Yes ok, that was a pun, and a very poor one at that. I guess cryptic tweets and facebook status updates are really not the way to do this anymore. After a glorious 2 week trip, this is the last thing I want to blog about but it’s important for my own catharsis and to get everyone understanding why it is I’ve been a hermit upon my return to sunny Melbourne. Yes, that was another joke, the coldness of this damn city is killing me. What I would do for the tropics right now.
I’m highly emotionally volatile this week, and it’s because 2010, you have just about slain me with infliction of injuries. At the start of the year it was a pinched nerve in my neck that took weeks to treat to wellness. Just 2 months ago, I tore my ankle ligament, putting grave fears that I wouldn’t be able to dance for a long time in my heart (and my dance partner’s!). Luckily with solid treatment and the mother of all braces, I was able to perform, perhaps not to perfection, but to satisfaction, on my overseas trips. In ugly flat shoes. Uh huh. But still, everything till now has seemed a mere trip up in the journey of my dancing. And now? Probably the most dreaded injury of all. You see, you can operate on knees, heal ligaments and broken bones eventually, even strengthen dislocated limbs. I’ve done all of those at various stages and always bounced back. This is the first time I literally feel like I can’t, and may not.
So when I got back from the airport on Wednesday, I had a bit of a cough. I’m not talking a hacking, thumping on the back requiring cough, I’m talking a very ladylike KOFFKOFF. And all of a sudden my back seized up. I’d been feeling its soreness for a few days in India already, but this was nothing like soreness, it was acute pain. I called out for Steve and said “Honey, this doesn’t feel so good.”
I spent the next 24 hours in a state of flux and pain – but knowing that sometimes backs do get thrown out, they just need rest, I just needed to give it time. However I’d never been in this much pain before – not through fractured bones, knee operations or ligament issues in my ankle. Movement was highly restricted, as almost anything caused searing pain right in my lower spine. I couldn’t sit, move forward or well, do anything.
On Friday I got an appointment with yet another of the wonderful doctors at the Olympic Park Medical Centre – these guys are not only awesome, they are also starting to get to know me, ALL of them, through all my various injuries! Bonus! The only thing bad is that these guys treat all manner of athletes and truly know their injuries.
As soon as my doctor pronounced the words “slipped disc“, the tears started streaming down my cheeks. I’ve never been so glad to have Steve sitting in a doctor’s office with me as then. He explained to me all the implications, the treatments possible, the risk factors, all the while handing me tissues and watching me silently weep. All that was going through my head was “this is it“. I was soooo mortified but couldn’t help it – I’d just had it with waiting rooms, doctors, and pronouncements of me not dancing anymore. He was delightful about it and pretended like there wasn’t a loony bin sitting in front of him collapsing into a whirlwind of emotions, but gosh it was awful.
Imagine feeling like you’re finally, after many years, becoming the dancer you have wanted to be, and have made the difficult and seemingly insane decision to quit your job, focus on your 2 passions in life, and LIVE your dream instead of trying to do it half heartedly whilst having a full time job. And life, instead of saying “YES, Go Forth! Pursue with Passion!”, instead rubs its hands together in glee and keeps sticking its foot out in the aisle to trip you over. And over. Oh, and over.
I know no one with a fully slipped disc (not spine PROBLEMS, but a disc that has prolapsed entirely) who has been able to resume to 100% of their ability. And certainly not quickly. And definitely not in dance, a sport that requires full use of your body. Plus, I don’t really have a year or two to recuperate – I’m almost 30. It’s time for me to do this NOW. As you might imagine, this has been a huge blow. My brother had a slipped disc. It made his life a misery.
To explain the crazy emotions I’ve been through in the last 2 days, exacerbated of course by the WOOSA inducing painkillers they’ve put me on, and the need to stay bed-bound for 3 days (because lying still is SO in my nature!), would give you an insight into the insanity that I’m not sure I want publicly displayed. But as ever, I am willing to be adventurous in my descriptions, so here goes.
I’m weepy. Leaking like a badly installed roof in a storm. Angry. Moping. Feeling like it’s hopelessly unfair. I’m discouraged. At times of real sinking, I think that there are sadly enough, people in the Melbourne salsa scene that may be happy this has happened to me. I’m also relieved sometimes, that it hasn’t hit the nerves in my legs, graced with blessings that mean I could potentially heal. Maybe. I’m frustrated. Sad. In a rage. I see colours and lights and happiness when the drugs are peaking and smile drunkenly and blabber lots and entertain anyone who’s online and up for a seemingly drunken chat. I’m sore from lying down. Standing up hurts. My body feels like it has snapped in half. Eyes hurt from crying. I’m alone. Living in a different country to my family and home has never felt so difficult.
I know logically that the only way is up. And my team has rallied together incredibly to ensure my two events this weekend go off without a hitch in my absence, as well as to make sure the school keeps running smoothly. My friends have been amazingly loving, supportive and all of it. My business partners have been so understanding. Steve, love of my life, has been a strength and pillar of support, and my family has been superb at long distance love. I realistically have a very good support system to get through this.
And I know it’s not entirely dire – I COULD bounce. If this first few days goes well and I lie and don’t move, it may heal. I am lucky. I have so much around me to be thankful for. I’m going to focus on allowing my loved ones into my life to help look after me instead of reclusing like a hermit (my first instinct when I’m injured). I’m going to blog. Lots. I’m going to do all the computer/accounting/admin type things for the studio I can whilst lying down. I’m going to plan my recovery. All the while, I’m going to allow the emotions and rage because it’s healthy (sorry in advance, my friends!). And try to ignore the pain, the pain, the pain that is all consuming.
If I am a recluse, if I don’t want to talk, forgive me. I have some very tough decision making to do in the next couple of days about my upcoming travel and events, about allowing my mum to come to Melbourne to tend to me, about how I’m not going to make Steve crazy as I’m a difficult patient. At this stage I’ve been told not to leave the house, to just lie flat, to not MOVE. And moving is painful – it literally feels like my body has been cut in half at the spine. Basic things like going to the bathroom, making a cup of tea, sitting up to eat, they hurt. And ashamed as I am to admit this, I’m not in a space (given it’s only been 24 hours since diagnosis) to hear about anyone else’s experiences, good or bad. I’m struggling, even if I’m having a moment of lucidity as I type this. I’m crying a lot. I’m sorry. It’s immature. But I need time with it all.
So I guess this is the end of the story. I haven’t not been able to type it all out in a coherent way, just an honest way. I promise to update again soon – I am aware of all the people friends, family out there who love me dearly and to whom I owe it to to keep updated. I am such a lucky girl who just feels momentarily kicked in the guts by life.