Competitive Practice

Well, I made it through.

It wasn’t always elegant, and we had to stop and reset here and there, but for the most part I was able to get through each routine at least once without stopping.

We did a bit of a graduated increase in standard–first we did compact almost practice hold just to go through the steps, then Boss told me to slowly start to stretch out, and to use my power to move.

I am still being far more cautious than he would like, but it is slowly coming.  I was able to pinpoint at the end of today the areas where I am still not quite sure of the timing or footwork.  Waltz still remains the most solid right now, and foxtrot is actually not too bad either.  Tango is almost there, and Quickstep had a few issues where I am not sure what I am doing, but I just keep my feel moving.  I think it gave Boss good feedback on what we need to work on and focus on for next week (other than the solo).

We also did one lap of the floor in Viennese Waltz today, and that is where I am really feeling my lack of endurance coming into play.  For each of the routines, I definitely hit a point where I could feel I reached the last of my energy.  Thankfully, it was near the end of the round in most cases.

I am pretty pleased with how things went today as I honestly did expect more hiccups.  It was nice to get on the floor with the other competitive couples in the area for the first time in more than a year.  I have missed these practices for sure.

Latin didn’t go too bad either, although there were almost more issues than in standard.  I kept forgetting the same part in samba (but Boss kept forgetting a different one), and I wasn’t quite able to get all the turns in cha cha (according to Boss I am turning to much for the time I have, and I can agree with that).  Rumba went the best today, just small hiccups in the extended ending Boss added on Friday.  Paso definitely needs some review, and I was doing my old jive routine, so it went well–until I ran out of steam (but I almost made it through and with my knees up!).

Yesterday, I had a dress fitting and it was pretty exciting.  We are at the point where the stoning is starting! Both dresses are looking really amazing, even before the stones and I can’t wait until the next time I get to try them.

Next week is going to be pretty busy.  On Monday we are going to review the routines, and on Wednesday and Thursday we will work on the solo.  I should have the skirt for the solo ready to start practicing in next weekend.  I can’t believe it is already halfway through September!

Today is the one year anniversary from my last radiation treatment–what a difference a year makes!

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Comp Preparation

3 more weeks until the competition–Yikes!!

I have some good news from this week.  After an exhausting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (where I didn’t even think it would be safe to drive to practice 😦 ), at about 5 pm on Thursday I suddenly had a complete turn-around and burst of energy which has continued into today.

This turn-around and other symptoms make me strongly suspect that the extreme fatigue, mind fuzziness, difficulty thinking, etc. is actually hormone related.  Looking back, the last time I felt that bad was about 4 weeks ago.  It could be a sign that despite the chemopause and hormone therapy, my body is still trying to be cyclical.  I have noted on my calendar what happened and when, and I am going to see if it happens again in about 4 weeks.  Interestingly, it was the appearance of the full moon that triggered to me that perhaps this is cyclical, and not just a random occurrence, as I remember feeling ‘off’ the last time the moon was almost full.  If I didn’t know better, I would almost think I had a bout of extreme PMS.

That aside, preparations for the competition are continuing.  All the routines are choreographed now, and this week Boss and I spent time running through them and getting them to a point where I can do them mostly from start to finish in preparation for the competitive run-through practice on Sunday.

The latin routines, with the exception of a small piece near the end of the samba I need to remind myself about are in really good shape.  I need to focus in a bit on my styling for them now and focus on working through them ‘all out’.

The standard routines are coming, but taking more work than the latin routines.  Waltz is in the best place right now, with (shockingly) Quickstep just behind followed by tango and Foxtrot.  I have the routines written out now, which seems to be key for me to memorize and understand them, and they are at a place where I should be able to get through them from top to bottom without too much incident.

The biggest thing the standard routines need right now is confidence.  When I get to a part I am not too sure of, I tend to tense up, and then my shoulders hunch, especially my right side.  I also tend to start moving small and cautiously.  Today, we had some spots where I felt confident enough to really ‘let out the gas’, and it is pretty interesting when I do.  My goal is to get to that point through all the routines and hold nothing back.  Boss is working on encouraging me to use my power in standard (while still being controlled), and helping me to really realize what I am capable of.  The more we run through the routines the more I realize how cautious I am normally and how much I hold back, but at the same time, each time I allow myself to really go for it, it is a victory.

I think one of the most challenging things I will encounter at this competition is to keep myself in check and to not ‘overdo’ it by pushing beyond what I can control.  It’s a fine line.  I need to be confident in my movement, but I also need to be able to keep the confidence within the realm of what I can control.

Boss told me 2 weeks ago that he had been reviewing our previous competition videos and that he found it really interesting.  When I asked him why it was interesting, he said he was really looking forward to seeing what will happen once I am in full power and control and at my ‘top form’.  Of the videos from my last 3 competitions, I wasn’t completely 100% for any of them, due to illness or injury.

The entry list for the competition I am doing is out and I was pleasantly surprised to see that in latin I will be against 3 other competitors in most of my single dances, and will have competition in both of my multi-dances.  That is really encouraging and awesome for this competition, considering last year I was alone.  Great growth and kudos to the organizers for that.  In standard I am alone, except possibly in my multi-dance, which takes a little bit of pressure off it.  It’s been quite some time since I have had competition, and it does make me a little nervous as all the students I am against are people who I have neither danced with nor seen previously, but it is exciting nonetheless.

Despite the nervousness, I am just trying to remind myself that the goal of this competition is simply to get the routines on the floor.  If I can do that, mission accomplished!  It’s great though to be excited about a competition, as it’s been a while since I have been.

We didn’t work on the solo this week, but we are supposed to do that on Monday.  I know that the practice on Sunday will certainly highlight the areas that still need some work, and that will likely set the stage for the preparations over the next 3 weeks.

On a different front, my dresses are coming along really well!  I have a fitting tomorrow, and following that they should be at the stage where the stoning will start, to really get them towards the final product.  The third dress should be started as well (the smooth dress), and I am excited to see all three!  I am also having a skirt made for my solo, so I am hoping there is a little bit of progress on that too as I think it will be useful to practice with it as soon as I can (no pressure to my awesome dressmaker!!).

So along with a debut of new open silver routines, I am also going to be debuting two new dresses, a new solo routine with a new skirt.  Lots of exciting things happening!

I am nervous for the rehearsal on Sunday.  It’s been more than a year since I have done any of these practices and I am not entirely sure I have the endurance to be up to the challenge.  I am going to try my best though!  I was joking with Boss tonight that my goal for Sunday is to get through everything without falling down–although I think I was more than half serious!  His goal is for me to do things ‘compact’ the first round and then to ‘open up the gas’ for the second one.  Interesting how we have different perspectives :). We will see who has the best predictions.

It’s been a while since I have been in full ‘competition prep mode’ and I am finding the change refreshing.  I think even seeing that I have actual competition in some of my heats has helped to motivate me some.  Lots to do, but I think for the goals I hope to achieve with this competition, I am in a good place.

By the way–tomorrow is my one year anniversary for my last radiation treatment!

Frustration

Sometimes I feel like I am thinking through water.

One of the side effects of chemo and radiation that seems to be lingering is how quickly I get mentally fatigued.  By the end of the day, especially on Monday, my brain feels really fuzzy and I just can’t seem to process things.

Monday can be especially frustrating as by the time I get to my lesson I am really near the end of my limits.  I practice before my lesson, and I do strength training earlier in the day, on top of a full day of work.  My lesson is more or less the last thing I do, and I am first to admit I have a hard time staying ‘on my game’.

Today was no exception.  We were working on the open standard routines, going through the choreography and trying to run-through the sequences with the music as best I could.  Usually, I can pick up the footwork and timing of new choreography really quickly, but today I kept making the same mistakes over and over and I just couldn’t seem to get my mind to wrap around what I was doing.  I just couldn’t keep track of where I was and what I was trying to do.

Boss was trying really hard to be patient, but I could tell he was also getting frustrated.  He is not used to me struggling so much with something, and certainly not used to me making the same mistakes repeatedly.

It wasn’t helping that I hadn’t had a chance to review the standard sequences, and get the footwork into my feet.  That is my plan before my lesson on Thursday–to get comfortable moving through the steps and timing in all 7 open sequences so that we can start working on other details (like the shaping), and so that when the competitive practice comes on Sunday, I will be able to run-through the sequences.

Frustration is bound to happen here and there.  I am still adjusting, and it hasn’t even been a full year since I finished radiation yet.  Almost there, but not quite.  I have seen some good progress, but I am still not quite where I was.  I am ready though to put in a bit of extra time to reach my goals.  I just hope my body holds out for it.

I did try running again today, but I am not sure yet if I can say it was a success.  My knees are definitely stiff and sore tonight, more so than they have been.  Tomorrow will be the teller–if they are ok tomorrow I am good to go.  If they are still sore, I am not.

Fingers crossed that today will be the only frustrating thing this week.

Shimmy Shimmy Shake

Oh good lord…

That was my exact response when Boss proposed we do a section of ‘shimmying’ in our open samba routine.

But, I have been trying to get out of my comfort zone and shimmying is definitely out there.  After a few rather hilarious attempts to get me shimmying rather than twisting, it seemed to start to come together.  The worse part is that I will have to spend a lot of random moments shimmying to keep the sensation in my head…so guess what I may be doing in the office tomorrow to get out of my chair.  Thankfully my colleagues are used to me doing random weird dance things.

Today’s lesson was about putting together 3 open latin routine for the competition in October.  Mostly, Boss added some open variations to the routines I already had, so it wasn’t too complicated but each routine certainly has it’s challenges.  Samba seems to be the trickiest, but it was last tonight and my mental capacity was definitely fading.  My mind was just spinning trying to keep track of all the steps.

We were able to record Boss doing my steps for all 3 routines so I have something to reference when I have some time to think through the routines.  I like the variations a lot and look forward to seeing what will happen with the standard routines on Thursday.

It occurred to me this weekend that there are only 6 weeks left until this competition.  We will be sending in the entries soon, and booking the hotel.  I am excited and nervous at the same time.  It’s been a really long time since I have done focused work to prepare for a competition and it still seems a bit surreal.  We are even starting to do some planning for the competition after that in January.

There are only 3 open latin routines so far because I will only be doing 3 latin dances.  We actually have elements for the 4th (jive), but none of the events I will do at this upcoming competition will have either jive or paso, so they are not a priority right now.

In standard, Boss told me he will do more of the same–substitute some open steps into my existing routines, at least for Waltz, Tango and Foxtrot.  Quickstep I imagine is a lot more tricky as open Quickstep is very different from syllabus Quickstep.  I guess I will see on Thursday.  For my Viennese Waltz we will try adding some pivots and see how they go.  We have been working on them, so I hope they will go well.  I actually haven’t really done VW in almost 6 months, so that should be an interesting experiment.

One thing the open latin routines don’t have that I think I would like to see added is a small entrance to the routines.  I will have to float that idea by boss.  I have some ideas, and I think something to ‘set the stage’ might be interesting.

Tomorrow is another step forward–I have a dress fitting!  I haven’t seen my dresses in over a month, so I am really looking forward to see where they are at.  We are getting to the stage where soon the sparkly stuff will be coming out, so that is really exciting.  The competition in October will be my ‘debut’ for these new dresses.

Going back to shimmying, the reason it is so outside my comfort zone is that I am still thinking a lot of the shape I used to be.  In the last few weeks, weight has actually started to come off, instead of just reducing in size, but I still see myself as someone much larger than I actually am.  So the idea of shimmying and shaking immediately brings to mind that it’s too flamboyant and that I shouldn’t be doing it.  Boss thinks the whole effect is a lot of fun and he has me doing a lot of hip movements in all the routines.  I guess it’s good to show off my ‘ass’ets.  Boss did make a point that I can do a lot of these things because it doesn’t take a lot of momentum for me to have a good effect. That is one thing I can’t disagree with.

The routines in general have given me some things to think about and consider.  There are elements where I get to bring some of my personality to the routines, and I need to figure out how to do that.  It’s a challenge, outside my comfort zone, and probably just what I need.

 

 

Chemoversary

1 year since my last chemo treatment.

Seems almost impossible at this point looking back.  All I remember was feeling bad that I felt so sick and weak at the time I didn’t have the energy to celebrate then.

So much has happened in the last year and I have come so far.  I have had radiation, shingles, 3 surgeries, returned to work, returned to strength training, returned to running and returned to structured dance training.  I have hair now!

There were some goals I reached (such as performing, regular workouts, structured eating), and some that are still works in progress (still have the extra 30lbs hanging around from chemo, even though I am smaller!).

I wonder if July 17th will be a day that will stick in my head for a long time yet.  It is almost a milestone, where I can look back over the last year and see the progress I have done.

Even a year later, I still suffer from side effects from the treatments.  I am still showing signs of premature menopause and it is getting less likely that will ever reverse.  I am still struggling with dry skin, something I never had before chemo.  My brain still gets very foggy and I have a hard time processing things verbally.  I often forget words in the middle of a sentence.

But I am here and in general doing well.  Last week was a challenge as I got a stomach virus which messed up the levels of HT in my system and caused side effects from that to act up.  I think I slept more than 12 hours 5 out of the last 7 days, but have had to take full doses of my insomnia meds to do so.

That’s the trickiest thing I am encountering right now–how to tell what is side effects, what is an actual illness and what is just general fatigue?  I am looking forward at the next two weeks and taking them to be the real adjustment period to working 6 hour days.

I also see a physio therapist next week for my knees–hopefully that will help and ‘reduce activity’ won’t be the first thing on the menu.

I missed practice and my lesson at the end of last week, but made it up on Friday (the lesson anyway).  It was a great lesson–Boss and I were working through the first smooth routine designed for us by the judge I mentioned.  Such a fun routine!

I will post more about that next week.  Boss also told me he is ready to discuss goals now that he knows where I am physically so I am looking forward to that.

I am going to leave you with something I haven’t done, and likely won’t again–before, during and after photos.  So here you–this is me 1 week before chemo, about halfway through, and me today.

Keep smiling and dancing!

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Post Comp thoughts

I have had a few days to reflect and catch up after the competition, so now I am going to write down some of my thoughts.

The Girl With the Tree Tattoo recently wrote a post about ‘Post Comp Blues‘ which is really relevant as I also go through my own version of this after an event.

This time it’s a little different because of all the issues and challenges I faced leading up to the event, but certainly my thoughts are quite reflective and introspective.

I had a ‘post-comp’ lesson with Boss yesterday where we took the time to have a look at the videos from the competition, discuss how it went and what the next steps should be.  It was a really good talk and helped to bring some focus into things.  He and I were pretty much on the same page with what we noticed–my legs were much more consistently straighter and I am more grounded than previously, there is some upper body movement, but there needs to be more, and you can see where I was running out of steam as each dance progressed.  He also noted that even though we didn’t really place (nor did I expect to competing against open-level competitors with my silver routines), we did really win the audience.  Several people made a point of saying how much they enjoyed watching us dance.

One of my goals for this competition was to focus on working and connecting with Boss throughout the routines and to increase my expressiveness.  That was something that went really really well throughout the entire competition and Boss even remarked before the evening session that we were really working well together on the floor.  I am taking a victory for that.

It’s hard to know what to think about this competition knowing all the challenges I was facing for it.  I also didn’t compete against anyone at my own level, so really right now I have no idea where I would stand if I were to compete against other silver-level dancers, but Boss thinks I would do really well.

There are small things to fix, of course.  My armwork for the most part was really good, but here and there I would do something that was just not quite what I was looking for.  I would still forget my right arm a little.  My arm movements did look natural.  Most of my footwork was precise, but there were some spots where it could have been much sharper.  I need to work on my ‘flick’ when moving forward.  I still have my leg speed when I need it.

Overall, I am very very glad I did this competition even though I came close to having to cancel.  Even at the competition I had a strong war with myself before deciding to do the evening session.  The competition gave me something to focus on and now I can look back and be proud to know that I did it.

I have 5 weeks until my surgery and it still seems unreal to me that it is going to happen.  I am still feeling the effects of shingles.  I am still experiencing the side-effects from radiation.  I am exhausted.

Boss and I are going to perform my solo at a social dance this weekend for the dancers in my home town.  I am looking forward to the performance, but honestly if I didn’t have a performance I wouldn’t be doing any lessons this week.

Next week, we are going to dive into the smooth routines and try to get them to a workable place before my surgery.  That will be the focus for the 4 weeks leading up to it.

Boss talked a lot about my surgery and the effects it could have on my dancing.  He also talked about some exercises and things he wants me to focus on while I am recovering since I won’t be able to be on the floor.  I am, I guess, a little surprised he had put so much thought into it, because honestly I haven’t yet, but I am glad to know he is already thinking ahead and how he can support post-surgery.  I just haven’t gotten there yet, so it is a little over-whelming to think and talk about.

Boss and I talked briefly about standard yesterday, as I had told him I was having doubts about it and asked him to wait until after the competition to talk about it.  He had some encouraging things to say, but I need to give it more thought for myself before I think I will be really ready to discuss it with Boss.  I don’t plan on making any decisions until after my surgery as there is no point, but it would be good to have the discussion now because perhaps there isn’t a decision to make.  I know I missed standard watching the couples competing in it at the competition and most especially watching Boss compete with one of his other students and that is a big thing to take into consideration.  I am sure I will have more to write about it in the near future.

I guess the main thing that is bothering me a little right now is that I am very much lacking motivation.  I have a lesson tomorrow and part of me can’t imagine having the energy to do it.  I have lessons next week, but I haven’t really gotten to the point of looking forward to them as I usually do.  And I am looking forward to working on the smooth routines.

Mostly right now, I just want to sleep a lot.  I only yesterday stopped taking the anti-viral medication every 4 hours so last night was the first night I was able to sleep without having to wake up to take them.  I hope with some sleep I will ‘perk-up’.

More to follow.

Shingles

Say what? Aren’t they on roofs?

Apparently not always.

I think I mentioned I broke out in a rash and thought it might have been the side effects for the pain meds I was taking.  After googling the possible side effects, I realized it was not and since it was worse today I dragged myself back to the ER.

It took them about 30 seconds to diagnose me with shingles.

Apparently being a cancer patient and undergoing radiation puts you at risk for shingles and it is an uncommon side effect.  Certainly not one that was on my radar, for sure.

Aside from the rash, it causes debilitating nerve pain and that is what I have been experiencing for the past week.

There is a silver lining.

Because I went to the ER within 72 hours of the rash appearing, I am able to take anti-viral medication to shorten the time period the condition will last.  With the anti-virals plus multiple pain medications I should be feeling much better by early next week.

The only limit on my activity is what I can tolerate through the pain and because it is nerve pain moving helps control it.

So after a bit of a break, I should be back to dance early next week and somehow still able to do the competition next weekend.

There is nothing like making things as challenging as possible for me to reach my goal of dancing through this.

My first concern was that I was contagious–afterall, shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox–and more so because Boss told me he has never had chicken pox–but the doctors told me I am not contagious unless someone comes in direct contact with the rash, which is very unlikely as it is on my back and breast and not in any exposed areas.

Whew! I don’t know what I would do if I had unwillingly and unknowingly made Boss sick right before a competition.

We did have one competition way back in the beginning of 2014 when we both came down with the flu during the comp, but it was the tail end of the comp and we managed.  The entire group almost ended up sick in the end.

I am just glad this is not so much a ‘show-stopper’ as I was fearing, and that I am not contagious.  I had to cancel my lesson today as I was obviously feeling quite miserable, but Boss said we should be able to make it up on Tuesday.  I hope by then I am feeling better.

Truthfully, I am pretty disheartened by this news.  I am glad it is not anything worse (although it’s bad enough!), but on top of everything else I am dealing with it really just seems unfair.  Not that life is ever fair, but I guess I was just really hoping for a break :). That said, I did have a fairly easy time through chemo (as far as chemo can be easy!), so in a way I guess I was due for something bad from radiation.  Just to keep things balanced.  I am hopeful that this all means that my surgery will be complication-free so I can finally move forward with my life without too many lasting issues from cancer.

So today I start taking anti-virals every 4 hours, which includes waking up to take them.  I was pretty much waking up that often to take my pain meds, so it is not too much different.

In 2 weeks, all of this will be behind me and I can look back and be relieved to have gotten through it.

Just have to get there 🙂

Giving my all

Sorry I haven’t written much lately.

The bottom line is that I am still in a lot of pain.  I ended up going to the emergency room Tuesday night to get even stronger pain meds and I have been living in a bit of a pain med fog for 2 days now.  I am trying to cut back on how many I am taking, but it is looking like that is a bad idea.

We still don’t know if it’s the radiation or hormone therapy that caused this.  It could even be a combination of both.  For now, the hormone therapy is on hold until I get past this, then I imagine I will have to try it again.  When they told me I might experience some ‘pain’ post-radiation, they never said to the point that I would need pain meds more than ibuprofen.  I feel like they completely side-swiped me with this.  At least, in some ways, it is getting a little bit better.  The pain has moved from my back more to my front now which is making it a little easier to relax.  The best way to describe it is a constant sharp burning with radiating ‘buzzing’ that travels through the tissues.

Ironically, the best thing for managing the pain is to move as much as possible. So, despite taking heavy pain killers I have continued to have lessons and even got through a competitive run-through last night.  We have been working to polish the solo now that we have the ending and sharpen up some of the spots in between.  Last night, I was able to dance all 5 latin dances for 1:30 in a row, which completely surprised myself.  I figure if I can get through 5 dances in a row now, while taking heavy pain meds, I should be ok for the competition next weekend.

Hard to believe I will be competing in a week.  Especially right now trying to deal with ongoing pain.  But I am committed to it and I have been through worse.  My schedule for the day is pretty good–we dance late morning to early afternoon and then we don’t dance again until mid-evening.  That gives me a good break to recover and perhaps have a nap.

Going to the title of my post, I had an interesting impromptu conversation with Boss last night after the run-throughs.  He made a comment about how it is so amazing that despite how much my body is going through, I am still able to dance and not just run through steps.  I almost dance better now than I did a year ago before I found the first lump.  His point was that despite everything that is going on with my body (and it is going through a lot!) he has never felt the need to simplify any of my dancing or my steps.  Even in the rumba he choreographed it as though there was nothing wrong with me.

That’s one of the things I really appreciate about Boss.  From the very beginning when we found out that I would have to do chemo and radiation he decided to just keep going as he planned and adjust only if really needed.  There has been very little he has needed to adjust.  I have had a few lessons where we just ended up reviewing routines instead of working on technique or something else, but for the most part it’s been full steam ahead, and his thinking has mirrored my own.

My theory is that if I keep working hard while my body is having to cope with things like equilibrium issues, dizziness, light-headedness and muscle weaknesses it is forcing my balance to become better and more attuned, my endurance to become stronger and in general preparing me to be a better, stronger dancer when I am completely healthy again.

I just hope that theory becomes reality, but that was the basis of my conversation with Boss last night–that I am able to dance so well while sick, hurting and highly medicated–what would I be able to dance like if I was healthy?

Time will tell.  For now I am continuing to ‘put my all’ into every step I do to see where it takes me.

Big Hiccup

I spent the night in excruciating pain.

Needless to say, my morning began with a visit to the health clinic.  The first thing they were able to eliminate is that the pain is not musculature and I haven’t injured myself.  The pain is very deep in the tissue and bones. But that was about as much as they could figure out there.  I was in so much pain they gave me a shot of pain killers to try and control it.

Thankfully, the doctor at the clinic was able to get in touch with my radiation oncologist to get some answers–neither of which are very promising.

The pain could be one of two things (or potentially both).  First, it could be a side effect from the hormone therapy.  So the answer there is to stop taking it and see if it subsides in a couple days.

The second, more likely, culprit is radiation side effects as damaged nerves and tissue are starting to heal.  If that is the case then the pain could last another 2 weeks. I knew I might get some pain post-radiation, but I never expected pain on a level like this.  I was in less pain after my first surgery and parts of me were removed.

Yikes.

The only thing they can do for me right now is prescribe pain killers, and have me move my arm and be as active as possible.

I am still waiting for the pain meds they gave me this morning to kick in so I can relax.  If they don’t help by this afternoon, I have to go back to the clinic for even stronger medications. I am all for moving, but you can only move your arm around so much before you have to stop.  Since it is my right side, I am hoping doing something like knitting or cross-stitch might help.

It’s having to take the prescription pain meds to help my body heal that worries me.  I can’t drive while taking them.  On top of that, they make me dizzy and light-headed, which is not helpful in dancing.  The pain is also keeping me from sleeping well, so on top of the radiation fatigue I am doubly exhausted.

I have a competition in 11 days.

At least dance helps, not hinders the pain, but certainly I won’t be doing any quality dancing for the next little while.

I am hopeful this is just the HT and the pain will go away or at least really diminish in the next couple days.

If it’s the radiation….well I have been dealing with the pain since Thursday so far, this Thursday will be a week and hopefully it will diminish by mid next week in time for the competition.

Otherwise, I will just go without pain meds, grin and bear it.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

So, fingers and toes are crossed, arms are moving, and I am just plain hoping.

We’ll see how it goes, shall we?

Done!!

And radiation treatments are done!!

I wish the side effects went with them though.  It’s ok, now the clock is ticking–about 2 more weeks of worsening side effects, then slowly I should start feeling better.  10 weeks from now until my surgery. Tick tock, Tick tock.

Really glad now I decided to do the competition in October.  I look at the stretch of time before me until my surgery and it seems a little endless, although likely it will get here faster than I am ready for.  It was definitely a good idea to have something else to focus on this fall.

The fatigue has really been getting to me lately and I haven’t been able to practice as much as I would like.  I didn’t do any practice Wednesday or Thursday as I could tell I was doing well to get through my lessons.  I did spend 45 mins at the gym today going through the first part of the solo we have worked out.  I am pretty confident we will finish choreographing it next week.  Boss seems to have a pretty good idea what he wants to do.

He is really stepping up the game for me on this solo.  I have multiple spiral spins and free spins and I do a lot of dancing on my own.  He is also adding some definite gold steps.  I just hope my energy levels over the next couple weeks don’t drop too much, so I can keep working the steps out.

I gave some thought to costuming for this solo, and came up with all black with a ‘stoned’ pink ribbon pinned to the chest.  Nothing fancy, just very simple and telling.  Sent the idea to Boss for approval, so I will see what he says.  The solo is to Rachel Platten’s ‘Fight Song’ which pretty much defines my life for the past year.

The entry list for the competition is out, and as expected I have no one to compete against–however, if I drop an age category for the open latin, there is one other couple there, so Boss is asking the organizer if we can switch.

All in all, it’s pretty anti-climatic to finish radiation.  I don’t think it has quite hit me yet that both chemo and radiation are done.  I am now only one big step away from being cancer-free–which is a clear pathology report after my surgery in November.  Fingers crossed!