Before I get into the meat of this post, I gotta preface it with this: I hate whiners as much as I hate cheaters. And listening to someone moan on about their injuries is something I REALLY have difficulty with. Before you chase me down with torches, let me explain. I know that everyone gets injured. EVERYONE. Some day, some time you’re going to slip in the bathroom and bash your head, or a dog will nip you, or a mosquito bite you, or you’ll get clipped by a car while riding your bike, hurt your back pulling weeds in the back garden…or you’ll get an injury doing ; Crossfit.

Shit happens. It’s normal for anyone that’s moving around on this planet. Pain is a part of existence and can be used very constructively (we’ll go over that in future posts).

The problem isn’t that we GET injured. It’s how we DEAL with it that matters. And watching someone with an injury sit back and moan, day after day while doing nothing to fix it, never sits well with me.

So imagine my situation when around September 2012, I noticed an on-going niggle in my right shoulder that wouldn’t go away. My performances in the WOD’s wasn’t improving much. In fact, in some movements my strength was decreasing significantly. I started having a regular morning ache in the shoulder that I racked up to being ‘just’ muscle soreness from my beast-like performances in the box.

Being in the fitness industry for the past 25+ years means I’m supposed to know when enough is enough. And I do act appropriately where my clientele are concerned. But when it’s me, it’s a whoooole different ball of wax. So I stuck my head in the sand a bit longer, got more into trigger point release work and seemed to feel a bit better. I did the Affiliate Cup in November 2012, but really felt like I was letting my team down with my poor showing.

In early December 2012 I decided enough was enough. I wanted to start training hard for the upcoming Reebok Crossfit Games in 2013. I thought I might have a teensy chance to place well in my Master Class (yes, my birthdate says I’m 55 but my emotional age is more like 15…ask my partner). So I went to a lovely, talented Crossfit-friendly physiotherapist and competitor here in Perth (thumbs up, Bec) to see ‘what was what’. We decided my infraspinatus was weak and needed strengthening. So I did the rotator cuff exercises, felt a bit better but not much. So the next step was to get an MRI and decide once and for awhile what the fuck was going on.

And ‘what the fuck’ is right…I won’t write down all of what showed up. But the summary and worst of it was a full tear in the anterior portion of the distal supraspinatus tendon, a partial at the proximal end, with osteophytic change in the underside of the A/C joint.


Meanwhile, as I was dealing with this load of happy shit, my LEFT shoulder decided to become trigger-happy, meaning chock full of trigger points, giving me nerve pain and weakness down my left arm. Oh come ON, body. What the hell is going on?!

I spent the entire Christmas break in constant pain and nervy weakness down my left arm, shoulder and neck while trying to smile and be happy with my Australian family…and patiently waited for the surgeon’s office to open so I could start scheduling the necessary surgery for the right shoulder. I’m not very patient and that waiting didn’t help my pain, either.


Ah hell. I’ve gone through the usual series of emotions:

Surprise >; Disappointment >; Anger >; Denial >; Apocalyptic Outcome Assessment >; Reasonable Outcome Assessment > …who knows what’s next?

I’m in a much better place now and am waiting to see a great surgeon at the beginning of February to schedule a speedy renovation of my munted right shoulder. I have the start of a plan.

That’s sort of how we come full circle with this post. Being unhappy with my pain, even for a long period, is totally normal. Doing nothing about it would have fed the lack of control that is the real culprit here. I think my friends and colleagues are much better able to give me on-going support in my journey if they can see I’m actually working on a plan to push that journey forward.

So I’ve decided that as part of my recovery plan, I’m going to inflict my process on ya’ll by blogging and noting the notable bits. I’m hoping to do it with a bit of humor and full honesty. I’m also hoping to get the same back from anyone that reads this. Feel free to tell me off when you think I’m spouting shit and give me a bit of a high-five if something seems to resonate with you. I’m not the only person with this sort of story…I haven’t lost a limb or gotten a life-threatening disease, though the individual suffering might occasionally feel like it. I’m hoping this might help some of you that are going through similar battles with their own journeys.

…aaaaand we’re off!!


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Meeko says:

    Wow, your injury sounds pretty intense. If it were me, I’d be whinging, moaning and complaining every minute of the day. Then again I do have a very low threshold when it comes to pain :p
    I do hope the recovery process goes accordingly!
    Keep us posted!


    1. ninjaneil says:

      Will do, Meeko. Learning from the experience is important…I try to take a high road approach but I’m not always successful. Glad I got patient people in my life. 😉


  2. Sarah Anwar says:

    Hi Neil

    Sorry to hear about your injury. It’s great that you are sharing your story and doing your best to see the light side of things.

    Sometimes I feel blessed to have had a few injuries that have slowed me down, because I think it makes me a better trainer as I learn about the injury and what can/can’t be done. I also think it helps me to be more empathetic with clients/friends/family that might be experiencing pain. And as I’m sure you’re experiencing, teaches us something about patience and the need to slow down sometimes and accept where we’re at. Much easier said than done in my own experience.

    Very excited to see your food blog up, it’s a great idea:)

    Here’s wishing you a full and as speedy as possible recovery x


    1. ninjaneil says:

      Thank you, Sarah. Being injured isn’t to be sought after nor does being in pain have a positive value- it’s how they are dealt with and used. I’m learning heaps and believe I’ll not only be a better trainer from the experience but also a better Crossfitter…and competitor, too. No way I’m giving up on that!

      And keep checking in in the blog. We love suggestions for subjects or foods you want to see presented.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s