Radiation and Pre-Surgery Goals

I guess since I missed yesterday, tonight I am in the mood to write two!

I wanted to make this post separate because it’s a bit of a bigger one, and separate from my lessons yesterday and today.  More of a ‘bigger picture’ post, you might say.

My lessons over the last little bit, conversations with Boss and information I have received about my health has generated a lot of thinking.  I have realized that I need to give myself some goals to focus on this fall as I go through radiation and prepare for my surgery.  I guess I have enough information now that I was able to decide what they should be.

Boss hasn’t approved these goals yet, and when it comes to lessons, he is the boss, so I will learn what he decides to teach.  But I have sent them to him for consideration and I hope he will be able to respond to them after the competition this weekend is finished and off his plate.  He is doing lessons on Monday, but I won’t have one because I will be home back east (YAY!). Right now, I am not sure when my next lesson with Boss will be because I want to take some time for myself and I am not sure if the 2 weeks he is taking off until August 16th will be enough.

I think it will be though, especially since I will be going home to re-charge for a week.  I think the biggest thing I really needed to figure out were some goals to focus on during the fall to help me get through radiation and ready for my surgery.

Deep down, I am pretty freaked out about how both will affect dance.  Radiation shouldn’t be too bad as long as I keep managing the fatigue and remember to give myself a break when I am tired.  I also need to remember that Boss does keep an eye on my practicing and will cut things out of my exercises if they are too much and unproductive to do.

My surgery is really freaking me out.  It’s quite the wild card and there are a lot of potential negative side effects that can delay healing or make dance difficult.  It is going to be 8 weeks until I can even think about doing more than very basic dance and getting back into full technique–especially in Latin.  My core is going to be very affected.

But I need to keep in mind that I am young, and relatively fit.  All of that works in my favour and if all goes well, parts of me will be smaller and that will only help dance in the end.  I will also probably be ‘tighter’ through the areas where I am struggling right now because I am too flexible and that will also help.

And now, I have figured out some goals to help me get to that point.  I already have goals for after surgery as the main one is just getting back dancing and into shape for a comp at the end of April.

So, without further ado, these are my goals through radiation until my surgery (subject to Boss’s approval, of course):

  1. Practice on my own at least 3x/week–2 for exercises, 1 for practicing latin and smooth routines.  Try and add a 3rd day for exercises, if I have energy.
  2. “Finish” my latin routines
  3. “Finish” the smooth routines
  4. Focus on standard
  5. Attend the round practices with Boss as regularly as possible
  6. Compete in October

The “key” goal there is to focus on Standard.  Because of the proprioception issues I have, standard doesn’t come to me as ‘naturally’ as Latin does.  I have a hard time keeping track of what my body is doing when working on my own.  On top of that, because Standard is harder on my body and requires a lot more energy from me, we haven’t been able to work on it too much during chemo, so it has fallen a bit behind Latin.  I like to keep them as equal as possible, so time focusing on Standard is definitely needed for me.  It’s also harder to practice on my own and my time with Boss is limited by budget and just general time constraints.

What I mean by ‘finish’ is to have the routines worked out with both steps and styling–two things I can work on fairly consistently.  Technique will always need work, so it will be ever evolving, but with the steps and styling I can practice the routines on my own.  Right now the only routine where I have both steps and styling is Samba (and that was yesterday).  So I want to got through each of them in detail with Boss for the styling so that I can work on getting the styling second nature with the steps on my own while we focus on standard.

The ’round’ practices are extra practices Boss runs that I can pay to attend and practice with him.  The practices are for competitive couples only and it’s an opportunity to run through each of the International Style dances one at a time and then all 5 (in each style) together in a row without a break–like an open final.  I have to take my turn with Boss’s other competitive pro/am students, since there is only one Boss and he also needs to watch his Am/Am couples during the other rounds.  I am his only student competing in Latin right now who wants to do the practices, so that is in my favour for Latin.  They are great practices that Boss runs for the local competitive community and they are really popular and helpful for stamina and endurance.  I haven’t been able to do them since halfway through chemo, so I am looking forward to getting back to them, or at least getting some regular practice with Boss that isn’t during my private lessons and at private lesson prices.

I hope I am able to meet my practice goals.  Time will tell on that one.

I am just glad to have something to focus on and look forward to for my next phase of treatment.

2 thoughts on “Radiation and Pre-Surgery Goals

  1. Hi! I’m a new reader to your blog. What kind of surgery are you planning on getting? Sorry if that question is too personal, I just work with a lot of cancer patients at my job, so I’ve learned a little bit. But best of luck to you with both your cancer journey and your ballroom journey. I’ve recently switched from dancing ballroom regularly to dancing West Coast Swing, simply because the amount of social dancing where I live and because of the cost of lessons. I look forward to reading more of your posts.


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