Much has happened since my last blog entry. I wanted to write before this time, but I was very busy at home preparing for the wedding of our son, Bob. It's now been a week since his wedding , and I can't believe he's a married man. His wedding, and our daughter's in June, are two of the several major happenings in our family's life, and in my own.
Since the onset of my back and leg pain, we have married off two sons, are preparing for our daughter's wedding in June, anticipating the birth of a new grandchild, hosted two rehearsal dinners, two bridal showers, a baby shower, and mourned the passing of my mother in law, who had been ill for some time.
Don't let anyone tell you that the groom's family doesn't have anything to do to prepare for a wedding. Not so!! Times are different now and it seems the grooms family is just as involved as the brides'. All these events are wonderful, but the emotions invested in them take their toll in ways you just can't anticipate until you experience them. Part of the reason I put off surgery for so long was because I just plain didn't have time to do it!! Our son Sam's wedding was last summer, and I depended heavily on advil to see me through that one, but with two more weddings this year in March and June, I just knew my time had come and I couldn't handle them the way I had Sam's. I'm thankful for the timing of finding the right surgeon and him having an opening in his schedule that would put me at 9 weeks post op for Bob's wedding. I was determined to dance at his wedding, without a back brace, AND in heels! The only one I would negotiate on, was the heels. Turned out I was fine, and danced most of the reception in some lovely coral sling backs with a 3 inch heel. I didn't change to flats until it was time to do Gangnam style! My heart was overflowing with gratitude for the joy my son was knowing, and for the health i was experiencing, to be able to dance all night at his reception. What a night! I look forward to the same, and the marriage of our daughter , Leslie.
With two more showers in the near future , our daughter's wedding and the birth of our grandchild still to come, these family events continue to be a huge part of my life, but they now energize me, instead of fill me with fear at not being able to be completely present and involved, due to chronic pain.
I went back to teaching slowly. Keeping my teaching load light so as not to set me back too much. At my last writing, I was taking 1/2hour lessons with June to feel myself out, and to see what my range of motion and level of pain was with movement. Those first few lessons, for me, were mostly about rebuilding my confidence in my body's own ability to heal, regenerate, and progress, and to move past the fear of movement, and trusting in the natural progression of the healing process to recover. Inactivity due to the pain, pre-op, then the normal down time after an operation, was one of my biggest hurdles. If you don't use it, you lose it! as the saying goes. A steady progression of intermittent workouts, is now the order of the day, to rebuild strength and flexibility, and with that, my spirit lightens, and my optimism grows, as I hope for a strong future.
One day, a few weeks ago, I was folding laundry, and was overcome with the need to do a roll up. I had done everything, up to that point with a long spine, I just layed myself down on the floor and slowly rolled up,,,,,then slowly rolled down. It was sheer heaven!! The same thing happened with the reformer. I had done some footwork with June on 2 springs, to get used to using resistance again. About two weeks ago I was home and I had an overwhelming urge to to get on my own reformer, with 3 springs, and complete a basic reformer workout. My body knew it was time, my brain knew it was time. It was a wonderful thing!
My plan is stay at a basic level on the reformer, and master them, before I start adding intermediate work back in. Basic work is as challenging as you make it, and it's re-igniting the joy I felt when I first started taking pilates years ago. To grow in your pilates practice just fuels you for the next session,,,and I can't wait! I know I will grow stronger faster now, than I did back then, but the joy of rediscovering the addition of each exercise to my routine is very exciting, in my own pilates practice, and as a teacher. The first teaser I did with the push through bar, was monumental to me. As I build my routine, I'm seeing the genius in the way Joseph Pilates planned the basic, intermediate and advanced work,,,,building on the fundamentals, to add more movements that would challenge concentration, control, strength and flexibility.
Another thing that I found to be vital in my recovery, was putting myself in a place that allowed me to soak up the strength that I didn't have, from others. Therefore, just being in the studio, even if I was doing computer work, just to hear June teach, listen to our clients chat, see the movement, be part of our apprentices training process, All these elements lifted me up, urged me forward, and gave me such inspiration, that I really had no other option but to get stronger!
In closing,,,,I want to make mention of Dorothy Hamill, the Olympic ice skating champion from the 70s. She recently appeared on Dancing with the Stars but had to leave the show due to a cyst on her spine that was causing her pain and neuralgia, in the form of drop foot and ankle pain. I felt for her, as she went through a similar emotional process that I did, although she was forced to do it on national television. All my old of emotions came to the surface again,,,of seemingly having it all, physically, and then being humbled by a cyst in a place that affects everything. I know she will find her way, as I did, but her courage to attempt something that physical, in an unknown arena, will serve her well, as she moves towards treatment and recovery. If I can do it, she surely can, as an Olympic gold medalist, and I know she will. I hope to see her next year on the show, maybe, healed, and stronger than ever.
Until next time.....never stop believing in your dreams,,,whatever they may be. Use what you learn along the way, to encourage others, as it not only builds them up, but makes your dreams sweeter than you ever thought possible.