where the writers are
Doctor, Doctor Give Me the News

A family member, who shall remain unnamed, told me several weeks ago there are cancer patients with a more positive attitude than mine.

I looked at the family member (who happens to live in my house) and said, “Who do you know personally, who has cancer and a positive attitude?”

I received silence and promptly returned it.

It’s been four months since I broke my shoulder. I faithfully attended physical therapy three times a week for three months. I did my exercises at home. The break healed but my shoulder didn’t.      

Last week my physiatrist, Dr. A, recommended arthroscopic surgery. He said, “Your shoulder isn't going to thaw on its own. You have the worst frozen shoulder I’ve ever seen."

Oh, Cracker Jacks—somebody give me a prize.

For a month I’ve prepared myself for shoulder surgery. It will be rough but worth it. I can't wait to pick up my granddaugher and move my right arm above my waist. I want to type without pain, drive with two hands on the wheel and wrap both arms around my loved ones.

My orthopedist, Doctor B, disagreed with Doctor A. Monday Doctor B told me, “There are risks with arthroscopic surgery. I’ll be blunt. Your shoulder will never be the same and there’s no guarantee the adhesive capsulitis won't return after surgery. You’ll be back where you are now. I can’t predict how much your range of motion might increase, either, but I’ll do the surgery if you really want me to.”

Yesterday Doctor C, my general practioner, asked how things were going. I told him what Doc A and B had to say.  Doc C shook his head and said, “Unfortunately there are still things modern medicine can’t fix.”

Knowing I will live with limitations for the rest of my life turns 1/6/12 into the demarcation of used to do that and can’t do that.

I don’t see my wine glass as half empty. I see it as it is—technically, it’s half full. I see myself rowing one-handed on the River Reality. I’m amused and annoyed by the folks on the party barge in the River Denial. I wear a life jacket now because today I realized I won’t be able to swim like I did before 1/6. And I’m a good swimmer.

I was a good swimmer.

Unless…my rheumatologist, Doctor D or Doctor E (different orthopedic surgeon) have a more positive attitude.

Maybe I forgot what river I'm on.

8 Comment count
Comment Bubble Tip


Geez, JJ, I was hoping for a report of more complete, rapid healing.  I'm sure I wasn't hoping as hard as you were, but still....Geez.

I'd put both arms around you & give you a hug, but I'm thinking that doing so would be inappropriate and show-offy.

Hang in there, lady.

Comment Bubble Tip



You? Show-offy? Nah.

I'm not aware of rapid healing but I could be healing secretly...I'll wake one moring with my right arm stretched lazily over my head. (And the grass is super green and thick due to the bulls running around in my yard.)

Most folks are afraid to hug me for fear of causing pain. Hugs don't hurt, especially virtual ones.

Thanks, Ron, for your support.



Comment Bubble Tip

I hope it goes well, Jules

You're keeping your spirits up better than I would. At this point, for writing/typing, I'd be looking at either the dictator/typing programs now available or, if it's not your writing hand affecting, a program that translate your printing into typing. 

That would only cover one small part of your life, but it could help some. 

Wishing you the best, M

Comment Bubble Tip



I need to look into voice recognition software. I keep throwing obstacles in my way without knowing how it works. The obstacles (I'll get better, it'll be expensive, it will be too slow, when I write poetry it won't edit fast enough, etc...) may not be real.

My obstacles are closer to denial of my current condition. I keep typing and-surpise!-it keeps hurting. Denial is probably the wrong explanation, too. Doing the same thing over and over and getting the same result is the definition of insanity.

I appreciate you suggestions.

Thanks for reading.


Comment Bubble Tip

Thanks for the update.

But I wish it were better.  I think you have a terrific attitude.  I am also very hopeful that the new Doctor E will know something the other one does not.  Don't give up hope.  New methods and meds are being developed every day.  You are very brave and very wise to accept River Reality, but I hope it flows into a new larger river that brings you help. And if all fails, you may want to try the Dragon dictation program to avoid having to type.  Our daughter uses it.  Knowing you are writing through pain forces us to be especially grateful for your blogs.

Comment Bubble Tip

Dragon Dictator


Thanks for the recommendation for the Dragon Dictation Program. (I like the name.)

It's thoughtful of you to think of me. I can't not write. I'm holding out hoping things will get better on their own even though I know it is going to require surgery, which will make me worse for months.

I see Dr. E., another orthopedic surgeon who specialized in shoulders, on Monday. Can't wait to see what he says. I hope there is a general consensus at least; two out of three say agree on this or three out of five think I should do that.

Have a great Mother's Day.


Comment Bubble Tip

Wow Jules, I too, had hoped

Wow Jules,

I too, had hoped you had healed completely from your fall. 

I believe that positive attitudes do more towards healing despite any doctor's ideas. I've seen it happen over and over.

I hope you have complete healing and can hug and hold your loved ones soon.


Comment Bubble Tip



Working on a positive attitude and/or improving my attitude are as difficult as my daily exercises. My mental outlook is important in the healing process but as I said in this blog, I'm also a realist. I'm working equally hard on accepting my current physical limitations to the point I can work with them rather than rail against them.

I'm balancing these three components: positive attitude, reality and acceptance to a level where I'm comfortable and don't feel I'm changing  part of my belief system.

Thank you for your comforting words.