An Unexpected Journey

"Health is the condition of wisdom, and the sign is cheerfulness — an open and noble temper." – Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Rising to a challenge, one painful step at a time

When I set out to write this blog, its purpose was to inspire and inform.  I hoped my story would help others move forward on a path of self improvement.

The balance you strike sometimes to improve yourself is a precarious one, and the unexpected can completely knock you for a loop.  Such is the case with my life at the moment (hence the lack of regular updates recently).   After a couple of orthopedic appointments and a few weeks of therapy, my diagnosis for my left shoulder has gone from an impingement to a “frozen shoulder”.  For those unfamiliar, PubMed describes “frozen shoulder” as: “The joint capsule of the shoulder joint has ligaments that hold the shoulder bones to each other. When the capsule becomes inflamed, the shoulder bones are unable to move freely in the joint.”

And this describes what I am experiencing to a tee.  My arm’s movements are limited.  Putting on a shirt or even my backpack requires me to be careful lest I wrench the joint too far and cause significant pain.  I’ve been going to physical therapy three times a week (recently interrupted by the Christmas break).  In total, physical therapy is a solid hour each time.  It begins with exercises to warm up my shoulder, then stretches followed by stretch band and weight exercises.  This is followed by an extremely painful five to ten minute session getting the arm stretched by my physical therapist.  She’s really great and works with me as best she can, but the pain gets almost blinding at times.  Most recently I literally had my eyes clenched shut trying to work through the pain.  Needless to say, by the time I leave PT, I’m drained both physically and mentally.

It has been a difficult couple months.  My workout routine has been severely curtailed, and because of that I’ve gone back to restarting the South Beach Diet, the diet that I began many years ago when I first started to lose weight.  I had forgotten however that the first two weeks are a pretty intense detox period, and I literally spent a week suffering from withdrawal symptoms due to having almost no sugar.  Shakes, headache, queasiness – all check.  Spending a whole week like that didn’t help my emotional state when going through PT.

Now, I sit here with eight more weeks of physical therapy and a new year.  It’s cliche, but I am going to use the new year as a launching point for restarting my workout routine and going through my physical therapy in earnest.  While part of me is still angry/frustrated/depressed, a part of me is also determined to move forward and get myself back to where I should be.  It’s a daily struggle, but not one I feel I have a choice in.  Sometimes that’s just how life works and you have to roll with it.  It’s times like this that I remind myself that life presents challenges, often unexpected ones and how you rise up to the challenge is what determines your worth.  I intend to live up to this challenge, but it won’t be easy.