This is my right shoulder. During the last week of April is began to ache. I figure I was just tired. My whole body is generally sore so I didn’t pay too much attention to a new ache in my shoulder. When swimming the ache began to turn into pain, especially during the recovery phase of the freestyle stroke and during backstroke. I called for an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon but between my travel and work schedule and their busy appointment book they weren’t able to get me in until June 3, 2014. In the meantime I went to see my GP who thought it was a trapezius strain due to inflammation in my upper back. She prescribed PT. I dutiful went to PT and the PT thought that in addition to the trapezius strain, I also might have a torn labrum. Unfortunately the PT exercises just made my shoulder feel worse. I finally had my orthopedic appointment yesterday. Xrays revealed degenerative arthritis in my shoulder. In addition to the arthritis I have a non-traumatic separated shoulder (although to me my shoulder looks very much attached in the picture above) and hyper mobility syndrome (which I already knew as all of my joints are hyper flexible and are constantly popping in and out). All of this is likely related to hereditary issues (my cousin in her 40s has had a double hip replacement). I am going for an arthrogram (a MRI with dye injected into the joint) to determine the extent of the damage to the shoulder joint. The doctor seemed to think that surgery would be necessary to repair the joint and told me not to do anything that caused pain.
On a personal note the news was completely devastating. I got into my car and sobbed the entire way home. Its really difficult to accept something like this and be to forced to deal with the fact that there’s not a lot I can do about it. While I’ve doing a bit better on the sobbing front today its been replaced with general grumpiness related both to the diagnosis and the pretty constant pain. In between the sobbing and the pity party I also could not stop thinking about was Challenge Atlantic City. Not only do I really want to participate in the first Challenge Family race in North America, I was also selected to wear the number 179 in honor of Jon Blais and the Blazeman Foundation. This is a HUGE honor. I’ve made the decision to do Challenge AC as an individual. I know my swim time will be slow (but I also know that I can swim one armed freestyle in under the cut off time) and then do my best to have a fantastic bike and run. It won’t be a PR race but there are things more important that PRs and honoring Jon’s memory and helping spread the word about ALS is one of them.