Worrying at a Break-Neck Pace

Holy shit, that is sooo not funny. I am not funy at all.

So I mentioned before about my royally effed up rotator cuff that was the result of my accident back in April.

My MRI, if you haven’t figured it out yet, came back negative. Nothing torn and a small victory dance for me, though no arm movements in said dance because, well…Because it still sucks. They said I had tendonitis and bursitis. I had bursittis once in the opposite shoulder when I was in the thick on my swimming years. It took a week to go away. I’ve had tendonitis before, only in a foot. It took about 2 weeks to go away.

I had my accident on April 4. This was June 2.  So not cool. But in everyone’s defense, I had been stubborn, assuming the mild pain was nothing and getting no treatment for it until it got so bad that I had no choice but to get treatment. So maybe if I did what they said and rested it, iced it, antiinflammatory-d it, I would heal. Though it sucked being off of work, I took it on the chin in the name of my future ability to work pain-free.

So fast-forward to June 27. I am still not better. I have had 4 different aniinflammatories of the non-steroidal variety, cortisone injections, and oral steroids. I still cannot lift my arm in certain ways. Writing still hurt badly. I could do a little more, but anything I did, no matter how small, would result in pain for the rest of the day and night. This could mean a lot of misery, depending on what ime of day it was. And when I say “anything I did”, it could mean stirring a cup of coffee, signing my name, picking up a toy car from the floor. It had not been long enough to undo years of conditioning, and since I am right-handed, I always start to do anything I do with that right arm. It is only after it starts hurting that I realize what I’ve done and have to switch to the left hand. The most pitiful was the day John and I went for burritos. I was trying to cut into it with a fork and knife, but the sawing motion of the knife with my right hand would hurt, so I would do the clumsy switching of the hands to cut, then switch back to put a bite of burrito to my mouth with the shaking and awkward left hand. The result was spilling a fork full of rice, salsa, chicken bits, and shredded cheese into my lap. So again with the awkward switching of the hands and utensils to try again, all while John watched me with the saddest eyes, wanting to help me but knowing that if he were to try to feed me in public, I wooud likely kill him. I mean, my arm isn’t bandaged or in a sling or anything for fear of it getting too stiff, so on the outside, I look completely too normal for my husband to be feeding me across the table in public. Bu anyway…

The moral of the story is that I wasn’t getting any better. It had been 4 weeks off of work, multiple treatments. Something had to give, so I went into my appointment prepared to let them have it. Either fix me or let me go back to work and try to deal with the pain my own way. That is when the doc said, “Andrea, have we ever looked at your neck?” She went on to explain that the neck can be the cause of shoulder pain, and we should at least rule it out. What could it hurt, right?


She comes back into the room and pulls the images up on the computer. Images of a beautifully straight neck. And she remarks that it is so straight. “Good!”, I say. “What’s plan B?”

Oops. It isn’t supposed to be straight. And mine was so straight that it could be used as a straight-edge in geometry class. And I guess there are bone spurs, too. Eight of them, she said. And the space between C4 and C5 vertebra is almost gone. According to my film, C4 is resting on C5 on the front side of my body (anteriorly). I guess it isn’t supposed to be like that, and there is a strong likelihood that I have a badly herniated disc. And that said disc is pressing on my spinal cord.

C4/C5 is what innervates the shoulders and upper arms. So I was sent for an MRI to determine if I will need to have surgery. Only on my neck this time. On my cervical spine,

Oh Shit.

On my spine. My c-spine? As in right next to my airway? And my major bood vessels that supply my brain with oxygen-rich blood? As in the shit I need to stay alive? And the surgery! It looks awful. And the recovery period means you may have to amend your activities post-surgery. As in change the way you do your job. But what if y education is for my job? What if I cannot do what I am trained/ skilled/ licensed to do? Then what? And the length of recovery! What about grad school? I have about 7 weeks before it starts. What about that?

The neck surgery that looks like so much fun. If by fun, you mean drilling holes in your neck bones.


I’ve worked too hard. It’s crazy. I’m not sure what I am going to do.

Scratch that. Yes, I do. I’m going to wait and see. While biting my nails.  And fretting. And icing my neck. While taking even more antiinflammatories.


2 thoughts on “Worrying at a Break-Neck Pace

    • Thanks, B. If you haven’t figured it out yet from FB, I don’t have to have the surgery. I’ve been referred for epidural steroid injections instead. Good news!!!

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