Thursday, August 29, 2013

Shoulder Update

Well, it's been well over a month since I dislocated my shoulder. In that time I have seen four different doctors, had three x-rays taken, one MRI session, and I finally feel like I'm moving forward with a sense of where I am headed. The first radiologist gave me high hopes, saying there was only some minor fraying, no tears. The second radiologist shed a different light on the MRI scans, saying I had a Bankart lesion from a partial separation. I must thank my coworker friend Craig for helping to get this second opinion from his brother-in-law. Finally, last week I went in to an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation and received the most practical opinion yet.

Dr. Waslewski out of Scottsdale / Mesa has been one of the most cut and dry, honest, and inspiring doctors I have seen thus far. Although I have a labral tear in the front of my shoulder, it is his opinion that I forgo surgery for now and dedicate the next several months to PT. Being a climber, I would lose 15-20 degrees of my arm reach if I went the surgery route. Since this is the first time I have dislocated and since the tear is centered over the humeral head, the cartilage should heal back over time and I should be able to regain all my mobility as long as I take the recovery slow and steady. The scar tissue that is in place is currently helping to keep it stable. I just need to work with a therapist to slowly tear the tissue and heal through the frozen should onset.

I also owe a sincere thanks to Dr. Ryan Connell, my hockey teammate and physical therapist for many years. He and his staff took care of me from day one until I could finally get the full diagnosis, helping me with inflammation and adjustments to kickstart the healing process.

Last but not least, thank you to my wife and family and extremely supportive friends who have helped me and held doors for me throughout the past month. Kindness is inspiring and it must be spread. So off I go, down this long road of rehab. Every day I see my therapist / trainer, he asks me, "so have you been climbing yet?" almost to tease me. I always respond with, "wait, am I allowed??". He shakes his head with a chuckle, but it always seems to conjure up a sense of determination before each session. It's almost cruel, but I understand exactly what he's doing. I want to get back outdoors. It's calling to me. For now I wait.

I have finally gotten around to uploading some pictures and words from this year's trips:


Nik C. said...

It's been an absolutely great experience reading through your blog. I'm also a part-time Engineer and full-time explorer, who is working his way from tedious hiking into more demanding and technical adventures. I sincerely hope the shoulder gets better soon, but for now take some solace in the fact that at least one random stranger has been inspired by your well-documented experiences.

The Mountaineer Skeptic said...

Thanks for the kind words of encouragement, Nik. It's really nice to hear from the outdoors community -- can't thank you enough. There's definitely something unique that draws us engineers out into the midst of the vast, interconnected natural systems of all scales that exist in the outdoors. There's still so much to discover, even on a personal level.
Best wishes to you in your future adventures! If you're ever in Arizona, send me an email and perhaps we can meet up and knock out a few pitches of a good route... [at]