On swing dancing and pain

(it is not a sad post, I promise. No, really!)

If you read my first post, you know by now that I was a premature baby (if you haven’t, then you should. I think it’s amusing).

I spent the first months of my life in an incubator. Very tiny I was and struggling to stay alive. In fact, my mother told me once, the doctors said to her she shouldn’t get too attached to me cause most likely I was not gonna make it. But I did. Little by little I gained strength, was able to feed from a bottle and eventually went home with my mother.

I grew up, a sickly kid frequently in and out of the hospital. But grew up I did. Then when I was about 11, the pain started.

Without getting into too much detail, I have a condition that affects my soft tissues, namely muscle and tendons. Which basically means I’ve been in pain for most of my life. On top of that (or more likely as the cause of that) my endocrine system doesn’t work very well. Some paths in my brain – like the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid axis or the Serotonin axis, are seriously misguided.

Just to give you a scope, the hypothalamus regulates functions such as temperature control, emotions, sleep, appetite and salt balance. Some of you may have seen me put ridiculous amounts of salt in my meals. Now you know why. My sodium metabolism is all screwed up and I need extra salt for my cellular membrane Na channels to function properly. I also don’t sweat much which means my body overheats and I go into heat exhaustion very easily. Some of you may have seen me wear cooling devices in the summer. That is the reason why I stay indoors (and preferably in an air-conditioned environment) on hot days (so much for the Summer Solstice Girl, huh?). Most likely, it all has to do with some crazy autoimmune disorder. It runs in the family too. In my old days of molecular biology and molecular genetics I used to obsess about it. Now, I don’t really care.

So, pretty much my body is effed up. No other way to put it, really.

However, I dance. Yes, I am in pain every time I dance (well, I am in pain every day of my life but it hurts more when I do any kind of physical activity). And yes, I overheat every time I dance. After a song or two, you’ll see me running to the nearest fan, or outside if it is winter, or to the restroom to spray myself with water so I cool down.

I also cycle, and rollerblade and play tennis when it is not too hot outside. And of course, in the winter time I skate and I also ski (downhill). Winter is the best cause I don’t overheat as much. And if I do, then I just reach for some snow and put it in my back. Instant bliss! :) If you’re ever around me in the winter and your hands are cold, just put them on the back of my neck to warm them up. You’ll be doing me a favour.

But back to dancing. Dancing gives me much joy. It makes me smile big time. Dancing is good for the soul.

Dancing in Montreal

A few months ago, a video went viral among swingdancers on Facebook. It was about this young woman with Rheumatoid Arthritis who is also a Lindy Hopper

I KNOW what she means. Every single word of it. And I am never giving up dancing. Ever!

So, save me a dance, will ya?

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5 thoughts on “On swing dancing and pain

  1. map_maker says:

    I can understand this. I too have a collection of health problems (some more fixable than others) but am thankfully not in pain every day. I have been asked why I am as active as I am when I know that it might hurt me so much. Thing is, I don't know how bad I'll get in a decade or more. I want to enjoy myself now.So bravo! :)

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