How Odd Is My Bod: Hypermobility, Part One

tangle toy

How Odd Is My Bod is a new feature in which I share stories about our bodies including my own experiences with fibromyalgia, hypermobility, fat, and a shit ton of oddities. My goal is to help destigmatize body talk, reduce body shaming, and encourage boundaries against unwanted body comments. In other words, I want to give myself and others a space to discuss what we think is strange about our bodies, to feel less alone in and weird toward our bodies, and to get people to shut the fuck up about other people’s bodies.

I want to share your stories too, so please reach out!

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Hypermobility or “Oh, That’s Not Normal?”

I’m hypermobile. This is a relatively new revelation. My physical therapist mentioned it somewhat casually at the end of last year.

For better or worse, I’ve learned not to ignore offhanded comments about my body, so I looked up hypermobility. I did the Beighton Test. I did it again with Hubster’s help. I scored six out of nine. If I’ve been properly stretching, it’d be seven out of nine (heh Borg).

Yet again, this isn’t news to me; I just didn’t know what it was. You know how people say they’re double-jointed? I’ve always been able to do that. (Though, my index finger is cold and angry today, so it refuses to cooperate.)

I’ve also always been flexible. Few people believe me on that because I’m fat. Somehow, fat equals inflexibility to others because people are completely ignorant about bodies, let alone fat bodies. But let’s just say all of my sexual partners were surprised I could do a particular thing.

However, flexibility and hypermobility are not the same thing. Flexibility is controlled. Hypermobility often isn’t. Sometimes, I don’t get a say when my body bends, and it doesn’t always bend in helpful ways.

I sought medical help for this several years ago. I asked my old doctor why it seemed like I had weak ligaments. Or at least I thought that’s what it was. I didn’t have the language for it then.

My old doctor dismissed it. This was the same doctor who told me to go to therapy for Binge Eating Disorder (which I thought I might have but did not) and never mentioned something called PMDD (which I do have). He told me to exercise and lose weight despite my list of complaints:

  • I have a hitch in my right thumb that, if I’m not careful, I can easily re-injure. It was chalked up to a ligament tear that I was told will likely never heal.
  • Both of my knees are wonky, and it was assumed I had a meniscal tear in each knee. I’ve been in physical therapy for it three times.
  • I often get tendonitis in my elbows. I was told to get a brace and to exercise.
  • I had carpal tunnel in both wrists until I had surgery on one last year. I was told to lose weight.
  • My right shoulder is never cooperative. I was told to move more.
  • I get back spasms if I don’t see a chiropractor regularly. The diagnosis on that has changed multiple times in 15 years.
  • I used to get painful hip popping in the middle of the night. I was told the only reason it hurt more was because I was sleepy.
  • My finger joints bend in ways that sometimes freak people out, and I’m pretty sure I have arthritis in them now.

It astonishes me that no one ever put all of this together and said, “What’s up with your joints?”

Then again, it doesn’t because doctors always assumed it was because I am a fat and supposedly lazy woman.

I’ll get into that in part two next week.

An Update about Last Week

ICYMI: In my last Bod post, I talked about my reproductive organs being difficult.

Remember when I said this:

This month has already gotten weird. I always get a lie bump the day before my period starts. Weird but true. This month, the lie bump came three days ago, and I’m not supposed to start my period for another 12 freaking days. I’ve also been spotting on and off for five days. I’ve obviously shifted into my luteal phase because my mood and energy tanked.

How Odd Is My Bod: Literally Clitoris

My period started two days after that post. That’s ten fucking days early.

I did indeed send a message to my gynecologist, but that’s a developing situation. It’s nothing ominous (I hope), but I’ll keep you updated.

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