I know I promised more fun, upbeat posts but y’all this is serious: I am losing my shoulders.
I used to have strong, muscle filled shoulders. They could lift weights, push girls around in the paint, and pop to smack a softball.
Even after I transitioned from a high school athlete to a fun-having college student, my shoulders were still strong, capable, and looked pretty good in a strapless dress (if I do say so myself). I wasn’t doing as much weight lifting as I was doing 12 oz curls, but I could still play softball or spend all day in the gym playing volleyball.
I first noticed my ALS symptoms in April 2013, which means they started long before then. My weakness was apparent in my upper extremities (shoulders) first, but it wasn’t until it was obvious in my hands that it crossed my mind to tell anyone. One major perk to dorm life is unlimited hot water, and I took advantage of it numerous times a week. I can remember telling a friend that I had a hard time pushing myself up out of the tub, which was weird since it was a motion I repeatedly did. Not like I’m walking into the gym and trying to deadlift 500 pounds, we’re talking about pushing my own body weight up just like I did more days than not.
I notice it more and more when I look in the mirror or at pictures, and it’s frustrating. You know that annoying shirt that always falls off the hanger? The one you’re constantly bending over, picking up and putting back on the same dang hanger every time you go to your closet? That’s me with everything I wear, if I’m not chasing my straps then it’s my stupid bra strap popping out to say hello to everyone. Thankfully, there are some constants:
- my sisters and I always take ridiculous pictures together
- I will always find a way to hug those I love, with or without shoulders
- muscle atrophy is a harsh, ever present reality of ALS
- I’ll try to make sure my straps are pretty, since we’re all going to be looking at them