Facing Surgery & Lengthy Recovery for SLAP Tear

I am facing surgery and a lengthy recovery time for a SLAP Tear – and I need your help.

As you likely know, I own PhoenixFire Designs where I make handmade-from-scratch jewelry, including my signature wire wrapped tree of life pendants since 2006. You might not realize I’ve actually been making jewelry a lot longer than that – all the way since 2001!

In 2011, I made the leap and decided to run PhoenixFire Designs full time. My online storefront + the couple dozen in person art & craft shows I do a year make up 100% of my income.

But making jewelry has taken a toll on my body.

Last Fall, I started having extreme pain and weakness in my left shoulder and arm. It went on for months and finally May of this year, I went to an orthopedic doctor. Initially, he felt it was a repetitive stress injury; rotator cuff tendinitis and shoulder impingement. He sent me off for physical therapy.

script for physical therapy on my left shoulder

script for physical therapy on my left shoulder

I worked hard for 8 weeks; 2x/week with my therapist and continued work at home as well. But it only gave me a small bit of relief. It was time for further testing.

I had an MRI Arthrogram – a very uncomfortable experience I blogged about on my personal blog – and got the results I dreaded: SLAP Tear. Specifically, “Left superior labral tear extending along the posterior superior quadrant.

Left superior labral tear extending along the posterior superior quadrant.”

Left superior labral tear extending along the posterior superior quadrant.”

Radiology report from my mri arthrogram. Findings? Left superior labral tear extending along the posterior superior quadrant.

Radiology report from my mri arthrogram. Findings? Left superior labral tear extending along the posterior superior quadrant.

I’ve already had a cortisone shot as well as physical therapy. Surgery to repair it is my next step.

SLAP tear surgery is a difficult and extremely life altering recovery. Overnight, I will essentially be one-armed. I will be in a sling 100% immobilized for between 3-6 weeks. It will be a minimum of 3 months (to as much as 6 months) of down time. I won’t be able to drive, I won’t be able to work, I won’t be able to use my arm in any capacity.

The problem is that I work for myself. If I cannot make jewelry or physically participate as a vendor in shows, I have zero income. A minimum of three months without income is impossible for me to survive on my own.

While I DO have health insurance, actual surgery costs are only one tiny part of the entire process.

There are also a host of things I will need for the recovery – ranging from a recliner to sleep in, to little things like front closing bras – all of which is also going to have to come from savings I don’t currently have. (I have a surgery amazon wishlist I’m compiling here.)

So, on the recommendation of my friends and family, I am starting Go Fund Me to help raise money so I can have my surgery so I can get better and stop being in pain all the time. It currently vastly limits me and I’m just so tired of hurting. As terrifying as surgery sounds, being in pain forever sounds worse.

Anything you can do to help boost the signal – share my shop link, share my facebook page, get a jump start on your holiday shopping by putting in an order now, getting items from my surgery wishlist, or sharing my gofundme link, or even donating to my gofundme – all of it is so greatly appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me and PhoenixFire Designs these past 16 years. With a little help and a little luck, hopefully, I can have another 16 successful years too.

My po box for mailing purposes.