A Ballad of Convalescence


A Ballad of Convalescence

Some of you know about a back injury that I sustained over a year ago. The recovery process has been an interesting one. Well, let’s just call it what it is: gut-wrenching/depressing/excruciating/heart-opening/lonely/hopeful (feel free to add your own words here, please).

I tried to heal by avoiding large and sudden movements, in part because I was cautioned against sustaining further injury from my colleagues, but also because movement was at first nearly impossible. A few weeks went by and the pain stayed at excruciating. I tried some gentle stretches as well as walking but in the end, I became scared of my pain and of not being able to fully heal or recover. Somehow, a year went by and the pain was still in charge of the way that I chose to exist.

So I went to see my colleague, an amazing pelvic floor PT named Kathe Wallace, and she looked at me during her evaluation and said,

“How long has it been since you’ve really exercised?”

I told her what I had been doing and she replied,

“I think you need to start moving again, girlfriend!”

Crap. Was I just given permission to move, even though pain was rearing its ugly head!? So I started. Slowly. It was a constant dance of reaching out and exploring what I could and could not do in this new body of mine. There were big adjustments that needed to be made, creating clear boundaries for my overall energy so that I had enough juice to reintegrate this new information for further healing. This included choosing sleep over social gatherings. It also meant that I tried to choose more nourishing foods and supportive friends over comfort foods and laborious personalities.

A particularly special moment came when I was at a music store looking for new sheet music (I was playing the piano again as part of my rehab). The store manager and I struck up a conversation about my choice in certain pieces.

“They are sad, yet beautiful.” he said.

He started inquiring about my life and when I told him about my back it was just like that: sad and beautiful.

“So of course you need music that breaks the heart and then glues it back together again.” This man stunned me and he continued, “Well, now you’re being tested. How badly do you want to dance? The universe took it away from you so that you would have to see what you were willing to do to get it back again.”

So thus was the beginning steps of a healer’s jig, sprinkled with muttered imprecations. It has brought me some wonderful results and I am stronger and more hopeful. And I am dancing again.

 

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