F(Rust)ration

William Fuentes

Hi, my name is Gail, and I’m a pool addict.

This summer was my best summer of pool ever.  I played in a lot of events, leagues, tournaments and got to actually practice some too.  I really enjoyed my summer.  I placed well in tournaments, did well in my leagues and my confidence was so strong that I was  surprised when I missed balls.

With so much momentum going my way, you’d think I’d be at the table nonstop to revel in my pool success right? 

Wrong! Over the last month, I haven’t seen a table more than a few times and the forecast is damning. 

MRI - TendonosisI spent this summer running, bicycling, playing softball, throwing the football, but I think it came at a serious cost. My left shoulder is shot.  It hurts in the morning, it hurts after an hour of play, it hurts to pull a shirt over my head, unsnap my bra, blow drying my hair, and even sleep is painful.  I’m on 8-10 Ibuprofen a day.  The cortisone shot from May is spent.

I first started having problems with my shoulder in March of 2010. An MRI revealed Rotator Cuff Tendonitis.  I’ve had a few cortisone shots & they provided temporary relief but they masked the problem.  I actually feel these temporary fixes have allowed me to further exacerbate the issue and now I’m paying the price for my steroid use.

MRI Interstitial TearAfter feeling the first diagnosis was wadding in the shallow end of the cure pool, I ditched the old docs, swallowed a $420 non-covered consult fee, and met Dr. Brian Halpern, Sports Medicine Doc Extraordinaire!  Reviewing my first MRI, he immediately found a tear the 1st doc missed.  A year and a half of misdiagnosis basically eliminates the physical therapy.  The four major issues in my shoulder now?  Tendinosis, and interstitial tear, bursitis, and another slap tear.  I get mad just typing all of it.  My best option is a new plasma procedure.  UGH.  That means needles.

MRI - BursitisIt also means 2 months sans strenuous sports, and 1 month sans pool.  No pool for a month.  I cried when I left the hospital.  

It’s not like I’m at an age where injury is to be expected. I’m young. I’m healthy. I stay fit and exercise regularly. I feel like I’ve done what I’m suppose to do and it  just isn’t fair.

MRI Slap TearI’ve gone through the stages of mourning it. Depression, Pity, Anger and Isolation. But I lay in bed daydreaming about the summer that was and I fight the urge to get another shot of the ‘feel-good’ juice.

I’m scared.  I love this game.  I’m passionate about it, I want to continue improvement.  But of late, I avoid even walking in the pool room.  I can’t stomach the thought of knowing what I could do if I didn’t ache so.  It’s so frustrating.  I played a match the first week of league and coming back from behind I felt a rhythm ensue and I was dominating my opponent when an awkward rail shot came up and CLICK.  Yup, it’s that first click of the day my shoulder pulls the torn ailment and then the pain begins its’ onslaught.  I get down on shots and I find I focus on how much more or less a position hurts, rather than focusing on making the ball.

Left ShoulderI’m just a silly amateur pool player and I’m feeling these emotions of loss, regret, angst and depression.  I now better understand how professional athletes turn to drugs to fight pain or enhance their performance. 

Athletes inherently are addicts in their own right.  Addicted to their sport, gluttons for success, slaves to improvement.   And their sport is their livelihood, their bread on the table, their family’s future.  A ‘quick shot of this ‘or the ‘pop of that pill’ must be so tempting in short sight.  The long-term is hard to see in the fast-paced impatient world we live in today. 

The pushers of sport drugs aren’t drug dealers, they’re the opponents, the rivals, the trophy, the glory & past memories of all the above.  They’re the family, the paycheck, the house, a future.  These enticements for an athlete are stronger than the pushiest drug dealer in the world. I better understand the dilemma.  It’s a slippery slope. 

I’m scheduled for the Platelet-Rich Plasma Procdure (PRP) in the coming weeks… we’ll see.  It’s got an 80% success rate for the tendinosis & burstitis and has shown positive effects on slap tears too … they take your blood, spin it, separate the red blood cells from the plasma and inject the plasma directly to the injured areas so the concentrated healing components of plasma can more quickly repair the damaged areas.  All that medical jargon means little to me.  I just know there are a lot of needles involved, needles and pain.  Sad smile

The thought of walking into Amsterdam and not worrying when the shoulder will surrender … that’s motivates me.     

Hi, my name is Gail, and I’m a pool addict.

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~ by g2 on October 19, 2011.

6 Responses to “F(Rust)ration”

  1. Hello my dear…………..I’ve always conveyed to my closest friends: “there isn’t any progress without struggle”. I feel your pain………..just recently, as of 3 weeks ago I pulled the muscles surrounding my dominant right knee………EWWWW the pain………..I’ve been walking around like a crippled monkey….looking for my fix, which has been several Advil before bedtime………..but lots of rest and using one of those small carts from CVS as a walker is very helpful…………..I know, I’m resourceful(LOL). But regarding your torn rotator cuff…………I found that massaging it at night before bedtime with VICKS vapor rub and ICYHOT had did my pulled muscles in my trricep area well………..certainly the rotator cuff was strained too( I injured this area when lifting heavy luggage)………..time and rest is the best remedy too………however, I’m not the physician.so do what makes you better…………I FEEL YOUR PAIN BABY……….but you must refrain from aggravating the shoulder at all cost……….so when you want to play…….you’ll have a working joint rotator cuff……..with less pain…………MISS YOU MUCH..and I’ll see you when I see ya.

  2. Wow, I am really sorry to read about this, Gail.

    Last summer, I noticed a pain in my left shoulder and I found out I was putting too much weight on my bridge hand with my arm extended like it was. I was, like you, finding which positions hurt less rather than lining up to make shots. No surprise I couldn’t shoot anymore. After some internet research, I changed my stance to take most of the weight off that hand, and took a few weeks off to let whatever happened hopefully fix itself. I no longer have any shoulder pain while playing. But, I do still have to be careful when I work out and play anything else because I can tell that joint is suspect to injury now.

    I wish you a speedy recovery and I know you’ll be back on the table before you know it. Try to find the silver lining; maybe use this time to read some more books? Work on your mental game by playing racks in your mind. This week is good for that, tune into the US Open and hit “mute”. 😉

    Best wishes!

  3. And make sure you have healing foods……with plenty of protein………..

  4. Not the news update I wanted to hear, but I’m glad you have the heart to share your ordeal. I feel for you & have a sense of what you’re going through. I tend to blow out my left knee ( met you with my busted left knee) & other part of my upper body tend to shut down on me. Neck, shoulders, elbows & wrist. I’m sure I’ll have some severe arthritis in a few short years. I Don’t shoot on your level, but I am an addict to the game. Can’t stay away & to stay away rips through me. To the point it becomes counter productive. I play in pain to overcome, but I wind up killing my game. I’m stubborn. I take no meds for the pain too. Don’t like meds. I was so stubborn, that my shooting friends had to intervene (uggghhhhhh). I managed to learn how to relax in all sense of the ways. Still around the table when hurt, but I won’t really play. I just play cheerleader to my fellow shooters. It keeps me involved & makes me feel part of it. I play the racks in my head. This had made me better when I came back.

    Take your time to heal, please. I want to see you play (one day soon) in good health, form & @ your best. Don’t overwhelm your shoulder let it heal properly. The reason why my body shuts down on me is because I never let injuries heal properly when I was young. Healed all messed up that it @ times makes me useless, can’t move or do nothing when they flare up or overwhelm. Please heal properly.

    Will you be @ Castle for the Predator 9 ball tour?

    Arthur, FL,NJ

  5. Johnny, I am going to start focusing on the reducing the weight I put on my bridge hand. It’s something Tony and Mika have both brought to my attention and I think you are dead right it’s increasing the problem! Thanks Johnny!

    Thanks for the kind words Gerard. Perhaps you should check out PRP treatments. I’ll blog about the results but my research has shown it to be very, very effective in many cases!

    Thank you Arthur. I am going to take EVER precaution I can to give this procedure the best possible chance for working. I wished you’d do the same. Go to a doc about your knee before it’s too late. Hell, perhaps PRP may work for you. 🙂 And yes, I’ll be at Castle. It’ll be my last event before the procedure on Nov. 9th.

  6. Hello my dear…………..I’ve always conveyed to my closest friends: “there isn’t any progress without struggle”. I feel your pain………..just recently, as of 3 weeks ago I pulled the muscles surrounding my dominant right knee………EWWWW the pain………..I’ve been walking around like a crippled monkey….looking for my fix, which has been several Advil before bedtime………..but lots of rest and using one of those small carts from CVS as a walker is very helpful…………..I know, I’m resourceful(LOL). But regarding your torn rotator cuff…………I found that massaging it at night before bedtime with VICKS vapor rub and ICYHOT had did my pulled muscles in my trricep area well………..certainly the rotator cuff was strained too( I injured this area when lifting heavy luggage)………..time and rest is the best remedy too………however, I’m not the physician.so do what makes you better…………I FEEL YOUR PAIN BABY……….but you must refrain from aggravating the shoulder at all cost……….so when you want to play…….you’ll have a working joint rotator cuff……..with less pain…………MISS YOU MUCH..and I’ll see you when I see ya.
    +1

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