Feeling Pretty Good Today

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Saw my physical therapist for the last time today. He said I’ve made remarkable progress. Mostly because I’ve been diligent in doing my daily exercises. My shoulder for the most part feels great. During the day, while at work, I’m back up to almost full speed. I still feel a little twinge or two while working, but it is very manageable.

At night, while sleeping, it’s another story. I’m still waking up in the middle of the night with my shoulder and arm in pain. Some nights are worse than others. It could be because I’m mostly immobile while sleeping in the recliner. My shoulder is trying to freeze back up. With time and a lot of exercise, this will pass.

The last three days, I’ve written a weekly writing challenge every day. Decided to give you all a break tonight. I know I can write better, but it will take a bit of time to get back up to speed. Meanwhile, I’ve been experimenting with different forms of short stories. I have noticed that unless I do a cliffhanger at the end, then the ending is usually weak. I’ll have to work on that in the coming weeks, so bear with me.

My next prompt is a simple one. Unfortunately, I tend to not do well with simple prompts. Too many choices as to where the story could go. Even when I do decide on a direction, odds are that before I’m done, I’m already regretting my choice and have thought of at least three different stories that would probably be better.

How’s your writing going?


Weekly Progress Report #44

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, so this is going to be a long update.

Zero progress on writing for the last two months.

About four months ago, my arm and shoulder started hurting. I would get a sharp pain if I moved my arm in certain directions. At first, the pain would subside to nothing, but after a while the pain became constant. I told my doctor about it and he wasn’t sure what was going on but decided to send me off for x-rays. I told him I had a high pain tolerance and gave him examples. Didn’t seem to faze him at all.

Then he sent me to get an MRI on my shoulder after the x-rays came back negative. Turned out I had two torn muscles and some fluid in my shoulder joint. About this time the pain was getting to the point where I couldn’t type more than a sentence or two. I stopped updating my blog and stopped writing stories altogether as it is extremely difficult to concentrate on writing when my shoulder and arm were hurting.

It got so bad that when I tried to sleep, I would naturally roll over on my right shoulder and it would wake me up. I would yell out and that would wake up Mrs. D. This happened all night long about every 1/2 hour. Finally, just to get some sleep, I’ve moved to sleeping in a recliner chair every night for the last six weeks.

Saw my doctor again and found out he couldn’t access my MRI or report due to the change over in software they were in the process of doing. We showed him the report I had gotten from the MRI. At this point, he finally realized that I did indeed have an extreme high pain tolerance. I asked him why he had discounted me when I had initially told him about it. Turns out he hears patients daily saying they have high pain tolerance in an effort to get stronger pain medication.

No wonder!

I rarely if ever take pain medication. Now I know when I see a doctor and tell them I have high pain tolerance, I also have to tell them I don’t want pain medication.

Got a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon as my doctor thought it would be likely I would need surgery. The surgeon took extensive x-rays of my shoulder and arm. Turns out I did not need surgery. Instead he said I had what is called a “frozen shoulder”. An inflammation of my shoulder joint had caused scar tissue and made it where I had lost most of my mobility of my shoulder joint.

He prescribed an injection of cortisone into my shoulder joint. This would help dampen the inflammation and start the healing process. In addition, I will be going through physical therapy twice a week for the next six weeks. Ouch!

As you can see the cortisone shot worked wonders as I’m able to actually sit down and write. I’m still sleeping in the recliner every night and more than likely that will continue while I’m doing physical therapy.

I’m going to make a renewed effort to post daily. I’ve missed writing and interacting with everyone. I’m also about 8 stories behind on my weekly writing challenge. Hopefully by doing at least 2 a week, I’ll get caught up before the end of the year and be able to complete the challenge of writing 52 stories in a year.

I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking about how I’m doing and I thank you very much for the concern and hopeful words. I wanted to respond, but most days all I could do was to try to block out the immense pain I was in.

Mrs. D is a firm believer in that things happen in three’s. In the past three years, I’ve had a stent put in, stage 4 cancer and now this, a frozen shoulder. If she is right, I should be safe and healthy for quite a while. I sure hope so.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

Well, Hello There

No, don’t worry, my arm is not in a sling… yet.

My arm and shoulder have been hurting me for the last couple of months. The doc thinks I may have a torn rotator cuff. Mostly a dull ache all the time, but occasionally if I twist my arm a bit, then I get a really sharp intense pain. My whole arm goes numb after the pain subsides.

I’m scheduled for an MRI tomorrow to see what it happening with it. If it is slightly torn, then a few steroid shots and rest should cure it. If it is a bad torn rotator cuff, then I could be a candidate for shoulder surgery.

Meanwhile, I’ve been coming home from work everyday this week and putting a ice pack on my shoulder and upper arm. Don’t feel like writing much after that.

The worst part is when I’m sleeping. I tend to sleep on my right side. However, the injury is on my right shoulder and arm. Every time I roll over to my right, the pain wakes me up. I haven’t been getting much sleep. I tried putting a pillow behind me to stop me from rolling over, but then I get a hot flash from the pillow which wakes me up also.

This leads me to my new favorite quote.

Getting old sucks, I don’t recommend it.

Matt D.

Weekly Progress Report #19

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Pretty good week for writing. By not picking my weekly prompt until Friday night, I was able to do some more creative writing. The Six Sentence story Redemption was pretty hard to do. First draft, I had 10 sentences, then cut it down to five and the story no longer made sense. Added 3 more sentences and then cut it down to six finally. Reworked several sentences and viola! I spent way more time on it than I thought I would. Great exercise. Turns out that story is now my highest viewed and most popular. Go figure.

Submitted my short story “The Curse” for the fourth time and in less than 48 hours it was rejected. Maybe fifth time is the charm? Submitted it last night and keeping fingers crossed as always.

I really need to get back to editing on my other stories in my queue, but I find myself drawn toward being creative right now and writing flash fiction pieces. I know there is a market for flash fiction, but for right now, I’ll stick with posting them here. Maybe later, I’ll start holding them for submitting. As tomorrow is Valentine’s day, I’m thinking of writing about the time I set the bar so high, I’ll never be able to match it again.

I have felt pretty run-down this last week. I’m still in a holding pattern as far as treatment until I get all my scans done. I am meeting with my urologist on Wednesday.

Yesterday I rototilled the new garden area. This is the first pass that is breaking up clumps of grass. In a week or so, I’ll do the second pass. I had to take a break half-way through, but managed to get enough energy to finish. Then I slept for a solid four hours afterwards.

I did get my new shoes. They are orthopedic and do help somewhat. I still have pains in my feet and at times my feet go numb. I may have a different problem but am loathe to address it right now with a doctor. I can’t take any painkillers right now as they affect my liver, so I just keep powering through the pain. Getting old sucks.

Till next week, time and tide wait for no man.

A Warning

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Had a rough day at work today. On average, I walk about 6 miles everyday while working. Usually carrying boxes or rolling a dolly or pushing a pallet jack. My feet are getting exponentially worse day by day. If I stop or sit down for a short period of time, getting back up is torture. I wear composite toe shoes that I got cheap. My cheapness is now coming back to bite me in the butt.

I just realized I’ve worn steel toe or composite toe footwear for almost 40 years. First in the Navy and then when I started working as a carpenter I kept up the practice to keep from having heavy things fall on my toes and really mess me up. Then working in warehouses where heavy boxes and things can fall on your feet. In my opinion, steel toe or composite toe shoes are mandatory in the environments where I’ve worked.

Mrs. D did some serious searching on the internet for footwear for me. Oh My Gawd! The prices are outrageous for most of them, upwards of $400. The cheapest run at least $100. I can’t ever remember spending over forty bucks for a pair of shoes in my life.

Finally decided on a pair that won’t break the bank but is still ridiculously expensive. They are orthopedic, leather, composite toe and waterproof. Ordered them today and can’t wait until they arrive.

Why waterproof? See below pic of last year.

In Florida, it rains a lot. The water I was standing in wasn’t even the deepest where I worked. Granted, it was outside in the parking lot, but flooding is a real risk here. No wise cracks about my legs are allowed by the way.

Moral of the story: Take care of your feet by buying good shoes. Don’t be like me.

Tomorrow Is The Big Day Again … Maybe

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Earlier this month, I had hoped for clarity on what is happening with my tumor on my prostrate. Unfortunately, this did not happen. I have great regards for all the doctors at MD Anderson Jacksonville, except for the surgical oncologist. After much trepidation, I voiced my concern at the end of December to my medical oncologist. Apparently, there was nothing they could do to switch me to a different surgical oncologist.

Because of that and the total lack of any information on what is happening to me, I am going to get a second opinion tomorrow. This is at an entirely different facility that is not connected to MD Anderson. My wife has been diligently filling out form after form for me while I was working ridiculously long hours. The new office has all my information and copies of all my scans that I got from MD Anderson. Fingers crossed that at last, I will find out my fate going forward. Right now, I’m in limbo, not doing any treatment other than the hormonal treatment I got last November that lasts 3 months. I have continued my taking of FenBen each day which has helped in my mind.

The appointment is at 10 am and it will last a couple of hours. My wife and I plan on going out to eat after that and maybe doing some window shopping. At 3 pm, I’ve got an appointment with my radiation oncologist at MD Anderson. Last time I got to talk to him, I felt an instant connection like he had my best interests at heart. He explained exactly what was going on with my cancer. So between the two appointments, I should have complete clarity as to what is going on and what I’m going to have to face in the future.

I realized this morning that when I got up as my alarm was going off, that I haven’t felt good in the mornings for almost a year. I have my alarm across the room, so I’m forced to get up to turn it off. This is to keep me from being late to work. It’s getting harder and harder to jump up and turn it off. I don’t dare place my alarm near my bed as I learned years ago that I’ll repeatedly hit snooze and sometimes accidently turn it off when I meant to snooze.

I’ve always been blessed to be able to go from sleep to instant awake in seconds. I just wish that the pain in my legs, feet, back and the rest of my body wouldn’t be present each and every morning. I sometimes wonder if there isn’t another problem going on with all the pain I’m experiencing each day. I can’t take painkillers right now as they affect my liver which has become very sensitive due to the chemotherapy.

I’m just tired.