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June update from Wendy...

Greetings -

First let me thank you all for good wishes & positive thoughts as I have been on my Peace Corps adventure, as well as for cards & care packages I have received! Apologies if you haven't received note of thanks for something sent since May - I've been away from my home in South Africa for a while so will enjoy them when I return.

Bit of a grumpy update... I am in Hermosa Beach at my sister Suzie's - had rotator cuff surgery Tuesday, June 8. Seems I didn't dislocate my shoulder when I  fell off the bike last April, 2003, as I thought, instead I tore a tendon or two. In May, went to Pretoria for my mid-service routine Peace Corps medical exam. Commented to Dr that I was still getting pain with certain movements of left arm so got sent to an orthopod... resulting in sonogram showing "major tear". Results sent to Wash DC resulting in directive to medvac me to US asap to fix.

I tried to get surgery delayed as had safari to Botswana planned for late June with sister & bro in law, but no deal so had to cancel (Suzie & Michael will still go & fortunately had gotten cancellation insurance on me). Did get to come to CA & select Dr here & stay with family throughout - lots better than being alone in Wash DC. Suzie & Michael have just bought a house around the corner from their daughter's family, so it's a great place for me to stay, & I've gotten the bonus of getting to know my newest grand nephew born March 31, as well as reconnecting with the now 3 & 5 yr old children!


So - after MRI/arthogram, the deed was done. Big hole where torn supraspinatus tendon exposed bone that they felt they fixed well, & some frazzles of biceps tendon they left alone as no real indication of pain/prob with. Have begun 6 wks of passive movement therapy essential to allow healing but gaining full range of motion before beginning strengthening regime. Have cpm machine at home & go to therapist 2-3x/wk. Nice shoulder jacket that connects to small ice chest - cold water circulates through 24 hrs/day - replace ice every 6 hrs or so.

Been snoozing & watching the tube and being treated like a princess by Suzie. Can't say the treatment is worth the procedure but if u've gotta have it done, I highly recommend a cheery support staff at your beck & call! I do plan to return to South Africa to finish my stint. After I've been out of country 45 days, Peace Corps will "medically separate" me, though I will be able to use some vacation days to extend that and am told I won't have any trouble "reinstating" if I have to be longer than that, as long as my schools and living quarters are still available & I don't see a problem with those.

Hope all goes well with you and yours - Cheers - Wendy

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