I'm getting shoulder surgery! Part 1

I've had shoulder pain for a long, long time. I would say that it started about 8 months into my training as a competitive Olympic weightlifter. Now, I can't fully blame Oly lifting, as I've beaten my shoulders up pretty well between judo, capoeira, and rock climbing, but I suppose my training as a weightlifter was the final straw. Or probably the final bale of hay.

Notice the internally rotated shoulders? Pull internally rotated  = catch internally rotated.
Also, notice Diane in the back corner? Hi, Diane! 

When they first started hurting, my knees and back were hurting a lot, too. At that time, I was taking 12-16 ibuprofen a day so that I could train at the intensity my coach at the time demanded of me. When I switched coaches and had some technical issues cleaned up, my back and knees stopped hurting after a few months (not a miracle, just good coaching), but my shoulders never really got better.

By this time I had stopped taking all the ibuprofen, for fear I was either eating away at my stomach lining, muscles, or destroying my liver and/or kidneys. So every missed or off-perfect snatch sent stabs of pain through my shoulders. This is when it really started affecting my training. We pretty much start every practice with snatching, so if it was a "bad day" (and I don't know what snatching without any pain is like) then my morale would be so low that I just couldn't muster much gusto to go after the clean and jerk. My lifts suffered. My squat suffered. Maybe my deadlift was the only thing that didn't suffer since deadlifting is a sort of joy to me.

After over a year of my coach, teammates, and boyfriend imploring me to get my shoulder looked at by a professional, I finally did. This is what they saw:



Okay, so I suck at reading MRI images. Above is just my favorite picture of my right shoulder. That's my freakin' bone! How cool is that?? We're LIVING IN THE FUTURE!

So on Wednesday, Dec. 12, I go under to have my bone shaved down and a possible suture in my rotator cuff, plus some plasma enriched injections to assist with healing.

The reactions I get from people tend towards the "I'm so sorry to hear that!" I want to be like "NO! You don't get it! This is a relief!" I see this as a reset button. After scheduling the surgery I was taking stock of all the things I do to accomodate my discomfort and pain:

- I can only do push up with my arms and elbow right by my side.
- I have to set my shoulders and scapula back just to pick things up out of the back of my car.
- I do a little jerk prep to get clothes off over my head.
- I physically cannot muscle snatch a PVC pipe or do normal port de bras (ballet arm position exercises).
- I have to put on jackets or back packs carefully.
- The other day I couldn't even demo a bench press at 53 lbs.


There are very few things I can do without at least a modicum of forethought. I have slowly, as the discomfort finds it way into more movements, changed my routines and habits to avoid it.

This is a new start.

Me, after surgery.