The recovery process – 3 years, 3 months, and 13 days ago
January 12, 2023
I picked September 28th, 2019, as the starting point for this recovery process journey. That was the last day in the house that I moved from after living there for 3 years.
In actuality, I am not sure when I sustained the rotator cuff injury. I was working a very repetitive motion job, moved from August to September 2019, and then started working two different jobs after leaving the previous one because it became too tiresome.
It could have happened at any time but back then I thought it was arthritis or the carpal tunnel that my doctor had diagnosed years before. I thought it was just acting up and I kept taking more Ibuprofen and began wearing my arm brace more.
I was looking through my photos and I have pics of my arm when it was swollen and my fingers were puffy in August, September, and October of 2019. October is when I went to see urgent care at the VA clinic. I had woken up with my arm kind of bluish in color and my hand was swollen.
That was the beginning point of this journey to diagnosis, surgery, and then recovery.
What was not expected was all the issues with just trying to obtain medical care and a diagnosis to aid in the recovery process.
As I went through my pictures, which documented everything that occurred during this time frame, one thing is certain, it did not go as planned.
After my frozen shoulder diagnosis in January 2021, my path to care became filled with obstacles both from the red tape of the VA health care system and the providers themselves.
All the while, I kept up with my appointments and did everything that I was told to do, all in the hope that I would recover my arm fully. That did not happen.
After a year-long process and a subsequent 7-month wait for the neuropsychologist testing, to determine the cause of the tremors, I finally had the appointment this past week to get the results from the testing done in September of 2022.
“F45.9: Somatoform disorder, unspecified – You have physical symptoms or sensations for which there is no satisfactory physical cause.”
That was the formal diagnosis code put into my medical record. After all this time, back and forth with providers, specialists, physical therapists, testing, lab work, MRIs, and EMGs. The formal diagnosis is that it is all in my head.
That my inability to deal with or process trauma is what has caused this inexplicable tremor.
That, my mind, is causing the problem.
To say I was upset and angry was an understatement.
I argued back and wanted an explanation as to why the tremor occurs when I try to push, pull, or lift things with my arm. That the tremor occurs when I try to work it out. I was promptly cut off and told according to the test results that this was the diagnosis.
That despite the last 10 years of mental health therapy, I was still not processing the trauma I went through in my lifetime. That the trauma “suddenly” turned into this unexplainable tremor post-surgery.
I do not buy that and feel it is a way out of explaining what they do not know.
If that is true, that physical or mental trauma caused the tremor, then why did it not start previously? This was not the first time I had sustained trauma to my body or mind.
I went through natural childbirth four different times, without epidurals, long labor times of 24 hours or more, giving birth to above-average weight children of 8 pounds or more, and ended up having multiple stitches each time. I think that was pretty traumatic to my body, self-esteem, and my overall mental well-being.
I also had minor surgeries where I had to be put under for wisdom teeth removals more than once. This was also not my first rotator cuff injury; I sustained two on each shoulder requiring months of physical therapy years ago.
I also went through a very deep depressive state and was hospitalized three different times over four years. A 17-year marriage ended, the death of an ex-spouse, and became an empty nester all over the last 10 years.
Yet, in all of those incidents of “trauma”, I never developed a tremor, a tick, or any other unexplainable physical outward ailment.
When the doctor asked me if I had any recent tremors, I told him about the tremor that occurred after we were putting up Christmas decorations and I was trying to push a box onto a shelf in my closet. Both incidents were observed by my son. Before I could finish giving any other examples or reasons, I was cut off abruptly and redirected back to his diagnosis and recommendation.
His recommendation was more one on one therapy sessions. The very thing we just changed in my mental health plan. The very thing that was not working or aiding me in developing better coping skills. It is the reason I chose group therapy instead.
I waited for these results, as required by my primary provider, to facilitate being put back into physical therapy. Physical therapy to refocus on the muscle weakness and frozen shoulder both of which I believe are the source of the tremor.
Now, with this diagnosis, I do not even know if that will happen.
It all has been so frustrating. This feeling I am not being taken seriously or listened to, but instead, I am being dismissed because they are tired of dealing with my concerns.
I will have to take this into my own hands going forward.
I will continue trying to work my shoulder out, strengthen it, and fix the issue without assistance.
It will be a long road but I have already been on this journey for the last 3 years, 3 months, and 13 days.
I have something to prove and I am angry, two things that have always propelled me into action and to succeed.
That is one thing as individuals that all of us need to do, stand up for ourselves.
Do not just take the words of others as the absolute truth.
Why? Because every human being is fallible.
That not all tests are accurate.
That as an individual, you know your truth. You know your own body, and how it feels, and when something is wrong, it is a part of your instincts.
I will continue moving forward, staying positive, staying motivated, and will keep doing what I need to do.
I will continue to have hope, faith, and belief, in myself.
Thank you for stopping by.
Have a wonderful week!
Peace, love, happiness, and good vibes, always!