My doctor appointments did not go well this morning. I’ve been waiting for the compensatory, ‘oh well it could be worse’ attitude to return me to normalcy, but the deep disappointment persists.

I’m not sure when it happened, but ‘It’ll never be quite the same as before’ (which to me sounded like stiffness, decreased strength and range of motion) has become, ‘You’ll never be able to lift your arm again.’

I had always envisioned them reattaching the muscles they had detached when they put the new piece in. My brother, the orthopedic PA, described to me how those replacements had rows of holes in them so they could sew the muscles back. But my surgeon says all those shoulder muscles are gone, not even because of the tumor removal itself, but because they had to remove everything along the corridor they made during the biopsy, in case it was contaminated.

The only thing I was told after the tumor removal was that I wouldn’t miss that piece of clavicle anyway, since it was only responsible for minor movements.

They’re not even going to sew in the new scapula. They’re going to pull some of the latissimus muscle from the back, and some pectoral muscle from the front (more damage, more disfigurement), and wrap the scapula up like a package. But none of those muscles will be connecting the shoulder to the arm.

There’s no amount of therapy that can fix that.

It’s not even just the scapula. They’re removing the head of the humerus to replace it with the metal part that will connect to the scapula. The metal joint will keep gravity from pulling my arm off, but is pretty much useless otherwise.

After all that.

I was not prepared for today.