Cake Decorating Community - Cakes We Bake

Can you believe I hurt myself doing too many cakes??? I have been experiencing shoulder pain for a few months now - usually when you get your arms in weird positions smoothing buttercream or fondant - and finally went to the doctor today. Turns out that I have actually 'over-caked' myself into a damaged rotator cuff in my right shoulder! Physical therapy 3 times a week and no cakes (NONE!) for a month!! Have started contacting customers to tell them - I feel awful but it is what it is. Just a warning fellow cakers - be careful out there! Your kitchen can be a dangerous place for creative minds like ours!! ;-)

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Ditto to what June said.  I can't even imagine how you manage to do all that.  I get stressed with 2 at a time lol!

Faith - I don't think what you have said is inappropriate at all.  You're trying to offer kind advice - it's not all about cake, it's also about support and friendship.

I agree, June. With that kind of business, you need a full blown bakery with a full staff working in shifts! There is no way I could ever keep up with that kind of orders and keep my health intact, marriage together, or my sanity for that matter. You need to hire some help, Joann.

June Kowalczyk said:

Holy Moly Joann
7 cakes... 2 tier... 3 tier... AND 6 individual 4 layer cakes. That is physically & mentally exhausting. Me thinks you are over extending yourself my dear.

By all means, do what the Docs tell you--and get some good physical therapy and Occupational therapy, too--get someone to show you safer ways of setting things up for your work.

I worked in a kitchen for a year and a half where the counters and everything were all just 2" too tall for me, and because I was there every day except Sat and Sunday, I reshaped all the upper muscles in my back and chest into a bad thing! My upper back was working its way over into the front, and my front shoulder and neck muscles were getting weak and small--needless to say, I stopped working there after weeks and weeks of PT, and eventually moved and got into a different kitchen where everything was more normal in size.  It happens so sneakily, a teeny bit at a time, but you have to be very careful and use different muscles to do the same work or the over-worked ones will take over!

I also got carpal tunnel on both hands, and just had the second surgery in November.  I'm teaching cake decorating now, and not doing as much as I'd like in the baking and decorating on my own, but I'd rather not have the pain!!

Take care of yourself!

Thanks for all the kinds words and advice everyone! I do have a different work table that I will be icing and covering cakes on from now on - much lower, so my arm won't be bent upwards into such a funky angle. One week of PT down (ouch!!) three to go. I have a learned a great trick to making my own re-usable squishy ice pack too - one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water....stays cold for a loooong time! I have kept my customers up to date on my Facebook page on when I will be taking time off and how I will be cutting back on the volume that I will be producing from now on, and I have to tell you that I have been amazed by the support of some people and shocked by how selfish some others have been ("Are you sure you can't do just one more three tier cake that weekend????!!" Really??) This has been a painful experience, but - oh! - the perspective I have gained!

as a good friend of mine said recently - 'some people just suck'.  So you know now who to give priority to  when you are baking again, don't you?

Joann Gottermeyer said:

Thanks for all the kinds words and advice everyone! I do have a different work table that I will be icing and covering cakes on from now on - much lower, so my arm won't be bent upwards into such a funky angle. One week of PT down (ouch!!) three to go. I have a learned a great trick to making my own re-usable squishy ice pack too - one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water....stays cold for a loooong time! I have kept my customers up to date on my Facebook page on when I will be taking time off and how I will be cutting back on the volume that I will be producing from now on, and I have to tell you that I have been amazed by the support of some people and shocked by how selfish some others have been ("Are you sure you can't do just one more three tier cake that weekend????!!" Really??) This has been a painful experience, but - oh! - the perspective I have gained!

I sure do Katy!!!! (you're funny!)

You said it Katy!!  I mean, come on,  really,  can you fit in another cake...... just suck up the pain, cause like it's me..... your favorite customer........  NOT!!!!  Yup Joann,  if you have been through any life crisis/difficulty,  THAT'S when you find out people's true colours. Been there, done that. As Katy said, you now know who your true customers are.  :o)

Yup, me too, June and Katy. Been there/done that one too. Take care of yourself, Joann. Now, at 63, I only do occasional cakes and stay away from the business side of it. It's just not worth it to me to go to bed with tingly hands and wrists and arms that ache, along with every other muscle that you aren't able to even fall asleep. I never did have to get the operation for carpal tunnel once I quit decorating for 10 years. Now I can do those occasional cakes and if it starts to feel tingly again, I know it's time to cut back.

I have been sticking to my guns! So proud of myself - I feel less and less guilty with every cake I say no to. Do I still feel a bit bad? Of course I do, but they will survive and I will too. You are right June - I have found out the true colors of more than just a couple of people - and they weren't pretty colors!!

You know Linda....I realized this morning that the carpal tunnel hasn't bothered me much at all in the last couple of weeks since I laid off the cakes. Amazing how the body tells you when you are doing too much.....

Oh so true Joann. The body DOES tell us there are problems.  We just have to listen & not IGNORE the signs. We all are own worst enemy when it comes to that.  I learned the hard way on my job when I ignored the pain in my left shoulder.  Suspected I had re injured my rotator cuff. But you feel guilty.... oh it's nothing,  it will go away.  There short staffed right now....  this patient is familiar with me...  blah, blah. Then it hit me..... hey, I have I long life in front of me, I want to retire healthy.  Well, took a month off for my daughter's wedding to recoup &  get better. After that, whenever I felt I might compromise my health in any way, moving or lifting a patient, I didn't do it. Contacted my supervisor,  and said... No can do!

I trained so many psw's, but wasn't heeding my own advice!!!!   We MUST be caretakers of our own health.  SOooo important.   I am proud of you Joann for not feeling guilty.  Kudos to you!!!!   :o)

Absolutely! You only have one life to live, Joann, and you certainly do not want to die with a spatula still in your hand because you couldn't even release it anymore! (that was supposed to be a joke) What I am saying, is there really does come a time when you truly do have to look at the important things in your life, and your health is important in order to live a full, productive and enjoyable later years of living. You don't want to be a crippled up old lady that can no longer enjoy the years you have left. I'm proud of you too, Joann. That takes true humility to be able to wake up and know when enough is enough......at least for a season. Then, when you get some healing in this area, you will know things will have to be done in moderation and balance.

Oh yes, it is. I've had carpal tunnel and heel spurs develop because of cake decorating. My heel spurs were so bad that I had to have steroid shots and wear orthotics for several years. Finally, I had to have surgery on my right foot. The surgeon said my spurs were the largest he'd ever seen. He said they would put a rooster's to shame.

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