Dancing Through My Road To Recovery
My connection to Sharsheret began the week before my surgery. Some of my 6th grade students hosted a bake sale as part of their joint bat mitzvah project to benefit Sharsheret. They didn’t know that I was newly diagnosed and still healing from my initial biopsies. I was not going to miss out on supporting this amazing cause. When I got to their house to shop the girls put on music and started dancing to one of the songs that I had taught them choreography to that week in our class. We laughed and we danced right there in the entryway and I completely forgot for a few moments what I would be facing the following week. My heart was so full. I knew deep down that I really had to pull through so that I could be able to teach and dance more dances again with all of my students.
My tumor was found on my very first mammogram ever. I went in that day so optimistic. I had no reason for “real” concern. No family history of breast cancer. I was in great overall health and dancing 7-8 classes a week. Teaching and then training. I had taught zumba fundraisers for breast cancer awareness month at the gyms where I teach. I never thought my results would be breast cancer. I just thought I would do the mammogram that morning and be able to head into school for my first class. You never think it can happen to you until it does. Early detection saved my life.
Dance is truly therapeutic for me. It is one of the first activities that I was able to come back to 10 weeks after my surgery. Healing has been a slow process but every day I find that I can do something I couldn’t do before so that’s very promising. Having something to do that I am passionate about has been a driving force for me on my road to recovery. The dance fitness and group exercise community is a very supportive one. Once I felt strong enough to return to dancing everyone was so warm and encouraging. One of my favorite things about teaching dance and zumba fitness is connecting with people and the pure joy on their faces when they are dancing with me. This has made the challenges I am facing much less daunting. I am also working with a phenomenal trainer and PT.
Dance allowed me to begin to bounce back faster than any of my doctors thought I could. As a fitness instructor you begin to understand your limits; sometimes pushing yourself to attain certain goals. It is this outlook that is helping me push through in my recovery. More importantly I have also learned the importance of rest in the recovery process. My body has gone through some dramatic changes. I do believe that I will be able to get back to where I want to be by being consistent in my training and listening to my body. I am also setting small attainable goals for myself.
Anyone who gets a diagnosis of any kind – no matter what that diagnosis is – it can be life changing. You can let your diagnosis define you or you can define it. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in November I was concerned about my family and friends and also about my students. I kept my news to a very small support network and I am so grateful for them. I didn’t want to burden anyone in my community with the uncertainty of what was happening to me. People have enough stress I didn’t want to be a source of that for anyone. There was no way around this only through it and I was determined to come out on the other side stronger than before.
Two weeks after I came back to work we celebrated Sharsheret Pink Day at the school where I teach. There was a Sharsheret social worker there for Pink Day who is a parent in my classes and this triggered me to reach out. After this event I was so fortunate to connect with Sharsheret and learn more about how I could give back to others after my ordeal.
I am still on the road to recovery and so grateful to Sharsheret and all that they have done for me. I am grateful for their support and this opportunity to share my story and experience and hopefully to inspire others to continue to be strong and brave and know that they are not alone on their journey.