Wednesday, October 19, 2016

This was inevitable...

So....the PRP didn't work.

That's a bit of a lie, it worked a little bit (things are less "crunchy"), but not well enough that I'm better and able to dance. No, in fact, the doctor that gave me the PRP injection actually recommended that I go see an orthopedic surgeon that specializes in foot/ankle problems. Good times.

So I've been waiting 3 months to get in to see AnkleDoctor's nurse (the "gatekeeper"), who one HAS to see prior to seeing the doctor. I saw her a week or so ago and she was basically like, "Girl, you've done everything else, I think we need to have AnkleDoctor do surgery to put your tendon in place and clean up the gunk in there." So, now I'm waiting AGAIN, this time to officially consult with the doctor.

So, it looks like I'm surgery-bound. I just don't know when.

Will I be able to dance in the winter show? Will I be hobbling around on crutches during Thanksgiving and Christmas? Only time will tell!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Rather Large Update

Man, I have been on an adventure (if waiting for things to happen one month at a time can be called an adventure).

I got an MRI in mid-May, and found out I had the following problems:
  1. Chronic tendonitis in my peroneal tendons (not surprised) with some possible subluxation (movement) of the tendons out of their proper placement (yuck).
  2. Inflammation in the front part of my ankle joint
  3. Bursitis in the bursa located behind the Achilles
  4. A small tear in my Achilles (?!)
Basically, my ankle was a hot mess of inflammation from overuse. We're all shocked, I know.


I discussed the results with my PT and podiatrist, and the latter decided that she wanted me to get a surgeon's opinion (as she no longer does surgery). I ended up going back to the first podiatrist I'd seen when this first started a thousand years ago, and he decided the best thing for me to try at this point would be a PRP injection.

PRP stands for platelet rich plasma. They take some of your blood, centrifuge it to separate the red cells from the platelets and plasma, and inject the platelet rich plasma back into you (in my case, it would be directly into my peroneal tendon). I have started lovingly referring to this as my "lizard" or "superhero" shot (or maybe supervillain, like The Lizard from Spiderman). Because this is new science, and stem-based (though it doesn't use stem cells, only my own blood), insurance doesn't cover it, so I had to make a long and hard decision about whether I want to spend the money to try it.

In the end, I decided to go ahead and do it, and was scheduled to get my PRP in mid-June (that's a month wait from the MRI, in case you're keeping track). I went in to get my PRP and...they couldn't draw my blood. I'm not kidding. They tried 4 times and had to give up, so I couldn't get the injection. (Was I already superhuman? A zombie? Dehydrated? Who knows).

At any rate, because I'm apparently difficult and "might need to be sedated" for the blood draw (what?!), they ended up referring me to a stem cell institute in town, where this is their specialty.

Good things: As mentioned above, this is what they do, so no problems (in theory) with a blood draw. They have more advanced equipment and the doctor has been performing this procedure for awhile. Extra bonus: it was going to cost less than the first guy.

Bad things: I had to wait a whole month again to try it.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday, and I have successfully (finally) received a PRP injection, and am back in the boot for at least two weeks. After that, its back to good 'ole PT and hopefully I'll be back dancing in a couple of months!

And NO, they did not need to sedate me (seriously, wtf?)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Small Update

I wish I could say that no news is good new but alas...

I spent 4 weeks in the boot full-time (even sleeping), and another 2 weeks in it part-time (out at home, in everywhere else). As of yesterday, I am now boot free! YAY!

Alas, the ankle feels EXACTLY THE SAME, so next week I'm off to get an MRI. Cross your fingers for me, everyone!

Saturday, March 26, 2016


So. This is happening.

After much frustration, and still feeling like the Ankle of Doom wasn't getting any better despite my best PTing efforts, I talked to the doctor and it was decided that I should try wearing The Boot in order to try and see if immobilization would calm things the heck down.  Since we have a two week dance break it seemed like a good time, but it turns out that I'm stuck in this sucker for FOUR WEEKS.

Not only that, but because my body can't behave itself, I get to graduate to a tall boot next week (I'm wearing a short one in the pic above), because I'm still getting too much movement and my peroneal tendon is POPPING.

Speaking of peroneal tendons popping, during the PT session prior to my doc visit, I noticed popping when I went to point my foot, and the PT said it may be peroneal instability (the doc agrees), which basically means my tendon is moving in and out of its groove (though not completely subluxing over the bone). This could be rather bad, and I may be doomed for surgery.  Time will tell.

All in all, after FOUR WEEKS in the boot, I will then basically be starting over, working back into things gradually/properly. Everyone cross your fingers for me, please?

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Medieval Torture, or PT?

I keep mentioning the Graston technique, and thought perhaps it would be good to actually show you guys what it looks like.

Here are some of the tools the PT uses on me:

They really do look like torture implements, don't they?

And here is a very short clip of her working the top part of my ankle/foot (she also does the back, but I flip onto my stomach for that and can't film it, heh!)


I have a pretty high pain tolerance, and generally this doesn't actually feel terrible unless she hits a tender spot. I just hope it works! The PT says that everything feels better to her than it did just one month ago, though when I did some releves for her in pointe shoes the other day, I could feel/she could see that my flexibility in that ankle isn't quite there yet.

I just want the pinching to go away :(

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

New Goals

There are apparently stages of grief with injuries, and I think I've hit them all. One of my last posts was definitely during what I was thinking of as my "depression" stage, and today's post may very well fall under "acceptance."

One of the newer exercises that the PT is having me do involves standing on one leg on the flat side of a Bosu ball and doing 15 rond de jambes (3 sets--my leg really feels it by the end)--without holding on to anything. The other folks there are thoroughly impressed with my ability to balance; I've taken to calling it my "circus act."  It has really been the inspiration to kick me out of my depression, because it has made me realize that I'll come out of all this even stronger than before. Maybe I'll even be able to do this:

On releve! Can you imagine? (I can't really, but who knows!) Positive thoughts ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thanks, Universe

It's funny how often I get frustrated with something, come and complain/vent about it on this blog (which is its own sort of therapy), and then a day or two later the universe is like, "Girl, chill. Have some encouragement."

We shared class with the kiddos again the other day, and when we do center together we split into groups of "kids" and "adults." The teacher gives each group a different combo, they perform it, and then we switch places. We had switched so that it was the adults turn, and the teacher said to the little ones, "When you're waiting your turn, watch Miss Glorie [me]. Watch her upper body--she moves exactly the way a classical dancer is supposed to move. I never have to correct her."

I was humbled, and flabbergasted, and thanked her profusely for such a compliment. She danced with BOLSHOI, you guys. Handpicked from when she was young. I don't think I could receive a higher compliment, really. (I still like corrections, but hey, I'll take compliments too!)

She still wants me to do the Russian variation, which I was not super thrilled about (seemed to be a bit boring), but its growing on me. She picked this version (danced by Ulyana Lopatkina), and though the beginning is slow, it picks up near the end. It's a much different "character" than I typically like to dance (I like to be sassy), so I think that was part of my problem. It's a bit more regal, with a dash of zest at the end. Now, if only I can get back onto pointe....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Never-Ending Ankle Saga

Six months. SIX MONTHS. Half a year of ankle pain of varying degrees (that still hasn't gone away). To say that I'm frustrated would be an enormous understatement.

To make it even more annoying, I've been dealing with this issue off and on for nearly two years. I've seen two different podiatrists and now two different PTs.

These past six months, I have not been able to dance fully. My relevé is restricted (and therefore so is turning), and I am not supposed to jump (except rarely to demonstrate for students). I have basically (I feel) been half dancing for half a year.

I keep diligently doing my PT exercises every morning, am currently going through two PT sessions a week involving the Graston technique (ow), and yet the ankle is still being a jerk.

My at-home PT assistant is especially helpful.
Current PT says that I have a lot of scar tissue (past sprains, wear and tear over the years) that is both restricting my ankle mobility and causing an impingement, so we're trying to break up the scar tissue and get my mobility back (hence the Graston technique).

It's only been a little over 2 weeks (we've had 4 sessions), and I think I'm just getting impatient, but I want to feel like its actually working. Some mornings when I start my PT, the ankle feels fine; other mornings its grumpy. I can't seem to figure out WHY. I wondered if foam rolling was actually irritating it instead of helping, and stopped that for a week, but it seemed to make it worse--last week was especially terrible.

I just want to dance properly again :(

Friday, January 29, 2016

Correction Craving

Does anyone else LOVE corrections? Well, it turns out that I really do.

I've been getting increasingly frustrated over the last couple of months because the current teacher of the advanced class, while complimentary of my dancing, does not give me corrections (and Lord knows I'm not perfect). She'll sometimes give other adults corrections, but mostly she leaves us alone and concentrates her efforts on the teens/kids. Which makes a certain level of sense. I mean...she can't train any of us adults towards a goal like YAGP, or for auditioning to be in a professional ballet company. But that doesn't mean we don't want to be better dancers.

In addition, she's been obsessed with choreographing a piece for the summer show so we haven't been doing much center work. We've also been sharing the class with kids, because attendance has been sparse. Barre and anything we do in center is fairly simple.

Personally, I like having something to focus on, something to work towards and improve. Sure, I'll never be a professional dancer, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be the best dancer I can be, no matter what my age is. In addition, corrections are helpful to me as a teacher because they remind me of things to look for in my own students.

At any rate, this frustration hit its peak recently, and the other evening I decided to take barre in the adult open class. The teacher of these classes was originally the teacher for the advanced class, but scheduling conflicts have moved her elsewhere. Her class can be difficult (lots of long or tricky combinations. It's always exercise for your brain as well as your body), though the level of difficulty depends on who is in class. I thought it might do me some good to take from her again. Plus, I sometimes substitute for her, so I thought it would be beneficial to see what kinds of combinations and steps she usually works on.

When I approached her to ask if I could take her barre (and to explain that I have to limit releve and not jump because of the on-going ankle rehab [more on this in a new post]), I mentioned that we hadn't really been doing a lot of technique in the other class and I knew I needed work. "Please fix me!" I begged.

Well, she didn't hold back. She had no qualms about adjusting my body and arm positions, or giving a slightly exasperated, but good humored "Oy vey" when we all managed to muck up her tendu combination. She is always patient and friendly, but also very determined for us to get it right.

My favorite moment of the night, though, was when she said to us, "You should all always work towards improving your dancing. Always try to do a little more, be a little better. Be the best dancer you can be."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Step Nemesis

One of the things I pride myself on is my ability to quickly learn and adapt to new dance steps and styles. I think ballet is a fantastic foundation for all types of dance, and my background as a classical dancer has been a benefit more than once.

However, every once and awhile I come across a step that completely befuddles me. Most recently this is a tap step, not a ballet one (I don't often post about tap on this blog, but in addition to ballet I take jazz and tap classes).

Y'all. PULL BACKS. I can't figure them out.

The entire class was struggling with them at first, but slowly, one-by-one, everyone else in class has gotten the hang of it while I'm still scrapping across the floor like a goober. Very frustrating.

Part of my problem is that I have trouble letting my ankles relax (something tap does that is very contrary to ballet). I also haven't found a visual that speaks to me. "Think up," my teacher tells me, ever so patiently. "Think of flipping your toes back to your head," a fellow student advises when I ask. None of it is helping.

I ended up asking the AD of the school for help the other day, just to get some more visual suggestions. She started pull-backing around the lobby in her Ugg boots (SO UNFAIR): "Think toes first," she suggested. Guess I'll try that next time.