My own Price of the Platform- Shoulder Replacement

Yes, this is actually the before and after of my shoulder. No, I didn't think I would ever need shoulder replacement surgery. Thankfully I did my research and found the least invasive option with the least post-op restrictions.

I pride myself off of having competed at a high level for many years without ever having had a serious injury that kept me from competing or required surgery, then around four years ago I began having autoimmune issues. These issues caused digestive issues, fatigue, and extreme joint pain. Then it seemed everything in my body started weakening. After lifting heavy for almost 30 years and competing for over 25 I ended up needing bilateral inguinal hernia surgery. Thankfully I recovered quickly from the surgery and was back squatting within a month, actually within a couple of weeks (which I admit may not have been the smartest decision, but I didn’t have any issues). Unfortunately, my strength was still not returning.

My right shoulder has bothered me for at least 10 years and has become progressively worse. I finally went to an Orthopedic doctor around a year ago. He did an X-Ray and told me that I had no cartilage left and that I needed a full shoulder replacement. Not being willing to settle for this I looked for other options. Stem cells showed promise to regenerate cartilage so I did some research and found a location in Jupiter, Florida that uses umbilical stem cells that would treat both my autoimmune issues and my shoulder. Thousands of dollars and months later I still had no improvements. I went back to the Orthopedic and requested that I get an MRI in hopes that there was soft tissue damage that wouldn’t show in the X-Ray. Unfortunately, the MRI showed no soft tissue injuries and reiterated the cartilage loss and showed many, many bone spurs, which could explain my limited range of motion and discomfort. I was to a point where my shoulder couldn’t function well enough to bench nor to get my arm back to squat. When I benched you could literally hear my bones grinding together. The pain was one thing, but how debilitating it became was another.

I’d been seeing a DO for my autoimmune issues and mentioned my shoulder issues to him. He treated me with both an ozone injection as well as PRP. Although these alleviated some of my pain, it didn’t last nor could it treat the bone spur issue. I had been told that if I had full shoulder replacement I would never be able to lift heavy again, so I began looking for other options. I researched “shoulder replacement and powerlifting” and found Rudy Kadlub (part owner of Chris Duffin’s Kabuki Strength), Louie Simmons, and Tom Waldrep had all had the Hemicap procedure through Arthrosurface which is considered shoulder resurfacing, rather than replacement. This procedure is much less invasive, requires far less recovery time, and has no restrictions following surgery. I began searching for Orthopedic Surgeons who would perform the procedure through the Arthrosurface website, visited two more and unfortunately both of them recommended either full or reverse shoulder replacement. One of the surgeons even said that I wasn’t a candidate for the Hemicap procedure. I finally contacted the Arthrosurface company directly and they recommended Dr. James Bryan of The Orthopedic Clinic in Daytona. When I met with him, he assured me that the Hemicap procedure was my best option.

So, on November 20th, I went under the knife and had the head of my humerus sawed off and a titanium ball screwed in to replace it, the glenoid fossa socket shaved down and a piece of plastic cemented in for the titanium to move smoothly on. The worst part about the recovery is that they have to cut through the subscapularis in order to perform the surgery. It turned out the long head of my bicep was also partially torn (I had no idea) so he repaired that as well. I only wore the sling for three days and was back to training my clients in five. The surgery was less than three weeks ago and I already have more ROM and less pain than I had prior to surgery. So far I can say this is the best decision I’ve made regarding my health situations in the past few years.

Dr. Bryan said the recovery would take three to six months which would put me at the middle of February to begin lifting again, but I really don’t think it’s going to take that long. We’ll see.

The moral of this story is that if a doctor says you need surgery then it’s your responsibility to do your research to find the best option. If I had gone with the opinion of the first three surgeons I saw I’d have a full shoulder replacement and would never be able to lift heavy again.

Thank you to my training partners and friends who have stuck by me through all of this. I admit it’s been a rough last few years. It's hard to be motivated to run a gym and attempt to train when I'm not capable of lifting heavy.

Most of all thank you to my wife, Trinity, for everything she has done to keep me alive and sane.

If you don’t follow my social media, here are the posts related to my surgery:

Stay tuned, I'm not done yet.

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Shoulder replacement/resurfacing surgery is complete. Here are the before and after pics. The smile in the after pic is because I’m happy that it’s over and also, Percocet. The third pic is of lines they drew that must have been used to measure the placement of the Hemicap which I thought was interesting. Prior to the surgery some of the paperwork stated “left shoulder” (it was my right) and all of it stated “total shoulder replacement” (the Hemicap is considered shoulder resurfacing) so this just added to my anxiety. I clarified everything as best I could prior to the surgery and everything seemed to go well. ..... Following the surgery Dr. James Bryan (the Orthopedic surgeon) told Trinity that he had to cut off a bone spur (in addition to the numerous ones on the end of the humerus) and that my bicep was partially torn so he repaired it too. He had no words to describe how damaged my humerus joint was which he said was from both wear and tear and genetics. ....... The surgery requires that they cut through the subscapularis, so that will definitely add to the recovery time. I’m still not sure on the total recovery time, but it sounds like I’ll have to wear the sling for at least 3 weeks. I start PT next Tuesday. ..... Thank you to everyone who checked in, wished me luck and to everyone who is helping out at OBB. It is very much appreciated. Thank you to @rudykadlub and @waldrep63 for sharing their experience and advice throughout this process. Most of all, thank you to my wife Trinity for standing by my side through all of this. Stay tuned for rehab. ...... #arthrosurface #shoulderresurfacing #shoulderreplacement #orlandobarbell #teamorlandobarbell #obb #teamobb #minimalistmethod #m2method #elitefts #teamelitefts #livelearnpasson #metalpowerlifting #teamgometal #powerlifting #autoimmunewarrior #arthrosurface #hemicap #hemicapshoulder

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Everyone is here posting their #10yearchallenge and I’m just over here’s my new shoulder. The left is what my shoulder has looked like (although it’s gotten progressively worse) for probably the last 10 years, no cartilage, no space to move and an osteophyte (appropriately named a beard) hanging down. The right is my new #Hemicap shoulder. I’m already tired of the sling. I had my follow up today and the Ortho said I didn’t necessarily need to wear it. He said I was “different” then clarified “I mean in a good way.” The recovery could take 6 months, but he said it should only take me around 3. #arthrosurface #shoulderresurfacing #shoulderreplacement #orlandobarbell #teamorlandobarbell #obb #teamobb #elitefts #teamelitefts #livelearnpasson #metalpowerlifting #teamgometal #powerlifting #autoimmunewarrior #arthrosurface #hemicap #hemicapshoulder

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