Friday, June 29, 2007

Just Another Friday

I can't decide if yesterday was a good or bad day. Right off the bat I did a not too smart thing. I was 'chatting' with my eldest boy on gmail and decided to hurry and fax something while he was replying.
As I turned into the fax/adjusting/patient room, I ran my upper thigh into the end of a very heavy non movable adjusting table...I pitched forward and reacting....stiff armed the desk so I wouldn't take a header into the very heavy wooden desk.
Next thing I know, I'm seeing stars and the pain in the right shoulder is so tremendous, I am sure that I am going to pass out. I hear the 'bling' in the other room--waiting room so I know that my son has replied.

I drag my sorry limping butt out to the computer, blinking back tears and trying to catch a breath...also trying to act normal as there is a person sitting in the waiting room.
I sit down to type...and I cannot bring my right arm up! I lift it to the key board and make a quick reply.

For two hours I was in agony.
But by the time I left to go home I was feeling great! No pain!

Hubby said the solution now is to run into things, trip and fall...and then have a happy day after the pain happens.

I thought it was funny when I got home, but really I was in a such a wonderful mood when I got home he thought I was the wrong ME!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Taking a break

Originally uploaded by Xena~
I woke up this morning feeling a bit out of sorts. I knew if I just grabbed Morris and the little ice cream bucket...we could head out to the woods and pick wild black berries.
And pick berries we did.
We had a fine time.
We saw turkeys,
a snake...
and lots and lots of berries.
I even have a picture of Morris picking and eating his own berries.

Now that was fun.
I ended up with two full cereal bowls of yummy black berries.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

An Inner View of Adhesive Capsulitis

"Adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, has an uncertain etiology, and is characterized by restriction of active and passive motion, usually accompanied by severe pain. Both primary and secondary adhesive capsulitis exist. With primary adhesive capsulitis, the symptoms usually develop over a longer period of time, and the onset is not related to a specific event or trauma. Secondary adhesive capsulitis has been linked to disorders such as impingement, but can also be associated with systemic disease such as thyroid disease or diabetes. There is disagreement in the literature on whether the underlying pathologic process is inflammatory in nature or a fibrotic condition.

Treatment of frozen shoulder includes physical therapy. The therapy program for these patients should initially focus on regaining range of motion, and once this is achieved, improving strength.

Occasionally, surgery is recommended to arthroscopically release adhesions and to regain motion."

There are supposed to be three stages to adhesive capsulitis. The painful stage is only supposed to last up to 6 months [in both cases for me, it has lasted over 6 months and is rarely controlled even by strong pain medication]. The frozen stage is not painful [this is where there is lack of motion in the joint...hmm, frozen and still hurting]. The thawing stage. This can take up to two years.

Interesting that some doctors want you to wait out this two years. Imagine not being able to use an arm very well for two years? Let me tell you muscle atrophy and weakness from my perspective lead to a great concern for greater shoulder injuries. I'm not a fan of doing surgery for a quick fix, but for my particular situation [last time] there was no quick fix. I figure the faster they release the capsule, the faster my healing and strengthening will take place.

At this point, the doctors are looking for a possible secondary cause for my condition. I've read and researched as much as I can regarding this condition to try and gain an understanding to the 'why' I've had it occur twice now.

The mystery continues...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Adhesive Capsulitis, how it has affected me...

This is going to be a slightly different type of blog entry. More of an informational type of blog than my usual ramblings and silly stories.
There are many types of 'adhesive capsulitis', which is also commonly known as 'frozen shoulder'. This condition is described as follows:

" Description

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a disorder characterized by pain and loss of motion or stiffness in the shoulder. It affects about two percent of the general population. It is more common in women between the ages of 40 years to 70 years old. The causes of frozen shoulder are not fully understood. The process involves thickening and contracture of the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint. A doctor can diagnose frozen shoulder based on the history of the patient's symptoms and physical examination. X-rays or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) studies are sometimes used to rule out other causes of shoulder stiffness and pain, such as rotator cuff tear.

Risk Factors/Prevention

Frozen shoulder occurs much more commonly in individuals with diabetes, affecting 10 percent to 20 percent of these individuals. Other medical problems associated with increased risk of frozen shoulder include: hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Parkinson's disease, and cardiac disease or surgery. Frozen shoulder can develop after a shoulder is injured or immobilized for a period of time. Attempts to prevent frozen shoulder include early motion of the shoulder after it has been injured." Retrieved from the website:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

This is the second time that I've gone through this in the period of about 2 years. The first shoulder took over 9 months of bouncing from one doctor to another. I had surgery one year ago today on the left side. The procedure was arthroscopic surgery to cut away the adhesions in the shoulder joint. I was able to watch Dr. Lawrence of Viroqua do this procedure. I received a 'nerve block' I watched the procedure on a 'TV' monitor. Dr. Lawrence dictates and discusses the procedure as he does it. It is recorded and after surgery you even get a recording and photos of the procedure.

The nerve block numbs the whole arm and is an excellent procedure for short surgeries, however if the surgery starts to last longer than anticipated, there can be pain. I'm not writing this to scare anyone, just a fact. The nerve block did begin to wear thin towards the end of my surgery...but considering that I was relaxed [chemically induced]..and the pain that I was encountering from the 'frozen shoulder' in the first place, hurt less than the last portion of the surgery and 'the closing of the surgerical holes'. Which by the way were super glued shut.

Very cool article here on Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence. I recommend reading it.

Now, how it has affected my personal life. In short, it has really made the most simple things difficult. Imagine not being able to use the affected arm to pull up your pants...[yeah more than you needed to know], brush your teeth. Cut a steak, pour coffee, put on your own clothes, and the inability to comb your hair.

In my case? I cannot saddle my own animals to ride. I can only ride at a walk as any jarring produces extreme pain. The pain is there 24/7, relentless...sometimes relieved by Ultram, sometimes not.

Sleeping is another issue, sleeping restfully is not possible. A positive attitude starts to fail with these complications. For me, I feel like I am in a personal battle against something I cannot touch or put cause to.

Enough for today. More tomorrow, if you can stand it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Fits and starts...

Today I'm full of 'fits and starts'...don't know what else to call it. I've managed to stay away from the boring topic of frozen shoulder for a while, but right now it is consuming so much of my time. I've been pretty down because I'm right handed and this surely has put a crimp in all of the things I really like to do. I did manage to get out and ride with hubby at WildCat Mountain in Ontario, last week between monsoon storms.
We had a blast. I rode Fred the pony mule so getting on and off wouldn't be so painful.
We saw some magnificent sights while riding and enjoyed each others company.
We've been working on the Chevy Cavalier each day and it is coming along.
So far:
New Struts--all around
New Brakes --all around
New Head Gasket
Change oil, oil filter, fuel filter, air filter,...power washed the engine...
Next, transmission filter and tranny fluid. Align the back end, and align the front end.
I took pictures of some of the engine work for a friend of mine who likes to *Do It Like A Woman*. I wish I had her tenacity for going after things and fixing them! But my mind is always on taking a hike, a ride, or creating an image.

This afternoon's goal was to wash and WAX the Cavalier, but I think that will have to wait for a bit. I'm changing my goal to riding Badger and going on an adventure of some kind.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thursday~weather and such

School is over for this week and until July 11th. Okay now this is good news right? At first I was relieved and now I am bored! Strange not to have deadlines and pressure...strange not to be able to have quality debates on discussion boards.

I like school, I really do. Now I'm sitting around trying to figure out what to do with my extra time.

We were supposed to go and ride WildCat Mountain State Park
but it looks like Mother Nature is going to interfere again? Well I am watching the radar and it looks like the rain should move south and stay there. Of course it does not bode well with the rumbling that is occurring right now.

I really really really needed to get out and ride all day. I wanted this so bad! We were going to go on Sunday, but opted out...of course the day turned out so nicely ...sigh.
We'll see what the weather brings. I want a job where I can be wrong 50% of the time and not get in trouble for it!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Math, fractals, farm, a little ...

Well a little of everything. I found fractals pretty interesting, not very useful, but fun to play with. I feel like a kid with a very big coloring book. It is sort of like playing with a spirograph. It works on mathmatics, thank goodness computerized math or I might be lost!

We spent a good part of yesterday the 19th, fixing barbed wire fencing. Actually working together in the woods was nice. It wasn't too hot and there was a breeze which kept the bugs away. Added to that, there was a patch of wild strawberries to add to the fun. I picked a handful and what an incredible snack.

Later on, I took Morris and my camera out for a walk/hike. We had a great time, I found so many things to stop and look at, the light was playing on the creek bottom, the orioles were singing above along with a wren to scold me properly. To top off the evening, I had my dear hubby toss me onto my big mule, Badger so I could ride bareback ... I rode to the ridge and watched the sunset.

That just about makes for a perfect day, don't you think?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Curtains can be dangerous too...

Our supervisor
Originally uploaded by Xena~
I don't know why I've been so amused by Morris's antics lately. They've sort of taken over my blog haven't they? Well he is a character and a constant source of entertainment. Hey, we don't have TV, so we have Morris.

Morris the brave JRT lay on the end of the bed sleeping on this hot summer night. He lay so the oscillating fan would cool him. People beds were so much nicer than his crate. He loved his people bed more than the couch. From this perch he could look out the window when he needed to and be close to his person.
He stretched and yawned, slowly waking up. His person was still reading, didn't she know enough to put that book down and get some rest? He didn't know how people did it! Hardly ever taking dog naps. Dog naps were critical to a dog, almost as important as rolling in nasty smelling stuff, or stealing a mule 'apple' much to the disdain of his humans.
Something wiggled the curtain. Oh no, not another monster!
He growled and stood at the end of the bed, ready to face the curtain off if it tried moving again.

It wiggled...he stiffened and growled. Oh this guarding thing was so difficult, one never knew where the next danger would come from. His person put her book down and watched him. Whew, at least she could be aware of the danger too now.
It wiggled...again. He growled louder now encouraged that he had 'her' for back up. Suddenly 'she' reached over and grabbed the curtain and gave it a mighty shake. Morris reacted quickly backing up with all of his short hair standing straight up.
He fell backwards off the bed.
His person laughed, then gently picked him up and showed him the curtain was no longer a danger. It was just wiggling from the fan.
Well embarrassment didn't keep him awake long or particularly bother him.
All was safe and all was well, he kept his spot on the people bed and once again made 'his' person laugh.

Being a JRT is a tough lot in life. But someone's got to do it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The night of the fireflies...

Originally uploaded by Xena~
I know they are harmless, really they are. They just twinkle in the summer night and are fun to catch ... fun to watch. But NOT at midnight.

I awoke to Morris's deep throaty growl. Can a dog do a whisper growl? I think they can. A soft growl like that means...I don't want anyone to really know I'm growling...

After sushing him a few times, I finally got up and went to the end of the bed to peer out the window. The night sky was foggy, so there really wasn't much to see.
Morris insisted on it... his little body shook.

Oh okay, my bleary eyes peered out again. Then I saw them, the little dancing lights of the fireflies.
Try explaining to a JRT that it is just bugs? Not aliens, not the monster turkey...not anything at all.

Yep he was convinced that they surely must have been alien creatures flicking about just outside my bedroom window.

I can sleep safely now, knowing my dog will keep me safe from the evil fireflies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Last thought for the day...

Back woods
Originally uploaded by Xena~
I just aced my final in Medical Office and missed one point on my chapter test for this week in the Coding class.
I feel confident enough tomorrow to take on the Coding Final.

After all it is supposed to be hot and muggy and ... yucky.

Then it looks like I have a summer break!

Wee hawww!

The MRI came back with no damage to the disc bulge in my neck and it did show some damage in the shoulder -- but not a rotator cuff tear which would be awful.
So now the doctors are scratching their heads trying to figure out what in the world makes my hands hurt so bad and my wrists? They thought they had it pegged as carpal tunnel...then they thought
Ah hah! It must be damage to the bulged cervical disc.

I told them all along, shouldn't *we* be looking for something in my system that is causing this reoccuring inflammation? I mean only 2% of the female population get frozen shoulder in one side...less than 1% of those ever have another occurance! This means to me that something is going on somewhere in my body that needs to be addressed.
Words being tossed around now are ... some sort of rheumatoid inflammation, systemic problems...fibromyalgia...blood test...
I've only asked about these things for the past two years.
Well the saga goes on. BUT the good news is I don't have nerve root damage!!!

Read about it HERE. I know, but someone might want to.

Working in the woods...

Even with the extreme heat, one of the favorite things I like to do is spend time with Mr. Farmer in the woods. We had more fencing to replace yesterday and worked hard at it. We replaced old electric wire with new and made a gate so the older gelding mules can go down into the area by the creek and graze in the *little* meadow.
Morris, the Ruthless, decided it was safer to supervise as much as possible from the safety of the pickup truck.
Mr. Farmer, got supervision by the gelding mules as he fixed a perimeter fence.
The heat was rather intense in the sun, but bearable back in the deeper woods.
Morris did accompany us back into the woods, but he seemed rather cautious and did not stray far from me. I'm sure he was keeping an eye out for that monster turkey.
He is such the protector.
Oh yeah.
We did get the fence finished! The geldings are happily clearing the woods as I sit here and type.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Pterodactyl Turkey

Mr. Farmer and Morris the Ruthless JRT were walking the pasture through the long grass when Morris came upon a setting wild turkey hen. The hen let out a huge squawk and burst out of the grass flapping her huge wings.
Morris the Ruthless
knew that this was no ordinary turkey, no...he knew that it was a distant cousin to the Pterodactyl family and would come back and rip apart him and Mr. Farmer. With three barks and a series of schreeching yips, he ran as fast as his little JRT legs would carry him back to the house. He knew that Mr. Farmer would come looking for him to bawl him out...this was a good plot you see, because Mr. Farmer had NO idea that the Pterodactyl Turkey would rip asunder poor Mr. Farmer.
His ploy worked as Mr. Farmer came back to the house and chewed Morris the Ruthless out for running from a simple turkey.
Morris was able to sleep soundly that night knowing that while Mr. Farmer thought he was a Chicken, that his actions had saved poor Mr. Farmer's life.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

All in a Day's Work

We spent most of the day and then late into the evening cleaning up a portion of our woodland. We were creating a 'lane' for the gelding mules to get back into a little meadow and some woods. The mares will use another lane...adjustable, to get to the BIG meadow.
We had to stop work for me to run in for the MRI. This adventure was not too bad. I had to lay perfectly still for over an hour. After about 20 minutes my shoulder starting giving me intense pain. It took a lot of mind over matter to deal with not moving an inch!

We worked until after 10PM by the light of the truck's headlights. The long awaited transfer to greener pastures should happen today.

While I was in the 'tube' I started thinking about Dad and Hawaii. Now isn't that strange? I couldn't get him off my mind. I felt like he was watching over me. Huh. I sure do miss him...I guess with the anniversary of his demise coming up...well maybe that had something to do with it.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Couldn't sleep

Wild Flowers a burst of yellow
Originally uploaded by Xena~
So I went into all the tools on the blog site and began to play with colors and fonts...It is frustrating not to be able to enter a pretty banner like I see on WordPress. Just not ready to make a jump to that yet. I love Rachel's blog set up, it is so slick. If you want a gander go to the sidebar and click on it.

I'm comfortable here, but may look at my options when I have more time.

Today is the MRI day. Ok, no big deal there, just an hour inside a clanking machine.

Today we are also putting the mares and donkeys, and some of the mules on summer pasture. Today's photo is a good sample of how pretty the meadow is right now.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Oh what a day...

While most of the midwest was coping with disasters in the form of winds and bad weather, we coped with a day disasters here at our little farm too. What began as a good working day turned into an afternoon of frustration.

Mr. Farmer, my hubby, was pushing dead apple trees out of the summer pasture, prepping it for the transfer of donkeys...with his New Holland skid steer. Now he is a whiz at moving things around and I'm pretty much in awe of his skills. There wasn't much I could really do but *supervise*.

One of my supervisory skills however didn't work so well, as he was pushing dead trees towards a ditch ... I flagged him down and told him that there was an old rut that he'd get hung up on if he wasn't careful. Just past the rut was the DROP OFF to the dry run. He gave me a wave that said *Yeah, yeah, I know what I am doing.*
[So you know what is going to happen next, don't you?]

Mr. Farmer gets slightly overzealous and pushes one last time...and I gasp as the skid steer tips forward into the ditch now resting on just the bucket and the front wheels.
Uh-huh. Oh shit.
So what does Mr. Farmer do now? Get on the 'gas' and give 'er hell. You betcha, just get that puppy stuck harder and deeper, dig them wheels in...after about 45 minutes of that, he shuts off the skid steer and gets out to look at the situation.
Being a supervisor and all, I suggest perhaps we get some logging chains and *winch* it out some way.
Mr. Farmer shakes his head no, but gets the tractor and tries to pull it out. After two hours of this scenario, I say again.
*Could you use the come-a-long thing and pull it out?*

Now we have a truck attached to the tractor, the tractor attached to the skid steer...[do you see where this is going?] Uh huh. The truck spins its wheels, the tractor spins its wheels, and the skid steer sits happily in the ditch.

Finally Mr. Farmer says. *Take the truck and go get the 4 ton come-a-long, and another logging chain.*
I return and chains are stretched from the frame of the tractor to the skid steer. We put the come-a-long on.
Mr. Farmer then gives me a lesson in *skid steer* operation. Cool. As he yanks the CAL, I give her heck in backing up. Soon we establish a rhythm and the skid steer walks out backwards and up out of the ditch.

So what did I learn? I learned that with patience, a man will come around to reasoning. I learned to operate a little skid steer. I really dug making the bucket go up and down. I love the way you pull on little levers to make it go one way and another.

My reward for helping? Morris and I got to ride in the bucket back home. I think we all had a good laugh over the whole deal. I will learn how to operate the big tractor one of these days. Maybe he'll fix the steering on the little tractor and I can run that eh?
Yep, what a day.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Into the Tunnel of MRI!

Ox Eye in the Sky
Originally uploaded by Xena~
Oh boy I get to spend an hour inside the MRI machine on Saturday afternoon. Gee, I can't wait. Ever been inside one?
It has the weirdest clanking and bunch of strange noises that are almost deafening even with the expandable earplugs they give you.

Oh yeah and you cannot move or be claustrophobic, it will not help.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Of some concern...

Evening approaches
Originally uploaded by Xena~
My test results of the EMG came back negative. The pain in my [mainly] right wrist and fingers IS not carpal tunnel, the test came back negative.

However. There is always a however, isn't there? Last year when I had my shoulder surgery on the left side they did an MRI on my neck also. There had been a note about arthritis and a bulge that wouldn't be affecting my left side, but if anything, should affect the right side. Hmmm.

Randy the PA, said that he read further into the notes on the MRI of the neck and the bulge is pushing on the cord? Eh?
My choice, did I feel okay and not want to do anything? But when the CTS came back negative, he felt there could be some involvement in the neck. So there you go.

I said, well since you have to MRI the right shoulder for Dr. L anyway, can we just include the neck and see?
So my mysterious pains and clumsiness may get explained after all, but I'm not so sure I really want to know.

However the damage--bulging--herniated disc---whatever!!! The symptoms are fairly common to what I've been going through for a while now. And it has been getting worse.
Of course after an MRI is done then I'll know.

Well now, all those times over the past two and a half years, I've said repeatedly...*Is there something else that can be causing this?* I don't blame anyone at all though, just would be a relief to know what is going on.

Link about it here, in case anyone really cares.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A place to rest...

Welcome waters
Originally uploaded by Xena~
...on my birthday and dwell on 51 years of age. Am I smarter? Not necessarily, am I happier? Well heck yeah. I am sitting on a mossy rock with my dog panting in my ear and watching the sun dance on the creek water.
What could be better than that?
Oh yeah and it rained the rest of the weekend!

Friday, June 01, 2007


Twin fawns 2
Originally uploaded by Xena~
This past weekend was absolutely one of the BEST! I got to see my oldest son and his wife, got to play with grandkids, got to go riding TWICE!
My second ride was the most awesome ride I've been on. Of course my DIL came along on Fred. We found twin newborn fawns hiding in the grass. I've still got a wonderous feeling [don't know if that is a correct word or not...but that's how I feel].

Yesterday I got THE call from the orthopedic office. Surgery is scheduled for July 27th. I think I'm in better shape for this time, last year my left arm was practically useless and so weak it was pitiful. I am losing strength but continue to exercise so that I will have a speedy recovery.
No endurance rides at all this year...bummer. But I am doing that to give me a chance to prepare both shoulders and the upper body for the stresses of a race. I'm so sick of injuries!

Tomorrow is my b-day. Looks like rain, but I may sneak in a ride anyway to celebrate. After all what is a raincoat for? Hikes in the rain are always fun too.