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Rotator Cuff Injury
by Gary F. Zeolla
This article is continued from Rotator Cuff Injury 2.0: Part Four.
Rotator Cuff Injury Update,
Plus, Colonoscopy and Other Updates
This update will update all that I discussed in my previous update and conclude my rotator cuff injuries story.
Three-month Post-surgery Appointment:
I had my three-month post-surgery appointment with the surgeon on Friday, October 14, 2022. I told the surgeon about all of what I covered in my previous update. I then wanted to know when I could ramp up my training. As I feared, he verified what I had thought previously, that I needed to wait until at least next year to do so.
He even mentioned about deadlifts and said that even though I am not moving my shoulder and using the rotator cuffs, there is stress on them, so to still keep the weights light. That has been my plan, to only gradually increase the weights and drop the reps over the next few months.
On squats, he said to just keep on stretching to be able to get my arm up and back to hold the bar. As of the week of November 6th, I switched from dumbbells to using my 45-pound Heavy Duty Power Bar. However, I have to use a much wider grip than normal, basically, as wide as I can go and not catch my hands in the hooks of my power rack.
Lots of powerlifters use such a wide grip, but that is usually the big boys. I have found that with a wider grip, I hold the bar lower. That tends to cause me to lean forward, bringing my hips up, making it hard to hit proper depth. But for now, I have no choice and will have to watch my form and depth. Who knows? Maybe I will find I like it better, as I practice with it.
In any case, otherwise on the appointment, the surgeon said I am progressing on schedule, maybe even ahead of schedule. He said I was doing a good job of rehabbing myself. He said there was no reason for another appointment, as long as I did not run into any trouble.
But he did emphasize that it would be six months post-op until I would be out of the woods as far as being able to reinjure the fixed tears. That will be January 15, 2023. I have that date marked on my calendars. But even after it, I will still have to be careful in terms of progressing too quickly, to let the rest of my body adjust to harder and heavier training.
I got my Covid booster shot right at CVS right after this appointment. I felt absolutely awful afterwards and through the weekend. But I am not sure if that was due to the booster shot or just my normal problem with being out and going to two different places.
Dentist and Audiologist Visits:
I had two appointments on Tuesday, October 25, 2022. First was a routine dentist appointment. My teeth are fine, but my gums not so much. I am developing periodontal disease. The dentist recommended more frequent cleaning, every three months, and I might have to go to a specialist.
The second was with an audiologist. Again, a routine checkup, though I haven’t had my ears tested in many years. My hearing is just fine, with everything in the normal ranges, except I have a significant drop off for one high pitch frequency in my left ear. The doctor was not sure what caused that, but otherwise, he said my hearing was normal, and I definitely did not need hearing aids.
That is significant, as two days before this appointment, I received an email from CVS. It contained a link to a free online hearing test. I did the test, and the result was my hearing was borderline between “some hearing loss” and “significant hearing loss.” It was recommended I purchase hearing aids. Then as soon as I had finished the test, I received a spam email from a hearing aid company. Just goes to show you, do not trust an online health test, even if it is promoted by a reputable company like CVS.
After these two appointments, I again felt awful afterwards.
I had another visit with my PCP on October 28, 2022. This time I talked with my new doctor, but I did not like her at all. She just was not listening, as I tried to explain my health problems to her. Mind you, I have been going to this doctors’ office since the beginning of this century, but they keep changing doctors on me. This was my sixth doctor during that time.
The previous five I liked, as they took the time to try to understand my rather unique health problems, but I felt like I was fighting with this one. But I did get her to add a couple of more of my health problems to MyChart, though not all that I wanted her to.
My blood pressure was lower this time. That could be because I cut down on salt. I was putting it on all of my food at lunch and dinner, but now I am just putting it on veggies, as they need them. If that is all it takes, then my BP might not be as much of a problem as I had feared.
She gave me a prescription for a standard blood test, including cholesterol, but I am supposed to wait about six months to use it, then make another appointment with her. But I am not sure if I will keep going to this office. I might try switching to the doctor my dad goes to.
As for my cholesterol, I think it has gone up over the past couple of years, as I went against what I say in my own books, my God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition books. In both, I recommend against the idea of a “cheat day” once a week. A cheat food or cheat meal once in a while, fine. But I say cheating all day once a week could undo the health benefit of eating clean the other six days.
Well, despite that recommendation, I had gotten in the habit of a cheat day on Saturdays, my day off from working and working out. I have especially been eating more chocolate than I have ever in my life. Maybe the stress of my two shoulder surgeries caused me to crave it.
But whatever they case, I have cut way down on the chocolate and am trying to break the habit of a full cheat day on Saturdays. I will find out next spring when I use that prescription for the blood test whether that makes the difference or not.
Physical Therapy Visit:
Since the physical therapy center I had gone to was just around the corner from doctor’s office, I walked over to it to see my second cousin, the physical therapist I had been seeing before I went it on my own. I wanted to show her my progress on both of my shoulders.
She also said I was doing just fine rehabbing myself. But then she added I should become a physical therapist myself. I told her that if my life had turned out the way I had planned, I would have been a personal trainer. She said I would have been a good one. I would add I would have been much happier doing that than doing what I am now doing. But it just is not possible given my health situation.
After these two visits, I got my annual flu shot. After all of that, I again felt absolutely awful afterwards. But again, I am not sure if it was due to the flu shot or the visits. Probably a combination of both.
I still need to make an eye doctor appointment and get a tetanus booster, but I wanted to hold off on scheduling them, as I needed time to get over all of these appointments and vaccinations. And besides, I was now focused on my colonoscopy.
I had a colonoscopy on November 7, 2022. This was the medical appointment I was mostly concerned about, not just what the results would be but also the prep and how I would feel afterwards. Anyone who has ever had a colonoscopy knows what I am talking about in regard to the prep. But it ended up not being as bad as I feared.
The colonoscopy went as planned. I was “cleaned out” enough for the test to be successful. And the results were my colon was normal in all three sections. There were no polyps nor inflammation. The doctor told me I didn’t need to get another colonoscopy for ten years.
That was all a big relief. It also verified what I assert in the afore-mentioned two books (God-given Foods Eating Plan and Creationist Diet: Second Edition). I contend that it is not red meat per se that increases the risk of colon cancer but the factory farm meats that most Americans eat. I assert hat the “old-fashioned” meats I eat regularly and recommend do not carry that risk. Of course, a sample of one is not exactly proof, but such anecdotal evidence is worth mentioning. I explain the difference between these two types of meats in my books.
But here, once again, I felt awful afterwards and through be next day. But I am thankful it ended up being much ado about nothing, and I don’t need to go through it again until 2032.
Powerlifting and Health:
I asserted in my previous update that not being able to powerlift for the past 1-1/2 years is causing a downturn in my health. The corollary of that is someone with poor health could improve it by powerlifting. That was shown to be the case in a report on all places CBS Evening News on October 17, 2022.
The report was about an 80-year-old black woman. Her health was failing so bad when she was 65 that she says she could barely walk up a flight of steps. But then she took up powerlifting. Now today, 15 years later, she is squatting over 400 pounds and has broken a slew of records. And most importantly, she says she feels better now than she did when she was 50. For the report, see CBS News. “She upped the game”: Grandmother holds more than 20 national and world records in powerlifting.
Of course, you don’t have to compete to work out. But the goal of a contest does provide an extra incentive.
Training and Powerlifting Plans:
As for myself, I have no idea whether or not I will ever compete again. I will not know until later next year, when I get back into harder and heavier training.
My plan is to follow my current rehab routine until about Christmas. I will then switch to a transitional routine, where I will gradually decrease from the hyper-high (50-100) reps I am doing now down to a somewhat more normal strength training range of 10-20 reps. That will take about four months, or until the end of April 2023.
Then I will start a new routine and gradually decrease from there to the high end of a powerlifting range of 5-6 reps, again, over a period of four months or so. That will take me into September 2023.
It won’t be until then that I will have an idea where my lifts are. My guess is, they will be significantly down, as by then, as it will have been about two and a half years since I last benched heavy and almost two years since I last squatted and deadlifted heavy.
If I decide I want to compete again, I will then start a new routine that will last about six months. During it, I will gradually decrease to my normal powerlifting range of 1-6 reps. It will not be until then that I will add in my limited gear of a belt, wrist wraps, and knee sleeves.
That routine will take me to about March of 2024. It will be a that time that I would consider entering a contest. If I do, it will be about three years since my last contest, which was in March of 2021. By that time, March 2024, I will be 63 years old. That will factor into my decision to compete again as well. I was 42 then 54 when I made my previous two comebacks. But 63 could be pushing it.
Oblique and Adductor Injuries:
As I discussed previously, I injured my left oblique about a month after my first shoulder surgery last year while making my bed one-handed. Then a week before my second surgery this year, I injure my right adductor.
The former is still bothersome. It just aches much of the time. Not bad, just a dull pain that is always there. The latter seems to be fully healed. But I will not know until I start doing heavier squats and deadlifts if either or both will be problematic.
I mentioned back then several possible reasons for the adductor injury. But one I did not mention was trying to get back into heavier training too soon. It is to try to avoid another injury like that one that I am planning on being more gradual in getting back to heavier training this time than last time, hence the preceding outlined schedule.
Four Months Post-op and Winter Walks:
November 15, 2022 marked four months post-op after my second shoulder surgery. It was also the first time in years I went for an exercise walk in winter-weather, with it being unseasonably cold here in the Pittsburgh region. It made me realize how thankful I am I had both of my surgeries in the summer.
Getting dressed for a walk in the winter is still difficult, even four months post-op. There is no way I could have dressed warm enough for walks if I had my surgeries now. Putting on a long sleeve shirt and sweatshirt was hard enough, but putting a jacket on was really difficult.
I never realized it before, but I always put a jacket on by putting my left arm in its sleeve first, then the right arm. But there was no way I could do that, as I still cannot bend my right arm back far enough, so I have to do it the other way, putting my right arm in first. But it seems so backward. It was all so much easier back in the summer, when I just needed to put on a T-shirt.
Of course, it was not just exercise walks but going out for my post-op surgeon visits and other doctor appointments would have all been so much more difficult if I had my surgeries in the winter. Just a word of warning, if you can time a shoulder surgery, do it in the spring or summer, not in autumn or winter.
That said, I am also thankful I have not had any major setbacks this time like I did last time. With now being 2/3s of the way to my “safe date” of January 15, 2023, I am feeling a lot less stressed out about reinjuring the fixed tears. But I still have to be careful. With doing so, hopefully, I will just gradually improve from here.
Conclusion to Rotator Cuff Injuries Story
This whole ordeal began back on March 14, 2021, when I felt pain in my left shoulder and triceps after a missed bench press. Little did I realize back then what lay ahead. If in fact it ends up being March of 2024 when I compete again, that will be three years from start to finish to resolve my shoulders issues. If I don’t compete again, then more so did I not realize what lay ahead back then.
Assuming nothing unexpected happens, this will be my final rotator cuff injuries update. God-willing, I will just continue to gradually progress from here. It has been a long road, and I still got a long way to go. But I thank the LORD I have made it this far. Here’s praying all goes well in the coming weeks, months, and years.
The picture below is of me without a sling. Actually, I have not needed one in a while. I’m ready to bag them up and stow them all away. Here’s praying I won’t ever need them again.
Six-Months Post-Op Update
Though I said I concluded this story two months ago, I wanted to update it at the six months-post op mark. Yesterday, January 15, 2023, was six months since my second shoulder surgery. This one was on my right shoulder to fix two rotator cuff tears. Unlike last time, when I had surgery on my left shoulder for the same, this time, nothing happened that could have conceivably reopened the repaired tears.
That means, the repaired tears should be fully healed. I thank the LORD for that. However, I am by no means fully recovered. I still get pain in the shoulder. I do not have full ROM back yet, and it is still noticeably weaker than when this all began.
That was the case with the left shoulder at this point last year. And now, a year later. I no longer feel pain and have full ROM in it. But I never fully recovered strength in it, since, just as I began to get into heavier training, my right shoulder began acting up, leading to its surgery.
Meanwhile, my left oblique and adductor are still bothersome. That are not hindering my squat and deadlift training. Though I am still doing high reps with tiny weights. I won’t know until I get back to heavier training whether they will be a problem or not. But to be sure and to try to avoid injuring anything else, I am sticking with my plan of only gradually dropping the reps and increasing the weights over the next several months.
For where I am
at now, on benches, yesterday I hit the “milestone” of benching half-bodyweight
(60 pounds) for 25 reps. On squats, I just started putting 25s on the bar. On
deadlifts, I will be using the 45s for the first time next week. With still
using such embarrassingly low weights, I am really glad I have my home gym and
am not working out at a public gym. But I am thankful for the progress. And
here’s praying my plan works, and I am able to get back into harder training
over the coming months.
When I put the 45s on the bar for the first time for deadlifts, I started with a sumo stance. But that bothered my adductor too much, so I switched to a conv stance. That felt better, though it bothered my left hamstring a bit.
I originally injured it years ago walking up the steep hill in front of my home without warming up first. But the hamstring did not feel as bad as the adductor, so I will probably stick with just conv deadlifts for a while.
It might be for the best. In my last cycle before my first shoulder surgery, conv deadlifts were running about five pounds ahead of sumos. Therefore, it might be good to focus on them for a while, rather than alternating sumos and conv as I have been doing for quite some time. I will just have to be careful with my hamstring.
But on a good
note, my shoulder did not bother me at all putting the 45s on the bar and
pulling it. That means, I am back to being able to lift
weights, at least straight-armed. But I still have a ways to go with bent arms,
but that is why I will continue with the rows and upright rows.
Rotator Cuff Injury 2.0: Part Four. Copyright © 2022 by Gary F. Zeolla.
Creationist Diet: Second
A Comprehensive Guide to Bible and Science Based Nutrition
This Second Edition is 2-1/2 times as long and presents a different perspective on diet than the First Edition. The First Edition mostly advocated a vegan diet, while this Second Edition also advocates for a diet that includes animal foods. But, and this is very important, those animal foods are to be what are called “old-fashioned” meats, dairy, and eggs, not the “factory farm” products that most people eat. What is meant by these two terms and the incredible difference between them is explained in this book. In addition, this book covers a wide range of diet related topics to help the reader to understand how to live a healthier lifestyle according to God’s design.
The above article was first posted on this website November 22, 2022.
Updates were added as dated.
Dealing with Health Difficulties
Rotator Cuff Injury: Dealing with Health Difficulties
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