A brief review, late 2011 my right hand and arm became weak and uncoordinated. By May 2012, they were practically useless.
Funny thing is, beginning around January 2012, my left hand began to automatically take over some of the right hands duties without me even noticing. The first time I realized what was happening was in March when I started to eat with my left hand. I had never practiced with it. One day my left hand decided to pick up a fork and try to feed me. It was a bit sloppy at first but after a couple of meals, I was no longer being stabbed in the face with my fork. Eventually, my left arm took over everything except writing. I would use it to lift my right hand up so I could write, sign my name or start my truck. Though I have lost the ability since to write legibly (lucky I have my phone).
One day, I was standing next to a cliff overlooking a valley when I decided to pick up a rock and throw it. To my surprise, without the slightest bit of difficulty, I threw that rock as far as I ever could with my right arm. I knew I had the strength since I had been utilizing my left arm so much. But I had never practiced left handed throwing in my adult life. It just happened with effortlessly good technique. It was as if a switch was flipped on in my brain that allowed it to happen. Throughout the summer I learned to throw a baseball, a frisbee and even a good spiral with a football. Writing, unfortunately, never worked out. It was as if I was shown the world from a different point of view.
But, as things do with ALS, this too will come to an end. Beginning last fall, I could see my left arm muscles begin to atrophy. By New Years, the strength that I had enjoyed had dwindled. Yet much of the strength and coordination in my left hand still remains to this moment.
I am a Civil War buff. One act that always struck me was that of keeping the regimental "Colors" aloft. The Colors were the flag that indicated the regiments home state and unit. These banners were displayed prominently on the front line of battle by an unarmed soldier. When he would be wounded or killed a comrade would drop his weapon, pick up the Colors and move forward until he fell. That is bravery! When my right arm dropped the "Colors" my left arm picked up my banner and carried on my fight with great strength. It will continue to do so until it too has fallen.
Though I am losing the use of this arm too, I consider myself very fortunate to have had this gift. What an amazing experience that, I believe , many will never have the good fortune to know. For my remaining days I will treasure the brief time that I had a dominant left arm. I am very proud to consider myself "a Southpaw, a Lefty, a Port Sider."
Disclaimer! My left hand wrote all of this. Therefore, there may be some "Lefty" bias in the post!