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This past weekend I had lunch with my girlfriends and our discussion turned to our mutual resolutions to lose weight and get in better shape. We all agreed that trying to get back to our once-upon-a-time sizes ranging from 4 to 6 was unreasonable. What we all wanted was a healthier weight and one that reasonable-sized clothes (not “fat” clothes) would fit comfortably. We will never be models, but we also don’t like the image of overweight, middle-aged women either. Healthy, attractive weight levels would be good enough.

Today is the last day of physical therapy under my current prescription. Have I achieved the stellar results expected by my dominatrix physical terrorist? No.  And this is no doubt the direct result of the level of effort that I’ve put into the therapy. I do my exercises 2-3 times a day, but I don’t spend the hour and a half that vigorously working the regimen would require.

I have to admit that my initial expectations for shoulder replacement were over optimistic. I had just had hip replacement surgery and six weeks post-op, I couldn’t tell I’d ever had surgery. All the research I had done on the Internet (and there’s not a lot of information on shoulder surgery out there compared to hip surgery) showed glowing results of patients with full or close-to-full range of motion.

My recovery from shoulder replacement was a lot less successful than I expected. Even though I had more mobility and less pain than before the surgery, the lack of range of motion made it difficult to do daily activities: get dressed, reach out the car window for parking tickets or at the ATM, put things up on the high shelf, fold king-size sheets, etc. I knew this was not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life.

My surgeon explained that surgery to relieve scar tissue would provide some incremental — not vast–  improvement, so my expectations of the success of this corrective surgery were much less. As I am prone to say, “I don’t ask a lot out of life, just a little now and then.”  A little improvement — any improvement — would be better than what I had.

And I did read an article in my rheumatologist’s office last week that talked about RA patients and shoulder replacement. It stated that after the procedure, patients would need to find someone else to change their light bulbs for them. It’s not the procedure, but the chronic inflammation and damage in and around the joint (that probably caused the need for surgery in the first place) continues to interfere with joint mobility. No one had ever explained that to me, but it makes perfect sense. Maybe if they had, my expectations wouldn’t have been so high to begin with.

The net result is (to date) I’ve gained 8″ more reach in front and a bit more than 6″ on the side. That’s enough that I have quit thinking about all the things I used to couldn’t do. I go about my daily activities without problem and that’s really all I ever asked. I’m not a tennis player or a golfer or any of those other sports where fluid shoulder movements are critical. I’m good with what I’ve got.

Is it perfect? No. Is it all that I probably could have achieved? No. Will my physical terrorist be disappointed in me? Probably. Am I happy with the results? Yes. And I will continue my exercises to not only help maintain the range I have, but hopefully continue to increase it.

Sometimes good really is good enough.

Thanks for checking in.