It's been over six months since surgery. Recovery, mental and physical, has been painfully slow. I'm not exactly the type of person that expects quick results or miracle cures. I worked for nearly five years to accomplish my first 100 mile race. I set goals every year and plan how I can accomplish them. I have approached this shoulder no differently. Slow, incremental changes and daily practice. The son of a bitch (my shoulder) can lift my hand to wash my hair, I can sleep without pain, and I can put a coffee cup into the cabinet although I am not graceful at it. I have to think about nearly every movement of my arm over shoulder height. I have to cheer on the shoulder like it's a three year old child. WTF?! I hurt it doing kips, pull-ups and push-ups (on top of 20 years of abuse) and now it needs to be tended to like a child. This is a very disappointing feeling.
I am grateful that I can lift my arm. I am grateful that I can reach up to the bar for the Gravitron at the gym. I sure wish I could adjust my ponytail on the fly but I can't. I'm SO GLAD I can wash my hair two handed and with regularity.
I think the hardest thing to accept with this whole recovery is that I failed at the Addison's aspect of it. Trust me, I have learned from my failure but it's hard to accept that I think I know so much and can't even manage myself properly. Without proper management of Addison's, brain fog sets in, pain is greater than it ought to be and there's a lot of crying. I did great with surgery and immediately post surgery. In the days that followed, it was hard to determine how I was "supposed to" feel. I have only had surgery a few times and never since Addison's. I didn't know what was normal.I didn't take enough HC.
What I felt mentally and physically was NOT NORMAL. I thought I was taking enough hydrocortisone (hell, I was taking much more than suggested but I was freaking symptomatic-no appetite, weight loss, brain fog from hell, inability to think straight, crying about freaking nothing and watching Jerry Springer) but I clearly was not. I was unable see all of the symptoms. A couple of people kindly suggested I take extra HC (Thank you C :) ) but I didn't feel it was necessary. In retrospect, I should have doubled my HC intake even though it would have caused a heart attack if most doctors knew how much I would have taken. It's entirely possible that I might have only needed crazy high amounts of HC for a few days or a week before I leveled out to an "acceptable" amount of HC but I never gave myself the opportunity to know.
The result of not taking enough HC was devastating to me mentally and emotionally. I was unable to handle much of anything. It didn't help that I was kicked off the Parrot Outreach board two weeks after surgery and we moved cross state three weeks after surgery. With my arm strapped down for six weeks, I was basically unable to do anything that was a coping skill for me (cleaning, running). I'm a person who needs my space and for three MONTHS, I slept on the living room couch. I wasn't taking enough HC. I was a fucking mess. It's been a slow recovery from the mental damage that I did to myself. I got so far behind in life that I felt I would never get back to it being normal again.
The first thing to come back were my legs. I was able to run and walk which also meant I was able to get out and explore and get dirty so I could cry about taking a shower. Taking a shower was way harder than adventuring. I was able to run a couple of races so I was able to socialize again. Unfortunately, my brain took a long time to recover. It got better slowly but until after Christmas (surgery was early August) I was unable to think very clearly and I was unable to accomplish things, even basic tasks. Christmas was a disaster. I was unprepared and didn't give a shit except I did want presents!
In the last six weeks, I've accomplished more than I have in the last six months combined. I am thankful for that. It's nice to know that I don't have a drawer full of lists to sort and complete. I have revised my website and started my business Addison's Support Advocacy, LLC. The house is clean, the animals are tended to and I'm ready to start plowing through my 2015 goals.