I fell. Apparently falling is problem for women post-chemo.  Now, did I fall during the 2 weeks of ice and 24 inches of snow?  No.  Got through that just fine.  No, I fell when I was going to read bedtime stories with my niece.  Rounded the corner into her room in stocking feet, and slid down the three, count them – only three, stairs.  Landed hard.  And tore my rotator cuff. Ouch.

My niece said, “Oh honey, are you okay?”  In the nicest tone, one that adults must use with her when she hurts herself.  It was really sweet.

So, two stories.

1. From this week, after I got the MRI back with the torn tendon results.

Pain-addled patient talking to her doc:  “So, because I’ve been in so much pain, and needing so much sleep, I went and bought a new mattress, in the hopes that I wouldn’t hurt as much.”

Doc:  “Does that happen a lot?”

Patient (trying most respectfully to figure out why spending habits are relevant to a torn shoulder): “Ummm…, this is the first real bed that I’ve ever bought…I did buy a futon 7 years ago.”

Doc (chuckling, a bit frustrated with the patient history): “No, I meant do you need more sleep?”

Patient:  Unable to answer because she’s laughing so hard….

2.  From last week (pre-MRI), talking to the therapist:

Doc:  “So, how are you feeling?”

Patient:  “Well, I’m happy when I’m not in pain.  Those moments when my shoulder doesn’t hurt are blessed, blessed moments.  Plus I’ve been in denial” (key word here is denial) “about it, I even went to my primary care doc and didn’t really tell her how much it hurt.

It really, really hurts. It’s important to be honest with your docs.  I finally told my oncologist and he ordered an MRI.”

Doc: “Well, maybe you slept on it wrong.  What else is going on?”

Patient (dumbfounded, wondering if denial is contagious?): Jaw drops.


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