My right arm was disabled by a fall while walking a dog that resulted in horrific injuries and extensive damage to my right shoulder. I had dislocated my shoulder and completely tore the four muscles around my shoulder. My daughter, Dr. Christina Lang, was in a Residency Program at WMed, and she told me about Dr. Sabesan, a shoulder and elbow specialist at WMed.

My treatment and recovery

At the time of my injury, the very talented Dr. Sabesan performed a seven hour surgery to fix the damage using an arthroscopyc rotator cuff repair. The muscle/tendon that is connected to the large deltoid muscle was so badly damaged it could not be repaired so there were still a large amount of restrictions to my movement. In spite of months of therapy I could only lift my arm & hand from my lap to a desk to sign my name or to the steering wheel to drive my car. I compensated by using my left arm for just about all of my daily activities. I shampooed my hair with my left arm and shaved under my right arm only after propping it on to the side of the tub with my left arm. I became used to a new procedure of dressing – bending from the waist down I would slip both my arms into the sleeves and use my left arm to pull the clothing over my head. I could not use the curling iron so I learned to curl my hair with rollers by propping my right elbow on a desk and leaning/manipulating my head towards my hand. I used the same technique for brushing my hair, putting on make-up and putting in my contacts. Sleeping was hit or miss depending on the pain level and horrible neck cramps. I could go on and on, but I think everyone gets the picture…talking about pictures – I was in Port Lavaca, TX for my Dad’s funeral and saw relatives I have not seen since childhood. I wanted to take picture, but could not hold a camera up high enough to focus people in.

During one of my follow up visits with Dr. Sabesan, I saw the article from West Michigan MD News that highlighted Dr. Sabesan and advances in orthopaedic surgery, including reverse shoulder arthroplasty, and I started to ask questions since I still had limitations after my original surgery. To my surprise, Dr. Sabesan said she thought I would be a candidate for the reverse shoulder arthroplasty procedure. Even though I was doubtful (because of bone condition) I decided, if Dr Sabesan thought it was possible, I was jumping on board and trusting her. Boy am I glad and blessed with the results of that decision!! I had surgery the morning of December 3rd and was home by December 4th evening. Of course I had my daughter to lean on at all times. She has been my constant companion throughout this year.

A week after surgery I began my therapy. It was unbelievable the things I could do that I could not before…just unbelievable!!

Tip

Stick with your therapy and give it time because improvement is slow, but you do get there.

My Second First

Because of my orthopaedic care, I can bake, garden, and do my hair again.
- Mary Lang, reverse shoulder arthroplasty, Age 60-69 from Kalamazoo, Michigan

Comments

3 comments

  1. Patty Burns

    Glad your outcome was good. I had a different outcome after the same surgery performed on 8/27/14. I developed severe nerve pain in my hand which was and still is unbearable. Doctor not sure why. Have been on nerve pain medicine with no relief. Have had a nerve conduction test with which showed nothing unusual so now I’m scheduled for a nerve block in my shoulder. Has anyone experienced the same symptoms? Please help me before I go crazy with the pain.

  2. Sharon G. Twist

    I had reversal shoulder surgery on June 2nd, 2014. Shoulder turned out really good but I lost the hand muscles and nerves still as of Nov. 7th, 2014. Has anyone had their hand go limp after surgery? I had a huge amount of edema in fingers, palm of hand and wrist. Carpal tunnel symtoms right after surgery. Baby finger and ring finger is the worst. Have had some trouble with the middle finger but improving. Tingling, pressure, and numbness, feeling like my fingers were going to blow out at the ends. Trying to be patient for the nerves to heal. It has been 5 months and going on 6 and my hand is working but not much strength. Had muscle and nerve test and a MRI. Got a second opinion and the Doctors don’t agree on what my problem is. Caught between a rock and a hard spot not knowing what to do. Second Dr. wants to operate on carpal tunnel and the Ulnar nerve under the elbow. The first Dr. thinks it is a pinched nerve from my neck. Has anyone had anything happen to them after surgery.

  3. Jean Black

    I FELL AND BROKE MY ARM AND SHOULDER IN 2012. TAKEN TO HOSPITAL. WAS GIVEN THE NAME OF A DR. WHICH I SAW SEVERAL TIMES AFTER WHICH HE TRANSFERRED ME TO ANOTHER DR. THIS DR. REFERRED ME TO ANOTHER DR. AFTER 1 VISIT I WAS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER DR. HE SAID “LIVE WITH IT.” FOUND ANOTHER DR. WHICH DID REVERSE SHOULDER REPLACEMENT AFTER 6 MOS. NEVER ABLE TO USE LEFT ARM, HAND NOR FINGERS AGAIN. I’V BEEN IN PT AND OT 3 YEARS. I’M AN INVALID. DOES ANYONE KNOW A DR. THAT CAN HELP ME. I LIVE IN DALLAS, TX.

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