Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Telling the truth Tuesday - changing my mind

I've posted recently about the joy dancing brings me. I'd given it up for a long while because I have no cartilage left in my knee and I want to postpone knee replacement surgery as long as possible. But here's the thing. When I dance on a regular basis, my knee hurts constantly, even when I'm not dancing. It hurts every day and wakes me up at night, too. When I don't dance, and just walk everyday for exercise, no pain. I don't function as well when I'm in pain all the time.

So I'm back reconsidering my decision to keep dancing because truly, I don't want to be in pain every day and night. And my knee isn't bad enough, so the surgeon says, to replace it right now.

It's an interesting dilemma when something that brings one great joy also brings with it great pain. What's a gal to do?

Do you share such a dilemma? What do you do?


Tonja said...

Maybe dance in smaller doses? I have a foot injury that makes it hard to go out and do things with my kids. I did a lot of PT and am doing better. Now I take it slow and easy - better to do a little than nothing.

Maybe see a good PT and get some stretches you can do before dancing. If I stretch a ridiculous three times a day, I can do more.

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

That's a tough one. I've recently had the same sort of problem...carpal tunnel. I've tried to compromise by giving my left hand a break during the day, using voice recognition software for part of my writing time, and just being kind to it when I'm *not* writing. None of it is easy!

Talli Roland said...

Oh, that's such a tough one. I guess I'd go with whichever one would give me the biggest long-term benefits.

I'm sorry about your knee!

Mary@GigglesandGuns said...

Don't envy you this one.
Perhaps PT and cutting back. It's worth a shot since dancing helps you so much in other ways.
I know most surgeons agree if you do the surgery too soon you'll have to repeat it later.
Prayers for your right choice.

Nancy said...

This is rough. I have a similar dilemma, but haven't found a solution yet. Let's not give up. Maybe we'll have to compromise, but let's never give up completely.

Karen Walker said...

Tonja, yes, I'm learning towards only dancing once a month or so.
Elizabeth, I am so sorry about your carpal tunnel. With the amount of time you spend writing, that's a really tough one.
Talli, yes, I'm trying to think long term pros and cons
Mary, PT doesn't help when there's no cartilage left.
Thanks for the prayers
Nancy, I'll never give up! Hope you don't either.

Tracy Jo said...

This is such a hard one. I have Dystonia (my neck muscles are always in spasm). I love running but just like you...sometimes it makes my body worse. At the same time though, it helps my mind and spirit. I just try (try being the key word.:-)) to find a nice balance between exercising and resting. I would still dance sometimes if it makes you happy...but make sure to rest too so you are not in constant pain. It takes a strong soul to always be in pain...so sorry you go through that and about your knee.

Karen Walker said...

Tracy Jo, oh gosh, I am so sorry - I can't even imagine always being in spasm. Yes, you are right, balance is the key. I must find the balance.

Anne said...

I have the same problem with my right knee, except that I have a 4 mm hole in the bone that eliminates me as a candidate for replacement surgery. I am a drummer and thankfully this does not prevent me from playing. After both of my reconstructive surgeries, I had to retrain my right leg to play bass patterns all over again. It was worth it. Don't give up.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Jogging kills my knees, so I compromise and set the treadmill to a steep incline and walk fast. Maybe you need to find some sort of compromise?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Dance one day and then take a week off to recover.

L.G.Smith said...

I live with constant back pain. Doesn't hurt when I run or walk (usually), but I can't do Yoga anymore, which ironically I think would make it feel better, but it hurts too much to do.

Pain is such an energy drain, though. If it's costing you during the day I can see why you might want to give up the dancing. Such a shame though. I hope you can get the surgery for it soon.

Dafeenah said...

I have exactly the same issue. I was in a car accident as a teenager and 20 yrs later still have issues with my knee, hip and back. For me though giving up dancing meant giving up my dream career before the accident I had intended to become a choreographer but afterwards dancing was no longer an option. Maybe you can limit to a certain number of day a month/week and see if it lessens the pain or try taking ibuprofen daily (which is what I have to do) or maybe heating pads/ice whichever works although I'm sure you know all of this already lol

Karen Walker said...

Anne, thanks, I have no intention of giving up.
Diane, that's exactly what I'm looking for.
Alex, I'm thinking of that, except the pain lasts almost the whole week afterwards.
L.G., I will do anything to avoid surgery - I've had so many already.

Belle said...

If it hurts for a whole week after dancing, I would give it up and try out some new things that might give you joy. Maybe playing guitar, drumming or something else to do with music? They have free drumming classes in our town and everyone brings whatever kind of drum they have. I always thought that sounded like fun.

I used to love to walk 1-2 hours a day, but my fibromyalgia got worse and it was difficult getting home. I tried yoga but it made my muscles hurt more. I'm doing stationary bike riding now and I'm going to try yoga again only do it in an easier way. I hope that works for me.

April Plummer said...

No, I don't, at least not yet. But, I say, if dancing doesn't make your knee hurt worse...why not dance? :)

Annalisa Crawford said...

I can't offer any advice, but I hope you find a solution that means you don't have to give up dancing altogther.

Carol Kilgore said...

I wish I had a magic answer for you. Take care of yourself, whichever you choose.

Karen Walker said...

Belle, yeah, that's what I'm thinking, too. I don't want to be in pain if I don't have to be.
April, dancing does make knee worse - much worse - that's the problem.
Annalisa, thank you, me, too.
Carol, magic would be wonderful in this situation. Thank you.

Jen Chandler said...

I understand. I have tendinitis in my right arm. My writing arm. Would I give up writing? No way! When it acts up, I type and write left handed. Boy does it take longer and I'm constantly frustrated but I couldn't give up writing. Even if I had to write with my mouth! :D

Hopefully you can dance every now and then? Maybe find a dance that didn't require so much leaning on that one knee? It's frustrating I know! My back likes to act up whenever I do anything remotely athletic and I pay for it days after (but I'm stubborn). I have had to redesign my exercise because of it. Not fun, but necessary!


Arlee Bird said...

That is kind of a tough one, but pain is not all that much fun--at least not usually. I'm sure I have a few similar dilemmas.

This reminded me of a guy I used to work with who would talk about his pain from ulcers and stomach problems. He said his doctor told him he needed to avoid coffee and cigarettes. He would tell me about this while enjoying his cup of coffee and a cigarette. I guess he accepted his pain to enjoy something he liked.

Have you heard about the A to Z Video Challenge?
Blogging from A to Z

Anonymous said...

I like Alex's advice. To look forward to dancing in very small doses may be the balance. I loved to swim but a re-occuring dislocated shoulder sidelined me to just the steam room. I had surgery last year and am happy to say I am now swimming lengths again confident my shoulder will stay in place!

Glynis said...

Pain relief and small doses of dancing. Never give up if it brings you joy.

Helen Ginger said...

Hard decision to make. Did the doctor make any recommendation? You so love to dance that giving it up may be just too much. Can you get shoes that give you support and cushioning?