Great news! I had my last Cortisone injection in my shoulder yesterday and the consultant passed me fit for the row. I’m still in constant pain with it, but on a positive note, at least my shoulder takes my mind off the pain from the screws in my right foot!!
This was yet another Rugby injury; I knew I had broken my left collar bone twice, turns out it was actually three times, and continuing to play on with what i thought was just a sore shoulder has come back to haunt me 20 years later! The break to my collar bone had not set evenly (because I wasn’t aware it was broken) and now when my arm and rotator cuff move with load repetitively, it causes inflammation, pain, swelling and eventually a bursar. As you can see from the scan, its bit of a mess in there.
I was told 6 months ago by the consultant that i should probably have an operation to repair it. However, this would take me out for 6-9 months, and would mean delaying my race for a year. This I was keen to avoid if at all possible. 6 months later, and after weekly physio, Myofacia Release and regular cortisone injections, the shoulder is at least manageable.
One surprise is how much this injury has affected me mentally as well as physically. I am used to putting my body through extremes in training, and pushing myself to my absolute limit during races, this has led me to achieving unbelievable results. However, this has come at a price, and for the first time in my adventure racing life, I have had to come to terms with what are now my obvious physical limitations. My knee replacement, metal plate in my skull, arthritis in almost every joint, the screws left in my foot after February’s operation, and now my shoulder have frustrated me true, but also taught me a valuable lesson; I couldn’t compete with a 26 year old version of myself and expect to win, so who am I actually competing against?
I am my biggest competitor and it was time I learned some humility and that i don’t have to try to win everything to be satisfied. I set out on this Atlantic Rowing journey wanting to, and expecting to, win my class (2019 solo); but as my journey has progressed over the last 2 years, i have realised that actually getting to the finish line with all the issues I have with my body, will be a remarkable achievement in its own right. There is a fine balance between pushing myself so hard that my shoulder blows up and not being able to finish, and going at a more moderate pace that will frustrate my competitive nature. There is no right answer to this, but i am excited and consider myself lucky enough to be able to explore this during my row.