Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I am OK

Thank you to everyone who e-mailed to see if I'm OK! I am fine, just too busy teaching spring semester to blog. Spring and summer semesters here are accelerated, so we do 14 weeks' work in just 7 weeks. Talk about hectic!

For those who've asked, this entry is an update on me and my cats.

Me and My Tendinitis

My arm still hurts but I have hope for improvement. I had a busy day with it yesterday: I had physical therapy in the morning and saw the sports doctors in the afternoon.

Right now I do physical therapy twice a week and see the sports doc every 4-6 weeks. Apparently I have an usually bad case of chronic tendinitis. It’s nice to have my perception confirmed by professionals, but I’m also getting tired of hearing things like “Wow, I’ve never seen a case this bad!”.

My sports doc (Dr. Ross) and his colleagues at MSU Sports Medicine (whom I am seeing while Dr. Ross is on medical leave) are very encouraging. They tell me this is a problem with young, active people (i.e., it’s not age-related) and that it can get better with therapy. They say I am doing all the right things and so is my physical therapist and they think I can probably avoid surgery.

If it does come to surgery, the most recent studies indicate that cutting and splicing the tendon really doesn’t help, but removing the inflammation and scar tissue does. That means a less invasive surgery and quicker recovery. I hope to avoid it but if that’s the only way to fix it for good, I’ll do it. We’re switching to Blue Cross in Oct. so I can have Dr. Ross do the surgery, if it comes to that.

My insurance coverage for PT runs out at the end of July and my new coverage (Blue Cross) doesn’t start until Jan. 08. I was concerned about what to do if the pain gets worse between July and January, but the docs assured me that they won’t let it get severe again. The physical therapist will give me a home exercise plan (but I’m not that far along yet) and they can always give me anti-inflammatories again if necessary. Whew! Knowing I have a plan makes me feel better!

When he was examining my arm yesterday, the MSU doc said the radial something or other was out of alignment. (I will have to ask the physical therapist what this is called. *) He held my hand like we were shaking hands, we both pushed gently as he twisted my arm, and I felt something pop back into place! He said this was part of what was causing pain to shoot up my arm and showed me how to check for it and explained how I can pop it back by myself. Wow, if only the tendon damage and inflammation could be fixed so easily!

I iced it good last night and today it’s hardly swollen at all! That plus the encouraging visit to the sports doc yesterday gives me hope.

My Cats

Saffron is doing well. She hasn't had any digestive problems for over a week now. She's eating well and looks like she feels good most of the time. She's occasionally unsteady on her feet but even then she's bright-eyed. She looks very relaxed and happy (stretched out more than ever when she sleeps on the bed) and purry. The vets x-rayed her in early May after a bad bought of vomiting and diarrhea and they found no sign of cancer: no tumors or swollen organs. Everything looked for an 11-year-old kitty. This is unexpectedly good news and it gives me hope. I'm still hoping it's liver disease, not cancer, and that she'll be one of the lucky kitties who recover.

Sophie, who is now 10, is still very playful. They changed her arthritis medicine (Cosequin is now called Daysoquin and the ingredients are slightly different) and the first day I put it on her canned food she hesitated. Maybe it tastes different! She did eat it and I hope it works just as well so that she stays happy and playful for a long time! She's frustrated because Saffron doesn't feel like playing with her, so we try to play with her a lot. Her favorites are headwrestling ("I'm gonna get the kitty!") and chasing the laserpointer.

So things are hectic here but improving. I'm looking forward to taking summer semester off so I can work on my needlework, research, and writing. I'm also looking forward to staying home as much as I want to!

Thanks again to everyone who expressed concern at my lack of blogging since April!

* The physical therapist says my radius (bone on the thumb side of the forearm) was probably out of alignment due to the tendon inflammation and related muscle weakness. It's called radial head subluxation (aka, Nursemaid's elbow) and, according to WebMD, is unusual in adults but very common in kids who have been picked up and swung around by their hands. The description on WebMD of how it's fixed is exactly what the sports doc did to me!

UPDATE July 9: One of the docs at MSU said this is called radial head somatic dysfunction. It's not quite the same as Nursemaid's elbow but is treated the same way (i.e., popping the radius back into place). It's caused by muscle weakness, which is of course caused by the inflamed tendon and favoring that arm for two years. The exercises to re-strengthen those muscles will help prevent it from happening again.

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