4 years ago

Yesterday was my first class after my “week off of life.”
I know a week doesn’t seem like much, but it can really do you some good if you utilize it well.

When I first started dancing, I hated when something would happen that would cause me to have to take extensive time off from dance. In fact, it was actually 4 years ago tonight that I got in the car wreck that could have left me in far worse condition than it did. I had just begun dancing again a few weeks before. I was heading home from church, (which was on Thursday nights) waiting to turn into my alley when I was hit from the passenger side and my car was slammed two lanes over. 
I still don’t know where the car came from. It was all very confusing for me as it was literally the exact moment I took my foot off the brake and was intending to turn after two cars passed. I assume those two cars passed, because they were cars and no one else was hit except for me and the truck that jumped my hood and came back off my car. Somehow I got the blame for this whole ordeal, and it was all pretty traumatic, but I typically play it off. After all, I’m okay. It shut down the entire street and my friends I was just with turned around to come make sure I was okay. My left leg hurt and I could feel a mass, but of course I was in skinny jeans so I couldn’t see. I turned down an ambulance ride, knowing it’d be ridiculously expensive, and sat on the curb. Some lady I don’t know came from I don’t know where to check on me. She stayed with me until my friends got there which I appreciate more than words could ever say. I was terrified, and she brought me peace. (Thanks, lady I don’t know.) I literally walked back to my house, as this all happened so close to home. My friends that came back around to make sure I was okay had a new friend with her who was conveniently knowledgeable in medical things. She looked at my leg and suggested an x-ray. Shana told me to get some things and that I would stay the night with her. I told her I would be fine, but did what she said anyway. She took me to the ER in Portland, since it’s a smaller town (The town she lived in, across the bridge) and we would more than likely get in and out a lot quicker. I got signed in exactly at midnight, and my hospital bracelet says 11/11/11. (I still have it.)
They did xrays and said I was okay and gave me some anti inflammatory medication and the usual. I went back to Shana’s, skipped work the next day, and stayed there until my mom came for me the next day. (I didn’t realize how much I needed the love and care and concern Shana gave me until I was in it. For that I am eternally grateful.)
My leg bruised up pretty badly, and I have some marks from where the seatbelt was. Miraculously, the airbags didn’t break my nose. My face was actually completely fine. (If you want the full details of everything God told me and showed me and how He spared me, just ask.) (It’s pretty cool.)
I don’t know if it’s because I was wearing pants with elastic at the knee, or what, but I ended up developing nerve damage in that spot that I felt after the wreck. It’s on the inside of my left knee, and is typically fine. Unless it’s touched. Then my knee will hurt for a solid day. (Not too bad, considering everything that could have happened. Like, ya know, slamming my head into the left window like I should have, or the airbags jacking up my face, or messing up my ankle on the brake.) (When my Dad saw my car at the towing lot, he was speechless. Literally. He was chewing me out a bit as he walked up to the car, and then was at a loss for words when he saw it. He said that the only part of my car that wasn’t completely bashed in was the driver’s seat. But I’m okay. I walked away.
My camera on my phone at the time really sucked, so you can’t really see all the detailing. This was the day after when my mom had picked me up

The hospital bracelet (again, stupid camera)

This was a few days later, after I was back home. I stayed at my parents house until Saturday night I believe. So this was Sunday-ish. (I was back at work Monday.)
The numb spot is actually more-so that bit of normal skin among all the bruising up top.

My lovely boss’ wife made me cookies. I love her. (Cora, you’re a gem)

(I don’t have the pictures of my car accessible yet. Apparently my phone only backed up pictures I took then, and not ones I also saved. Shana got the pictures of the car, thank God.)
Time is a funny thing. It’s crazy to think that was four years ago. How much has happened in four years; the places I’ve gone, the people I’ve met, the people I’ve lost, the changes that have occurred, the things I’ve learned. It seems like a blink, but filled with one thousand years.

Needless to say, I had to take off two weeks of dancing after the wreck. I was so upset. I had just begun again and couldn’t afford to take off two weeks. I had already paid for a November I wouldn’t get to be there for. But life happens. You have to take the highs with the lows.
Since then, I’ve rolled my ankle, screwed up my knee and needed PT, had my gallbladder removed, strained my foot, gotten really terrible sunburns, (yes, plural) and probably more things I can’t remember. It seemed I was out for a week every few months there for a while, and though it was frustrating, but I started noticing a trend; I’d come back better.
Now I’m sure there’s some science behind this, but whatever the explanation I’m really grateful for it. Going back to class yesterday, I was a bit nervous. I was hoping that it would be a good class, but I wasn’t sure if a week was enough to really help me. Would I just come back stiff and regretting having taken the time off? Would it really help me at all? Are my feet gonna be so angry I’ll want to throw my pointe shoes out the window?

 I decided to go into class hopeful and see what happened. After all, I had two successful Nutcracker rehearsals before. That should count for something, right?
I loved seeing my Rowland’s and My Cortez’s.  They were two families I actually felt myself missing while I was at home. I swear there’s magic in them.
Ms. Catherine was sick, so Ms. Munro taught our class. There weren’t all that many students there, either, so I found myself excited. There’s just something about a good ol’ Ms. M class that can do you good.
My hips did feel sore, but thankfully Ms. Munro gave us combinations to help with that. We did balances in second, and back coupe, and other things I normally struggle with that I actually surprised myself with being able to hold. Ms. Munro saw two of them and complimented me. The first time, it was even a tone of surprise, like she was impressed. It felt really good. She worked us pretty well and I was a bit nervous I’d be too shaky to really do anything en pointe.
To my surprise, I was able to do everything except for the turn I know I can’t do yet. Thankfully, it was in a combination that I couldn’t do anyway because of my knees, so I just worked on stuff myself at the barre. I found myself holding balances longer, actually getting onto my box most of the time, doing releves I typically have issues with; I even did a really nice pirouette on my bad leg! My good leg wasn’t doing pirouettes for beans, but that’s okay. I marked them instead and got good clean preparations instead. I also felt myself able to roll through my shoe really well. This gives me a bit of confidence mentally. I watched Catherine and Adrienne on the turns I can’t do, trying to get a good understanding with them. I don’t want to try them before I’m ready so I don’t frustrate myself over nothing. Watching helps. I don’t know if it’s the lack of strength I’m still trying to gain up, or if it’s my short toes, or my jacked up knees, or what. They aren’t happening yet, but I hope to have them happen soon. And the fact I got that good clean pirouette on the one side made me feel really good.

I left feeling great, and really encouraged. That was really nice and hadn’t really happened in a while. I also think the people who were in class helped that as well. I didn’t feel judged or inadequate. I felt safe. I hope this is a growing trend that will continue to be this way and continue to get better. 


I’m glad my back started hurting.

Remember that one post where I said I was scared the knee pain was more than just knee pain?

Exhibit A.
I went to the chiropractor’s office yesterday after developing a really painful knot in my lower back. It was so bad I couldn’t even sit and having the ballet class I really needed to be at, I knew I couldn’t handle it. 
Sure, maybe push through this class, or skip it, but what if this doesn’t go away? It’s not just my back; it’s my knee, it’s my head, it’s my hip, it’s so many things I can’t think of them all while dancing to keep the pain away.
Well now we know why.
I called my Dad since he works on the computers of a chiropractor’s office in town and he was actually on the phone with them when I called. They were able to fit me in yesterday, and this is what we learned.
From the above picture: My left leg is shorter than my right.

I knew my hips were out of alignment frequently, but I had no clue that my left leg was actually shorter. A friend I grew up with had this issue and wore special shoes and everything, but I didn’t know I had it too.

Then my spine is all jacked up as you can see, and my hips way out of alignment, more than what can be fixed with a simple jerk to set them back (like my PT did two years ago.)
Hence the hips pain.
Yeah, my back is supposed to be straight up against the back panel thingy. 
It’s clearly not.
He called this a “cheerleader back” which made sense to me since my family has cheerleaders in it. This is probably due in part to my hips and back being misaligned, but also something I need to work on.
No wonder I have such a hard time tucking my tailbone in class.
The Doctor said they’re going to have to re-teach me how to stand.
Yeah, so, you can see a lot of the vertebrae that are misaligned. It’s causing a lot of strain and pressure and just really bad. (Also, you can see the sutures from my removed gallbladder. Kinda cool.)
See how the one side is bigger than the other?
Yep. Arthritis.
Apparently when I was in that car wreck (that caused most of this. But I had no clue. Cause the ER told me nothing? thanks ER.) the whiplash caused some damage and over time it calcified and caused arthritis. It doesn’t really affect me, but it makes my neck bigger on the one side. And no wonder my teachers tell me I hold all my tension in my neck. You can also see some of the vertebrae misaligned here too.
Your neck is supposed to curve.
Mine doesn’t. It goes straight up and down. The Doctor couldn’t even get the 3D model to do this, like, my neck shouldn’t be doing this. But apparently my vertebrae are backwards or something. He explained it, but I don’t remember the details since there was so much information to take in. But my neck is shorter than it should be, as well. To quote him, “God just made ya funny.” I like this Doctor. 
So this makes all the pain make sense.
I figured there was some connection since it was all happening on my right side. The impact of the car wreck was on the right side. I wish I would have known I needed to see him back in 2011 when it happened, especially since I had just began ballet two weeks before and could have helped my learning so much more, but thankfully this is all reversible. He says it’ll take about six months to get it all straightened out and I’m going to have to work hard, but I am just so thrilled to actually have a doctor give me an answer and not just pass me off as being dramatic like everyone else has. (spare my family practitioner. I like her.) 
This should also help my stomach, which is amazing. And it’ll help my dancing. 
He’s gonna try acupuncture on me too, which I’m oddly excited about.
He kept saying, “Such a tender age…” for all the things that were wrong. Which honestly, made me feel really comforted. So often people talk to me and treat me like I’m just being dramatic and just need to suck it up. The ones that were helpful were actually helpful to the extent of their knowledge (like taping the knee and using oils to help me through) but everyone else made me feel like I had no right to say anything. Even my boss made a comment like I was being dramatic or like it was all my fault and I should have fixed it years ago but I literally didn’t know. And it made me feel bad. Or like it was a competition because he has cancer and obviously this isn’t cancer, but it is painful and is going to take a lot of time and healing and work. And if I didn’t do anything for it, it would greatly affect my way of life, as it already is. 
I love this doctor. I love his care for his patients. I love that he loves and respects my Dad and is able to help me so much. I am very fortunate. 
I was also able to tell Ms. Lori about it all (I had asked her opinion last class) and she was very grateful that I did so now she knows what to look for and can better help me. 
Goodness, I’m so glad I have her as a teacher.
Things are actually working in my favor and it’s wonderful.