Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Orthopedic Surgeon says, "Did you get hit with a hammer?"

So, I met with an orthopedic surgeon named Dr. T to go over the next steps in treating/resolving my flu shot induced shoulder pain.  During my appointment, he reviewed the MRI films and the radiology report. Overall, the MRI showed inflammation, bursitis, partial bursal tears, a collection of fluid (probably the vaccine!), and tendinitis. Not, "terrible things" as Dr. T put it and nothing warranting surgery, which already knew. However, he was concerned when he saw the state of my bone. He said it looked like I had been hit with a hammer.

He asked me if I had been having fevers or night sweats because he was concerned about infection of the bone. I told him I’ve had fevers for 4 years and had smoldering myeloma. He asked me when I was seeing my doctor. I said I actually just saw him and he replied, “Oh so he saw these images?” I said no and that I had told Dr. R about my shoulder pain but didn’t show him the MRI. I mean...why would I?! Dr. T said, “Your doctor really needs to see this.”

I totally freaked. Inside, of course. Well, partially outside. Not unusual for me these days.

In my head thinking rationally I knew that myeloma does not cause edema/contusion of the bone (right??) but he kept going on about how the bone was abnormal and Dr. R needed to look at the MRI.

Dr. T wondered outloud, "Is this myeloma? Is this infection? Is this where he jammed in the needle? Not really sure."

He brought in another named Dr. M who thinks I might have nerve damage and/or parsonage turner syndrome caused by the flu shot. Dr. M wants me to have an EMG to check for nerve damage. More needles! Basically, bottom line: nerve damage or not, there is nothing these doctors can do for me. I need to provide my shoulder time / physical therapy and the pain/loss of motion “may” resolve within 1 year or up to 2-3 years. Or, I could have permanent nerve damage if it's parsonage turner syndrome. Sweet.

As for my bone? Eh...not really sure what to do about that. Going to see if I can drop off the MRI at DFCI for Dr. R to review. And the beat goes on... :)


  1. A four-year fever spell??? I could never have gotten through that....I'm doing research on orthopedic surgeons, due to some reconstructive ankle surgery I need. I really hope I don't get an infection. We still have to choose the clinic. We've narrowed it down to a few clinics, including http://www.martinomalleymd.com

  2. How on earth could a flu shot cause so much pain with your shoulder? I thought those things were supposed to help you. I really hope you can recover over time. That is simply horrible Elizabeth. God bless.


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