It's a very slow process - two steps forward, one step back - but I'm inching in the right direction. - Rob Reiner

January 23, 2012

My First Swim

Well, not actually my first one ever, but my first one since August.  If you’ve been reading my blog awhile, you know my story…if not it goes something like this….

I was training for my first Olympic Distance Tri and had been training ALL summer.  Just 9 days before the big day I woke up one morning and couldn’t move my shoulder – I had almost 0% range of motion and it was visibly displaced and the pain was incredibly intense.  I had been having some minor shoulder pain, but nothing too severe.  I couldn’t believe it.  I immediately got in to see a Sports Med Dr. thinking they could shoot me with some cortisone or something and have me on my way.  He immediately sent me for an MRI which showed I had done some major damage to the cartilage in my shoulder – basically what holds the ball in the socket was damaged and causing instability, inflammation, and pain!  That was that, I stopped swimming.  I didn’t get to do my triathlon.  I did 10 weeks of physical therapy.  I saw a surgeon twice – and he recommended I have surgery – but also told me I may never get 100% range of motion back.  It was a Lose/Lose situation.

I had a marathon to train for, so I just decided to put the shoulder issue on the back burner and focus on running.  And that’s what I have done for the last several months.  The pain had mostly subsided on a day to day basis, but I still an’t sleep on my side and certain movements still cause pain – and it pops pretty much any time I move it, but it's tolerable.

Now that my Disney marathon is over – I decided it was time to start thinking about that shoulder again.  I really want to do a Half Ironman this summer and I have a whole group of girlfriends who are training to do the Racine 70.3.  I can’t do it if I can’t swim (obviously).  I asked my ART guy about it and he seems to think he can help.  This man has been magic so far and helped me with so many running injuries, but I’m still skeptical.  This isn’t muscle damage – we are talking about some major damage to the shoulder - not muscle cartilage.  Anyway, he starting working on it last week and he suggested some shoulder exercises for me to do, and he told me to get in the pool and start swimming as much as possible.  He thinks I can be healed in a month if I put in the work.

So Saturday, I finally took the plunge (literally).  I swam a whole 900 yards, and only about 700 of that with my arms.  I worked on my kick for about 200 yards.  When I first started it was pretty painful, but my shoulder loosened up and I was able to swim to my surprise.  I took it slow and stretched every 50 yards.  I iced when I got home and took some ibuprofen.  I was pretty happy really.  I honestly had no idea if I could even make the swim motion in the water - so it went as good or better than I anticipated.  However, since Saturday my shoulder has ached pretty much non-stop, but is worse when I’m lying down.  I go back to the Dr. tonight, so we’ll see how things go.  I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic.  I don’t want to get my hopes up, but I don’t want to assume it’s not going to work either.  I really, really don’t want to have shoulder surgery. 

So that’s where I’m at.  I’m tri-ing to be a triathlete again.  I'm hopeful it's a possibility for me.

Oh, and in case you missed my marathon video that my SUPER hubs put together. You can check it out here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJmY_9dT3PI&context=C3f0ee59ADOEgsToPDskIIOpDuS6J6oHGZ24KQnQLO

20 comments:

  1. Great job Michael!!! and I am happy that shoulder is loosening up :) cool that you're tri-ing again :) haha

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  2. Oh, I really hope that it gets better and you can swim again!

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  3. Hey Michael, I just went to an ART guy for the first time tonight...and it went really well...I think! Good Luck with the shoulder and hope you get to keep on swimming!!

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  4. I so want you to be able to swim and do your half ironman. I am sending very positive thoughts your way. Good luck!

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  5. Arrr, the pain of rehab!! I hope the shoulder improves and you can avoid surgery!!

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  6. Thats awesome that you are starting to swim again. I hope everything works out well for you.

    Btw, I really liked the video.

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  7. I was sort of hoping for a happier ending than it aching. But we can never know what'e really going on until the doctor's made his edict so I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you. Good luck.

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  8. Good luck! That's exciting that you could get your shoulder to loosen up!

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  9. Keeping my fingers crossed that the ART works! It would be awesome to be able to get it taken care of without surgery!

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  10. If need be, I will come there and hold your arm in place while you swim. Yes I will!

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  11. Yay Michael! Glad you were able to swim again!!!

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  12. I am wishing you the best of luck at the doc. I hope only good things come of your visit.

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  13. Great news indeed! I'm sure you will be a regular swimmer from now on. Now I'm off to watch that video.

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  14. I'm glad to hear you were able to get back to the pool (I don't understand you swimmer/tri types :^), but I do understand the frustration of not being able to sweat in one's preferred way!). Just take it slow--hopefully the ART guy is right.

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  15. hoping the shoulder continues to hold up! this is great news friend!!!

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  16. Hope your shoulder improves. Funny in that I am going to see my ART guy tomorrow to look at my shoulder for the tendinitis I have.

    I realized that this is what is most likely causing me to swim right instead of straight.

    I will let you know how I feel and we can compare ART in the shoulder.....

    Great video!

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  17. There is a good chance you have already been tagged for the random 11 but add me to the list. :P

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  18. This is probably worse than a chain letter but I have tagged you in my 11 things post! http://gymclassdropout.blogspot.com/2012/01/11-things.html

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  19. Baby steps girl... you'll get there! :)

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  20. Ugh, injuries suck! But, I am glad you are able to swim again. I am thinking of trying ART for my stupid hip.

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