Shoulders, knees and toes 

Like many of you I’m sure, I go by good days and bad days. A bit like how you look back on all the fun you had during the school Summer holidays, the same way it is for me, looking back on all the good and pain free days I’ve had when I now struggle to even brush my teeth. You can probably tell I’m writing this on one of my bad days. This weekend I’ve had major pain in my left shoulder- a joint I haven’t really had any major problems with, till this week. It’s always heart breaking when one of my joints which has been inflammation free for a while, decides to become hot, swollen and intolerable. If I’m being honest, I am scared about what my arthritis has in store for me next week.

Why? I’ve already had a consultation with an orthopaedic surgeon, who said that I’m a perfect candidate for a shoulder replacement- my shoulder would look like the one below. No one wants to hear that when they’re 20. I’m not going to deny it, I cried when I left the appointment and indulged in some window shopping, before putting a brave face on and working the rest of the day.

 Potential New Shoulder For Me

I can’t truly remember the precise point at which I experienced the first pains in my right shoulder. The problem came about in year eleven, when I couldn’t extend my shoulder fully. No reaching for the stars anymore for me when that S-Club banger was played- I definitely appreciate this movement a whole lot more now. I had many physio and hydrotherapy sessions to try and increase range of movements in my shoulder. They believed it was a frozen shoulder, where the tissue around the joint becomes thickened. But MRI and CT scans have revealed my joint has been worn away by my JIA.

So I am left with a joint which is severely restricted. Some days, I have excruciating pain in my right shoulder, the kind that doesn’t let you sleep. The kind which also prevents me from writing or moving it at all- it’s like wearing an invisible sling. I rely on my left hand to support my right shoulder if I have to use it, which is most of the time as I’m right handed. But some days my joint is pain free, I then just have limited movement. So I’ve delayed a shoulder replacement for now, and am waiting for an appointment to receive my fourth round of steroid joint injections instead. Anything to avoid the knife at this point.

So that’s why I’m petrified of the pain in my left shoulder. Pain in any joint is never any good, but if it’s in a new joint, you have to act fast to prevent long term damage, this involves arranging doctors appointments and keeping up the exercise to preserve mobility! No ignoring the pain and thinking it’s nothing and will pass. You must also stay positive, remembering all of the great days you’ve had which were pain free. Because not every day will be as painful as today x

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