Friday, April 13, 2012

Terrible Days and Nights with my Frozen Shoulder

April 13, 2012
As far as I can remember, I my left upper arm, shoulder, and back began to hurt approximately 5 months ago (November, 2011).  It really hurt but it was still tolerable so I didn’t give it much thought, except that I’d complain to my family about it everyday. I had it massaged for a few times and took some anti-inflammatory meds, thinking that it was just arthritis or rheumatism. In January or maybe, February, I was thinking of having a medical check-up, but could not do so immediately because of some reasons. Until came the day when I couldn’t move my left arm anymore ---
It came very suddenly, on a Sunday, March 31, 2012.  Though the day before, I felt the pain was becoming intolerable that I texted our church pastor, Ptr. Ariel and asked for prayers.  The next day, I couldn’t move my left arm anymore, I felt my left shoulder was stiff and my left arm was very very painful. I wasn’t able to attend the worship service that Sunday. I suddenly remembered the term “frozen shoulder syndrome”, which came out of google searches I did earlier on the possible reasons of the pain on my left arm. I googled it again, then, got it confirmed: I really have it, frozen shoulder. I read a lot about it-the possible causes, the symptoms, the treatments, etc.  Another thing that added to my already frustrating and fearsome condition is that all the readings I had about it say one thing: It could take several months to 4 years for a full recovery – I was really, really afraid and could I end up like this? I never thought that a bad posture while working could result to this almost hopeless situation. I received a call from my husband, Edmond (he and the kids are in our church in Elysian, Meycauyan), saying that he already knew my problem was frozen shoulder, according to a tennis co-player, who also got it some time ago. From that time on (Sunday, March 31), until Tuesday morning, I experienced the pain that was most excruciating, and seemed endless – very constant and seemed to be forever. On Sunday night, I did’t have any sleep at all – i decided to (supposedly) sleep in the sala (my husband accompanied me)—and exhausted all possible positions where I could sleep comfortably and with the least pain, at least the level that I could bear.. but NO, I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t find the right position, nor the right place. ‘Tried the sofa, the dining chair, the computer chair, another sofa, ALAS, it was already 5:00 a.m., and I didn’t have a single minute of sleep. Thankfully, I was able to have at least an hour and a half sleep from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.(that was already a Monday)
2nd day of shoulder stiffness – Monday, April 1, 2012   I endured the agony for the whole day. It was so frustrating because it felt like I was partially paralyzed..couldn’t dress by myself, couldn’t cook nor prepare food, etc. I realized how hard it could be if one was disabled (or differently able, if we may say) – have to depend on others to do things for me. I could barely move my left arm sideways, and would always want to assist my left arm and hand with my right hand. I basically didn’t do anything that day – just lie down and bear the debilitating pain that suddenly struck me…and pray.
3rd day – Tuesday, April 2, 2012 (Holy Week)   Erika (my daughter) and I went to a doctor who does acupuncture for check-up. Evie, a very close friend of mine, who recommended the doctor, was with us. And there, I received the MOST excruciating pain I ever had in my life, almost similar to the labor pains when I had my kids. After a brief interview and preliminary acupressure, the doctor led me to wear a patient’s robe and lie on the bed. I thought, this is it – acupuncture! I was excited and curious and wanting to get better. I lay on the bed, unknowingly that the next moment, terrible pain awaited me. Without any warning, the doctor suddenly twisted my left arm in several directions, giving me soooo much pain, I nearly fainted. During that brief moment of grave discomfort and terrible, terrible pain, I almost could see myself dying, and to somehow endure it, I just silently shouted (the doctor told me to close my mouth if there was pain), with my mouth closed and stomped my feet on the bed. Evie told me she was praying for me not to faint because she saw the whole thing. Erika was waiting outside and she could hear me and was worried about me. The other patients thought someone was giving birth. I endured that agonizing pain, praise God, and at last, I had my first  taste of acupuncture. 
After Acupuncture
Day 1 - after my first session of acupuncture, and doing some exercises the doctor gave me, I already noticed and felt slight improvement, in terms of mobility and pain alleviation. I searched for more appropriate exercises from the net and did them religiously, in spite of the pain they'd cause me. I also did more readings relative to this syndrome to be able to understand it better, and to know how to hasten my healing. And everyday since then, I would notice big improvements – and more than a week after that, I could say that almost 50% of mobility and function got back already. It is amazing that I got this exeptionally speedy rehab, considering that I only got 1 acupuncture session and it has only been past a week since I got a stiff shoulder. Fear of having to suffer the debilitating pain for a long time – months or worse, years -- really got into me. All I could do was to pray, endure, cry, and pray..and still be thankful that I could still move around and do simple tasks, and I know I would get through all this. I am also thankful that I have my family to support and assist me and help with the home chores. I am also happy that I have my churchmates, relatives and friends to pray for me. I will still have my 2nd acupuncture treatment next week but I can feel that I am on the road to full recovery. I am not sure when my left shoulder and arm would fully recover, but one thing I’m so sure of – it’s not that far. My tears and pains were all worth it, because being in this situation, I learned to depend on God more, lean on His loving arms, and  trust in His love and awesome power. Truly, He … “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Ephesians 3:20).
All glory belongs to our greatest doctor, God Almighty.

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