Because I was always one of those kids that never felt comfortable doing any sport, when I discovered that I had a talent for dancing, I was overjoyed. I started dancing during my fifth grade year of school. Immediately I became infatuated with the art. Working very hard my sixth grade year enabled me to join my academy’s dance company. One day during my musical theatre class while doing a combo something wasn’t right. My right leg had a twinging pain and when I did the big kick at the end of the combo, I knew I had pushed myself too far.
What should have been the beginning of a long dance career turned into a very long year and a half search of trying to find a way to heal whatever was wrong. It was an experience that I’ll never forget. Realizing that I was injured my mom told me that we would go see a chiropractor whose name was Dr. Peterson. Over the next few weeks, I went for treatment which consisted of electrical stimulation therapy, and at least 15 minutes of Active Release Therapy, which wasn’t comfortable, to put it mildly. Although | consistently continued this therapy for two months I was not getting any better.
My mom said not to be too disappointed and that we would find another doctor that could help me. We decided to go to an orthopedic specialist at Tulsa Bone and Joint. The doctor there told me that I might have endured a stress fracture and ordered an MRI to confirm his suspicions. While waiting for the results of the scan he suggested that I take a break from dance for a while to see if things would improve. So, I did. I took off four weeks from dance. During this time became more and more frustrated because my leg pain wasn’t going away. This frustration only increased when the MRI howed that there was nothing wrong, that there was no reason for my pain. . I remember driving home from Tulsa bone and joint and feeling like my world had ended.
Determined to find a solution my mom sought out others for a diagnoses. I tried several other chiropractors, I tried physical therapy, I tried acupuncture, and I tried many other forms of treatment only to come to the realization that nothing was working and that could not dance without pain. In order to keep from injuring myself and potentially causing myself to acquire a lifelong chronic condition I had to stop dancing, I had to give up everything I had worked so hard to attain.
My heart was in a million pieces and I didn’t know how to put it back together. Dancing had become the center of my life and the wakeup call Thad when I realized I had to stop dancing was severe. I had a complete lifestyle change. Up until that point in my life, I had organized everything around dance. There was a time when I was depressed and I tried to shut everything out. Thinking about what I could have achieved in dancing haunted me and it wore away at me.
However, over time I began to realize that just because I couldn’t dance, it didn’t mean that there wasn’t something else out there for me. Realizing that loosing dance, although very painful, wasn’t the end of my world, I began to be thankful that I still had my family, my life, and God. Understanding the fact that being depressed about my situation wasn’t the way to overcome it, I pushed forward with tenacity. In a way the experience was something that caused me to grow up very fast. I found in myself a new kind of strength and determination that I was unaware that I had.
I learned that life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, and when the storm hits you have to pick up the pieces and make the most of what remains. If you are depressed and ignore the damage done nothing will ever get better. However, if you accept your situation, pick up the pieces that remain, and move on with your life you can begin to build back the foundation that was worn away. Thus far, giving up dance is one of the hardest things I’ve had to face in this life, but the loss resulted in my gaining the understanding that happiness and success is something you determine for yourself.