Major Injury Leads to Partial Shoulder Replacement, Strength Training Helps

What is your story about?
After a major shoulder injury following an initial dislocation and surgery, I received a partial shoulder replacement to fix widespread damage in my shoulder. Rehab was painful so I never pushed it, but after 10 years I began strength training which has helped me make major improvements.
What is your shoulder injury history?
Original injury came from HS sports and had some surgery to repair my shoulder. Fast forward 2 years of sports with 12 dislocations (our goalie got good and popping it back in) and I'm in college playing a pickup game of ultimate. Catch frisbee across my body and my shoulder pops out and HURTS. Dude on other team calls time and says he heard a popping sound.
What was your diagnosis process like?
2 weeks later meeting with surgeon for examination and he just walks in and says "what drugs are you on for the pain, street or prescription?" 2 days later I was back in for surgery.
  • Torn bicep (X2, "middle" and "upper" anchoring)
  • Partially torn bicep tendon ("hanging by a thread")
  • Torn tricep tendon
  • Torn/split "ball" and "socket" portion of shoulders. Supraspinatus too and others. This was the biggie as this is what I'd destroyed leading to my first surgery. Apparently the socket was majorly torn in 3 places and the ball in 2 and I "didn't have enough real bone to reattach to"
  • Also ...
What was your surgery like?
The Fix: Had surgery to repair everything with a partial shoulder replacement. I was relatively young at the time and had a "test shoulder" put in me. 6 months immobilized, lots of PT and rehab and I was "fully recovered". Very weak in the shoulders, esp. in overhead motions OR anything that "rotates out from my body" (IE no catching a baseball or reaching out for highfives). Told me I would always be limited and weak. Weightlifting was most likely out as was any "rough" sports (from skiing to baseball). Kept with PT/rehab for years and years but never really pushed it always HURT.
How is your shoulder now?
Fast forward almost 10 years and kinda got sick of shoulder as an excuse. Started lifting. Surgeon agreed with my goals and got me into a research program/worked with me to modify movements, etc... Slowly but surely getting my lifting numbers up. Currently about 20% higher than they ever thought I'd hit with my shoulders for a press (still REALLY lightweight). Shoulders feels about 10000% better. It does hold me back a lot as it is what is limiting the weight for pretty much every major lift (including squats and DL's).
What advice would you give others with your condition?
Don't mess with your shoulders. Protect those things.