Well, Hello again. I’m not one for celebrating half birthdays but today marks 6 months post-op. Today is a significant day for me as I look back on everything that has happened during these past months and all that I have accomplished since then.
Before Christmas, I had my Nutcracker performances to deal with. It was an all day event with a 2 hour break in between. We arrived at 9:30 am and immediately got the dressing rooms organized with the 150 costumes that had to be fluffed and laid out, placed signs all over the halls and building, placed colored tapes on the floors(which I directed my husband where to put them), got lighting cues set up for all the dances, and every other little detail I am leaving out. Believe me, there are a lot. I do all of this before dancers arrive at 11 am and start rehearsals. By this point, I was already in so much pain I could hardly breathe. “Take it easy” they all tell me. “Don’t do too much.” It’s not possible. Other than laying the tapes on the floor myself and doing costume changes for my older girls on the side of the stage, I did everything I normally do. After rehearsal, I have a list of all the things that went wrong and how I am going to fix them for the show. Dress rehearsal in my opinion always looks like a mess. What can I say? I am a perfectionist. It doesn’t matter that I just had spinal surgery. I still want the show to go smoothly and as well as it can. We picked up Chipotle on the way home and ate quickly. That guacamole was a real energy booster. After my 20 minutes of laying still(which was definitely not long enough), I then did my make-up, my two daughters’ hair and make-up, answered the 20 emails and messages I had about hair and make-up and shoved the family back in the car for round two. I purposely wore a dramatic open back black dress to show off my scar. This is something I have never ever done. I was so good at hiding my deformed back and making it look like nothing was wrong. However, since surgery, I have learned to embrace my scars. They tell my story and it’s something I am now proud to share that I have and continue to go through. The performance went off without a hitch. There was one moment that my Sugar Plum Fairy was stuck in her costume and I had to send my little Emma out on stage to ham it up and interact with the audience, but it only lasted a couple minutes and Emma lived the moment up with her King Mouse wave like a pageant girl. She is so like me it’s ridiculous. I had an emotional speech and forgot half of what I wanted to say, which is not like me, but I did it. I was so afraid of this whole thing blowing up in my face and going horribly wrong, but instead, it was wonderful. Afterward, I sat a chair up on stage for the pictures the students usually ask to take with me. I could no longer stand at that point and again, it hurt to breath. I felt like Santa Claus as each one approached me. After everyone leaves, our night is not finished. We then pack up all the costumes, clean up all the signs and tape and any other mess left outside the theater doors and pack up the car. Luckily this year, I had a few awesome parents volunteer to help me. I got home and took 2 muscle relaxers and went to bed.
The next day, I had Christmas pictures planned for the kids while Neil was at work. I know, I know. Why the hell would I schedule pictures the day after the show? Your guess is as good as mine. According to my husband, I like to make everything I do as difficult as I can and sometimes I think he is right. I couldn’t even move out of my bed that morning. What was I thinking? After one picture, Nicky was not cooperating. He was more interested in the wrapped face presents they had in the corner and exclaimed more than once, “These are MY presents.” Leaving without those things was fun. Insert why me emoji.
I had the kids wrap more presents than usual this year. I just couldn’t sit on the floor and do it. Some turned out really nice, while others looked like Aunt Bethany on National Lampoon’s Christmas wrapped them. I must disclose, no cats were harmed. Christmas week was hectic. My husband’s birthday is Christmas Eve, and unfortunately he was called into work at 530am for a heart case. After he got home we all had to get ready because we traditionally go over to Neil’s parents on Christmas Eve for his birthday, as well as, for the kids to open their Christmas presents from them. By the time we were done spending the day over at his parents and got the kids in bed we were in no mood to play Santa. Usually I get everything wrapped and all Neil has to focus on is putting the big toys together. Since I was unable to do much wrapping, Neil had to participate. I had fun documenting this momentous occasion on Snapchat. He was not too thrilled. We got to bed around 1 am.
Last week, a really awesome doctor that Neil works with called and offered us tickets to the Sharks game on the 30th. I didn’t even put much thought into how it would affect my body and of course we said yes! We used to go to games all the time but having four kids put a little damper on that. We parked in our usual spot and walked around until we found a restaurant that didn’t have a 2 hour wait (Amicis closed in August). We came across this adorable mexican restaurant with hanging egg chairs and skulls on the wall and most importantly, no wait. My mango margarita was delicious and the food was surprisingly amazing. Full and happy, we walked over to the Arena and filed in through a metal detector. I was so positive it would start beeping, but to my surprise, it didn’t. About halfway through the game, my legs and back began to hurt pretty bad. The walk back to the car was horrendous. It literally felt like I was dragging my left leg behind me. The Fitbit Neil had given me for Christmas was wigging out; probably due to the gasping for air and thumping heart beat. It seemed to think I was doing some amazing and intense workout burning calories. When in reality, I was walking like a zombie in The Walking Dead. Seriously.
The next day, New Year’s Eve of course, was my darling little baby’s 2nd birthday. It makes me tear up to even think about the fact that he is now two. On one hand, it feels like time has gone very very slow for me but then I look at Nicky and wonder where all the time has gone. He had a Fire Truck themed birthday party and walked around the house holding his bouquet of balloons and wearing a fireman hat. We smoked wings and beans. I put out an elaborate cheese board and my chili dip among other appetizers and sides. When it was time for Nicky to open his presents I was able to kneel on the floor to take pictures. After opening all of the presents my body was done. It’s now 5 days later and I am still recuperating from the toll this last week has taken on my body.
After Nicky’s birthday, Neil and I were in bed looking at old pictures of Nicky in the hospital and Neil had mentioned that he couldn’t find any of the photos he took of me in the hospital after surgery. I quickly grabbed my iPad because I figured they were probably all on it. I started to look through them and I immediately began to cry. I just couldn’t help it. Was that really me? Did I really look like that? Has it only been 6 months? There are pictures my husband never posted on the blog for fear that they would scare people too much. Halfway through the pictures I was sobbing. I may have a long road ahead of me, but I have come so far from that day in July. We didn’t know if I was going to be able to walk again and here I am with a completely numb leg, walking around like I am on a cloud. This whole experience has made me realize that I am a freaking rockstar. Not to sound too cheesy or anything.
Good-Bye 2016. I am looking forward to more progress in 2017. I am still in physical therapy but have graduated from baby to what I think may be toddler skill level now. I walk with a limp but no cane is needed unless its a long distance. At ballet class, I was able to lift my leg onto the barre, bent, but on it nonetheless. At play time with the kids, I can kneel on the floor for short periods of time. In physical therapy, I am working on muscle building and core strengthening now that my walking ability has gotten a little better. I am still having quite a bit of issues with my right shoulder. The pain has spread down my arm and across my back and it’s constant. It has been discouraging and frustrating, but there is nothing I can do except continuously go to PT and try to reposition it and work on strengthening muscles around it.
I wish everyone reading this a Happy New Year! Hopefully the good news keeps on coming! Thanks again for the support and taking time out of your life to read my updates.
P.S I added in some pictures from Will’s Christmas Program and some from dinner with my friend, Kitty, because one can’t possibly post too many pictures.
4 thoughts on “Happy 6 month Spine-Iversary”
You really ARE a freaking rockstar! I honestly don’t know anyone else who can do as much as you can. You look stunning in your backless dress. Think back to a year ago…could you even envision that?
Found your blog through Instagram. My 13 y.o. daughter had scoliosis surgery 9 1/2 month ago, -she dances competitively and i showed her your pictures and what an inspiration you are! I know it’s a tough road but you and my daughter are killing it! Your students are lucky to have such a great dance teacher.
Can you please tell me the name of your surgeon??? I would like to give it to someone.
Dr. Serena Hu at Stanford