Monday, June 22, 2009

Is this a blog or a Gatorade commercial?

I realize that this blog has become a little sports-oriented. I don't mean to portray the loss of athletic pursuits as my main concern with this disease. However, I think that the nature of myositis (the way that it attacks your muscles, atrophies your body, and causes extreme weakness) places it saliently into this context. This disease makes me acutely aware of the physical capacities that were interrupted, and I am that much more focused and obsessed over those capacities relative to other parts of me that aren't as affected. Of course I am many more things other than "athlete", but when the idea of being an athlete is in jeopardy, it becomes important to hang onto. I hope I don't come across as having an over-inflated ego or anything. I am an athlete because I love it and it makes me feel strong and alive, not because I am any good. It doesn't matter why you call yourself an athlete, or who acknowledges you as such. Horton & Mack (2000) found that the extent to which people identify themselves as athletes isn't related to performance or medals, but was more intrinsically motivated, from within. In other words, being an athlete can be just as meaningful to the lowly mid-packer as it can be to the winner.

I talk about running alot because it's a story thread that relates strongly to the physical effects of this whole experience. Perhaps I am using the concept of "athlete" as a character of myself that is trying to make a comeback. Am I more of a fighter because I am a runner? Or vice-versa? How much more of a fighter am I than any other person would be in this situation? Maybe none, but placing my recovery in this context and giving it this storyline seems to help. It gives me something to focus on, something to root for. It gives me a meaningful role in a story that otherwise doesn't make any sense. Think about it: how poignant are sports movies? Who doesn't enjoy rooting for the plucky underdog striving against the odds to achieve some dream/goal/victory? (am I really a plucky underdog? That would be a fun role. I wonder who would be cast to play me if this were a real movie...)


  1. I love a plucky underdog!
    Have you seen Breaking Away?
    Now I will ponder who could play you well in this prospective film...

  2. I've always thought I'm a ringer for Reese Witherspoon. Ok, I wish.

  3. You're reacting normally KH.

    It is a physical illness that affects strength.

    While I've been enduring it, I've always been thankful that physical capability was not a central part of my identity or my job.

    I'm about 5'11 and 200 pounds. I'm not muscular, but I was not fat either. Physically I was quietly pretty active before my DM set in.

    After the DM set in, I remember for help to carry an air filter unit in a hardware store, only to have the petite young clerk herself carry it to the check-out counter. It was a shock.

    Even grocery shopping, I'm struggling with bottles of milk and soda that ordinary women don't have any trouble with.

    It is like I've been transported to a world where everyone else is an Olympic athlete, and I have to worry about them accidentally bumping into me and hurting me.