how my spine is goeth, & p-r-o-c-e-d-u-r-e-s

I'm really sorry for not posting for a while, folks. It's been a tremendous week both in terms of busy-ness and personal turmoil, and I just didn't feel the energy nor inspiration to blog. You already probably know that I've been suffering from a significant back injury for coming onto 7 months now, and it's really affected my everyday living plus my professional life as a dancer, dance teacher, and owner of a dance school. Many of you have been asking me for the results from my new surgeon (that I saw 2 weeks ago), and I promise I will get into that in a couple of days - suffice to say that it's not the really awful news, but it's certainly bad enough to make me have spent a lot of time in this past week trying to understand the realities of it, trying to come to some decisions about dancing and my dance school, with the new knowledge and reality of what it all is. It's going to be a long slow recovery, and I truly need to give it a fighting chance to heal if I want to live a normal life again, with my normal career and all.

Plus, ON TOP of the above bad spine news, it's been a rather intense week with highs and lows -

  • A day after receiving my medical results, some lovely hater from the salsa scene decided to use FB as a means to try and denounce me, once again. Incredible  stuff, being somewhat bullied and defamed online for NO reason, just as I was keeping a low profile online due to my trying to deal with my news and make some dancing decisions, and logged in only to see this rubbish going on. This HASN'T endeared me to staying in the dance scene, and is a reminder of just how poor human behavior can sink.
  • But in contrast, the highs, oh joy, this week I also got to put so much energy into training 2 gorgeous couples on my team and some teams with their brand new routines which are so smashing and the pride that ensued was incredible, reminding me of the sheer joy dance, choreographing and teaching gives me.
  • I've also had to plan for Spin City Dance's 4th anniversary party (which is tonight!) and this brought upon so much emotion that I have no idea how I could ever quit. My baby, my dance school, my business I started with just a few thousand dollars, and we're 4 years old, with our own gorgeous building, a staff team that dazzles, and contributing so amazingly to the Australian Latin Dance scene.


So bittersweet, to be celebrating this and not knowing where the way forward is in my own ability to continue dancing. I'm confused, folks, so excuse the next week or 2 of me trying to get through this fog.

ANYWAYS, I'm trying to bring you up to speed with my P-R-O-C-E-D-U-R-E, so, in the midst of all this, to kick start the healing process, my surgeon recommended an epidural "procedure" for my spine.


I really hate that anything remotely unpleasant done to someone by a doctor is referred to as a "procedure". Now, I know this turn of phrase is so it doesn't sound all OOH AHH BAD AWFUL THINGS, but to someone who is horribly averse to anything needle related, and when all my family lives in a different country and can't be with them in this tough time, it's all been a bit scary.


Yesterday, I booked into the absolutely amazing Olympic Park Radiology, and their team of doctors were just heroes. I am horrifically afraid of needles. And an epidural one, not a regular stick-it-in-take-it-out-there-you're-done one.  I'm so terrified, that the doctor started explaining what they were about to do, and tears started rolling down my cheek like a poor orphan child. It would've been funny, the drama of it all, if I wasn't seriously so scared I nearly pooped myself. I'm not even exaggerating.

Patient Getting Bad News

Basically, first they sedated me in a huge way (to the point where I was seriously having a party in there all by myself, the nurses were giggling at the transformation from clammy crying girl to WOOSA ROCK ON girl), then they took a CT scan of my spine. They marked off where the epidural needle was to go in, then positioned it all. Stuck needle in, took another CT scan, patted me, cooed, and all this time, I was HAVING A PARTY people, as in, they could've put music on and I would've danced, I was that out of it.

When they finally got the position right (2 goes), they inserted the needle 5.5cm into my spine, filled it with a pocket of anesthetic, and then pumped me full of cortisone. That was the weirdest feeling in the world - because my disc is impinging directly on my leg nerves, the cortisone literally felt like my legs were being filled with gas. Like at the gas station. Cue Sharon giggling uproariously, crying out "THIS FEELS SOOOOO WEEEIIIIRDDDD DUDE."

To his credit, the amazing doctor agreed with me, going "I KNOW SO COOL HUH, KEEP INHALING ON THAT SEDATIVE STUFF!" And I am nothing, if not obedient with charming men with British accents.

It was all over in about half an hour and they gave me timtams, a cup of tea and made me stay in their hospital bed until the come down from the sedatives happened.

(HILARITY - I had to sign a consent form saying I would not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, drink alcohol or make any big decisions 24 hours after the p-r-o-c-e-d-u-r-e).

I guess that means no making any teary alcohol-fueled decisions about the dancing until tomorrow.


S got me home pretty quickly, and apparently I swayed back and forth from being incredibly chirpy to teary and scared, all the way home. A few hours after I got home, the pain started. The doctor had warned me about this - apparently I may be in MORE pain than I had been for 36-48 hours after it all. Joy, those of you who have seen me with pain/painkillers will understand this means NO HAPPINESS.

And the pain, it's been bad. Spent the evening last night crying, yelling, screaming, and generally hurling epithets at my SAINT of a man, from the shooting pains down my legs, the back, the hips. S ran around generally trying to soothe me, but realised the futility when he offered me ice cream and I told him what him and his ice cream could go do to itself (and it wasn't a very nice thing at all). The doctor said I would be woozy/sleepy for 2 days - well he lied, I didn't get to sleep till 2am and then eyes came open startledly at 6am from the pain restarting its epic ravaging of me and my body.

Today I'm in less pain (not crying or shrieking) but definitely have my jaw clenched shut firmly and my brow furrowed (S told me I was going to get wrinkles and I didn't even CARE). I'm really hoping to make it to the studio tonight if only for an hour - the doctor told me VERY firmly that I was to spend the entire weekend lying down, and not doing ANYTHING, like not even out for a gentle coffee.

I'm also really aware that this isn't a fix - it's a 2 week pain-relief solution, and will allow me to swim everyday and get some physio down to heal a bit more, so needless to say my mind isn't in a great place. I don't know where I'll be in 4 weeks, or 6 months, and truth be told, am a bit anxious about the number of decisions I have to make and the impacts they may potentially have on the dance scene I've been a part of for coming on 9 years, and my dance school with its fabulous teams. I'm scared of the difficulty of it all, and terrified of some of the ideas that have come flying out in my low moments.


And that's where I am.

I'm sorry I don't have anything happier to say - I do, I have great news, some nice blog posts lined up, some collaborations I want to share with you, and some more constructive ways to put forth the ideas that I have for the future with an exciting new business project - but for now, I thought it was important to let you all know how I'm going (since i haven't been able to respond to the incredible deluge of well-wishes).

If you have ANY thoughts or ideas for me, I'd LOVE to hear them. AND I really hope those of you in Melbourne can make it down to the Spin City 4th Birthday bash tonight, we'd love to see you there. Truly.


I'd really like to finish off this epic lengthed (if you've made it thus far) post with this quote, from Frank Sinatra:

"Those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.

Trust me. I've been there."




me, the pain, the supposed killers of them, and my extremely poor state of mind.