A few weeks ago, I was diagnosed with my first complication- diabetic frozen shoulder. My shoulders had been hurting me for a while, but I thought that I just needed to do some stretching. In the meantime, my back had started hurting, and after seeing an orthopedic doctor, I decided to go to a physical therapist to get some support. After doing some tests, the physical therapist asked me to do a "child's pose," and I told him that I couldn't because my shoulders hurt a lot. He was VERY concerned with this, and told me that this was a BIG problem, and sent me back to the ortho. One appointment later, I left the office in tears with my first diagnosed diabetic complication.
Now, I'll say that my A1C has been in the 6s for almost 10 years now, so I was really hoping that it wasn't because of that. My doctor said that diabetics are just prone to frozen shoulder. Truth be told, I had some shoulder pain for a few years, but it wasn't super noticeable and I got so used to it that I just brushed it off. I also think that our mattress had something to do with it because our mattress is O.L.D. But, no matter the reason, it happened...womp.
When I was first diagnosed, I was devastated. I thought that complications happened when you were much older and when you didn't take care of myself. I eat salads for almost every meal, exercise all the time, and *try* to keep my sweet tooth in check. How could this happen to me? My endocrinologist says that I was probably just unlucky (see mattress comment), and I'm really hoping that is the case. A few websites that I have read say that there isn't a known correlation between A1C and frozen shoulder, and my physical therapist (who has been amazing) says that some people just wake up and have symptoms. It doesn't make it easier to get over, but knowing this helped me realize that it wasn't necessarily something that I did. Yes, I let it get bad, but it wasn't because I ate a donut once or drank a few too many glasses of champagne at a wedding. These things can happen.
Since then, I have been working hard to stretch them out for the past 2-3 months. I've had to go to PT twice a week for an hour, plus do home stretches every day. It has not been easy and I'm definitely frustrated that it has been so long and that I'm still dealing with it. I think it would be easier to deal with if I didn't have to deal with everything else that comes along with diabetes. But having to do home stretches every night, plus bolus/inject/listentobeeps/bolus/tempbasal/etc is exhausting. That, and my shoulders just HURT! I have also developed the bad habit of flapping my arms slowly to get them to crack, which makes my kindergarten students laugh, but I'm pretty sure people who see me in public think I'm a wacko. Luckily, I'm used to some stares as a type 1, but I might be pushing my luck with this new habit.
I have definitely learned my lesson though. I have a tendency to brush off physical pain so that I can continue to work out, but I realize now that if something hurts, like FOR YEARS, I need to address it. Being a diabetic means that I am prone to things being off or getting worse FAST, so I need to just suck it up, back off for a few days, and, if necessary, go to the doctor. It's not always easy, but I think it's a good lesson to learn while I'm relatively still young.