OK, physical therapist. You made your point.
When I first worked with you in early 2013, about six months after cancer radiation therapy zapped the nerve bundle for my right arm (the brachial plexus), you gave me wonderful exercises to strengthen my rotator cuff muscles. At the end my scheduled visits, you said I would have to keep doing those arm exercises daily for the rest of my life, and I shouldn’t lift more than 20 pounds with that arm, ever.
After months of daily exercises, those muscles grew strong. I REALLY wanted to think my arm was normal again. I thought I could be done with physical therapy and go back to lifting everyday things like kitty litter and groceries and storage boxes in the closet.
NOW, a year after our last visit, I get it. Now, when I can’t raise my arm over my head without shoulder owies. Now, when two sequential PET-CT scans show degeneration in the right shoulder joint. Now I’ll go back to daily arm exercises with the wimpiest exercise bands and no hand weights, like a newbie.
At least I kept the printouts of all the exercises so I know what to do. I may take a while to get the point, but I CAN learn.
Maybe on my next flight to Denver for my clinical trial, I’ll be able to raise my right arm comfortably again. If so, I’ll raise my arm … and ask the flight attendant to help me by lifting my bag into the overhead bin.
Cancer reality: 20-something
Me: 1 (extra credit for keeping the exercise printouts)