Monday, October 10, 2011

The A-Team vs. My Bicep

The bicep is the most powerful muscle in the arm. When it becomes spastic, the stroke survivor's arm curls. Working against the bicep to straighten the elbow and use the hand becomes difficult or impossible. My bicep was inflexible as stone for more than a year.

Fourteen months after my stroke, The A-Team finally agreed that my shoulder had "opened," and that we could tackle my bicep. On Tuesday, July 19, The Miraculous Mira massaged my arm like she was tenderizing beef. "Your bicep will open within the next 10 days," she told me.

On Wednesday I reported this to A is for Arbi, who put me on the shoulder and chest press machines in the gym to stretch my bicep. Electrical stimulation on my arm that day triggered spasms that had me shuddering for half an hour. Arbi then stretched my arm by holding my elbow in place, turning my hand palm upward, and bending it backward at the wrist.

On Thursday Mother Teresa did her own brand of stretching and massage, twisting my forearm outward (supination). She taught me to stretch with a pillow under my tricep, palm turned upward. I started assuming this position for sleep.

I did my part: I exercised, I stretched, I believed. And Saturday night in a relaxed state as I settled down to sleep, I heard the first crack.

My bicep cracked twice that night – loud, like a knuckle. It felt wonderful. And now it is open – soft as a puppy's tummy. Onto my forearm…


  1. Cindy Leiby-SmithMonday, October 10, 2011

    The tongue-in-cheek images you portray with words about your on-going struggles, and so often resulting successes, often leave this reader chuckling, cheering, awed and humbled. Can hardly wait for the battle with the happy you continue to battle, as hard as it has to be at times. Progress, not perfection :-)

  2. That's so wonderful Marce, congratulations XX

  3. Yay for the A-Team. But mostly for you!

  4. I'm glad your trust and patience was rewarded. I felt a small pop in my palm when I pressed my hand open on the table, but I didn't experience anything as spectacular as you did.