Sunday, 23 June 2013

Please let there be something wrong!!

This coming Tuesday (25/6/13) is rapidly becoming judgement day. That's how it feels anyway. My right arm has been causing me 'grief'' since March or even earlier. I have mentioned it before in my blogs and on Facebook. Was it archery that caused the problem? Probably, even though bizarrely, actually doing archery never hurts in the slightest. It started with pain in the top of my shoulder and upper arm when I moved it, and led on to reduced movement in my both my shoulder and upper arm. The back of my arm above the elbow was also painful to touch or lean on. It wasn't unbearable pain, but it would 'catch' when I moved it, especially if trying to pick something up from the table next to my chair. There were brief periods when even the slightest movement of the arm was impossible because it was so painful. These were short lived and seemed to right themselves so we wondered whether a trapped nerve was the problem. On the whole though the morphine I take masked the pain reasonably well. That said it was baffling how my arm could be so painful when I constantly have 50-60mg of Morphine onboard constantly, anti-inflammatories and everything else I take for CRPS. What on earth was going on?

Of course life became much harder. I found it really hard to press down or pull with that arm. A problem when you need your arms to support you at all times. Getting up the stairs which is completely reliant on my arms pulling me became nigh on impossible. Essentially anything that needed me to push or pull with my right arm became much harder and hurt in varying degrees. Supporting myself was restricted to my left arm, my mobility compromised even more. Eric has been amazing as always, providing even more help than ever, doing even more for me.

We were starting to worry that there was something seriously wrong with the arm. Stress fracture? Frozen shoulder? I went to see my GP, who decided to send me for x-rays. Two weeks later (yes really!!!) the appointment to have the x-rays arrived, and seven separate x-rays later we headed home. When the results came back there was  nothing wrong so my GP said he would arrange for physiotherapy. The 'you can now phone us for an appointment' letter took weeks to come and the first appointment they had was over a month away. Utterly useless but what could I do? Forced to wait I had to get on with having one decent limb. I started to use the arm a bit more despite the pain, safe in the knowledge that there wasn't anything seriously wrong. 

Archery actually seemed to loosen everything up a bit so I have continued shooting throughout. Unfortunately my draw began to get worse and worse. I couldn't get myself into a good position, properly lined up etc so my accuracy and consistency plummeted. Sometimes I couldn't even get the arrow on the target let alone in the gold!! Not good at all. I simply couldn't cope with the bow as it was, my injured arm was clearly struggling with the weight of it or the poundage I was pulling. So I took action. Out went the twin rods and v bar on my bow, together with the 28lb limbs. The latter were replaced by 26lb limbs and I now have a very short long rod (just 19" compared to 28" I was using) courtesy of Iris and Tom.

Two 10s and a 9 - I can still do it!
The bow immediately became so much easier to deal with, I could now get myself into a better position but my accuracy only improved slightly and then went downhill again. I was missing the target again. I had obviously been compensating for the limited movement/strength in my right arm because everything was going miles left. My wonderful coaches Tom and Iris diagnosed the problem within the space of 4-5 arrows (my left shoulder was too high). I've worked on finding a method to keep the left shoulder down with the longer term aim being that I can shoot completely free of pain regardless of how many arrows I shoot and with further stabilisation on the bow. It seems to be working well judging by these arrows that I shot earlier today....

So where does Judgement Day come in?
Well, in the last couple of weeks, my upper arm (below the shoulder) has started to throb with pain, gradually getting worse and worse. Doesn't matter if I move it or keep it absolutely still the throbbing continues. It is very swollen, and the skin has taken on a purple, mottled appearance. It is often colder than the other arm and moving it is impossible due to the pain on occasions. Added to the never-ending pain and the other nonsense in my legs I have been sweating uncontrollably, been constantly exhausted and incapable of doing anything. I have had to take Oramorph as much for the arm as my legs which together with all the other symptoms is extremely worrying.
Why? Because those are some of the things that happen in my legs. Which means there is a realistic chance that although the injury has healed (I now have full range of movement again), CRPS has moved or at the very least developed in my arm. This has enormous implications that I really don't want to consider too much right now. Needless to say the thought of being as I am now (with only one decent limb) permanently is pretty grim. I will carry on fighting as always but the battle would be all the harder.

So, strange as it seems we really want the Physiotherapist to find something wrong with my arm on Tuesday. Because if he does this means it can't be CRPS. We can get it better and then it is just my CRPS riddled legs to contend with. Life can get back to normal. Well as normal as it gets for me anyway......