43 Year Old Shoulder Update

May 4th, 2009 | Posted in General

We interrupt this blog for a brief note today to update anybody who might be interested (that’s you, mom!) about the progress of my recovery from rotator cuff surgery.

Friday I met with my surgeon for the “six weeks after surgery” exam. The good news is that I finally got to ditch the sling my left arm has been languishing in for the last month and a half. The bad news is that my left arm no longer resembles the one in the above sketch, but looks more like the arm of a 12 year old girl. It’s amazing how fast 7 years of intense bodybuilding can disappear in a mere 6 weeks of total inactivity. My doctor was very happy with how well my arm was moving, and cleared me to lose the sling and to move ahead. I was told that six weeks is a sort of magical amount of time with respect to the body healing, especially for reattaching tendons. Barring any accidental reinjury of the repaired area during that period of recovery, the tendon is fully reattached to the bone after that amount of time.

The next phase, also six weeks, involves continued work on recovering range of motion and flexibility, and gradually moving on to active therapy where I start to use the rotator cuff muscles using only the weight of my arm to build up strength If all goes well, around the middle of June I will be cleared to start light weight training with the rotator cuff.

Maybe the worse part is that my shoulder turns 43 years old today… along with the rest of me, come to think of it. Getting rid of that sling was a nice birthday present… I was getting very tired of it.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming…


  1. Awesome to hear! And, happy birthday!

  2. Alex says:

    Hey Tom,

    Wish you a happy birthday and an easy recovery. I’ve just found your blog a few days ago, but have read 200+ posts already. Keep up the good work, it’s great that you post so often with so much useful information and samples. Needless to say I can’t wait for the caricatures book to come out after I’ve seen those tutorials.

    All the best from Romania.

  3. Happy Birthday Tom – love this blog, keep up the good work!

  4. Nate says:

    Happy B-Day, Tom! Hope the recovery continues to go well for ya.

  5. K McNutt says:

    Allow me to add best wishes for the next six-week stretch (heh) and a very happy birthday as well! Many happy returns of the day.

  6. Monty says:

    Hey, BOTH my arms look like the arms of a 12 year old girl. Man, I have to get out of the office more.


  7. Chip says:

    Congratulations on your full recovery Tom and have a fantastic birthday young man!

  8. Tom,
    Happy Birthday
    Hope for a full recovery

  9. bluemoonpaul says:

    Glad you’re sling-free and ready to rock, Tom! Happy B-day!

    I empathize about the loss of muscle. I don’t bodybuild like you, but I miss my Bowflex, and my left bicep is jell-o. Just a limp noodle. And eight weeks after my accident, the Doc tells me my collarbone has four more weeks to go. = – (
    I can try light toning now, at least.
    For the backstory:

  10. A great present for today, all the best and happy birthday!

  11. Keelan says:

    Now THAT’S a great birthday present! Happy Birthday, buddy! Cya soon!

  12. Keelan says:

    And I’m sure even THAT arm is bigger than either of mine still!

  13. John Read says:

    Am I the only one who noticed it’s your RIGHT arm in the drawing above? :0) What I’d really like to know is, how in the world have you been able to do all the work you’ve done in the last six weeks (including an absolutely incredible cover for the the next issue of “Stay Tooned”) with your arm in a sling?! Plus you’ve been to England and a road trip, right?

    • Tom says:

      I don’t know what you are talking about, John. That’s my left arm in the picture! 🙂

  14. Bucky says:

    Tomacina, congrats on the removal of the sling and good luck in your continued recovery and rehab. Your 12 year old girly arm now matches your training bra for 12 year olds. Don’t deny it.___Happy Birthday, YOUNG man. Best wishes.

  15. Meesimo says:

    Congrats on the recovering girly-man arm, and happy birthday dude!

  16. Ryan Roe says:

    Happy Birthday Tom!

  17. Jim says:

    Happy returns of the day, my phone-a-friend. If I get called back for a tournament of champions, I hope I can get you on the air! Have fun today!

  18. Jeff Zugale says:

    Happy Birthday Tom! Here’s to a quick and complete recovery! 🙂

  19. Dan Lietha says:

    Happy 43rd birthday to you Tom! And happy 12 years to your left arm.

  20. bill says:

    When my shoulder was rebuilt, I was startled to find that I couldn’t lift my arm – as you are now. Surgeon said the arm ‘forgets how to work’. I love that medical talk, but I’d have liked better knowing what actually happened. My guess is, the nerves controlling muscle function needed to regenerate. Whatever, it DOES come back, and doesn’t take forever, either.

  21. Rick Wright says:

    Hope you had a great birthday. Sorry to hear about your arm shrunking up. Wishing a quick return to the gym.

  22. Happy belated birthday Tom!


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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