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Rotator Cuff Injury 2.0
Part Four

by Gary F. Zeolla


This article is continued from Rotator Cuff Injury 2.0: Part Three.


Patriotic Outfit

    With my white sling, this outfit is even more patriotic.



Sling and Rehab Updates


      I mentioned in a previous update that the surgeon had told me I could stop wearing a sling after three weeks, as I was comfortable with doing so. Well, it is now over three weeks post-op (Sunday, 8/7/22), and I do not feel at all comfortable going without a sling.

      I checked my first Rotator Cuff Story, and at the start of Part Four, I have a section titled, “Sling Struggles and Ending Rehab.” In it I state the surgeon had said I could stop wearing the sling a week after my last appointment, which was five weeks post-op. But come week six, I still did not feel comfortable going without it all of the time. I instead gradually weaned myself off of it over the next two weeks.

      I will probably do the same this time. My next appointment with the surgeon is on Tuesday, August 30, 2022. That will be six-and-half weeks post-op. It was supposed to be scheduled for five weeks post-op or four weeks after my last appointment. That would be Friday, August 19, but the surgeon does surgeries that day. I initially scheduled for the next Friday, but my dad is going away for the weekend, leaving early that day. I am not sure whether I will be comfortable driving yet or not by then, so I moved it to the following Tuesday.

      In any case, whether I drive or not, but especially if I do, I will wear the sling until then and then. The surgeon will probably tell me at that appointment I no longer need to wear it. If so, I will do what I did last time and begin to gradually wean myself off of it over the following two weeks.

      However, I am already taking the sling off once or twice a day and just standing, lowering my arm down, and moving it around a bit for a minute or two. I also am taking it off for my rehab exercises for my upper body, though I will keep wearing it for my lower body exercises for a while.

      I am also using my right arm more, maybe too much. But with ice and ibuprofen, it is not bothering very much at all.

      Meanwhile, my rehab is still going slowly but as planned for both my right shoulder and my left adductor injury. I am gradually increasing the reps on my bodyweight squats and deadlifts, doing each twice a week. I am up to doing 50 reps on each of four different forms of each (Squats, 2-Count Pause Squats, Extra Low Squats, Olympic Squats/ Sumo Deadlifts, Still Leg Sumo Deadlifts, Conv Deadlifts, Stiff Leg Conv Deadlifts). That is total of 200 reps, plus I am doing a couple of other lower body exercises each day for the same number of reps.

      I will continue to add five reps per workout or ten reps per week. Once I get to 100 reps, I plan on adding weight. I will start with holding a 2-1/2-pound plate in each hand for a total of all of five pounds. I will the increase by five pounds per workout or ten pounds per week. Once I get to a 20-pound dumbbell in each hand, I will switch to a 45-pound power bar but still follow the same weight increase pattern.

      That is the same protocol I used last time. But this time, along with only very gradually increasing the stress on my shoulder, I will be doing the same for my adductor. Hopewell, but the time my shoulder can handle real weight, so can my adductor.

      Along the way, I will also do what I did last time of working on getting my right hand up into position to hold the power bar for Squats, hopefully, being able to do so by the time I can use the bar.

      For my shoulder, I am only up to about 20 reps for each exercise, again, doing each exercise twice a week. But I will follow the same pattern of adding five reps per workout or ten per week. With starting at a lower number, it will take a few weeks longer until I reach 100 reps and begin to add weight. The amount of weight I add will depend on the exercise, but it will be less than the 2-1/2-pounds per hand for Squats and Deadlifts. For some exercises, it will be as little as 0.25 pounds per hand.

      Unlike last time, I will start to do Benches and Rows with a broomstick this week, 3-4 weeks post-op. Last time, I waited until eight weeks post-op. But I don’t think reps with a broomstick will hurt anything. I want to get back to real exercises a bit quicker, following the same pattern as above. Once I start to add weight, which won’t be for several weeks, I will probably add just a pound on each side per workout.

      I have an old metal pull-up bar, which weights 6.5 pounds. I will switch to that once I get to that amount of total weight. I will use it until I am putting 35 pounds on the bar, for a total of 41.5pounds. l will then switch to a power bar. But that will be months away.

      For specific rotator cuff exercises, it will probably be a few weeks until I start to use TheraBands, starting with the thinnest one. That one broke in my previous set, so already ordered a new set from Amazon.

      That’s it for now. My next update will probably be after my next surgeon appointment on August 30, 2022.

One Year Post Left Shoulder Surgery


      Today, Saturday, August 20, 2022, marks one year since my surgery on my left shoulder, so I wanted to give an update on it.

      As far as I can tell, it is almost completely recovered. I have full range of motion (ROM) in it. I can use it for all normal daily tasks. In fact, I am using it more than usual due to not being able to fully use my right arm. I can lay on my left side for short periods of time. But If I lay on it at night, it will start to ache and wake me up after about an hour. That is frustrating, but an improvement.

      What I am not sure about is the strength level. Since I cannot work out normally due to my right shoulder, I have no idea where I am with my left shoulder. My last regular bench workout I benched bodyweight. That was down from my recent best of 1.5 times bodyweight, but still quite an improvement.

      But now, due to my right shoulder, I will be starting over in building strength in my left shoulder as I rehab my right shoulder. The surgeon told me last year to not do one-handed work with my right arm, as that could cause problems with the fixed tears in my left shoulder, so I am sure the same is true now but in reverse.

      On my right shoulder, I am progressing faster than I did with my left shoulder. In my last update, I said I would wait until six seeks post-op to begin to wean myself off of my sling. But I began to do so just a couple of days later, just over four weeks post-op. Now, five weeks post-op, I am off of it for part of the day, when I am typing or other low risk activities. But I still wear it when doing anything that might aggravate it

      But I am using it a lot more, like for eating a brushing my teeth, which is a big relief. Trying to do those simple things with my left hand was really tiresome. But I still am being very careful not to reach for or lift anything with it.

      I am slowly recovering ROM in it, again, quicker than I did with my left shoulder. I am still only doing bodyweight lower body exercises and weightless, bandless rehab exercises for the shoulder.

      The broomstick benches are going well. I was able to almost get the stick down to my chest this week. I was not able to do overhand rows, though, as they hurt too much, but I can do them underhand. But it will be weeks before I begin to add weight or use TheraBands for anything.

      Worrying me even more than my shoulders is my left adductor injury. It will seem like it is okay, then it will start bother me again. Sometimes it is just fine while I am doing my bodyweight squats and deadlifts and going for my walks, but sometimes it will bother me. All I can do is continue with my plan and hope it heals along the way.

      I probably won’t know for sure how it is doing until I begin to add some real weight on squats and deadlifts. As I said to my dad, “One year from now, my shoulder will be healed, but my adductor might not be.”

      Be that as it may, I will close by saying I thank the LORD (and my skilled surgeon) for the recovery in my left shoulder and the slow but steady improvement in my right shoulder.


Second Post-Surgery Appointment and Continuing Progress


      I had my second post-surgery appointment with the surgeon on August 30, 2022. It was at 6-1/2 weeks post-op. He first took X-rays, and they were normal. They showed the bones are aligned as they should be. That is an indication the surgery was successful. That was a big relief.

      Otherwise, the surgeon checked my ROM and said I am progressing normally. He asked me how it was going with rehabbing myself, and I said it was working out just fine.    But I did scare him when I said, “I have been doing bench presses.” He looked shocked and concerned, until I added, “with a broomstick.” Then he sighed with relief. But my point was, it was just that week that I had been able to get the stick down to my chest.

      I told him I had also been using that broomstick for deadlifts. But my one concern was that I still could not get my right arm up and back to hold that stick on my back for squats. I asked him if I could “force” it back. He said he did not like the word “force” as I could still tear open the fixed tears. He also said to not lift anything “heavy” yet. But by “force” I meant to gently use that stick to try to pull it back. But I figured it was best to not even do that.

      As I write this, it is now mid-September 2022. I worked up to 100 reps on squats and deadlifts for each of my four different exercises, for a total of 400 reps for each workout. I then split up the exercises so as to only do two exercises per workout but for two sets.

      The first set is with no weight (except that broomstick for deadlifts), but for them for the second set, I am using my old pull-up bar, which weights 6.5 pounds. I started with just that but will add five pounds per workout, until I get to forty pounds. Then I will switch to my 45-pound deadlift bar.

      For squats, I still cannot get my arm up and back to hold the pull-up bar on my back, so I am holding weight plates to my side, increasing 2-1/2 pounds per workout. I will then switch to my ten-pound dumbbells. Hopefully, by the time I get to 20-pound dumbbells, I will be able to switch to my 45-pound squat bar.

      For benches and other rehab exercises, I am still using just that broomstick or nothing. I am up to about 80 reps for most exercises. When I get to 100 reps, I will begin to add weight, from 1/2 to 2-1/2 pounds per workout, depending on the exercise.

      The ROM in my right shoulder is very good, almost back to normal, except again, for getting my arm up and back for squats. I am mostly off of wearing a sling. I am only wearing it for my walks. But that is only because I go for my walks after doing those broomstick bench presses and other rehab exercises, so my shoulder is rather sore.

      For that walking, for my last walk, I was up to 3,142 steps, 1.33 miles, 27:54 time, 2.9 mph (from my pedometer app). I will probably keep up with the walking through October. But after that, I am not sure if I will continue with it. It will depend on if it is too much, assuming by then I am starting to use some real weight on squats and deadlifts. Besides, walking in the winter is such a pain.

      Again, it is mid-September 2022. This whole ordeal began back on March 14, 2021. That means, it has been 1-1/2 years since I have had full use of both arms at the same time. It is really getting tiresome. And I still got a ways to go. I figure it will be sometime next year before I will have full use of my right arm and can stop stressing out over reinjuring it. That stress is even worse than the physical limitations.

      My next appointment with the surgeon is on October 15, 2020. That will be 13 weeks post-op. I will post more then. Until then, I thank the LORD I am progressing as planned. Though again, I am getting really tired of it all.


Wellness Visit, Heart Disease and Cancer Concerns


      I have been telling people for years that my health would deteriorate if I were to stop powerlifting, and that is exactly what is happening after 1-1/2 years of not being able to train at my normal high intensity to prepare for contests due to still recovering from my second rotator cuff surgery.


Wellness Visit:

      I had my yearly “Wellness Visit” at the office of my primary care physician (PCP) on September 27, 2022, and it was not good. My blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol are up, while my HDL (good) cholesterol is down.

      That elevated blood pressure and lowered HDL are almost certainly due to the fact that I have only be able to train at a low intensity for the past 1-1/2 years. The elevated LDL is probably due to getting lax with my diet without being able to train hard and with no contest in sight.

      Consequently, I now have objective proof that my health would in fact deteriorate without my intense training incentivized by entering powerlifting contests. And subjectively, my fatigue, body pain, stiffness, and various sleep disturbances are all worse, as is my mental/ emotional state. You could also add my body fat is up and muscle mass is down, at least according to my body fat scale.

      That all is despite the fact that I have continued to work out as much as my shoulders and adductor injuries would allowed me throughout this entire time. I am up to walking about half a mile in thirty minutes, along with doing my rehab workouts. Together, my total workout time is about what it was before this whole ordeal began. But none of what I am doing now is anywhere near the intensity of my former powerlifting workouts, hence my declining physical and emotional health. But my faith in the LORD is keeping me going and persevering in terms of doing what I can.


Cancer Concern:

      The preceding was written before I got the results of a stool test from after that Wellness Visit. I have been doing a stool test every year for many years, and it always comes back negative. That is why I have not bothered with a colonoscopy in 20 years. I figured if there was a problem, it would show up as blood in my stools.

      But now, that is what happened. I found out on October 5 that my latest sample was positive for blood. In a way, it was not a surprise in that constipation has also been a greater problem recently. After talking to my PCP’s office and the oncologist’s office, I was scheduled for a colonoscopy on November 7.

      I was really hoping to get the procedure done sooner, but that is the earliest date that was available. I will try to not to stress out too much about it until then. And I won’t know until then whether I have cancer or not. It is possible it is much ado about nothing. Or it is possible there will just be polyps that will be able to be removed during the procedure, and that will be that.

      That is why I titled this section “Cancer Concern.” It is something to be concerned about, but I will try not to get too overly anxious, as it could be nothing. The best I can do right now is to try to tighten up my diet some. But I still cannot start to engage in more vigorous exercise.


      But is colon cancer related to exercise? Consider the following: 

    Many studies have demonstrated the effects of exercise on both primary and secondary prevention of colon cancer. Exercise appears to have a dose-response reduction in the rate of colon cancer. The mechanism by which exercise provides this benefit is not known, but increase in insulin-like growth factor-binding protein and reduction of prostaglandins appear to be the likely cause. Once a person develops colon cancer the benefits of exercise appear to continue both by increasing quality of life and reducing cancer-specific and overall mortality ( Exercise and colon cancer: primary and secondary prevention).


      Note that “dose-response reduction” means, although small amounts of low-intensity exercise will have some benefit, as you increase the duration and intensity, the benefit increases.


      The recommended amount of exercise to protect against colon cancer is estimated to be between 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. The type, duration and level of intensity of exercise will vary from person to person, so you should discuss your exercise goals with your doctor before beginning any new regimen. Currently, there are no conclusive studies to show whether physical activity can help prevent rectal cancer, adenomas or polyps, but there is a clear association between exercise and colon cancer…

      If you have had colon cancer, exercise is even more important. Research shows that colon cancer survivors can reduce the risk of their cancer recurring by as much as 50 percent by exercising. Physical activity can also increase survival and definitely enhance quality of life by reducing fatigue and promoting energy balance (Stop Colon Cancer Now. Exercise).


      That recommended amount of exercise is exactly what I was doing before my rotator cuffs ordeal began. As indicated, I am still exercising for that amount of time, but at a low intensity. Consequently, my lack of anything more than low intensity exercise due to my rotator cuff injuries most definitely contributed to this potential problem.

      Also, whenever I entered a contest, with cutting weight, I would “clean myself out,” as many do with various colon cleanses. I haven’t done that in over 1-1/2 years, but I will to prepare for the colonoscopy.

      What all of this means is, it was in fact what my powerlifting that was keeping my health from deteriorating to worse than it already was. And without it, my health is now deteriorating to a scary level. I could be looking at cancer and/ or heart disease. That is why I need to get back to hard training as soon as possible. That leads to the next section.


Ongoing Rehab:

      My rehab is going as planned. I switched from using a broomstick to my 6.5-pound pull-up bar for benches, and will be switching from the pull-up bar to my 45-pound Ohio Deadlift Bar next week. But for squats, I still cannot get my arm up and back to hold a bar on my back, so I am still using dumbbells. But other than that motion, my ROM is almost back to normal.

      However, it will still be next year before I am out of the woods in terms of being at risk of re-tearing the repairs. And even then, it would be best to only gradually increase the intensity of my training over a period of months.

      That means, it will be at least next spring until I am able to start training again at a higher intensity. That does not bode well for my possible development of heart disease and cancer. But again, in the meantime, I need to clean up my diet and get back to being meticulous about it as I was before this ordeal began.


Glucosamine and Chondroitin:

      I mentioned previously about the surgeon recommending glucosamine and chondroitin for the arthritis in my right shoulder. I was leery about it at first, as glucosamine and chondroitin are derived form shellfish, which I think I am sensitive too. But I gave it a try, and it didn’t seem to be problematic at first.

      However, after finishing the first bottle and starting the second, I began to have significant problems sleeping, worse than usual. It got to the point that I could barely sleep at all. As a result, ,my fibromyalgia fatigue got much worse. I’ve gone thought this before, and it always traces back to something I am eating or a drug or supplement I am taking that I am sensitive to.

      It too a while, but I then remembered about glucosamine and chondroitin coming from shellfish and stopped taking it. After a couple of days, I began to sleep better, at least as good as I ever do.

      I mention this as a warning to anyone who is allergic or sensitive to shellfish. Do not use glucosamine and chondroitin.


Multiple Upcoming Medical Appointments:

      I have my three-month post-surgery appointment with the surgeon on October 14, 2022. I then have a dentist and audiologist appointment, then another appointment with my PCP. I am also scheduled for two additional vaccinations, after having gotten my flu shot at the Wellness Visit. Then is the colonoscopy. That means, I got a lot going on over the next month medical-visit-wise, which is all I seem to be doing lately.

      The wellness visit appointment was the first time I drove since my surgery back on July 15. It was just a mile, and I felt bit uncomfortable. The rest of these visits are all within three miles, so I should be okay to drive to them myself, except for the colonoscopy, for which you have to have a driver.

      The dentist and audiologist appointments are just routine checkups. The aforementioned visit at my PCP’s office was actually with a physician assistance. This visit will be with the actual doctor. She is new, so I want to go over all of my health problems with her.

      Also, I saw a blood test you can order from CVS for testing for food sensitivities. I could order it myself, but it quite pricy, so want to see if she can order it and have insurance pay for it. I’ve had allergy testing done previously, but got conflicting results. I am hoping a blood test might clears things up. If I knew for certain I was sensitive to shellfish, I would never have bothered with the glucosamine and chondroitin.

      I might also talk to her about a stress test, so I can know for sure whether my elevated blood pressure and cholesterol is causing heart disease or not.

      But most of all, I am anxious for that colonoscopy. I know I will feel terrible afterwards. That was the case when I had one done 20 years ago, which is why I have tried to avoid it since then. But now I have no choice.



      I will wait until after all of these appointments and until I get the results of the colonoscopy to post another update. In the meantime, please keep me in your prayers. All of these medical visits will be difficult on me. And pray the results of the colonoscopy are favorable.


Rotator Cuff Injury 2.0: Part Five


Rotator Cuff Injury 2.0: Part Four. Copyright 2022 by Gary F. Zeolla.

Creationist Diet: Second Edition;
A Comprehensive Guide to Bible and Science Based Nutrition

    This Second Edition is 2-1/2 times as long and presents a different perspective on diet than the First Edition. The First Edition mostly advocated a vegan diet, while this Second Edition also advocates for a diet that includes animal foods. But, and this is very important, those animal foods are to be what are called “old-fashioned” meats, dairy, and eggs, not the “factory farm” products that most people eat. What is meant by these two terms and the incredible difference between them is explained in this book. In addition, this book covers a wide range of diet related topics to help the reader to understand how to live a healthier lifestyle according to God’s design.

The above article was first posted on this website August 1, 2022.
Updates were added as dated.

Dealing with Health Difficulties
Rotator Cuff Injury: Dealing with Health Difficulties

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