After Monday's swim on the way home I called Dr. Richards office. While my shoulder wasn't throbbing and the pain was a 2 on the pain scale, I thought I really should go in for a consultation and perhaps another ultrasound.
When I got there yesterday afternoon, we talked and I was honest about the level of discomfort, and when it started happening. He said, "Let's do another ultrasound and see what the status is". He started into it and he pointed out new "large" calcium deposits. The calcific bursitis has returned, and larger than it was last year. He said the bursa fluid is severely inflamed and has burst and spread into the shoulder and pretty much things looked crappy in there.
He said, that given the circumstances where my big swim is next week, and the fact that I wasn't in terrible pain already, he suggested I get another cortisone to tide me over for the next few weeks, but that when I get back that I schedule an MRI, and if I wanted to continue serious marathon swimming (especially the wear and tear from extensive training), that I would need to have surgery to remove the bursa and the calcium. He said that isn't major surgery, but that it would requires several months off to heal and undergo physical therapy. Dr. Richards told me that he felt that the issue is chronic due to my extensive training, and that the channel swim although long, wouldn't make things dramatically worse than they already are.
I'm trying not to think that far in the future, and I don't want to make any big decisions, but it does have my wheels turning in my head about my long term goals after the EC. In conjunction with my role as a parent and husband, this whole marathon swimming thing, is really taking a toll on my life and body. But as for the next week, I'm confident that the shoulder won't be an issue at all.
I was hesitant to go see Dr. Richards in the first place, but the thought of dealing with major shoulder pain in the middle of the channel worried me. So I'm glad I went. It's a little tender with the shot, so I won't swim today, but I'll plan a 4000M swim at Steiner tomorrow afternoon, and then another short swim on Saturday morning. Then I'm off to England on Sunday!