Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Life is pain. This is a stark reality. So often we want the pain or problem to go away so we can return to "normal". However, pain and problems are normal. Way back in ‘95 I must have torn my rotator cuff in the Canadian Birky XC race. A friend of mine, one of the top sports doctors in the world (currently the head doc for the NHL), gave me some exercises to do. Every 1-3 years the pain would come back-I’d do the exercises and within a month I’m pain free and good to go. Not so this time.

The shoulder pain returned this year around Christmas (I remember thinking in the fall as we started skiing how great my shoulder felt-no pain). I put off the exercises since the pain wasn’t bad and I probably was overly familiar with the drill. However, I must have fallen on it. I’d really been pushing my downhills to get better this year. I must have torn it in several of my falls (I tend to fall on that particular shoulder with my arm extended-the perfect recipe for RCuff disaster).

So now if I raise my arm and twist it at all pain shoots down my arm feeling like a knife has been jammed into my shoulder. I’m useless for swimming as I can’t even extend my arm to do the freestyle stroke. This will be the first year since 2000 that I haven’t done triathlons.

Add to this my broken finger (injured in the most minor of falls) which is healed, but stiff and painful. This morning I lamented, "I wish I just didn’t have this pain." Well, I’ve got 2 choices... either wait until it’s gone to enjoy the things I like to do or do them anyway in pain (while still doing everything I can to facilitate the healing). My mother in law (passed away suddenly 1 month ago) was the epitome of this. She was in constant pain for most of her life. She’d spent most of my wife’s childhood in bed suffering. Her family really missed out. But one day, she decided to re-join the world in spite of her pain. She stopped trying to get over it and start living again. I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but it was nice to have her back after all those years. Maybe there’s something too about getting involved, as it distracts us from ourselves and personal pain.

From what I’ve been reading and hearing from my doc, it’s almost certain I need shoulder surgery....bummer. I don’t know how long it’ll take to see the specialist, then I don’t know how long it’ll take to actually get the surgery, but once I do it’ll be at least 3 months of recovery. This could be a long frustrating ride.

Oh well, I’ll just get on with what I can do and not think about what I cannot. First on the agenda is this weekend’s famous "Ski 2 Sea" relay in WA. I’m going to ski and prepare as if it’s the last race I’ll ever do (hopefully not the case!).

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