Living With Erb's Palsy
My name is Mallory King and I have Erb’s Palsy. When I was born I was ripped from my mother after being stuck in the birth canal and unable to breathe. The doctor pulled me out from my right arm, severing the nerves and causing shoulder dystocia. The first year of my life my right arm was completely dead. After years of physical therapy, I gained some range of motion in my arm but it grew slower than the other and the mobility was limited. My whole life I have lived with Erb’s Palsy so often times I forget that I am any different from anyone else, until someone else brings it up. Most of the time when I am asked what happened to my arm it is by a harmless stranger who assumes I recently injured my shoulder or broke my arm. When I explain to them what happened they often go red in the face or apologize for asking. Every once in a while a hurtful person will tease me for having a “t-rex arm”. As a child it was difficult to deal with these comments, but as I have grown up I have learned that everyone gets teased for something, whether they are disabled or not. There are hurtful people in this world that want to tear others down, but there are so many more people with good intentions and huge hearts. I have learned to focus my energy on those people.
Taking Control of My Life
Growing up I allowed my arm to be an excuse. An excuse to get out of P.E. activities, not join sports, or be entirely inactive. Because of this, and emotional eating, my weight climbed. In college I realized my weight was an issue as I was borderline obese. I finally decided to stop with the excuses and control what I could. I began exercising and slowly started incorporating weight lifting into my lifestyle. At first it was scary to go to the gym and lift weights using my arm. I feared people would stare and wonder what was wrong. I struggled to lift any weight with my right arm but I continued to try. I slowly saw progress in my right arm and began to care less about others in the gym and more about why I was there. I have been lifting weights for 5 years now and powerlifting for two. Powerlifting has been an incredible outlet for me mentally and physically. It has shown me that I am capable of doing anything that anyone else can do. Sure, my progress may be slower in some areas. I have to work harder and be more patient. Powerlifting is a challenge with Erb’s Palsy, but when I hit a new record with my bench press or deadlift double my bodyweight I feel I’m even more elated than any able-bodied person because of the challenges I overcame to get there.
I Am More Than My Disability
I am disabled, but that is not the only thing that defines me. There is so much more to me than my disability, and I offer this world just as much as anyone else does. For a long time I despised having a disability and sometimes I do still struggle with that, but it has provided me so many things. It has taught me patience and perseverance. It has made me more resilient and given me the courage to do what is best for me without the concern of other’s opinions. I am disabled. I am also strong, smart, caring, kind, fun, and able to tackle any challenge thrown my way. Thank you Erb’s Palsy, for making me who I am today.