You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

I had my gallbladder out on October 4th.
I’ve been sick for a while and the doctors have been clueless as to what is causing it. In September I was informed that I needed to get my gallbladder removed.
I was nervous, not just because I’ve never had surgery before, but because I had just started pointe, and I didn’t want to fall behind the rest of the girls or–in essence–have to start over.
I psyched myself up to the reality that I’d probably have to miss a month of dance classes. I told myself this was good timing because I shouldn’t miss much of the Holiday Showcase choreography and practice. At lease there’s that, right?
I had the surgery, and they said it went well. The first four days were rough, but my friends who had the procedure before told me that was to be expected. I couldn’t move much. The first day, I could hardly even sit up on my own, let alone do anything else. Standing was painful, even. Thankfully, mobility increased every day. Soon, when I was able to sit up pretty well I got my theraband and worked the muscles in my feet and ankles. The poor things were so neglected.
I had my 10-day follow up appointment this past Monday. Surprisingly, he released me to dance already. It seems like weeks elapsed in those few days I could hardly move, and like my body milked every moment up until that appointment to be lacking in some area. Yet, he still told me I was all clear.
So yesterday, I show up for ballet class. My dance teacher was shocked. I told her I promised to take it easy and not push myself too hard. After all, this was my first day to do any form of physical activity. It seemed my body took every moment it had even up until my dance class (three days and one class after I was technically released) to let me have mostly full function.
A big group of my girls from the studio walked in at one time. When they saw me, they all got really excited and ran to hug me with squeals in their voices. It made me feel so loved, so wanted. Just being in the building made my heart feel so full and happy, let alone getting to dance and be surrounded by my friends.
They were the ones who were most encouraging throughout all this. They understand this desire, and the fulfillment dance brings. The aching deep in my soul to express. They understand how it feels when you have to step away for one reason or another. They missed me as much as I missed them.
One of my friends, Lauren, wasn’t there yet. She was the one I was really looking forward to surprising. Allie was just asking where she was when she ran in the studio and grabbed me in the biggest hug ever. It was so great. She told me how every dance day she would be on her way over here, hoping that I would be there that day. Pointe is hard, and we all really encourage each other. I try and use my 25-year-old view on life to encourage their 13-year-old view. Sometimes it can seem difficult, but if we can just push through it, it’s worth it. We really band together to endure.
As we were in pointe class and our toes feel like they’re going to fall off, I couldn’t help but smile, and feel like I was going to burst with happiness. This pain was so wonderful. It meant I was able. It meant I made it. It meant I’m alive and I can function and I can still pursue my dreams. It meant one more step towards progress. The girls did advance quite a bit in the 3 classes I missed; doing pique turns and more across the floor work. So much that Jilissa told us we would do barre on pointe in the first class now, then take them off for floor, and put them back on for pointe. Even though I know I missed those classes they got, I still did all I could. I refused to let fear hold me back from excelling to where they are. I made mental plans of practicing at home more, using the balcony since I don’t really have space, looking forward to house sitting for Andie and getting to use her dance room. I figured out what was making my right foot hurt so much more than my left, I need to pull up out of my shoe. That’s gonna take a lot of retraining and conditioning. A lot of practice. The more I practice, the faster I advance.
And now that I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to not have the choice to practice, I realize the importance of it. I’ll gladly have the pain, it means I’m progressing.
I got home and looked down at my shoes. I realized again that they are mine.
I own pointe shoes.
I am on pointe.
This isn’t someone else’s pair I’m borrowing.
This isn’t observing the girl next to me.
This isn’t internet research.
This is reality.
This is beautiful, painful, glorious reality.
I want to dance as long as I have legs. My heart is so full.
I am so grateful to have this opportunity.


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