Monday, September 30, 2013

A veneer of Bravery

Surgery is tomorrow. One sleep. In 48 hours it will all be done - and I am utterly terrified. I know enough of what is coming to know that it's reasonable to feel this way. I've talked about my surgery to friends, co-workers and family in an abstract third party manner. Everyone seems impressed with my positive attitude and nonchalant manner with which I am handling all of this. It's a good show.

I'm petrified of what I don't know is coming and almost more afraid of what I do know is coming. I don't know what kind of pain control I will have for surgery. My last experience was not positive - to say the least - as I woke up screaming in pain in recovery. I'm hoping for better this time. It can only be better.

I do know that I am giving up control on many parts of my life. And that might be the hardest part. I'm not afraid of pain, I'm afraid of losing my independence. I'm a horrible patient - I am not good at asking for or accepting help. I've worked so very hard to be able to do things myself. And in 36 hours I won't even be able to get dressed by myself.

I've done well this time to keep myself busy enough over the weekend to not have a spare second to reflect on the upcoming week. But as the weekend winds down, and my body screams with pain in response to my over-doing-it this weekend, I am forced to sit and think. It's almost a good reminder as to why I'm going through the surgery - my shoulder is so very sore right now. It's a not-so-subtle reminder that my shoulder is not going to get better automagically, and that this is surgery I need and will appreciate 4-6months from now.

My 6 year old daughter brought me her most prized possession in the world to snuggle with - pink blankie. There is no precedent for this act of love. Chelsea does not give up her blanket. Ever.
For anyone. I guess this further demonstrates the magnitude of my surgery and how it not only
impacts me, but many other people in my life.

I'm on a new music kick, and have discovered Chvrches and their song "Recover". It's about decisions and being at a cross-roads. That's me. At the cross-roads of pain and surgery. I'm really hoping the surgery path works out for me this time.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Shoulder Surgery - Version 3.0

A couple of people have emailed and asked what - exactly - am I having done this time around and why.

For those reading this as a stand alone post, here is some history. I have had a total shoulder replacement on my left side about 4 years ago, and a partial shoulder replacement (resurfacing) on my right side about two years ago. My right shoulder is in a reasonable amount of pain and with reduced function and range of motion for the past 4-5 months. Back to our regularly scheduled broadcast.

The short answer is I'm having a bone graft. They will take irradiated cadaver bone, crush it up and pack it into my glenoid cavity (socket) and stitch me back up again. A few potential complications, of course. When opening me up, I already have some hardware in my joint as pictured below.

Implants like this do not just "pop" out, as it is secured with bone cement. It wasn't really intended to come out 23 months after it was put in. For a successful surgery it come out to ensure that there is enough room for the surgeon to operate. There is a possibility that it may not come out cleanly, and I will need to have another - larger - implant inserted. I don't really want that, but I may not have a choice. I've been of the opinion that the longer I can keep my natural bone, the better off I will be as I am fairly confident that this will not be my last surgery on this shoulder.

I am about nine sleeps away from surgery. I am starting to feel anxious, emotional and downright afraid. This is fairly major surgery. While I am generally flip with strangers about my disease and my struggles, not the case when all the bravado is stripped away.

I'm trying to listen to happy music this week. I've recently found Grouplove - and this song puts a smile on my face. I've got a "Ways to go" to surgery - but only a little bit longer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

True Colours

Deep breath. Here goes.

I haven't been writing lately. I haven't been writing lately as there is a giant black hole of depression just over there in the corner that sometimes feels like it's about to swallow me whole. Other days I'm ok, keep to myself and can work around it. It's been there, on and off, larger and smaller, waiting for me in the corner for the past five months. That's a long time. This is hard to write. I'm still waiting to chicken out and delete this post.

The phrase I've been using is "flirting with depression". I don't know if I'm depressed - that is such a big, big word. I am certainly not happy. I'm sad about many things, big and small. I am more emotional than normal. I want to be alone as much as possible, often regardless of family needs. I am not really talking about it to many people. I am having some good days, bad days, a good month - June - and then several bad months. I'm crying - a lot - sometimes uncontrollably. And other days I feel a version of normal. But it's a slippery slope pulling me back, down and under. The black hole in the corner is ever-present and looking to gobble me whole.

Recent news of my imminent do-over shoulder surgery has really pushed me over the edge. I don't know how to process this set back. I don't know how to name the emotion - and if I can't name it, I can't get over it, around it, through it or or past it.  I am surviving - not living, going through the motions without any emotion.

I was inspired to write by this post at Remicade Dream. I know it's not just me whose ass is getting kicked by RA and depression. When I went to write this post, I thought of the song first, and then found the words to write. "True Colours" speaks some of the words that I just can't say right now.