Allow me to indulge for a minute, as I feel writing about it would hopefully clear my head.
Around September or October 2011 I started to feel something wrong with my left shoulder. When I raise my arm up it starts to hurt, and the pain increased substantially as weeks passed. It doesn’t hurt when at rest, only when I perform specific acts such as raising both arms and jumping, or taking a jump shot. I managed to play a few games with it but after a while I would quit early on, the only reason I would continue to play was because I was embarrassed at leaving teammates or just purely because I’m a typical ‘adik sa basketball’.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 as most painful, it would be a 9 at times. The pain would linger but if I immobilized it, it would dissipate after a few minutes. The fact it would feel perfectly alright mere minutes later is probably why I continued to try and play at the time, and why it progressively got worse the next time it hits. And it hits really bad during moments such as trying to block a shot, or anything that involves stretching and jumping with my left. The pain is enough to make me subconsciously go into the fetal position.
So anyway I decided to do something about it. Sometime late December I decided to visit an acupuncturist, which explains the picture above (Sorry if blurry I took it via my camphone while stuck all over with needles so give me a break). The acupuncturist told me I was suffering from a ‘frozen shoulder’, a common malady amongst diabetics such as myself, except usually for women. At any rate, I received treatment from her for approximately three weeks at 2x a week, poked at with needles usually around the shoulder, my stomach and feet, to treat being overweight and a history of high uric acidity, the latter two ‘since I was already there’. I was also under strict instructions to follow a nightly set of stretching exercises for my shoulder. Treatment cost P1k a pop.
This went on a while until I started finding excuses not to go, which I later realized was because frankly, I wasn’t starting to feel any better. At this point I wasn’t playing at all because I just wasn’t getting any better, and even if I did at times I knew I’d just go home disappointed.
I told a few friends about it and got a couple of recommendations. This actually segues into a funny story. Both recommendations were for two doctors at Annapolis, Greenhills, but I kept forgetting what they were called. Thinking it was popular enough, I Googled it and made an appointment at the first big one around that area, which turned out to be a Chiropractor, and judging from the many pictures of celebrities on his reception wall when I got there, he turned out to be a Chiropractor of the Stars. I found out later on that this wasn’t the Clinic either of the two recommendations were referring to, and even then both recommendations turned out to be two different clinics altogether. At any rate I figured Dr. Chiropractor of the Stars (COS) was a good enough shot in the dark as any, so I tried him out for a few weeks.
Initial consultation told me that what I was suffering from was ‘sprain strain’, and not a frozen shoulder as Dr. Acupuncture previously thought. He said that I had suffered an injury prior, and that some muscle tissue or whatever was not fully healed. He told me the exact opposite of Dr. Acu, and that was I should try and not move my shoulder at all. He explained shoulder injuries were the trickiest of all because they were constantly moving, and even lifting ordinary weight damaged it. I was to strictly follow his recommendation of absolute rest for my shoulder unless absolutely necessary (ie. driving, lifting a book, etc), and regular 2x / week visits. Treatment was P1.5k a pop, including two bottles of vitamins he recommended that rounded out to P3.5k or so.
So again I tried Dr. COS out, this time for almost the whole of February until early March. To be fair to him, he was very reassuring and sounded like he knew exactly what he was doing. He was also a very kindly man and extremely personable. I would be strapped to some machine that sent out electric jolts to my shoulder for 30 minutes, consult with him for 10 minutes, and then he’d snap my back and neck and they’d feel great. Except however, my shoulder. I did improve, but I suspect it was only because I wasn’t doing those stretching exercises that Dr. Acu initially told me to, which Dr. COS convinced me aggravated the problem.
After some weeks, you guessed it, I have since stopped going to him as well. One big reason is time. The treatments were ok in itself, but going all the way to Greenhills twice a week from Paranaque drained most of my week, and wasn’t also financially sound, considering as well it took time away from work.
But here’s the thing. I had not been playing at all the first part of this year, and my shoulder wasn’t aching as much. I even went biking with my friends at Taytay Rizal, and it didn’t bother me at all. I figured things were normal again, or at least getting there.
So the other week the wife and I happened to be having dinner at the area with a lot of restaurants at the CCP, Roxas Boulevard. Nearby was one of those basketball freethrow games where you need to shoot 8 times to win a stuffed toy. It was regulation height so I figured what the hell. I excitedly finished dinner and went straight for it after.
At around the second shot I started to feel the pain coming back, and on the third try I was again in 8 out of 10 pain. By that time I started to feel embarrassed again, just as I did last year with my teammates, and tried to gamely throw in a few, but each airball was as painful as my shoulder. I should have just tried throwing them with my right hand it would’ve stood a better chance. I finished, again, with my body doubling up in pain. And just terribly, terribly disappointed.
Of course I felt that this is happening because I didn’t follow Dr. COS’ recommendation of complete and absolute rest for my left shoulder, but let’s be honest, what he was asking was just impossible. You don’t think ‘I’m not going to move my left shoulder’ if you’re cooking and a hot pan needs to be moved out of the way. You don’t think of babying yourself when you need to carry groceries up a flight of stairs. You just do these things period. Later on I would reflect maybe I shouldn’t have done this or that, but at that very moment you don’t remember those things. Unless I put my shoulder in a cast it just isn’t feasible, and I’m not about to do that unless I’m absolutely sure it would help.
So here am I now months later, writing this and getting to the point of this blogpost. And that is to express my deep, deep frustration and disappointment that this – thing – just wouldn’t go away. What could possibly be causing it? Does it have something to do with diabetes? Or the way I position when I sleep? Did I really have a traumatic injury like Dr. COS said I did? If so why can’t I remember anything in particular?
And what do I do know? There’s a rehab center along Aguirre Ave. at BF Homes. Should I try that out? At least it’s closer, but will it do any good? I’m getting another recommendation for a physiologist at SM Megamall, but again that’s a long trip. Malls are wallet – suckers and it’s just too time consuming to keep going there. At this rate I’m willing to get an MRI if I have to, if only to save the time from guessing around.
I’ll end this here because I’ve nothing else to add. Maybe someone will read this and help me out. Maybe the catharsis from writing this will be good enough to make me stop thinking about it. But right now I just gotta say, I’ve played ball all my life. Yes it is starting to cross my mind that I cannot play ball anymore, and I cannot, I JUST CANNOT believe that is happening, and am trying all I can to not let that sink in. Playing ball gives me so much joy, and I have two, even three games per week available to me. But instead I’m sitting here nursing this fucking mysterious pain in my shoulder and I just goddam don’t know what to do about it.