Thursday, April 25, 2013

Getting Down With Kinesio Tape

Today I had my third physical therapy session.  I go twice a week.  Haven't had really much improvement but, it's only been three sessions and from what I hear, shoulder injuries can take a long time to rehabilitate.  So, I'm trying to be patient but the pain can be quite horrible.  The Kinesio tape seems to help with the pain though.  Today I got quite the Kinesio tape tattoo on my arm.  Goes all the way from the top of my shoulder down to my wrist. 

(Today's Kinesio taping.  You can't see in this picture but it goes up over my shoulder as well.  There are three colors they have I can pick from and of course, I pick black.)

My PT wonders if the edema in the humeral head is not finding a way to drain because some of my grafts on my arm and shoulder area are quite tight.  She is also wondering about a nerve because when I try to raise my arm out to the side with my thumb up I experience terrible "fuzzy-like" pain all the way down to my thumb.  I can raise my arm out in front of me a bit higher and with less pain but to the side is basically a no-go.  So, no one's still quite sure what's wrong other than there is that edema in the humeral head of my right shoulder that showed up in the MRI. 

In my physical therapy sessions I am getting some nice massage therapy as well as a technique called myofacial release.  But I really like the massage therapy :)  Who wouldn't?  We found out that I'm compensating for not being able to lift with my shoulder by lifting with my neck muscles cause I am so sore in my neck.  Before we start the session she measures me on how far I can lift my arm going out in front of me and going out to the side.  At the end of each session she measures me again and there's usually a little bit of improvement (which usually goes away by the next session), tapes me up like last summer's Olympians with Kinesio tape that stays on for a couple days and gives me new exercises to do at home.

I am passing my time with this usless arm reading, watchin some movies, playing a video game I'm obsessed with that doesn't require any movement of my arm (just fingers and thumbs) and doing my new diet, which, is going well and I'm having fun with it.  And going to doctor appointments and therapy sessions.  Seems like every day I have an appointment for something.  Every once in awhile I try to get my tired ass on the treadmill as my doctor asked and so far I'm still dead tired every day.  So, speaking of the treadmill, I best leave you and drag myself to it and walk for at least 10 minutes. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Something's Gotta Give

Things have been rough going lately.  I'm battling terrible anemia so I'm just so exhausted all the time, weak and drained of energy.  It takes a whole day for me to really wake up.  I called my doctor to see what he had to say about it and he wants me to try and get some more exercise in.  That response just frustrated me to no end.  I mean, yes, I agree, I need more exercise and it would probably help revive my body and energize me.  It's just tough to hear because I'm so weak and drained of energy and tired that it's nearly impossible to wake up and get the energy to get on the treadmill or go out for a walk!  It's a catch-22.  And then there's the pain I'm dealing with with my shoulder so that makes getting up for some exercise even harder to face.  Which brings me to the frustration with my shoulder issue.  I'm still in pain and I still can't lift my arm any better.  No progress.

I finally got my physical therapy approved with my insurance so I got a call week before last to get in for my evaluation.  So last week I went in for my eval and they didn't really have any answers for me either other than possible impingement in that area where there's edema in the humeral head of my right shoulder.  But she looked at what I could do, what I couldn't, what caused pain and what didn't.  Gave me some exercises to start with at home and wants to see me twice a week.  I had my first actual therapy session this last Tuesday and she did some ultrasound pulse therapy on my shoulder and then some massage work on the back of my shoulder around my scapula and up around my shoulder.  Then we worked on some new exercises for me to work on at home again and she wanted to try Kinesio tape on my shoulder.  You know that funky tape that so many of the Olympians were wearing at the summer games last year?  Yeah, that stuff.  It's supposed to help with pain and inflammation and some other good stuff so she put some on my shoulder and she's got me wearing it for a few days at a time.

So with all my health issues and emotional struggles I'm highly frustrated and feel like I'm walking on the edge of a complete breakdown.  I'm so tired of being so tired all the time; of not being able to get out of bed and wake up like a normal person.  I'm so tired of having a bum arm that is basically useless and have no answers as to what's going on with it or how long it'll take to rehabilitate.  I'm tired of my weight, though I have recently taken a serious step in my weight loss attempt so that's positive and I'm optimistic it's going to work.  But in the meantime, I'm sick of my body.  I've got a lot of frustration and stress going on and I feel like I'm gonna blow a gasket if something doesn't give soon.   

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Letting The Past Withdraw

"There is no past we can bring back by longing for it.  There is only an eternally new now that builds and creates itself out of the Best as the past withdraws."  ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This quote hits me particularly hard.  You all know how much I have talked about longing for the past.   Because of a terrible accident that almost took my life and has completely changed my life, my present is often a living hell and my future feels destroyed.  Oh yes, I have longed for a past that was the high of my life.  When anything seemed possible and my present a daily joy to live, my future bright and optimistic.  It was when I had just moved to New York City.  I loved this exciting new world I was living in, the culture, I was thin and fit, I loved my day (well, night) job, I had wonderful new friends to laugh with and experience life with, and I was living the dream I had dreamed about since I was a girl: to live in New York City and pursue my acting career.

Yes, I long for that past every day.  But, I can't bring it back by longing for it.  There is nothing I can do to bring it back.  And there's nothing I can do to change the pieces of my past that I wish I could change.  That's why it's the past.  I must move on by living in the eternal now and allow that past to withdraw - withdraw into simply great memories.  The present and future are where I must learn to concentrate my efforts because that's where my happiness is built and created now.  That's where I can make a difference in my life.

But I feel a little stuck in the "inbetween."  What I mean by that is, I'm stuck inbetween what was and what could be.  I think being stuck in this inbetween state contributes a lot to my unhappiness because this is where I long for what was and where I am unsure of what could be and also what could be if I just let the past go.  I can't get back what was.  Life cannot be lived in the past.  Life is lived forwards.  The only way for me to get out of the "inbetween" is to learn to let go of what was and look forward to the posibilities of what could be.  It's a long, hard journey letting go of what was but if I can start focusing more on what could be, maybe the what was, the past, will slowly withdraw without me even noticing.

Monday, April 1, 2013


"Like Darwin's finches, we are slowly adapting to our environment.  And when one does that, my God, the riches that are available."

If you've seen the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, then you should recognize this quote.  I think about this statement a lot and how it applies to me.  I may not be in another country to adapt to like the characters in the movie, but, I am having to learn to adapt to a new life since my accident.  It's kind of a backwards thing when you think about my kind of adaptation vs my adaptation were I an amputee.  It seems that amputees adapt faster to their new way of living than those of us who are not amputees.  Perhaps it's because they are forced to.  They are forced to learn to do things with one arm or one leg or they'll never get it done.  Whereas I am lucky to have full function of my limbs and fingers, I tend to be a tad more lazy in getting things done because I know I can get them done, it'll just take me longer.  Yes, it'll take an amputee longer as well but, if they don't learn to do something in a new way than how they used to do it with the full function of their limbs, it simply won't get done.  Such as learning to put on a sock with only one arm.  They'll always be dependent on someone to put their socks on unless they learn to adapt and figure out a way to do it with the use of only one arm.  And the desire to be independent again is a strong motivator to adapt.

I have full use of all my limbs but my range of motion is pretty terrible so I have had to adapt to new ways of doing things as well.  But, I wasn't gently put in this situation.  I was dropped into it, hard on my ass, as was my family, and that is where the force to adapt to your new environment, or new way of living comes from.  And when you're dropped into it, like every person is who has been in a traumatic accident, you have two choices: you can either adapt, or fight it and fight it and fight it.  And trust me, if you try to fight it, you'll never win.  So, like Darwin's finches, you adapt.  Some faster than others, some more efficient, but you will adapt.

Still, five years later, I'm still learning to adapt.  I've done a lot of adapting in these five years but there are still things I have yet to figure out.  Sometimes there's a new surgery that deems me unable to do something I had just learned to do, just adapted to, and I'm back to square one again.  But, I once again, learn to adapt because I am forever learning to adapt.  I have adapted to putting my clothes on differently, though I still need help.  Such an example is how I put on a sweater or a coat.  Like pretty much everyone, before my accident, I used to take a hold of it and sort of swing it around my back and ease my arms into it.  Well, I can't do it that way anymore.  My arms don't have that kind of range of motion anymore.  So, I've had to adapt to putting it on a different way and adapt to having the patience needed because it takes a bit longer to get on and is more frustrating than just swinging it around like everyone else can.  Something as simple as clipping my toenails is another example.  Like everyone, I used to just lean over my knee and clip them.  I had the flexibility in my arms and the stretch in my skin to reach my toenails.  But now, with my limited range of motion and the tightness of the grafted skin that has no give or stretch, I have had to adapt to sort of bending down on the inside of my knee to reach my toenails.  And many times I still can't do that so I have to resort to asking for help.  Learning to ask for help is an adaptation as well.  For me, at least.  I have always had a hard time asking for help but I have had to learn and adapt to asking for help since my accident and try not to feel bad about it.  I say, "try," because I still sometimes feel bad.

But, once you have opened yourself up to adapting to a new way of living after a traumatic accident, what riches you'll reap!  You'll find your independence again (I haven't yet but I heard you will).  You'll find your life again!  You will find happiness in this slog of shit that happened to you.