let’s build muscles…not mine yet

Mar 5, 2015

I have known I was hypermobile my whole life…not in a diagnosable sort of way, but in a “look, how cool I am, I can bend in half” sort of way. I knew my ankles rolled really easily and were sprained more often than not. I knew that to compete in gymnastics or play volleyball or basketball, I needed my ankles to be taped. I knew when I had shoulder surgery 20 years ago that the surgeon had to cut off 90% of the ligament before it would hold my shoulder joint in place properly. I knew he said I would never be able to have children because of my unstable, hypermobile pelvis. I knew he diagnosed me with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease with Ligamentous Laxity. But I didn’t really know what a big challenge hypermobility was until the past three years.

And maybe I still don’t.

Even though I am living this experience of constant sprains, tears, broken bones, nervous system dysfunction, and pain, I still don’t really know what is coming or what this really means for me or my hypermobile children.

A few days ago, I had to drive myself to PT because Blythe was at work and I didn’t feel like I should bother ask any of my friends to take me, so I decided to take Fisher with me and have a little date with him (big mistake…driving still hurts a whole bunch…but it was lovely to spend some on-on-one time with my boy). While we were there, I asked Fisher to sit in butterfly position so Jeremy could see how flexible his hip joints are. Then Jeremy asked him to W-sit and upon seeing Fisher’s legs flop flat on the floor without pushing or straining in any way, he agreed with me that he is extremely hypermobile as well. I already knew that – I have eyeballs and can see my children walking with their toes folded underneath their feet and their hands and feet touching during backbends – but it was interesting to hear it pronounced from a medical professional.

While I know that my super-strong-gymnast muscles were my strongest defense in preventing injuries and the only reason my body was able to carry and birth our four beautiful babies and make it to 37 years of age before I started falling apart, I didn’t really know deep down in my little toes ENOUGH to do something about it. I have certainly thought about it a lot and hoped my children were getting enough exercise at gymnastics and riding bikes and running around in the yard and going to Irish Dance classes, but I didn’t think about it enough to make a plan to build their muscles.

But now I know and we are making a plan to give them the best shot at holding together for long past 37.

Jeremy said “Tracy, from what I have seen of your children, they all have it and they all need muscles. Lots of muscles. Way more muscles than they currently have. You need to start a family exercise regimen to build their cores with lots of stability exercises, muscle control, and muscle building.”

His words have been playing in my mind for the past few days. I can’t stop thinking about them and what we need to do. When I think about how many sit-ups and push-ups I did as a gymnast and how much good those thousands of exercises did for me, my eyes well up with tears. I am positive that the crunches, laps, sports, running, biking, and hiking that I used to participate in are what gave me the last twenty fairly injury-free years of my life. My children need at least as much muscle strength as I had so they have a good shot at life as well.

Now that I know, really know, deep down in my toes, I am brainstorming ways to build their muscles on a daily basis. Today Kez finished her two trimesters of seminary for the year, so our daily schedule is about to change again and I am working on a great plan to use that early morning time to build muscles.

We will be utilizing our awesome Elliptigo and our DDP Yoga videos as well as my balance pads and resistance bands. I am still on a no-exercise protocol until the inflammation from the car accident calms down some more (How on earth has it not calmed down????? I have even given in and am taking 2400 mg. of ibuprofen every day!) so I cannot exercise with them, but I am hoping Richard will be able to or they will be able to do it with one of the big girls directing them.

Jeremy strong recommended martial arts, so I am thinking about that, and also considering a weekly swimming trip, trying to figure out family bike rides (again, I can’t ride), and trying some exercise videos from the library.

I don’t know why it has taken me three years to think about this enough to actually do something about it, but it has. If you have some kid-friendly muscle-building tips, send them my way!

Related Posts