surgery will still be there for you if the pain returns or you don't otherwise improve. Enjoy the peaceful stretch and I'll keep my fingers crossed that the injection is enough to keep the pain at bay long-term.
 
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SaraK

SaraK

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I'm continuing the "slow and steady" approach to increasing weights. I worked with the trainer on Saturday and we did go up a bit more than planned on the safety squat bar - did 105 lbs but not at full depth. We increased it to 110 at full depth yesterday. Saturday I did also try a few squats with the straight bar (just the 45 lb bar). The bar definitely feels heavier on the op side and I felt a bit lopsided, but not too bad. In any event, it was just a quick test and we don't plan to increase the weight very quickly on this lift.

I deadlifted Saturday but didn't go above 55 (we realized that we'd used the light training bar the prior time and so I'd really only done 45 the time before). No deads last night so we'll plan on 65 or 70 next week.

I did progress some on the bench. 40 on Saturday and 45 yesterday. Unlike the time before, no pain at all, so we'll consider adding another 5 next week depending on how the rest of the workout goes.
 
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SaraK

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Not much new to report. I find I'm still gradually gaining a bit more range of motion (without continuing the PT exercises).

I've really given things a workout the last few weeks. We had a water backup in May that I didn't discover for a while (since I wasn't going downstairs after surgery). Even once I discovered, I couldn't even rent a Rug Doctor because of COVID. As a result, I have so much mold downstairs. The mold remediation folks start "demolition" on Tues so I've been going thru 25 years worth of stuff in the basement - sorting what's salvageable and what's not and then what to keep/organize, donate or pitch. It will be nice when it's all done and good to have things cleaned and organized but all of this work isn't fun. I'm just glad the shoulder is holding up well!
 

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Oh my stars... What a mess.
Mold is certainly nothing to play with.
Boy, 2020 is definitely a stressful year.
Stay well my friend.
 

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Oh no, Sara! I’m sorry to read this. Just as we try to concentrate on how good we’re going to feel a few weeks to months beyond surgery when we’re pre-op, focus on the fresh clean organized basement you’ll soon have. I hope not too many valuable or nostalgic items were lost in all of this.
Wishing you a day of peaceful relaxation. :console2:
@SaraK
 
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Luckily, most of the truly nostalgic items were in plastic containers. I also keep my photo negatives and a thumb drive with digitized pictures in my safe deposit box. There are 2 pieces of furniture I hope can be salvaged (and think they can) - a cedar chest my father made for me 40 years ago and a cedar chest my brother gave me as a wedding present.

Yes, it's a lot of work but I keep focusing on how much I needed to clutter and how nice it will be when that's done and how nice it will be to have a refreshed basement.

I also cut down the darned tree whose roots got into the line so I don't have to deal with this again (we've had problems in the past but never this bad). I'm also grateful that almost all of this is being covered by my insurance!
 

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I also cut down the darned tree whose roots got into the line so I don't have to deal with this again

Why does this not surprise me? I can just see you out there :skep:
Now you can add Lumberjack to the resume.
Whoa T-I-M-B-E-R :bolt:
 
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SaraK

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@Layla - While it wasn't a huge tree, it was a "royal I" - I paid the guy who cuts my lawn to cut it down. I don't mess with chain saws!
 
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SaraK

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Wow! Can't believe it's been 6 months! Sometimes it seems like yesterday and sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago (not sure how much that is because surgery coincided with Covid shutdown and things still aren't normal.

Demolition of the basement is done. Now for new drywall, paint and flooring. I also got an email today that my weightlifting rack has been shipped. It will get here before the work is done, but it's still getting put up and put into service as soon as it arrives!

Lifting weights is going slowly but going well. Once I can start lifting more than once a week, it will pick up (pardon the pun) more quickly. I'm benching 50, doing 80 on deadlifts, 130 on safety squats and 55 on straightbar squats at this point.

I'm just glad to be able to get back to lifting and do so much else in my life! Getting rid of the pain was the most important thing but I hoped for a complete recovery. I still don't have the same range of motion (across the body and behind the back are the toughest) but I can see improvements continuing. The range of motion is one of the reasons the straight squat is so far behind the safety. If I try to do too many without replacing the bar, I start to cramp. I also want to work on shoulder strength more first.

For those of you out there trying to decide whether to go for the surgery for rotator cuff repair, just know that there can be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I can't guarantee you'll have the same outcome I have, but I'm so glad I did it. The pain wasn't as bad as I expected from what everyone told me and the results have been worth it!

Take care all!
 

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@SaraK
8 months have now gone by since our surgery and I was wondering how you were doing. I'm actually doing really well. I know there's a chance I'll need further surgery, but for now I'm pleased. I can do things I couldn't do before the surgery and I rarely am in pain. I have a little discomfort when sleeping, but it is minimal. I'm glad things have moved on and my strength has pretty much returned. I've been thinking of you and hoping all is well. Wishing you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Sue
 
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SaraK

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@momweb Happy weekend, Sue! You made me realize yesterday was my 8 month anniversary! Things are going very well for me. I'm still working on strength but going slowly on building back up to where I was but I did squats with 95 lb with regular bar last week. It will go faster starting in about a month when I can finally set up the gym (I'm STILL waiting for the flooring to be installed). Range of motion is still improving. I am starting to get more comfortable in my old sleeping position but still can't sleep too long on that side with arm under head. Like you said, though - no pain and that's really the biggest thing!

I'm glad you're doing well. Have you already had your daughter's wedding? I don't remember what the date was supposed to be. My son"s wedding is 12/19. So far the reception is still on, but ceremony and reception with masks.

Take care and Happy Thanksgiving!
 

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@SaraK,
Just came back from my 1.5 mile dog walk. It was a cool 36 degrees but the sun is out so it wasn't too bad. The dog had lots of energy this morning so she greeted every chipmunk and squirrel on the walk. She sometimes challenges my shoulder but I also think she's helped strengthen it. I just have to be careful sometimes, she's a strong 48 pound siberian/collie mix.

Our daughter was supposed to get married Dec. 11th. Connecticut on Oct. 8th opened up venues so the reception could be held. However, many of our friends were telling us they wouldn't come due to COVID. So, we made the heartbreaking decision to postpone until April 16th. One week later the state backed down and venues could only have 25 people indoors. So, we've made plans for a very small ceremony so they can be legally married with dinner. That will be held on Dec. 11th. I've been very busy making the decorations for the wedding arch and bouquets. Still have to make the bridesmaids flowers. It's been fun but a lot of work. Please stay safe. I'm sending you a PM with my email. I'd like to stay in touch especially about the weddings.
Sue
 
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SaraK

SaraK

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Wow - hard to believe it's been a year today! And what a year (I hope to never repeat it)! Remembering today how much I worried that the hospitals would shut down surgeries before mine got done (my surgery was the Thursday before they did shut down), having my future DIL take out my staples so that I didn't have to go into the doctor's office at the hospital for my 2 week check up, thinking long and hard about whether to do in person PT (I'm glad I decided to go that route), dealing with a flooded moldy basement, etc.

It's been a wild ride, but now things are settling down. I get my second COVID vaccine tomorrow (I'm high risk because of diabetes). My basement is fully back together (although I still have junk to go through and organize and donate) and I have a new home gym set up - elliptical, treadmill, recumbent bike and full weight rack (with safety bars) and accessories. Bye, bye Club Fitness!

I've been able to lift more frequently since the gym was set up in late December. My favorite lift (and the one that did me in) has always been the bench press. We haven't "maxed out" on any lifts yet (we wanted to wait for the golden one year anniversary) but I'm doing straight bar squats at 115-125, bench at 55-60 and deadlift at 110-110 as my "working" weights (i.e., the weights that you can do 5-10 reps and several sets). I'm still not at my prior level, but taking it slowly. My range of motion is still improving (I've just recently started narrowing my hands on the squat bar) but it's still just a smidge less than it was originally.

The biggest thing, though, is being able to do the little things in life with no pain or worries. I was a little nervous when I went out to shovel 6+ inches of snow from my doublewide driveway but the shoulder held up like a champ - not a pain or twinge! I'm starting to get to the point that I don't think about the shoulder except when I'm working out and then its purposeful to remind myself not to push too hard. Even now I know that, while I've hit the magic mark of one year, going too far too fast could be a problem.

To any one considering rotator cuff surgery, know that there can be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! I was luck from the pain standpoint and I worked hard at PT and rehab but that work has paid off. Not everyone will do the same rehab because we don't all have the same goals, but everyone can work towards their own goals. It's not easy but it is doable!
 

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Congrats, Sara, on the one year anniversary. You keep up with that gym and you really will be the bionic woman! It’s funny how going through all we’ve been through, especially the last couple of years or so, puts life in pretty sharp perspective. Thank you for all of your support. Blessings for peace, joy, and health as you journey forward. ❤️ Pat
 
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SaraK

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It's been awhile since I've posted, but that's because it's been a slow but steady improvement. I generally forget about my shoulder except when I'm lifting and then am just trying to be conscious and pick up any signs of issues (but there have been none). Ive been thinking about it more these days as we emerge from our COVID cocoons. My surgery was just before the shutdown in March 2020 so any thoughts of when normal changed remind me of the surgery. Plus, now that it's summer, I've been wearing sleeveless shirts and get the starting reminder from seeing the scar on the shoulder!

I do continue to lift weights - I find it gives me confidence and makes me happy to see my individual (ok, with instruction from trainer) accomplishments and improvement. I am basically back where I was pre-op (maybe a bit less on the bench). We didn't try to max out Tuesday but wanted to try to reach a few goals. I did 165 on the squat and could have easily done more. 170 was my highest pre-surgery and I'm going further past parallel now as well. We went up to 80 on the bench (which was the weight I hurt myself on) and could have done more. My pre-surgery high was 92 but hadn't been checked in a while - was doing multiple sets/reps at 80 when injured. Testing on deadlifts will be this Tuesday but I expect similar results.

Yes, I take more precautions now. I lift with my trainer as my spotter or at home with safety bars in place. I have no intention of getting hurt again. My trainer helps to make sure my form is good as that will also help to prevent injury.

Life is good - feeling healthy and happy and grateful for all I have and all that have helped me along the way!
 

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:wave:
So good to hear you are doing so well, my friend:loveshwr:
 

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This is great news! I’m glad for your accomplishments and happy that life is getting back to normal, whatever that means for you. Many continued blessings, my friend. ❤️ Pat
 
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SaraK

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Before my first THR, I was an absolute couch potato. After some health issues discovered in preop testing, I decided to get into better shape and joined a gym and hired a trainer. My trainer planted the seed of powerlifting (back squat, bench press and deadlifts). A major rotator cuff just as covid hit was a definite road bump along the way.

Today, I finally participated in my first real meet - the USAPL Missouri State Championships. Here is me with my medal wearing my Titanium Reinforced t-shirt I bought specifically for powerlifting meets.
Sara Medal.jpg
 

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