Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm Back

Of course, I'd not really gone anywhere but the past two weeks I've been posting lightly. Those of you who listen to the show know that I have been preoccupied with doctors and MRIs and just the dread of surgery following an injury in the gym -- not to mention that I couldn't really type a lot without pain for a while. I promised (threatened) to give all the boring (for me, harrowing) details when I could type, so here goes:

It happened three weeks ago. I heard a "pop" in my forearm (or more like a crinkling and a snap, like celery shredding, even though I had headsets on) while I was doing biceps curls with weights. No real pain at the time, but soreness afterward whenever I used the arm, and I couldn't even lift so much as a milk carton. Looked online, googling "pop" and "biceps" and up came "rupture" -- not a good word. It also said that if you choose surgery (rather than adapt to the loss of the biceps) it had to be done in two to three weeks, otherwise the biceps muscle retracts fully and it gets complicated.

Three days later I went to an orthopedic surgeon who indeed told me I likely ruptured the biceps tendon at the elbow (distal biceps tendon), which is pretty serious. He confirmed that the only way to be able to use the left biceps muscle fully again is through surgery -- followed by three months of rehabilitation, a lot of pain and not using the arm fully for a very, very long time.

I went for an MRI, and no one told me it was a closed one and I'm claustrophobic. Two panic attacks, had to be removed both times; finally went through with it, for almost two hours in its entirety. After all that, the MRI images weren't good enough. I had to get a second one! This time I took Valium.

It showed a partial tear, which is rare. The surgeon was still leaning toward surgery -- that's what they do after all -- and so I went to get two other opinions. One from a sports medicine doctor, another from hand and elbow surgeon. By that point I was getting a lot of strength back, and the arm showed no deformity (in a full or even extensive partial tear, the biceps muscle retracts up to the shoulder). The first surgeon, after further study of the MRI film, decided it would be best to wait on surgery (no rush because the muscle hasn't retracted and is still intact) and that the arm could in fact recover and the remaining tendon could hold (apparently it was a longitudinal tear, which makes a difference). The other two doctors agreed and went further, saying I'd likely have full use of the arm in a few weeks without surgery.

And already I can type without pain. So, there you go.