Dr. Sethi: Shoulder Surgery

I am a 45-yo female competitive rower. I’d been having trouble with my right shoulder for 18 months. After a year of applying every plausible alternative therapy to avoid surgery, I succumbed to the reality. There was no question in my mind that Dr. Sethi would do my surgery. He’d operated on a few fellow athletes and has a sterling reputation for both outcomes and manner. He delivered beyond my expectations in all respects. As a fellow athlete himself, he really understood the unique considerations of my life and the specifics of my individual sport. He warned me that going from my usual athleticism to no activity would have psychiatric effects. That warning came to mind when I started catching myself randomly crying when my kids didn’t put away their laundry or I saw videos of puppies and babies on my Facebook feed. I realized what was going on and that helped tremendously. He anticipated that I’d be eager to get back to my sport and have a propensity to try to “over-achieve” the process or not rely on others for help. He sternly warned me that some of the character qualities that serve me as an athlete would be liabilities in recovery. That warning changed the way I considered my choices. We had a detailed discussion about the potential repairs that could be made and the trade-offs that would accompany a faster recovery and less extensive repair. After that discussion, I elected for a “one-and-done” approach. He ended up repairing my bicep, labrum and rotator cuff. He also removed a very large bone spur that was sitting on top of my rotator cuff. I did my PT with ONS as well. As always, they were stellar. But here’s the punchline. He said the soonest he would be willing to have any kind of conversation about my return to rowing would be 5 months post-op. I accepted that and adjusted my expectations. At every appointment, he was very pleased with my recovery. I then thought, “Cool. I should be good to go at 5 months.” At my 3 month post-op, he concluded my exam with the following statement. “I can’t think of any reason why you can’t return to rowing.” “What? Are you serious? What restrictions?” “Don’t do anything stupid.” I got back on the erg and haven’t had any problems. Went back to full time training and after about a month also started performance training. When we got back on the water, I found out that I could still even hold the full weight of one end of a quad by myself. No problems with the shoulder. I’ve asked physical therapists and others how the heck I healed so quickly. The main theme of their answer is “surgeon skill.” (5 Star review on Google by Jill S.)