The Edge 2012

Its 5:20am on a sunday and I’m wide awake  because I’ve got Lady Gaga running through my head!

I’m on the edge…of glory….I’m hanging on the moment of truth…I’m on the edge…of glory…  (

so what edge am I talking about?

The ANB Get The Edge Workshop of course!

Yesterday I was up bright an early looking forward to what promised to be an excellent day of learning, getting tips and catching up with friends and fellow competitors and meeting new people. Given that we were going to be getting posing tips from Vicky Arief – head ANB Judge, nutrition tips (and posing) with Lindy Olsen, and training tips from Lindys trainer, Greg Dolman, I knew we were in for a jam packed day of good advice – and I have to say that it exceeded all my expectations.

So the day started when I met up with the lovely gentleman journo Vance Ang (Australian Iron Man Magazine)  for a hearty breakfast – well, that is to say, I had a hearty breakfast (3rd for the day!) and Vance was more sensible. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with Vance a couple of times now and we always have plenty to talk about, today was no exception as we were both looking forward to the day and what it might bring.  I even managed to pay this time which is something that Vance has refused to hear of previously –  maybe it was the painkillers he was on after hurting his wrist…in the gym :-)

After breakky we headed down to the venue, Results Based Training gym in south Melbourne and did all the usual signing in and seeing who was around for a quick chat before getting started at 11am

First up Maria McCarter introduced herself and talked about how she got started in the ANB and came to run ANB Victoria, and it very soon became clear how passionate she is about the world of natural bodybuilding, where it is going, how it is growing and how privileged she felt to be part of such a wonderful sport. Maria spoke from the heart and what really impressed me was her unbiased approach and recognition of other federations, no ego, no disrespect – if it was good for the world of natural bodybuilding then it was a good thing. Great attitude! :-)

Next it was our turn – why were we there, what did we hope to get out of the day, where were we at in our bodybuilding journey? What a diverse group! there was a really good mix of total novices, people who’d never stepped on stage and were there to find out what was involved (along with a few supportive partners), there were experienced competitors, people who’d competed before and had stopped but wanted to get back into it, trainers who were thinking of competing or had competed and were there to support clients who wanted to compete, Maria acknowledged each and every one of us and made us all feel instantly at home and part of a family. I was becoming more and more impressed by the minute and was beginning to understand why every competitor I’d talked to who’d competed in ANB shows had such positive things to say.

Greg Dolman Vicki Arief Bruce Hatfield Nikki Smith ANB Get the Edge WorkshopANB get the edge workshopMAria McCarter Lindy Olsen ANB Get the Edge Workshop

As we were going round the group, Maria skipped over one person and said we’d get back to him…odd, whats that about? We didn’t have to wait long and Maria invited Dave Pate, last years ANB Most Inspirational competitor up to the front to tell his story. It’s amazing when you meet someone who seems so grounded and sorted and now obviously so fit and healthy that you just don’t know the story that lies behind who they are. Dave has done it tough and he’s turned himself and his life around – a truly deserving winner of the award.

After we had our say, it was Greg Dolmans turn. Greg is Lindy Olsens trainer so I was really interested to hear what he had to say. To say that Greg knows his stuff would probably be understatement of the century – he divulged more than a few of the things he works with Lindy on and particularly interesting was the fact that when he started working with Lindy (this was when she had already won a few world titles) the first thing he did was stop all training with any sort of weight and they went right back to basics. They worked on technique, form and most importantly muscle balance – for months. Just by standing in front of him, Greg can assess where your weaknesses are, where you’re holding tension, where you hold stress, which is your dominant side, where you have imbalances. By doing a basic squat Greg can identify which muscles are not switched on, which muscles are too tight, where you’re compensating. This is all particularly relevant to me at the moment with so many injuries all of which can ultimately be attributed to training with my body all out of alignment. It was fascinating, and it gives me lots to work with whilst I’m doing rehab. I’m also going to try and track down a muscle balance specialist here in Melbourne – if I can get myself into balance whilst I’m doing rehab then hopefully when I get back to training properly my body will be able to handle the ramping up of the weights.

Greg Dolman ANB Get the edge Workshop

Phew! It’s already been totally worth coming to the workshop and we’ve hardly got started yet!

Next up was posing class with ANB head judge Vicki Arief. Well what can I say…Vicki you should be still on stage…at the comedy festival!!! We were all in fits of laughter as Vicki showed us how to pose and how NOT to pose – brilliant and the routine she made up on the spot… I wish I had a video! :-)

there’s too many photos of Vicki to include in this post so I’ve created an entire album! I give you… The Vicki Arief Show

Then it our was our turn. On with the heels and pose!

After about 10 minutes I was stuffed! I’d forgotten how hard posing is – place foot here, bend this leg just so, straighten the other leg so, squeeze knees together,  twist torso just this much, poke bum out just this much, bring elbow round just a smidge, drop shoulder a touch, don’t lean back, flex back, relax arms, tense every single muscle and smile like you’re out for a sunday afternoon stroll!

is it lunchtime yet???

And then it was lunchtime…sort of. Lunchtime was a bit of a rolling concept – probably about half of the group was on competition preparation so they had all brought their own food and at various times of the morning there was always seemed to be someone eating according to whatever schedule they were on. Even though I had a huge breakfast, I still made sure I ate something every 3 hours. So lunchtime really was just a break for a chat. Lindy, as always was in the middle of it all, chatting to everybody who was asking questions – she really is an incredible person – very generous with her time and knowledge, so approachable, friendly and real. Always a total professional and a great role model for anybody no matter what line of work you are in.

After lunch we split into 2 groups – those who wanted advanced training tips went with Greg over to the weights section and those who were beginners or just getting in to bodybuilding sat with Maria and learnt about Supplements. The topic of supplements in bodybuilding circles will spark as much heated discussion as training splits or diet – everyone has an opinion, and everyone naturally is right! But there are ways of doing things and ways of not doing things and Maria displayed her extensive knowledge on the subject and provided a sensible no crap, overview to the best supplements to take for bodybuilding, what their purpose is, how they interact in the body and how and when to take them. For the people in the group who were complete beginners, Maria answered all questions and probably would have allayed more than a few fears.

I shuttled between Marias session and Gregs training tips – I really wanted to get some insight into how I could avoid injuring myself further and prevent ongoing niggling soft tissue injuries. It was a real eye opener! Someone would volunteer an exercise that they were having trouble with and Greg would get them to demonstrate how they performed that exercise. Then he would point out to us what was causing the issue and then he would demonstrate how to fix it – in some cases the fix was so astoundingly simple all of us would almost look on in disbelief. It really could just be a matter of moving a dumbell a few centimeters or dropping the weight being lifted by a small amount to make sure the technique was absolutely correct. Awesome. Lessons to be learnt by everyone no matter what their level of experience – even those in the group who were trainers would (should!) have learnt plenty. I can’t explain how helpful Gregs tips have been – you really must get to one of these workshops and hear what he has to say for yourselves.

By now you’d think we were all getting a bit tired – its been a long day with so much information, but not so – everyone was fully engaged and enjoying themselves and finally we got to hear from Lindy. She talked to us about her own journey to discovering and embracing this healthy way of living and how it has helped her find herself. She talked about competing and what it has meant to her and given her, she went through her golden rules of eating clean and how eating the correct foods at the correct times will turn your body into a supercharged fat burning machine. She took us through her own competition diet – thats gold! I was absolutely stunned at the large amounts of food she was talking about – yet Lindy is living proof that it works. For someone just starting out in this world the information Lindy imparted is priceless – and if you follow her rules you will NEVER have to starve yourself or pound yourself into the ground with ridiculous hours of cardio - Lindys rules will set you up right, right from the start and make sure your health is safe at all times.


They say time flies when you’re having fun and today it did!

Congratulations and thank you Maria for organizing such a fantastic day, it was wonderful to be in a room with such positive,  friendly people who are all passionate  about what they do, who so generously gave of their time and knowledge to ensure that all attendees got the best information that was delivered in an unbiased, professional and above all ethical manner. It didn’t matter if you were an experienced competitor, a relatively inexperienced competitor, someone who was just about to compete or even someone who was just trying to decide whether to compete – the information delivered catered for all levels of experience – every single one of us would have had something to take away from the day.

If you haven’t yet signed up for a workshop – just do it. Do it now!

If you have signed up – you’re in for a treat! Enjoy :-)

Lindy Olsen, Maria McCarter, Greg Dolman, Vance Ang, ANB Get the edge workshop

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Hangin’ tough

Its been 4 weeks since my last surgery so I thought it would be a good idea to review my progress.

Going in to surgery, I had expectations that rehab would be difficult, I knew I would have to let go of the training and I knew I would have to just be patient and let nature do what it needs to do, I knew I there would be good days and bad days and days when I felt like throwing in the towel. But knowing something intellectually and doing it for real are totally different things.

Physically, its been very much a case of 1 step forward and two steps back. My shoulders are slowly improving I’m now working with therabands to strengthen my rotator cuff and I’m allowed to do rows, bicep curls and tricep kickbacks, so the static part of the rehab, in theory, is coming along quite well. However I’m still in constant pain – doing rows pulls the front of my shoulders, I get pain at the top of my bicep tendon when doing the curls and I’m supposed to be doing ‘push ups’  standing up against the wall, but any sort of upwards pressure is too sore . Day to day dynamic movements are also a source of consternation, for example, stretching to fill a cup of water from the tap, cleaning teeth, drying my hair, typing at the computer, any sort of lifting – plates, shopping, the kettle – anything that even comes close to involving engagement of my anterior delts feels like its tearing them. Any sudden movement causes crunching and shooting pains all the way down to my finger tips. I can’t sleep on my side because it presses on the shoulder joint, or on my front because I can’t use my arms to push upwards.

In addition to the shoulders, the physio suggested I work with the sports doc as well to co-ordinate my rehab. So having seen the sports doc 2 weeks ago and mentioned a few other painful parts, I was promptly sent off to have ultrasounds on my hammies and elbows – in for a penny in for a pound! :-)

The results of the ultrasounds have not been good – slight tearing of the hammy tendons and tearing and bleeding in my elbows, so blood injections and acupuncture look like they’re going to become a regular feature along with the physio.

Scratch bicep curls, squats, lunges, plyometrics, leg curls, and any sort of presses from my training. In fact I’ve pretty much had to scratch training altogether, I’m reduced to walking, leg extensions, abs and calves – not much to be trying to building a comp prep around and once I start with the blood injections I won’t be able to do anything at all!! :-(

Needless to say,  its getting a little frustrating – I’m really missing being able to train – walking the 6 km to work doesn’t quite cut it in my book and I certainly dont count it as training! :-)

Physically I’m a bit of a mess, but physical issues are easy to deal with – it just takes time and patience. What I’m finding tougher is the mental side of this…and I have to admit, that in this respect, I’m really struggling.

theres that little voice, you know the one, the one that creeps up on you and chips away at your belief and confidence…

whats the point of doing this? why bother? everyone else will have had 9 months to work on their pyhsiques and I haven’t, I’ll be so much smaller than everyone else, they’ll look so much better than me, I’m not going to have enough time to put on any mass, I’m not going to be ready in time, I wasn’t big enough last year so I’m definitely not going to be big enough now, I’ll be even further behind than last year, what if it takes another 3 months for my shoulders to be ready? what if the surgery doesn’t fix them? what if my hamstrings don’t fix…

at what point do I admit defeat and quit…


its noisy in there!

it also doesn’t help when I read daily reports from my would be competition saying how they ‘smashed legs/back/chest today’, ‘did a deadlift pb’, ‘felt the burn’, had an ‘awesome session’  it all adds to the feelings of inadequacy, failure, envy and a growing sense that this years comps are beginning to slip away…

But as anyone who does this sport knows, you have to be tough, disciplined and strong mentally as well as physically, and I have a choice. I can choose to lay down, be the victim and let this get the better of me – I can let the voice win, or I can choose to  hang in there, ride it out and keep going.

I will not quit. Some days its a real battle, I have to keep telling myself that this is just a temporary thing, and it will get better. I have to remind myself thats it’s only 4 weeks since my surgery and to focus on the progress I have made.

I remind myself how well I’m doing with my eating plan and how I’m leaning down at a perfect rate of 0.25-0.5kg a week, thats with hardly any exercise – what I’m learning about my body will be invaluable when it comes round to real comp prep.

A friend advised me to use my time well and become a student of the sport – and thats exactly what I’m doing. Next week is the ANB Getting the Edge workshop - which  I’m really looking forward to. Getting advice and tips from Lindy Olsen? Yeah, thats going to be good! :-)

I’m practicing my posing (symmetry and legs only!), I’m studying nutrition for sports performance, I’m planning my routine and maybe even a new ‘look’ to go along with my new bikini’s from Jo :-)

so I’m hanging in there and taking it easy, just like the doc ordered…and hoping that soon enough it’ll be one step forward then another step forward…then maybe a lunge…

I could get used to these lie-ins, though!  :-)

Posted in Home, Rehab | 4 Comments

Happy Australia Day!

13 years ago I made a snap life changing decision that I was going to live in Australia. 6 weeks later I’d shut down my company, sold virtually everything I owned, hopped on a plane,  flew 12000 miles from cold grey dreary November in England and arrived in Melbourne not knowing a soul with my remaining possessions packed into a single suitcase.

Why did I do it? there are lots of reasons, but the overriding perception I had of Australia at that time was that it was better, the lifestyle would be better – beaches, sun, laid back and relaxed. Emigrating to Australia was something that lots of people dreamed of doing, but few actually did.

I aimed to find a better life in the lucky country, where I could be who I wanted to be rather than someone trying to live up to other peoples expectations of who I was supposed to be. Did it bother me that I didn’t know anyone? of course it did – but the perception of Aussies as a friendly bunch, I found to hold true and I had no doubt that I would soon get to know people and find my way around.

After 6 months I had a good job, and a good group of friends and I was living in South Yarra – perfectly located between the city, Chapel Street shopping, the botanical gardens and the beach. I was thoroughly enjoying myself deliberately being a tourist, exploring and experiencing everything Melbourne had to offer – the cafe’s the bars, the restuarants, the culture, the beach, lazy weekend breakfasts with friends on Southbank, St Kilda and South Melbourne. I loved the quirkiness of the weather – the odd phenomenon of ‘the cool change’ where temperatures can go from 35+ to less than 25 in about 10 minutes flat.

I’d done things that I just wouldn’t have contemplated back home – been to an opera, the ballet, the grand prix, food festivals, comedy festivals, film festivals and of course the tennis – there always seemed to be something going on and it was all so easy and accessible – I didn’t need a car, because everything was on my doorstep. Sometimes I almost had to pinch myself just to make sure it was real.

In short, coming to Australia is probably one of the best things I have ever done  - my oldest friend emigrated out here after he saw how good my life was, one of my brothers emigrated out here for the same reason. Could I afford my own beautiful apartment with bay view and gym, swimming pool and tennis court just 10 minutes walk from the city centre in England? I don’t think so. I have so much here to be grateful for and I appreciate all the opportunities that I have had here and although I’m not a citizen, Australia Day is a fantastic idea (ever heard of Britain day?? no neither have I!) – whatever it means to you – a celebration of the coming of the first fleet,  an excuse for a barbie with your mates, a handy day off work so you can go to the beach, or have a lie in, or just hang with your family and friends…enjoy it, celebrate it

I know I will.

Australia has been and continues to be the lucky country for me and I am very proud to call Australia home.

Happy Australia Day!


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Knit one, Tear one!

I’ve had 3 sessions now with Rosie and she is cranking me through the rehab exercises – which is great, exactly what I wanted especially after reading the official rehab brochure I got given after surgery which indicated that I couldn’t expect to do any real work for at least 6 months and preferably 12!

Mind you as Aiden suspected these brochures are of a very general nature, and Rosie just laughed when she read it. This is how she explained just how basic it was:

week 1-4 – sit your client down on the chair

Week 4-6 – introduce yourself to your client

Week 6-8 – explain to your client what a physio is and what a physio does

ok, so we’re definitely not following the official advice :-)

When I saw Rosie on Monday she was really pleased with my progress, so much so, that she said I could add in extremely light bicep and tricep exercises!


but then I just thought I’d mention that I’d been having some pain in my hammy for the last 3 months and my left elbow was constantly aching despite not having trained arms for nearly 2 months now, I wanted her to check it just in case on the slight off chance that something might not be quite right…


After poking and prodding around and a bit of stretching and manipulation Rosie pronounced that it could be a Hamstring Tendonopathy (torn hamstring tendon), and tennis AND golf elbow.



thats going to take months to fix :-(

So you can imagine the conversation I had at training the following day!

A: so hows the shoulders?

me: doing well – range of motion is improving,  they’re not so sore now and I’m doing rotator cuff strengthening on both sides now.

A: Excellent, lets get stuck into legs then

me: weeellll not so fast…

that stopped Aiden in his tracks and he looked at me in growing horror

me: do you want the good news or the bad news?

A: (reluctantly…) bad news?

me: Well you know how I’ve been saying that my hammy has been bothering me for a while… 

A: (stunned mullet look)

me: well I may have torn the tendon

A: tell me you’re joking

me: nah. seeing the sports doc tomorrow

I’ve never seen Aiden at a loss for what to do training wise…until now. I mean I can’t do shoulders, back,  glutes or hammies – no pressing, lifting, squatting, lunging, rowing, pulling or pushing – doesn’t leave much to build a training session around!

me: the good news is that I can do very very light bicep, tricep work and single arm rows..

A: (recovered from the shock), ok we can continue with Leg extensions, then we’ll string together some upper body stuff to get some movement going, that will help with the recovery as well. Then I’m officially telling you to chill out mad dog. Back off and let your body recover.


me: ok. 

So I’m pretty much completely out of action now, my body is not handling the building part of the equation at all right now –  its not really handling any sort of training right now!

Surprisingly I’m not overly upset about this – its a setback of course, but better now whilst I’m already in rehab than in 6 months time.

I need more information. I’ll get ultrasounds on the elbow and hammy and see what that turns up. I’m hoping that I’ve caught both of these issues early and that there is something that can be done that will fix it whilst I’m still in rehab phase for my shoulders.

I’m not going to panic or get stressed about it… just yet!

and in the mean time maybe I can take up lawn bowls…

or knitting!


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Morning Mojo

you know very often when I set out to write about something it morphs into something else. I was heading off to training this morning and it was such a beautiful morning I just had to share it with you!  I love my journey to training, why? well usually I cycle to the gym and my route takes me around the botanical gardens where I can hear the clear ringing call of the bell birds, then I head along the river which in spring is lined with trees in their fresh baby green leaves, in the summer its cool and shady, on a clear cold still autumn morning the low lying mist curls around my bike spokes and in winter there is silent patience of the sleeping trees. Then I cycle through probably one of the best sporting precincts in the world – past the MCG backlit by the rising sun, Rod Laver Arena, Olympic Park, the Lexus Centre and the Bubble stadium (AAMI Park) – I see the Collingwood boys dragging themselves to training, the Storm boys already running drills, I think of  the all the sporting triumphs and excellence that these stadiums have witnessed over the years…

it really wakes me up and energises me and I generally arrive at the gym raring to go.

But now cycling is off the list, but it doesn’t mean that my journey to training is any less special…now I walk along Southbank watching the multi coloured lights of the city skyline reflecting in the river, the avenue of trees all lit up, the trams over Princes bridge, the arts centre spire and the MGG backlit by the rising sun – Southbank is usually busy, bustling and vibey, its got the cafes, the bars, the restaurants, the crowds, the craft markets and the street entertainers. Its a throughfare, a place to hang out, the parkour’er practice here… its my backyard.

But the best bit about my walk into the city and the reason I love training so early? Having the whole place to myself… :-)

Do you love your journey to training? what gets you awake and firing?

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if you think this is about motivation and things like that well…not really. I mean, you’re probably all incredibly highly motivated people anyway and know what motivates you,  so you don’t need me to tell you how to motivate yourselves…unless you want me to of course! :-p

No, what I’m talking about is how I apply myself to something and what happens next….

In general, when I do something thats worth doing then I give it everything – all in, 100% commitment thats me…like climbing  Mt Kilimanjaro – I overtrained ridiculously, but nothing was going to get in my way and nothing was going to stop me. Competing..once the decision was made, it was made and I was going to do everything it took to get on stage no matter what – hang the cost, stuff the pain, practice, practice, practice on the posing, follow the diet to the letter, get the best bikini, tan, hair and nails it all had to be…100%

and apparently I also give 100% to things that are NOT worth doing…lets just say I did a REALLY good job of screwing up my shoulders…

I saw the surgeon today for my right shoulder post surgery follow up so here’s what I managed to do..

the official word on the left shoulder was:

Left shoulder pasta lesion, impingement and AC joint arthritis

this required:

arthroscopy, rotator cuff debridement, subacromial decompression and bursectomy, ac joint excision

the official diagnosis on the right shoulder:

Partial thickness supraspinatus tear, subacromial bursitis, AC joint arthritis

which required:

arthroscopic cuff debradement, subacromial decompression, bursectomy and ac joint excision. My right rotator cuff though is in perfect condition! how I’m not quite sure, which is amazing given all the other stuff that was going on!

So they’ve trimmed the supraspinatus, trimmed the bursitis, cut off the bony spur and cut off the end of the acromium joint completely(!) – apparently only elite athletes need one of those anyway???

isn’t bodybuilding an elite sport? aren’t I going to need that bit for overhead lifting??? apparently not.

doh! Maybe I should have got them to implant a ‘sensible’ chip whilst they were there!

Time for gory photos! :-)

look away if you’re sqeamish!

last chance…

ok here goes:

Supraspinatus tear
Supraspinatus tidied
Gross Bursitis
Acromium joint screwed
Acromium Joint cleaned de-spurred
Rotator cuff

its not pretty is it?

hopefully its now 100% fixed!


Posted in Home, Surgery | 1 Comment

Off Season Plan

When I started getting into bodybuilding and competing one thing I read about and also heard from  different people was that in the off season you should stay within 10% of comp weight. I’d also heard that rebounding too quickly … Continue reading

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A Physio’s worst nightmare…



today was my 1st appointment with my rehab physio. I’ve found a high performance group called Essperformance who specialise in sports  injury rehab/conditioning/performance training etc and they have all the latest gadgets like far infra red lasers, hyperbaric chambers, ice baths all the stuff you see the AFL, NRL, A League teams using to rehab their injured players, so I’m fairly confident they’ll be the right people to get me back on track in the minimum amount of time. My Physio, Rosie is herself an elite athlete – an Ironwoman! Interestingly she wrecked her arm and shoulder a few years ago and her surgeon was the same guy as who did my shoulders so if anyone is going to understand  what needs to be done rehab wise to get fixed and back into training, it should be Rosie.

Having said that, of course there is a caveat as with any rehab, the rehabee has to do the rehaber instructs them to do…



I’m already in the dog house at my 1st visit! when I told my physio that I’d been at training all week and had even done some hill sprints on Monday…only 5 days after surgery with my arm in a sling. She almost had heart failure!

Apparently I haven’t even recovered from the anaesthetic yet…it will be at least another week before it gets out of my system – really?who knew that??? I feel totally fine!

trouble is I then went and compounded her horror by telling her that I had taken myself off the painkillers because they sent me to sleep. In a funny sort of way I’d rather feel the pain – its not overly bad, in fact I’d go as far as to say its already better than it has been all of last year! But if I can feel the pain then I won’t be tempted to use my arms…sounds a reasonable sort of logic to me…

Rosie, however, was not happy and made it VERY clear that my body is actually in a fairly fragile state  that I absolutely must respect if I want this to work. She then proceeded to explain about 100 exercises, half of which I’ve forgotten already that I had to perform every day, 3 times a day, 3 sets of 10 reps of each..its going to take about 2 hours a day! and she was worried about me doing a mere 45 minutes of legs once a day….?

so this is what I have to do:

Cardio - I am officially banned from doing anything strenuous…gentle walking only or the recumbent bike. Rosie then went on to say that I could do the stepper or cross trainer, but this is the bit that I didn’t get – I’m not allowed to jolt my arms, which is why no running..or hill sprints! but trying to stabilise myself on either the stepper or cross trainers is going to require that…I use my arms….hmmm…

Range of Movement  - 3 sets of 10

Forward flexor – hold a pole parallel to the ground with both hands. Use one hand to move the other hand in a vertical arc in front of me

Side Abduction – hold pole parallel to the ground with both hands. Elbows tucked in to sides. Use one hand to push the other hand outwards to 45 degrees – standard rotator cuff movement.

External rotation – doh! already forgotten what this one involves!

Lying on my back arms by my sides try an move arms in an arc above my head and touch the ground behind my head

Lying on my back try to put my hands under my head with my elbows vertically in the air. Try and rotate elbows out to the side of my head and down to touch the floor.

Strength (Left arm only) - 3 sets of 10

Holding 1kg in hand, shrug the trapezius muscle only make sure scapular is retracted and set – hold each shrug for 10 seconds

Tie a flat theraband to a door handle. elbow tucked into side forearm at 90 degrees parallel to the floor. side step until there is tension on the band and hold for 10 seconds. side step back.

Repeat in the opposite direction.

Advance to rotator cuff movements.

Set scapular backwards and down hold for 10 seconds

thats the lot – for the moment!

and here’s me in acti0n!

My next appointment is in 5 days, by which time I will have had my follow up appointment with the surgeon for my right arm so hopefully I’ll have the other set of gory photos – and them I can share them with you!!

lucky you!


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legs 11….times a week!

its 8 days after my surgery and I’ve been back in the gym every day, but as you can imagine with 1 arm in a sling and the other arm about 75% out of action, training is…limited. I was going … Continue reading

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Ok all done, both wings clipped, am home in bed strapped up, drugged up and contemplating resting…I say contemplating – I’m not very good at doing nothing even when I have perfectly valid excuse! :-)

So how did it all go? This time round it was all a bit different – last time I was scheduled for an early op so I had to check in at 6am, I was all dressed up in my surgery finery by 7 then got wheeled in to the op prep area by 9 and it was all done by 11:30, at which point I got wheeled into my room and was checked on for blood pressure and the like almost every hour. My brother smuggled in some chicken because I wasn’t scheduled to eat until 6pm….they didn’t want to make me ill by feeding me too soon…I was feeling more ill from LACK of food!


By 6pm I was pretty exhausted so I ate my dinner and tried to catch few zzz’s between the blood pressure tests, Aiden visited and brought me some cherries at about 7:30 and after he left I pretty much slept…in between the blood pressure checks :-)

Unfortunately the nerve deadening drugs totally wore off about 3am and I woke up in excruciating pain – thank goodness for the big red button that summoned the nurses for another shot of morphine and then it all settled down and I was able to sleep.

This time however I was scheduled for an afternoon op which meant I could have an early breakfast but nothing to eat or drink after 7:30am. my last drink was a big casein shake – I figured that it would last me at least 8 hours, by which time I was hoping the op would be done and I’d be back in my room where I would have my supplies…

I checked in at 11:30 and went to my room to get comfortable – well as comfortable as you can be in tea bag material bloomers, open backed gown and compression suspenders!

So I watched some tv, had a snooze, did my emails, facebooked, played angry birds, read the paper, read some of my book, had a snooze, watched another film…

it was about 3:30 by this time and I was getting rather impatient as i hadn’t had so much as a look in from any of the nurses, I was hungry and very thirsty – air conditioning! Even on comp day I had stuff to eat and was drinking some water so this was worse than comp day – nothing at all allowed!  You may have noticed I tend to get a bit cranky when I don’t eat! :-p

So I went and found the nurses to see if there was an eta…there was still one other person before me!!

really??? damn.

at least the nurses gave me a crap womens mag to read :-)

finally about 4:30 they came and wheeled me up to pre op where a succession of people came and asked me the same questions but then didn’t seem to do anything. The whole system struck me as terribly inefficient and very prone to errors – in total in the whole stay I must have had 12 different people introduce themselves to me, ask me the same questions – height, weight, allergies and take my blood pressure then disappear! Don’t they talk to each other? They all had my file and they all had to look at a different section of the file – the check in receptionist went through 2 A4 sheets of printed sticky labels for all the bits of paper just to make my file up in the first place!

Having said that, although the system appears to be clunky, it seems to work – I’m still here, they sliced up the correct body part, I mostly got the correct food and the correct drugs and to my knowledge there aren’t any surgical instruments left inside me.

I was in pre op for what seemed like an eternity – in reality it was probably only about 30 mins before I went to sleep, then I came to at 6:40pm ish. I felt better on waking up this time – last time I thought they must have had tubes stuck down my throat or anaethetised my throat because I couldn’t swallow or talk – when I tried to sip water I just ended up breathing it and having a coughing fit! This time there was none of that so I didn’t have too long to wait before they took me back down to my room at about 7:30pm.

Long day with no food or drink! the first thing I asked the nurse when he came in to check on me was when was I going to get some food!

I finally had some sandwiches at about 8pm followed by at least 1 litre of water and fortunately I’d taken a sports bottle with me so I skulled that as well, then I got stuck into the kangaroo meatballs I’d brought with me, a fruit and nut bar and some apricots!

much better! so now all there was to do really was to settle in and watch tv – fortunately they had a movie channel so I watched what might have been the last of the Harry Potter films – I don’t know, not having seen all of the previous ones, then there was the lord of the rings which kept me occupied until about 1am.

For some reason I wasn’t sleepy and they also seemed to appear a lot less interested in my blood pressure! after taking it at 8 when my food came, I didn’t see anyone until midnight when I was given some panadol. After that I was totally left alone until 6am this morning for my next lot of drugs, very hands off!

I didn’t sleep at all well though – I think I kept expecting to wake up at 3am in agony as the nerve deadening drugs wore off, but they didn’t so I finally got to sleep after 3am.

At 6am it was drug time – 3 lots of painkillers and I was starving again – I guess I could have got out of bed and got some of the food I’d brought, but it was all a bit of a hassle – inching along the bed to the end of the barriers on my bum because i can’t use my arms takes a surprisingly long time and a lot of effort –  so I didn’t bother, I just plugged in to my meditations to try and get some more sleep. By 8 I was really hungry and was very glad to see the breakfast lady!  So I wolfed down my yoghurt, bowl of fruit, 2 slices of toast with butter and jam and a cup of tea – then I went and got 3 of the boiled eggs I brought, ate the rest of the apricots and had 2 fruit and nut bars as well!

I was just polishing brekky off, when the surgeon arrived to update me on how it all went.

Now my surgeon is not a man of many words, so yesterday our discussion about what he was supposed to be doing went something like this:

Surgeon: ‘So what are we doing?’

me: ‘right shoulder same as the left. it shouldn’t be as messy because I wasn’t getting as much pain from it, but the pain was in exactly the same location as the left’

surgeon: ‘ok’

and then he drew an arrow on my right arm pointing to my right shoulder :-)

Although the surgeon knew how he would approach the surgery he was essentially doing this op ‘blind’ – I didn’t get any MRI on my right shoulder to confirm what the issue was because I was getting exactly the same pain, but it did cross my mind that I might be having an operation and there might not actually be anything wrong!

I guess it was a bit of a relief when he said that it was all messed up and not only that, apparently it was more of a mess than my left shoulder! bit of a surprise to both of us I think.

It’ll be interesting to see the pictures to compare…

So now I’ve got physio to do 4 times a day along with ice packs to reduce the swelling and then its up to my body to do its work, but its going to be a slow process.

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