Wednesday, 18 September 2013

5 months

It's been 5 months since the Ontario Open, where I lost the purple belt absolute final (and a trip to California along with it) by kimura. It was pretty depressing at first, and frustrating dealing with the Ontario health care system.  I tried to just rest it and hope for the best, since worlds was only 2 weeks after. But, that didn't work so well.

 I saw my physio therapist the day before (I think, maybe 2 days before) we left for California to get a diagnosis and assessment and to see what his thoughts were on me competing. He is pretty down to earth, and understands what it is like to be a competitive athlete and whatnot. At that time, without any diagnostic imaging, he came to the conclusion that I had likely torn my rotator cuff and labrum. He said competing would be very risky, and unless I could control where my arm went, I probably shouldn't.

 I left his office pretty bummed out, but still set on competing. I packed all my gis and gear to train and compete and we set off. I probably should have realized when I was struggling to wheel my carryon around that it was a bad plan. It wasn't until the first day training at AoJ that it really dawned on me that I was in no condition to compete. I wrote that really long blog post about being sorry and whatnot. I was pretty depressed and down for the entire trip.

 When I got home, I went back to physio, got some exercises and put things in motion to see Dr. Levy to get to the bottom of the injury. It took a few weeks to see him and His assessment was about the same. Less concern about the rotator cuff, since it seemed to be healing. It was likely only strained/stretched/made angry. He ordered some X-Rays and an MRI.

 In the mean time, at Buckleys they have Dr Jeff Weekes come in every once and a while to assess injuries and help the students out with aches and whatnot. He happened to be there one day while I was there so he had a look. He also suspected the labrum tear, but also a biceps tendon injury to go along with it. He stressed getting the MRI and gave me some surgeons names (not encouraging at all).

 2 weeks after Dr. Levy sends in the form for the MRI, I finally get a call with my date. It's mid-august! I had a little cry when I found that out. I had already wasted like 6 weeks of training time with this stupid injury! To wait till August was horrible! I had a friend use some connections and I ended up getting an MRI in about week. That was an ordeal all it's own that took about 5 hours when it was all said and done and another 2 full weeks to get the results, but it was still WAY ahead of the mid-august original schedule.

 I saw my physio therapist again the day the results came in to go over them. Small tear in the labrum, and a small tear in the biceps tendon. Dr. Weekes wins the injury pool! The rotator cuff bits were all fine, but there was evidence of "frozen shoulder" which I guess happens when you are injured and don't move your arm enough.  Anyway, Rudy told me to keep doing my exercises and wait and see what Dr. Levy thought we should do.

 Two weeks later I saw Dr. Levy and his associate/resident. Once again, they assessed it, and pretty much confirmed the MRI findings again. The worst part about all these assessments is, at the time, especially the last few, It doesn't actually hurt that much, it's about 20 minutes later, after I've left the office, that it really gets painful. Anyway, they thought, because it was still affecting my day-to-day activities (sleeping, driving, jiu jitsu) that I should see a surgeon to get it fixed. Dr. levy thought I would be able to see the surgeon in a couple weeks, and have surgery before the end of the year.

 3 weeks later, I got a call from the surgeons office to set up an appointment, 2 days later. I guess they opened up an extra day so were filling it up. So I drove down to Georgetown and saw the surgeon. He went over the MRI, and x-Rays, talked about the surgery options and whatnot and said my shoulder didn't seem toooo bad (once again, not bad for the assessment, almost made me cry trying to drive afterword). Not nearly as unstable as it seemed in the past, the tears were small. yada yada. That being said, because of the quality of life factors (not sleeping and whatnot) he thought it was a fine option to do surgery.

 So I was like "yea, let's do it" So, I go to the receptionist/appointment booker to start that process. Turns out the soonest date is Feb 4th. Ugh, I was gutted when she told me this. It was like getting punched in the solar plexus.  That would be 11 months after the original injury,  with a 6 month recovery before being cleared by the surgeon to go back to competition, that would be 18 months with no competition, 6 of those months not even being able to referee.

That was just under 3 weeks ago.  Since then, I've done a lot of thinking  and all things considered a lot of training(relatively speaking, compared to the previous 4 months).  In the last week or two, I've been able to sleep on my left side without it waking me up and I don't wake up with it super sore either.  Reaching up for things on the top shelves doesn't bother it anymore.  I can change the laundry and I can bear walk (slowly) without any pain now.  Getting crushed while on my side can sometimes be pretty uncomfortable still and I don't really want to test getting kimura'd again right this minute, but things, in general, are pointing towards it being manageable, without surgery.

I haven't canceled or postponed the surgery yet.  I can wait till probably mid-December before I have to make the necessary pre-surgery doctor appointments and whatnot.  I am going to make Dec 8th my deadline for myself to decide 100% what I am going to do.    In the mean time, I am going to train as much as I can,  go lift weights (kettle bells, and start the strong lifts 5X5 program).  I need to get back to middle weight before I think about competing on the major scene again and I need to get my cardio back in shape before I think about the local scene.

It is going to be a fine balance between pushing myself to hard and re-injuring it and not giving excuses and using it as a crutch to be lazy.  I'll probably be holding off on the overhead presses for a while still, but I need to whip this soft and squishy body back into shape.   I think my mental state was deterring my healing progress and since I started trying to train more regularly and not making excuses it has been feeling significantly better.  I have no idea if it's a mental thing or the extra motion and stuff is helping or what but it is really starting to feel like it might be ok.

So, that is where things are with all that.   I've gotten a lot of refereeing in since May which is kind of cool.  I think it will make me a better competitor when I finally am able to get back on the competition floor.  I've also played a lot of xcom and watched a lot of stuff on Netflix to pass time time.  That doesn't really make my jiu jitsu better, but man oh man is xcom every difficult. I don't know how I ever beat that game as a child.

Now you know, and you don't have to ask me about it when you see me ;)  .  I am on the road to recovery and there may be an end in site!  That you everyone for your continued support and sympathy and hugs and encouragement over the last 5 months.  It really hasn't been easy staying positive and focused and without all my teammates, and jiu jitsu friends I probably would have gone insane.

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