It’s almost two years since I began writing this blog, because I was about to undergo my first shoulder replacement and was unable to find any information to tell me what to expect. I thought it would be useful to write a diary to remind myself what happened when I came to have my second replacement, and to share it publicly to maybe help others having the same surgery.
I had my left shoulder replaced in November 2015 and had a second operation to repair a torn rotor cuff tendon four weeks later on Christmas Eve. This shoulder still aches and gives some discomfort although I have an excellent range of movement. My right shoulder was replaced almost a year ago in October 2016 and gives me no trouble – in fact I can now fasten my own bra behind my back!
This is a HUGE achievement given that this time last year I was unable to lift my right arm to brush my teeth, eat, drink or brush my hair. I can’t believe how far I have improved since then. My surgeon did a fantastic job and at my appointment today he was really pleased with the results, so much so that I don’t need to go back for a year unless I have any problems.
My blog is now being viewed somewhere in the world on a daily basis, today alone in the UK, New Zealand and Germany. Since I began it has had over 16,000 views and 2,500 visitors and I have been in correspondence with several people before, and after they have had the same surgery. I feel extremely proud that I have created something which has been helpful to others and I hope that it will continue to be useful for years to come. Although I probably have nothing more that I can add to it I will always be happy to answer any questions – just contact me using the form on this site and I will reply as soon as I can.
Thank you for taking interest in my blog, If you want start reading from the beginning then please click here. 😀
Lovely to hear your news x
Well done Michelle. I know your blog certainly helped me even though I had already had one shoulder replacement by the time I found it. I am sure your hints and tips will have helped so many others.
John Hunter said:
Your blog is very encouraging.
I’m a 60 year old male living in Sydney, Australia, and have had arthritis in my left shoulder for 12 years. I was told then by my orthopaedic surgeon that I needed a shoulder replacement, but here is the problem; I have been surfing all my life since the age of 8, and when he told me that I probably would never surf again post surgery, I have just put up with the pain and severe restriction of movement, just to be able to surf. However, the pain now becomes intolerable at times, and range of movement is nearly non existent. For 12 years I’ve used a “dog paddle” motion whilst paddling on my surfboard.
My question is; can you rotate your arm as in Freestyle action whilst swimming, and, also can you push yourself off the ground whilst lying on your tummy? ( as these are the actions mostly required for surfing. P.S I’m 78kg or 170lbs)
Hi John, can I suggest that you go to the YOUR STORIES page and read Peta’s story? This amazing lady is in her 70’s, has had both shoulders replaced and swims most days. Unfortunately I can’t swim although I have tried to learn on numerous occasions.
I think the question you need to ask yourself is how much longer you can carry on without the surgery? If you do your post op physio and don’t push yourself too quick I’m sure you will make a good recovery.
Also on the YOUR STORIES page you can read about Doug who is a fitness instructor and had surgery earlier this year.
Please contact me again if you have any further questions. Good luck 😀
Peta E Jellis said:
Hi John. Michelle has asked me to comment on your queries. I swam daily before both my operations of about half a mile a day but as you say, when the shoulder becomes too difficult/painful, so did the swimming. After my first op, I was doing gentle breastroke for about 10 lengths of the pool say 3-4 weeks later. I increased the breastroke and then went on to doing a little crawl and a little backstroke. Increasing all strokes by a couple of lengths each visit. I would say it took me 2-3 months to get back to doing the half mile very gently after both operations. I do 10 breastroke and then 20 alternating crawl and backstroke which gives the muscles a gentle warm up and my heart. But I don’t go very fast and furious these days and occasionally I get the odd twinge in the shoulder which if it continues for a couple of days, I might skip a day’s swimming. I am still doing a daily half mile.
My consultant did assure me that I could keep swimming post op and that has proved to be right and good exercise for the shoulders but I don’t think I could go surfing! But then, I couldn’t surf before the operation either! I am not able to do push-ups now or ever! I do still swim in the sea when given the opportunity.
I think that Michelle’s advice is sound. The longer you leave the operation, the more difficult the recovery I would suggest, but it is absolutely essential that post-op you must not get over ambitious but try to build up gradually and gently (no big waves to start out with!!!) until you find your new level. I hope that you can continue to enjoy your sport which is perhaps something you are not doing at present?