The MRI results – Alison Fujito

of all, I’d like to thank all who e-mailed me with good wishes! I’m a
big believer in the powers of prayer and positive thinking.

didn’t intend to keep everyone in suspense about the results of the MRI
(more on that in a minute). The last couple of weeks were very, very
tough ones for me, and progress seemed so minimal, I didn’t want to
write a whiny-complaining-downer of a blog entry! Every morning I would
wake up unable to move my left arm—and Laurie had instructed me to lift
it straight up and over my head ten times before I got out of bed every
morning. What I ended up doing was using my right arm to lift my left
arm and make it do its exercises. After a few times, I noticed
that my left arm was starting to understand what it was supposed to do,
and doing it.

As it turned out, I was making much more progress than I’d realized at first.
My husband reminded me that, a month ago, I could only move my arm far
enough to point at the floor about 2 feet in front of me. Eventually,
I started making a pencil mark on the wall of where I could reach with
my injured arm, and I was reassured that I was indeed making progress!

Of course, it’s easy to get carried away, too.  Last week, I was finally
able to inch my hand up to the top of the steering wheel in the
car–hooray!  And yesterday, I was able to lift my arm and put my hand
on top of the steering wheel without any inching first!  I was so
excited, I kept saying (even though there was nobody with me in the car
to hear), "Ooh, look what I can do!!" and moving my hand from my lap
(where it’s lived for the last 2 1/2 months) to the top of the steering
wheel.  After doing this about 20 times, it started to hurt. 



who saw me must have thought I was crazy. But, oh, it’s been such
s-l-o-w progress, it’s like watching paint dry.  Little improvements
suddenly take on a world of meaning.

the violin, I’m used to fixing problems quickly.  If I have trouble
playing a difficult passage accurately and cleanly, I slow it down to
half-tempo, gradually speed it up, and then I am able to play it at the
proper tempo within minutes. But torn cartilage and tendons don’t
cooperate that way, do they?


Now for the MRI results: The
MRI showed that I had tears to 2 tendons (the supraspinatus and the
infraspinatus), and to the glenoid labrum, which is the cartilage
between the ball and socket of the shoulder joint.


Here are some websites that explain rotator cuff tears in gory detail:   and

This one shows a dislocated shoulder:
This one has a bunch of really cool pictures:


when the orthopedist met with me to discuss the MRI, he first
recommended surgery to repair the tears, but said that letting them
heal themselves and doing physical therapy is a viable option. After
a lot of internet research, plus talks with several physical
therapists, my chiropractor, and a physiatrist (a physiatrist is very
like an orthopedist, but does not perform surgery; instead,
physiatrists concentrate on the rehab), I decided that letting my
injuries heal themselves carries fewer long-term risks (such as scar
tissue, infection, and reaction to anasthesia).


Next: What kind of exercises do I do?

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