Dancing to a healthy recovery

Dancing to a healthy recovery


Date added to ADN: Sat, January 03, 2015
Originally Published: Wed, February 13, 2013
by Anonymous

"DANCING: MY ROAD TO RECOVERY"

-by an Anonymous Recovering Patient

The article below was written by a gentleman recovering from multiple health issues including a benign brain tumor, severe Osteoporosis and the breaking of the inside of both of his knee joints. The combination of these medical issues left him in a wheelchair. The author wished to share this experience so that others challenged by similar medical issues, may be inspired to stay positive, commit to following their healthcare professionals advice, and to be aware that enjoyable social dancing can be an additional element of their recovery and improved health.

My health problems may have committed me to a wheelchair, but I had my own commitment and that was to walk again. I embarked on an intensive Physical Therapy (PT) program journey back in 2009, and stayed with it. I had traditional PT thrice weekly at a professional PT center. Each session was close to 2 hours. These were augmented with a daily one hour regimented home exercise program. After completing a year of this physical therapy program I was able to stop using the wheelchair and had gained the ability to use a walker. I set my next goal to be able to use a cane. I continued my PT program but, realizing that I needed additional professional assistance, I sought out Atlanta's Emory University health care system. I was evaluated at Emory's Center of Physical Medicine and was advised to get involved in Aquatic (water pool) PT as well as with Tai Chi. These two additional modalities were added to my on-going traditional PT maintenance plan for a year and I graduated from the walker to the cane.

Since my ultimate goal was to regain a healthy stride and the ability to walk without any walking aid, I was next referred to an Emory physical therapist specializing in balance. The Emory physical therapist wisely surveyed what kind of physical activities I liked and would commit to doing. I advised the therapist that there were two physical activities that I have liked since I was a youngster; recreational walking and social dancing. My home driveway is relatively long so it was an acceptable walking area for sets of 15 to 20 minutes periods at a time. Next, I attempted to locate a middle Georgia dance instructor who would be sensitive to my needs. I was fortunate to locate in Macon a retired professional dancer with international experience whose name is Ms. Paula East. Paula kindly agreed to provide private dance instruction with full consideration of my special physical needs. She chose Macon's Georgia Sports Hall Of Fame as the class locality due to her relationship with this not-for-profit facility.

At the time of writing this summary article, I have had a dozen dance instruction sessions of around one hour each which has seemed to "JUMP START" my road to ambulation recovery. As a result I have been able to start walking independently without a cane! I must tell you, if I could I would jump for the joy it brought me to advance beyond the need for the cane. What I can do is share with you what a rewarding experience dancing has been. With the assistance of my caring dance instructor, I left all walking aids behind and am becoming a promising dance student in both the Latin & International Smooth social dancing arenas. I believe I will continue on the road to better health while enjoying this marvelous physical & psychological activity called dancing.

By the way, thanks for reading this summary. J

Introduction by dance instructor Paula East, Dance Consultant to the Greater Macon Chapter of USA Dance #6059

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USA Dance (Greater Macon) Chapter #6059
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