avascular necrosis

28 Jul

2011 was not my year, and it started with breaking my shoulder.  Happily, the surgery was a success, I healed quickly, and enjoyed full use of my shoulder until last summer.

I started noticing some discomfort in my right shoulder joint while I was doing kettlebell clean and jerks (sub-par description: snap the kettlebell up to the front rack position with one arm, then quickly press it overhead with the same arm).  I took it easy and backed off, things seemed to improve, but the discomfort would always come back…kind of had an eery quality about it, if that makes sense.  It just felt like something was wrong.  I stopped doing any movement that caused pain, including any weightlifting overhead.

About a month later, I got pregnant.  I knew that no surgeon would touch me in my status, so I used the pregnancy as a practice in patience (if it wasn’t that already), I listened to my body and tried not to be overly frustrated.

The last two months have been the worst for my shoulder, as it’s a pretty much constant annoyance.  I can’t hang from a pull-up bar without feeling pain; I can no longer sleep on my right side.  Carrying two children at once has likely been an exacerbation.

John made the good point that, since we had met our deductible this year with Evie’s birth, I should try to figure out the problem sooner rather than later.  If it was just a question of a screw being out of place, going in for surgery before the new year would be financially beneficial, not to mention easier on my daily comfort.

I was, frankly, shocked  by what the x-ray of my shoulder revealed: “There is extensive subchondral lucency and patchy sclerosis involving the humeral head suggesting avascular necrosis.”  Layman’s terms: my bone is dying due to interruption of blood supply, a rare complication from the kind of bone break I had.

Tomorrow I go in for an MRI to determine how quickly the necrosis is evolving, if I’m in danger of bone collapse, or if it is relatively stable.  Bottom line is that I will need a joint replacement, but the question is when.

Although this news isn’t terrific, I’m encouraged by the options available to me and my surgeon’s optimism–his goal for me is full use of the joint.  First screws, now a brand new joint!  I’m becoming more and more bionic with every procedure!  At the end of whatever road we go down–pain management, watchful waiting, surgery, recovery and rehab–I’ll be very happy when I’m able to carry my daughters on my shoulders again.  It’s the best (“dah baest!” as Ari declares).

This weekend I dragged a febrile 21-month-old, her sister, and friends to the zoo (“ztou!”) in the 94-degree heat.  I liked the giraffes.  Ari preferred the cold ice cream.  (I’ve noticed that on weekends in which John works, I don’t shower.)

7:27:14 1 7:27:14 2 7:27:14 3 7:27:14 4 7:27:14 5 7:27:14 6 7:27:14 7


2 Responses to “avascular necrosis”

  1. search September 24, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Great post.


  1. ditch day | anna in med school - August 31, 2014

    […]  I fed Evie one last time, passed her off to Daddy, and Ari and I were off!  We took a second trip to the zoo.  Although the company of the last trip couldn’t be beat, I’d have to say this trip […]

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