Erbs Palsy can effect us all in different ways, emotionally and physically. I think it's important to hear other people's stories about living Brachial Plexus Injury, because many people feel that they are alone. People are having massive internal battles relating to anger, frustration, fear and many other negative emotions. People want to hide their arm, but I believe that it's important to stand together and help each other overcome these feelings. The following story was sent to me by one of my Instagram followers, who will remain anonymous.
I have Erb’s Palsy in my left arm. I remember being told that when I was born my parents were worried about how I would cope with the use of only one arm, but to me I have never known any different. It would obviously be completely different for them if they were to lose the function of one of their arms, but for me, everything I have learned to do in life, I have learned to do with one and a half arms as I like to call it.
I have had multiple operations to try and gain me more movement in my left arm, and have a total of seven scars because of this. I do have a favourite, which is the one on my forearm because it looks like a pirates scar and I’ve always thought that that was really cool. My least favourites are definitely the ones going all of the way down both of my legs, as they have always made me feel very insecure, and have prohibited me from wearing shorts out in public in case people see them and stare or judge me. This is something I’m getting over slowly but surely, by telling more and more of my friends and people that I trust one by one about my condition, and realising that people actually don’t care, and still just view me as the same weirdo that I am with or without the scars.
"If there is anything in life that you care about or want to achieve, then you can. What stops you from achieving things isn’t your Erbs, it’s your lack of determination and commitment."
The biggest struggle for me is definitely my anxiety, which people think is down to my time in hospital as a child, and having so many different doctors talk to/do things to me all the time. I can’t remember any of this, but I can imagine it being pretty scary. I used to do a lot of physio when I was a child, which just consisted off different stretches which would enable me to keep the little movement that I do still have in my arm. However, now my only physio is playing the drums. I have always been a musical person, but got my first drum kit just over three years ago, and completely fell in love with it. Obviously having Erb’s Palsy has meant that when I first started to play the drums, it was a slightly longer process for me than it would be for any ‘normal’ person, as I had to adapt the way I played to get my right arm really fast, to be able to get all the way around the kit one handed and play songs properly. I now have the hang of it however, and have no plans to stop progressing on the drums anytime soon.
So yeah, that is my life so far! I will just say that if there is anything in life that you care about or want to achieve, then you can. What stops you from achieving things isn’t your Erb’s, it’s your lack of determination and commitment. If there is something that is really important to you, and you are prepared to but all of your effort into it, then you’ll get there eventually, Erbs or no Erbs.
Thank you Thank you so much to that brave Instagram follower for sharing this story. One thing I'm noticing, is a lot of anxiety when people tell me their stories. I think it's important to dig deep to work out why this is. Is our self-consciousness only there because of the pressure of society telling us we should look a certain way? Are we carrying the blame of the injury? Do we point the finger rather than leg go and choose to believe that this was meant to happen to us? Or, is it something deeper than that? It's important to explore and come to a point of acceptance. It's going to be a long an emotional journey of self growth, but one worth taking.
Much love x