Monday, October 19, 2009

It's Not My Arm, It's My Brain.....

My symptoms first manifested, on a small scale, in March, 2007. In September of that year, during a charity 150 mile bike ride, I had a crash. I was in a long pace-line of cyclist when five of us went down. A rather large cyclist behind me ran over me as I skidded across the pavement at 18 mph.

After untangling, taking inventory, and checking my bike, I rode the final 54 miles. My shoulder was in great pain and after crossing the finish line I broke down, not from the pain, but from the mental effort.

The human mind is a powerful thing. I have been (or was) a distance runner since age 8 and have marveled at the my body's ability to run long distances. One second you're running as fast as you can and immediately after crossing the finish line, you can't even stand. It's all mental.

Back to the shoulder. The doctor diagnosed a severe separation and rotator tear. By coincidence it was my right shoulder and my CBGD symptoms are specific to my right side.

For the longest time I was able to hide my loss of fine motor skills and the increasing stiffness in my arm behind my shoulder injury. When buddies called for golf or bike rides, I could blame it on the shoulder. Not any more.


I attended the funeral of a relative recently. As is often the case, I saw other relatives that I had not seen since the last time someone died. Several of them ask how my arm was doing. I typically just said, "As well as can be expected," not wishing to go into the details of my illness.

After the services, as the throng made their way out of the building, a cousin said, "I hope your arm gets better." Suddenly, a woman (with big hair) grabbed my arm and rather dramatically began to recite bible verses about God's healing power. I waited until she was finished before extracting my arm from her grasp.

Then I said, "It's not my arm, it's my brain." I left before she grabbed my head. :)



  1. That is impressive 150 miles on a bike!
    20 miles is a lot for me.

  2. Everytime I read one of your posts, I want to live my life better- push myself harder.

    Thank you for that.

    So I used to be extremely religious, and over the past couple of years, I've become a confirmed agnostic. Whenever I run into someone like that woman, I am torn between a sort of sadness for what I lost, and puzzlement that this person hasn't reached the same conclusions as me in this area.

    I realize how narcissistic that sounds, but it's not me claiming some sort of intellectual superiority over anyone. It's simply that I can't really figure out how I got "here" when I was so strongly "there".

    I'm curious: What do you believe?

  3. Good question Imnotbenny! I'm interested too!

    And... PS... your 'dolphin counter' was NOT annoying, but soothing! I vote for you to put it back ON! :)

  4. What a coincidence about the arm thing. I tore my left rotator years ago doing gymnastics. That also happens to be the side that is primarily affected for me as well.

    It's always the ones with big hair that have a word from God for you. I have developed radar for them. ;-)

    I have often used the "It's not my arm, it's my brain," also! If I was hard working and successful such as yourself I would say we are kindred spirits, but at present I am contemplating quitting school. The stress of it is making my symptoms worse. People say it's all in my head. I say "I know!" =)

  5. Hey Bob. Just stopping by to say hello.

    Thanks for stopping by my place earlier. You're awesome!!

  6. Secretia,
    What I wouldn't give to be back on the bike.

    I often mull over posting a spiritual status report but for the time being, it remains between me and my God.

    I turned the splash back on for you. The people that don't like it can hit the mute button.

    I hear you about stress and exacerbation. The bad news is....stress is how I make a living.


  7. It really helps to read your posts. A very dear friend of mine is imprisoned behind a CBGD wall. She cannot talk, eat, laugh or do anything much anymore but she is still there in all her love and kindness and great intelligence, I know it. I miss her sense of humor and the wonderful conversations that we shared so often, but mostly, I miss her laugh.


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