Sometimes it can be tricky to say how you feel when you are living with Erb's Palsy / Brachial Plexus Injury. Sometimes we are lost for words and sometimes it's all we can talk and think about. When I ask people to write articles for this blog often people don't know what to say. When I recieve and read them I'm always blown away with the emotion that goes into it. I love this new article. It's a stream of consciousness and a creative piece of writing about living with BPI. I hope you enjoy...
How does one like me raise awareness about something she feels so passionately? Even now, as I write propped against the throbbing in my left elbow against the futon mattress where I add ink to paper, my thoughts wonder, “What will the next sentence be?” Will it speak of the fact that I was 10 pounds, 15 ounces at the time of my birth, and that I almost died from becoming “stuck,” but survived with a broken collarbone to my left and a paralyzed arm?
Thankfully, the arm did much better but would never have a full recovery as neurology reports would later reveal. Nonetheless, I always managed to do anything I would set out to do. From playing the clarinet, then playing the flute (however awkwardly) to performing in color guard on the flag line one year on many a gym floor, another year with the marching band, I always managed in what I wanted to do. I just did things a little differently. The various words made available to me – Brachial Plexus Injury, Erb’s Palsy, and my favorite – Left Obstetric Brachial Plexus Injury or LOBPI, give me a voice with which to share what such words mean to me.
Of LOBPI, that is what my call myself; one identifier I use for my social media platform bio. Maybe someone will take notice of it, I think. Maybe someone will ask. What is LOBPI? What does that mean? This is my dream – that awareness be raised about what we deal with every day, what we have, who we are, how we are stronger… stronger and tougher than the average person…and what that really means.
Through the pain, the fatigue, and the trials we face, through the awkwardness, the wondering looks, the self-doubt we must overcome, we must rise above and bring our strengths to light. We are not alone in our individual fight. My BPI, it looks like mine. Your BPI looks like yours. This condition allows us to be unique, and what is unique is special. We are special in our individual ways, gained through the adversities we face as well as the victories we achieve… all the while knowing the smallest things can be the greatest victories; these are the things I want the world to see.
"We are strong. We are warriors. We are the BPI Community. How can I make the world aware? I am but one. Yet, isn’t it said that one can make difference?"
My BPI makes me who I am, yet disability does not define me. Look at my strengths as defining qualities and see my difficulties as a testament to my strength. As I mature, I strive to create awareness. As my pain settles a bit more deeply into my muscles, even into my bones with age wear, I only appreciate who my BPI has allowed me to become. I want to share this with the world. I will continue to overcome. Let us never give up or resist. Let us not accept defeat.
We are strong. We are warriors. We are the BPI Community. How can I make the world aware? I am but one. Yet, isn’t it said that one can make difference? Therefore, let us share with every “one” until it is known what it means to be BPI strong. Awareness is increasing. We are stronger than before. Let us not give up, but continue on.
I'd like to thank Becky Scott for taking the time to write this. It's fantastic to read something a little different and I'm sure it will resonate with you, as it did with me.
Much love and peace