I think I am getting to be a bit of a pro at coming back.
Today was my first lesson back. And it was hard and rough.
I am not sure why, but of everything I have done, recovering from this surgery seems to be the hardest. I am more tired than I have experienced before.
I almost cancelled my lesson, but decided that I just needed to get back on the horse. It takes 2 weeks to acclimate to a new schedule and activity (approximately), and I am starting slow. But the sooner I get that 2 weeks started, the sooner I can hopefully adapt.
It wasn’t an intense lesson. Boss is of course very mindful that I am still recovering, and I had told him ahead of time that I was pretty tired. I wasn’t sore though from the day, so I wanted to work through the fatigue.
We started by just dancing. Boss decided to run through all my routines just to review them and to get an idea of where I am. I completely agreed this was a good idea.
We weren’t pushing things or even doing full frame to start out in standard. Just after we started running through the waltz, I had to stop just to collect myself. I wasn’t quite prepared for how different my belly would feel compared to before. Now it is much tighter since my outer and inner abdominal walls just below my belly button are stitched together. I was getting a lot of stretching and pulling I wasn’t used to. It wasn’t painful, just unusual.
Once we started again, I felt better. As we worked through the routines, we were able to move more into closed position, although very basically. Then the endurance issues started to kick in. When we finished the QuickStep, I had to sit for a little bit because I thought I might be sick. Once I recovered, we continued through to latin and again by the time we got to jive I was struggling and feeling ill, so I sat out again for a little bit. It also spoke to my fatigue that the more routines we did, the more I was forgetting steps–to the point I couldn’t seem to get through the ‘mooch’ in my jive with the right timing.
But in the end, I did get through them all. It certainly wasn’t full-on dancing, but at least it was a start. Nothing hurt unreasonably, and the most I could say I was feeling was a burning sensation through my abdomen.
Despite the issues, Boss commented on two good things he noticed–first that my standard frame was much stronger than before, and second that I was slowly using the ‘push-pull’ for lead and follow in latin making us better connected through the steps in general, and showing progress in my understanding of how that works.
After running through the routines, we worked on standard some. Boss showed me a small exercise he would like me to do to change slightly how I move in standard, or begin to move and then he asked what would be easier to work on–samba or standard.
I chose standard because it seemed easier to hold my core and stretch than to try to continually move it. The jury is still out on whether that was the right decision.
We practiced getting into full hold. It was interesting because Boss changed how we do it a little. First we slowed it down to take the time to get into hold slowly. Then we broke it down into 3 parts working together–first I take his left hand, then I move in and make contact with his thighs, placing my left arm to make an ‘x’ with his right arm at his elbow. Then as he straightens up, I stretch out to the left and bend my arm at the elbow to put my hand on his left bicep. It’s a similar position to what I was doing before, but just different and more segregated steps to get into it.
The one thing I did notice right away is that my pelvis is much more forward and my headweight is now very much over my heels (where it should be). I also found myself to be experiencing some new stretching sensations through my abdomen and back.
After we practiced getting into position a few times, we did some movement with me just following what boss did, including doing some CBM. The CBM was tricky, but I did get it in the end and Boss seemed to be really happy with how things were going and looking. I could definitely feel my core shaking though as I was working to hold my position and I think Boss could too. Interestingly, we ended by doing some pivots because I think Boss just wanted to see what I would do. I have done them before, and had a general idea but was being a little tentative. We are going to work more on them though, so I am looking forward to that as it they will help with all my turns and spins in standard.
I got through the lesson and didn’t feel too bad in the end. I made notes in my ‘Book of Positives’, starting a new chapter, and could feel myself starting to ‘crash’. It’s going to be early to bed tonight for sure. Now that I have been sitting some, I can tell I have some swelling, and there is a strong ache in my abdomen. I am hoping both will subside by tomorrow with some anti-inflammatories.
My next lesson will be on Friday and Boss told me we are going to start doing the routines for my Silver test in August as my current competitive routines don’t follow the strict sequence of steps expected for the test. For the test, certain steps can only be preceded or followed by certain other steps, and some of my routines don’t follow that order.
No practice this week as it is my first week back and my first week back at work. I don’t think I will be adding practice next week either, but I have a plan for slowly building all my activities with a goal to getting there by the end of July, barring any issues with hormone therapy.
Either way, it’s good to be returning again, and back on the floor.