Monday, July 11, 2011

Pain. Perseverance. Patience.

I love alliteration. I've been a 2-month mission to find some answers for my shoulder, and it ain't over yet...

Pain. This is where the journey started. My shoulder ranges from screaming sharp pain when I reach too far to grating pain when I over-use it to simmering pain at the end of a long day. It hurts - a lot at time. So I need to take care of my shoulder and me.

Perseverance. I went to London, ON today to see a recommended doctor at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre at St. Joseph's Hospital. To clarify, that is about 616 km one way from my home in Ottawa. A bit of a trek, but I am in need of a second opinion for my shoulder surgery. This is a pivotal surgery for me (and my shoulder) and I want to have options, and then choose the best one.

Patience. We waited 2.5 hours to see the doctor. We spent 30 minutes with him - he is a shoulder specialist in Orthopedics. We had a great conversation. He looked at my films, my CT scan and had a great chat. I was dressed in a turquoise tube-top type hospital gown so he could see my shoulders. Very becoming with my periwinkle blue pants.

The short answer, is that he agrees with my Ottawa doc and I need to have a hemiarthorplasty, or a humeral head replacement. The big difference between this doc and my Ottawa doc, is that he goes above and beyond to explain what he is talking about and offering solutions. My Ottawa doc answers the questions asked, and no more. It's like squeezing the last bits of toothpaste out. Painful and almost fruitless.

The London doc mentioned two alternatives to a traditional "stem" that they implant as seen in my shoulder below:

He suggested either a "cap" on my humeral head (joint resurfacing) or a stem that could be used for a humeral head and a glenoid. Cool! But I couldn't help but think about Transformers when he was talking about the reverse replacement joint. Transformers - "more than meets the eye". Same could be said for a reverse shoulder replacement.

All this to say I have some choices, I have some hope, and I have some more questions.