I’ve always said if something bad happened to me – say if I had a colon resection and needed to wear a colostomy bag forever after – I’d just strap on that sucker and keep on dancin’.
Well I don’t have a colostomy bag and I HOPE I don’t have a melanoma (see last week’s post) but I do have one heck of a crooked backbone, which did not express itself until I was part way through a yoga class in 2005.
“Um, so you have scoliosis?” the yoga instructor came over and whispered to me as I was deep in Child’s Pose.
“What? No! I mean I don’t think so! Why, is there something wrong with me?”
She was so kind. She kept me after class and had me bend over from the waist and sure enough: one half of my rib cage IS higher than the other which is the test they use in elementary schools the world over to check for this lateral twisting of the spine.
It happens right in the womb it seems. You just sit curled up for too long in one position and the die is cast. People who have severe scoliosis have to have surgery: a rod goes in and by degrees straightens you right out. My friend had this operation back in the late ’70s and had to walk around for a few months inside a tubular cast that went from her chin to her pelvis, Now she climbs mountains and paddles kayaks and I don’t know what-all else. She has no pain.
I who started out with a case so mild nobody even knew about it had no pain either – until this last year . Oh my pants started to fit funny, yes – the fly kept tending to the northwest – but I just figured I’d bought a bunch of cheap Made In China pants. It’s when my vertically striped starting heading northwest too that I realized something was up.
I have pain now which is why I have to go the Y all the time and quite literally keep on dancin’. I do Zumba and Nia and Hip Hop, I do Pilates and Yoga. I hang off a giant therapy ball, I do 40 sweaty minutes of Core and Glutes Class and I must say it’s interfering hugely with my work day. Still, what are you gonna do? If it helps me keep moving then it’s worth it. I know myself; I know my temperament. If I didn’t HAVE to keep moving on account of this new affliction I’d just sit at my laptop 24/7 and slowly become a sort of garden gnome.
Here’s the honest to God image of my spine, the truth-in-advertising version of that Stairway to Heaven at the top here. It scares the daylights out of me every time I look at it. That undulating white thing is a backbone?