The One with Me

Hold on to your hats; I’m getting candid today, everyone. I’ve been having some physical issues, I guess you could say. I’ve been debating whether or not I should share this on here or not, but I know you are all rooting for me, and some of you have been following this list for almost two years, so here we go.

So, last winter, I started experiencing back pain when I was teaching. It was occasional, and didn’t get in the way of me doing my job, so I didn’t think much of it. By the end of March, the pain was more consistent and lasted much longer. Being the worrier I am, I was convinced I’d ruptured something or had some strange back cancer, so I scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. They took some x-rays of my back, and everything looked normal. The doctor diagnosed me with “sacroiliitis.” Basically, I have inflammation in my sacroiliac joint, which is where my lower spine and pelvis connect. Anyway, he sent me to physical therapy for a few weeks. It was painful, but it really helped. My summers are less dance-intensive, and I had more time to rest, so the pain faded away. In the fall, I was diligent about properly warming myself up, and letting my student volunteers lead when I was feeling tired. 

Fast forward to January and our freaky cold weather. My back was getting really tight and uncomfortable again. The second half of the dance year is insane. I think I’ve warmed myself up before class once…in four months. I won’t bore you…things just got worse. Finally, a few weeks ago, as I was strapping an ice fanny pack to my back to make it through my last class of the night, I knew I had to go back to the doctor. They took x-rays again, they came back normal again…sacroiliitis, again. This time, my doctor recommended a cortisone shot. I’d had one before in my shoulder, and it was no big deal, so I agreed. They told me they’d call the next day with an appointment time. Well, I did get a call the next day…FROM THE SURGERY CENTER! Holy shit. My “no big deal” cortisone shot ended up taking place in an operating room, while I wore a hospital gown/shoe covers/hair bonnet thing, and got wheeled around in a wheelchair. What an experience.

So, I’m 16 days out from my shot. Things have definitely improved, but I’m not pain free…and I don’t know if/when I will be. Positives: I feel fine most of the time and I’m not limping around anymore. Negatives: I have to take it easy. I’m not good at that. I’m trying…but when I do overstep and do too much, I pay for it. It’s not pain that gradually creeps up; it’s instant and it HURTS. Throughout most of this ordeal, I’ve really tried to hide when I’m in pain. I think I’ve associated pain with weakness, and I didn’t want to look weak to my coworkers, my students, or my family. I also (for some reason) didn’t think people would actually believe me. So, I kept my mouth shut and plastered a smile on my face. But, it’s to the point when I am hurting, I can’t hide it anymore.

So, what am I doing? I’ve created quite a bond with my heating pad. I’m buying Ibuprofen fairly regularly. I haven’t danced full out with one of my classes in almost a month. I had a recheck appointment on Wednesday. (Side note: rating my pain on a scale of 1-10, and equating my pain improvement to a percentage is BS…85%  BS.) The appointment went well and the doctor thinks I’ll continue to improve, provided I don’t do any of the things that aggravate my back. (Standing, bending, jumping….need I go on?) I’m trying to let his positivity rub off on me a bit, but it’s hard. It’s hard to not be able to dance, or exercise, or even clean for too long without hurting. I’m frustrated. I’m tired.

That’s why I decided to share. Not because I want you to feel bad for me, or think I’m looking for attention. Today, I’m asking each of you to send some good vibes or prayers into the universe. I’m hoping that, if each of you says a prayer, or sends out good vibes, it will help me feel better about all of this…and hopefully, my back will continue getting better as well.

If you made it through all of that, you deserve an award! (I’m making Nutella cake tomorrow; stop on by!) Thank you in advance for supporting me in my journey. I know this isn’t part of the list, but it is part of me, and I thought it was important to share all aspects of the journey, not just the fun ones. On a completely unrelated note, I’m hoping to start work on a fun thing tomorrow. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted.



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