I spoke to the PA at the orthopedist's office yesterday. I have a tear in my rotator cuff. She said that it's not big, but it's about two thirds of the way through. I didn't think to ask which muscle, but I've left a message to try to find out.
My reading online is telling me that treatment at my age, for a small tear, etc., etc. is about 50/50 physical therapy for four to six weeks versus surgery. Given that the point of PT is to strengthen everything so that the tear isn't as relevant, how much I've strengthened my shoulders over the last four months, and the level of my pain (which is not diminishing,) I have a feeling that we're looking at a surgical repair.
I have an appointment with the fancy doctor himself on May 1.
I'm relieved, bummed, and worried all at the same time. I'm relieved that there is a definitive answer, it is not all in my head, and it's an answer that justifies the fancy doctor and the fancy test. I'm bummed that from what I read of the recovery process and time frame, I'm likely to undo everything I've gained - at least in upper body strength. I'll have to talk to Anita about how much I can continue to do, and I'll do as much as I can. But... crap. I'm worried, because summer is MY heavy lifting season. I've been planning to purge the crawl space, there's gardens to weed, and Pennsic. I fear that if we go to Pennsic and I can't do the (literal) heavy lifting, we're screwed. I'm the one who packs, I'm the one who loads, I'm the one who lifts. This could be very difficult.
On the bright side (there's always a bright side,) I've been doing the fitness classes for almost eight months now, and that puts me in a pretty good mental place to be diligent about PT, whether that is the chosen solution, or part of surgical recovery.
Thank God I drive an automatic.