Yesterday Could Have Gone Better

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It’s 3 am and the pain block for my arm has worn off. I can’t say it’s the most pain I’ve ever experienced, but I am pretty uncomfortable on a lot of different levels. I have a splitting headache, which if I could alleviate just one thing, that would be it at this very moment. Then there are a multitude of other issues that I don’t really need to list here.

The fixing part yesterday went about like I had prepared myself for, not what I was hoping for. They could only reattach one of the tendons, so there other is a write off. I’d done enough research myself to know that it was a long shot to get the worst one back on, but after talking to Dr. Millette on Tuesday, it sounded like he was going to be able to do something with it. Guess not. I’ll find out more at 8 am when he stops by to talk. That was the first depressing news.

The second depressing news was that my bicep was detached and had to be reattached. The MRI didn’t say a thing about that. I guess I am gong to lose about 15% strength there. There goes my awesome sprint.

And finally,the last depressing news is that the PT guy stopped by and said that I could do absolutely no movement for 6 weeks. And that was super unusual. Usual would be doing PT right after the surgery. I don’t know what that is all about, but I’m hoping that is a very pessimistic view. Again, I’ll find out more about that soon.

Yesterday was way long. Enough whining (and this is officially whining). I really haven’t slept since 4 am Wednesday morning, so that is approaching 24 hours now. I should feel better with a little sleep. Think I’m checking out this morning. I’ll post something more, more upbeat, hopefully later.

Self portrait

Self portrait

The doctor came by and marked the correct arm to operate on.  That lowered my confidence level just a tad.   They had already shaved all  the surrounding area, including my armpit.  The nurse apologized about being a little rough and said something about knowing how weird it must feel.  I told her I did it all the time, so no worries.

The doctor came by and marked the correct arm to operate on. That lowered my confidence level just a tad. They had already shaved all the surrounding area, including my armpit. The nurse apologized about being a little rough and said something about knowing how weird it must feel. I told her I did it all the time, so no worries.

Wondering the halls late at night.

Wondering the halls late at night.

Dinner was good, but I had to eat at 6:30, so ordered a lot.  Trudi ate the salad.

Dinner was good, but I had to eat at 6:30, so ordered a lot. Trudi ate the salad.

22 thoughts on “Yesterday Could Have Gone Better

  1. Benotti69

    “The doctor came by and marked the correct arm to operate on. That lowered my confidence level just a tad.”

    I had a broken femur 20 year ago, they shaved the whole wrong leg before the op thenw hen they surgeon arrived they only partly shaved the correct leg which meant lots of hair pulling taking bandages off.

    I remember starting PT the day after the op and thought that was not too bad. That night was painful and the day after PT was hell.

    Keep the faith.

  2. The Cyclist

    Yes, you do look rather miserable. But cheer up. Spring will be here soon and you will be riding in the sun in a lot better shape than now. The human body has awesome healing abilities. Apply some positive thinking and you’ll get well lot sooner!

  3. B

    Steve, I had my ACL completely tore apart and it was 4 weeks with no movement/PT. Seems to be more and more common with complete detachments.

  4. Nick B

    I bet a lot of people wander those halls. Both of my children were born there and I’ve spent many nights wandering those halls. Mostly looking at all the jerseys on the walls. If you end up healing up nice I guess you could send em a world champ jersey to hang along with the others. That PT room is often a who’s who of prof athletes. Last time I was in there a few months ago, it was Greg Oden on the training table.

  5. kenny

    Went through the same thing plus a broken collar bone years ago. I was told no moventment for 8 weeks. Well I was 20 years old and back on the moto bike in 6 weeks. Well 9 months later I was cut open again to fix all the damage I did. I learned that when they pinned every back together nothing is in the same place as before, your body needs to learn the trigger movements again on that side of your body. Just work the range of motion streches and it will come around. I was told I would only have about half of the range I had before, I have about 95%. Heal up and we will see you at the Fat Tire in the fall.

  6. Jeff Rasch

    Steve, I have been reading your blog for a while now, really enjoy it. I’m also a sports medicine physician. Complete imobilization for 6 weeks after rotator cuff repair is not unusual. In fact, that is the standard protocal for all 3 of the surgeons in my practice(one of which was a fellow at Steadman-Hawkins). I have seen many patients try to rush recovery form this surgery and have it turn out from bad to really bad with revisions etc. I know this is not what you want to hear but you need to listen to them and do exactly what they say. It is going to be a long recovery but you should be back racing by the fall and be fine by cyclocross season. This is not a broken bone, its worse. Good luck. Jeff Rasch

  7. SalRuibal

    I see in your photo that you’re using the Game Ready icing machine. It really helped when my wife had ankle tendon reconstruction. 85% of your old sprint is good enough to beat 95% of your competition. Make up for the 5% with a faster start.

  8. Jojo

    Steve – Keep that cold water cuff, still use ours many years post major shoulder surgery. You are not whining, the pain is pretty excruciating after the pain block from surgery wears off. A little surprised to see you did a blog post already. Take care!

  9. Mark Feher


    Hang in there and listen to your docs and therapists. Judging by your description of it, I had virtually the same procedure in Oct. 2011. Rotator cuff repair and bicep tenodesis. I was given the same advice as you after the procedure. Sling and no movement for 6 weeks! Seemed like an eternity to me at the time, but I trusted their opinions as you should trust your advisors – they seem to know what they are doing. My rehab went extremely well and my shoulder is back to about 98% – hey, nothings perfect. I’m back to riding and x-c skiing and all the other stuff that makes life fun. So keep the faith and good luck with rehab.
    BTW – the magic market is for liability reasons. They probably asked your name and DOB 35 times yesterday as well.


  10. john adamson

    did the time between the accident and the surgery have anything to do with not being able to reattach the second tendon?

  11. jim sully

    Lots of fiber in yer diet, gettin back to regular will improve comfort greatly….nothin more to add other than.
    Patience patient,lots of patience…

  12. Clay Moseley

    Dang, dude. Hang in there. I hate headaches, so I know what you’re talking about there. I think you’re right about the pessimistic view on your recovery. With your good health, you’ll likely see a 50% accelerated rate on everything they say in terms of recovery time. That has always been my experience with these types of medical things where they lump you into the statistics of the general population. Your body has been trained to recover much faster than the average human (and you likely had the propensity in the first place), so things move a little quicker.

    I’m sure you are getting no end of advice and know more than your fair share of these things, but a couple of things you can do, Steve, is make a few additions to your regular diet. As I’ve also started to get into the “advanced age” athlete category, I’ve had to deal with some old injury-induced lower back issues (damn that early Alpine skiing career…). I’ve gotten on a religious routine of making “bone and cartilage” broths with herbs and greens, and maybe some organic cider vinegar to break the collagen and bone down faster; consuming (don’t judge me…) fermented cod liver oil with the pastured butter oil mixed in — it’s gross, but holy cow, it has helped my recovery and immune function; and finally, on the advice of a PT, taking a LOT of turmeric, which is a great anti-inflammatory without having to take NSAID chemicals. I noticed that you cut out the gluten for a while, which does help with inflammation. Just a couple of weeks of being gluten-free helps with bringing down inflammation.

    I don’t know if a lot of it is psychosomatic, but I don’t really think about it much at all and have noticed that I am still doing quite well, despite the issues. It seems that I’m keeping the injuries, or really the degradation from the injuries, to a minimum and am still able to function at a level that I’m pleased with.

    Go easy with the recovery and I’ll bet you get back to a high level in a year. Your body can adapt to not having that other tendon attached. Find a good set of exercises that helps to balance those weak spots out. I read this article by the great American xc skier, Ian Harvey, particularly helpful:

    I’ve improved my recoveries from injuries by just balancing things out and not worrying about exercising for performance.

    Anyway, best of luck with your recovery. AWESOME job at cross nats and worlds!!! Pretty cool that you’re still rockin’ it after all these years. You, Ned and Kent Bostick should all get together on a team with some of the other old-school former pro masters and ask for entry into the Tour de France.

  13. Kevin Lyons

    my wife’s shoulder surgery was similar and she also was told to not move the arm for 6 weeks. eventually she got it moving and has no pain now, can do most things she did before. I did the physical therapy for her, which was just moving the arm in different directions gently.
    it will heal just take time.

  14. channel_zero

    Don’t be a hero about the pain. Keep yourself comfortable taking pain killers that don’t mess with you too much. IMHO, the pain killers helped me recover from surgery and many weeks of immobility for a different injury.

    You’re not dead or never riding a bike again, so it’s going to be okay. It’s an opportunity to do other stuff. Really.

  15. Cat5superstar

    Ran across the site, good stuff on here. My first real MTB race was at Tsali 10 or 12 years ago. Ran into you on the pre-ride and while Im sure I was holding you up you were super nice and offered some advise on this rutted downhill I was staring at. Been a fan ever since.
    Best of luck with the shoulder, healing vibes sent your way.

  16. old and slow

    I didn’t have the nerve to submit my protein powder laced Jello until you brought up your “bone and cartilage broths” but that mix sure worked for me last spring. Today I’m convinced that I would have ridden about 3000 miles less last year without this dietary sleight of hand and somehow my bone density went from alarming (70 percent of normal) back up to normal as well.

    My dad retired from a Fortune 500 job where he had dozens of people reporting to him and went straight from the retirement party to a double knee replacement. Then flat on his back recuperating through an upstate New York winter in an empty house while my mom was still working full time.

    He said that he would never schedule things like that again, given the chance. Sometimes the emotional aspect of post-surgery is the hardest to deal with.

    He’s still around and they were talking about replacing one of the replacements a few years back which just goes to show that’s always better to get as much use as you can out of the OEM fittings that God gave you.

  17. H Luce

    Well, you could probably write a book about cycling – half autobiography/your experiences at races, half technique and how you do race strategy and suchlike, setting up bikes, etc, for road, cyclocross, mountain biking, and the like. You could probably get out a first draft in six weeks. Make up a general outline (these are your chapters), and then go into detail in the parts of the outline to flesh it out (sections in a chapter), then write the content for each section. You’ve probably got enough pics to illustrate it… then check this out: That should keep you in one place for a while and you won’t go stir crazy. And if you can do weblog posts, you can write a book.

  18. Lou D

    Steve – best wishes for a speedy recovery. Just a small FYI – when your surgeon came in and wrote his initials on your soon-to-be operated shoulder, he was following mandated national standards of care – a very good thing implemented in the last decade to prevent wrong-site surgery. This should reassure you regarding his care, not raise questions about his common sense. Despite how sophisticated modern surgery has become from a scientific and technical perspective, many serious complications come from simple errors such as this. Kind of like forgetting to tighten the lug nuts on a Formula 1 car. One of the events which brought this standard into practice was a SERIES of operations on the wrong side, including the brain, in a prestigious Ivy League university hospital. Anyway, shoulder rehab is a long process and a hard one to rush, but you will do very well. Athletes always do. Feel better.


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