This has been a good week!

Where to start?  So much news to share…

One of the hardest things about writing and/or blogging, is deciding on just what to write about and how much to write.  Ideas are always popping into my head.  I have a post-it note program on my Mac that I use to jot down ideas about topics as they occur in an attempt to stay organized.

Sometimes I even start a post then save it as a draft to finish later.  We will not even begin to discuss how many of those I have saved in draft mode waiting for me to return and finish the post…  sigh

And then I have a week like the one just past, so chock full of stuff that it generates even MORE ideas!swooning

“Whateva shall I do?  I feel faint with the stress of it all…”
   [using my best Southern Belle / accent]

  [Hmmmm…I think I need some liquid fortification…]
Oh waiter! YoooooHoooo! A chocolate martini!  Stat!

…..ssssslllllluuuuurrrrrrpppp….  Ahhhhh!  That’s better.

Now, where was I? A lot happened this week.

Since I have been accused of digression in posts past, I am determined to turn over a new leaf.  Plus, that chocolate martini is gonna get warm if I don’t make this quick. 😉

Therefore, for the ultra-minimalist crowd:

It has indeed been a very good week!


I’m done.

What?  You want more?

Tsk-tsk-tsk  You guys should know better than ask me for “more”  —   Brevity is not a strong point of mine… but I’m gonna try.

How’s this then?

A bullet point list:

  • really_yay_lolcatsI dipped below 300 lbs one day this week.
  • I went to 24 Hour Fitness and danced on two separate days.
  • My doctor was very happy with me when I saw her on Monday the 10th.
  • I had an MRI on my left shoulder.
  • I had an sonagram further up the left shoulder where it joins the neck.
  • I had a lipoma removed.
  • I’m getting better at taking all my prescriptions and supplements on schedule.

Tah Dah!  Brief and to the point.


I’m done.

But what is that grumbling noise I hear?  Could it be perhaps the teeming masses (all eight of you, including my Mom) want a bit more?

I am here but to serve.

“Big THANG #1”
Oh so close … flirting with 300 lbs

I’ve been stuck just above 300 lbs for several weeks now.  And it is frustrating to be so close but not dropping below that very real and also very psychological barrier of “300 lbs”.

I feel like one of those old fashion “drinking birds”

drinking bird toydip…

pop back up…

dip a little further…

pop back…

Ahhhhhhhhh…  Got it!  Tah-Dah!

pop back up…


Well, in the middle of last week I dropped below 301 for two days!  Yay!

Then, on one magical day, I actually weighed 299.8 lbs!  Woot!  Yay! Much happiness!

But then the next friggin’ day…yeppers, you guessed it “I popped back up”  — 301 lbs.

Crap, fiddlesticks, fudge, and few other choice words that you don’t want your kids to repeat, were said when I saw that number on the scale.

It will happen. I will get there. I will drop below 300 lbs and never return to the 300+ zone.

In fact it will most likely happen this week because I’m increasing my physical activity.  Speaking of that…

“Big THANG #2”
I am dancing again!  OMG! OMG! OMG!

Photo of me by Kermit-Rise & Fall 01-cropped 2This is HUGE folks (no pun intended).

I am sooooooo excited!  Woot!  Uh-huh!  Uh-huh! Whoze Yer Daddy?!

Picture me hopping up and down in my chair like Hermione Granger trying to answer a question for her professor!

Well I’m not doing that.

I’m actually slurping my first cup of coffee of the day.  Movement at the moment is limited to my fingers on the keyboard and the occassional stretch to the cup, lift of the arm and then the muscles of the throat go into action.

Then my body gets all excited for a moment as the brain cells perk their metaphorical ears up and say in a tired but happy sing song “The rush is coming; the rush is coming”  kinda like a manta chanted by Buddhist Monks.

My brain is very Zen this morning for some reason.

But I digress.  I do that ya know.

I am dancing again.  Four simple words, but encompassing a world of change.

2014.07.26 Me at my computer - My heaviest weight

2014.07.26 Me at my computer, at my heaviest weight of 333 lbs

Long time readers of this blog will recall that not too long ago, walking from the bedroom to the kitchen was difficult for me, standing for longer than ten minutes was an ordeal.  Going up or down the stairs was a frightening undertaking as I held tightly onto both railings and carefully placed one foot on the next step, then brought the other foot to rest beside it on the same step.

Getting up the stairs with a load of laundry or bag of groceries literally required me to rest for a bit halfway up on the landing before taking the second half of the flight of stairs.  I live on the second floor of a two-story condo complex.

Dancing was a seemingly impossible dream somewhere off in the future and a distant memory.  It was literally impossible for me to dance.

So when I say “I am dancing again” you should be applauding. And jumping down to the comment section and expressing your delight at my achievement. And perhaps checking out my “Wish List” on Amazon and sending me a congratulations gift.

This. Is. A. BIG. Deal!

Last week, on two separate days, I went to 24 Hour Fitness where I practice my dancing. I can’t afford to practice in a dance studio because the floor fees there are $10-$15 an hour.  My 24 Hour Fitness membership costs me $27.81 a month; a much cheaper option!

On Wednesday I went to the gym where I practice dance in the GroupX / Aerobics / Zumba room.  It actually has an awesome floor and plenty of mirrors so is perfect for dance practice.

I also went on Friday.  Yay for me!

I Love Dancing!

2006.07 First World Otgames - Montreal

2006.07 First World Outgames – Montreal

I love dancing. I really love dancing.

If there was ever a doubt that I love to dance, it was settled on Wed and Fri.  More than once I caught sight of my face in the mirror and every time there was this big goofy happy grin on my face.

And it wasn’t like I was doing a Broadway dance routine or a competition number like on So You Think You Can Dance.

Nope.  I was doing ultra-beginner and beginner level dances.  It has been a loooooooooooooooooooooong time since I did any dancing and the very last thing I want to do is move too fast or reach too far and injure myself and put an ignominious end to my newly revived dance life!

We are talking VERY easy dances here folks.  And I was loving every minute of it.

I danced for about 20 minutes each day.  But it is necessary to add in the “getting there” and the “getting back home” bits into the exercise equation.  You need to…

… add in the walk from my condo to the parking lot which includes stairs,

… the drive for 15-20 minutes to my gym; which, since I drive a 5 speed manual transmission truck and live in the most highly congested region of the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, actually counts as “exercise” and “physical activity”

…the walk across the parking garage to the elevators, standing and waiting on both days for an elevator

…the walk around the outside of the 3rd floor from the elevators which are in the BACK of the building to the front door of the gym which is exactly 180 degrees around the outside of the building FRONT,

…carrying a pretty heavy “dance bag” filled with the stuff needed to practice dance,

…then walk from the front door of the gym all the way to the far corner where the interior stairs lead down to the SECOND floor of the building which is where the aerobics room is located,

…then sit and change from street sneakers into dance shoes,

…then and only then grab my iTouch and start to dance.

Whew!  Just getting to the dance floor at the gym is a work out in and of itself!

Then after dancing.  I run the whole thing in reverse.

So, it isn’t just dancing.  At this point in time, given the level of my health and fitness, the whole process counts as exercise.

Total time spent is over an hour.  Eventually the getting there and getting back will be less intense and not really seem like exercise but for now, it most certainly IS!!!!!

My eventual goal is to practice M-F, rehearsing a minimum of 2 hours on M, W, and F, and then having a “light” recovery day on T/Th where I only dance/practice/rehearse for a hour.  That of course, is in addition to whatever amount of time I end up dancing when I am teaching dance.

I am “turning Pro”

me 544x544Well, it is official.  As soon as the fitness level improves to the point where I am physically able to handle the rigors of teaching, I am going to start teaching couples dance as well as line dance.  I’ll also actively seek out students who wish to take private lessons and compete in dance.

I’ve been teaching line dance for pay for several years now.  But taking on students and teaching partner dancing officially nukes my status as an “amateur” — it makes me a “Pro.” In my case the “pro” is short for Professional Dance Instructor

My friends in the dance world understand the why’s and wherefores and the significance of that simple statement, “I’m turning Pro” but since most of you folks are not immersed neck deep in the world of dance, a bit of background is in order.

Dance is both an Art and a Sport.

As with any sport the level of involvement and skill ranges from the enthusiastic “fan” who mainly watches, or who may take part purely on a social level all the way up to the professional dancer who is paid to dance.

Since it is a sport, there are rules.  And depending on the style of dance, there are organizations which govern the competitions and write those rules. Tucked into the rules in these different organizations, there is almost always a section that talks about just what qualifies as a “professional.”

You’d think it would be pretty simple:

Amateur — : a person who does something (such as a sport or hobby) for pleasure and not as a job.

Professional — 1. of, relating to, or connected with a profession.  2. (of a person) engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.  e.g.”a professional boxer”

The second bit seems pretty straight forward.  If you get paid, then you’re a professional. Oh silly puppy…nothing is every that simple.  What if teaching dance amounts only to a tiny percentage of your total income.  Most dance instructors have day jobs; very few are full time instructors.  So just how much “pay” do you have to get before you’re considered a pro?

And then there is that far more problematic “first definition” which implies a certain skill level.  So, if you are so good that you can teach others to do it, and you do, but you don’t get paid, are you or are you not a “professional?”

Araceli Torres Teaching a private Lesson at the Go Dance Studio in Austin TexasFor example, if you volunteer to teach a line dance to a group of seniors at a nursing home, for free, does that make you a professional or not?  In once sense of the word, it does because you’re the teacher.  You are the acknowledged expert in the situation.  But you’re not getting paid so you’re not a “pro” in the other sense of the word.

What if you are a teacher’s assistant in a class where the teacher gets paid but you don’t.  You’re just doing it for the experience, basically you’re a student teacher.

What if you do a performance where money is being raised for charity?  Money is changing hands.  Folks are paying to see you dance.  Isn’t that “professional”?

It is enough to drive you to drink.

And that’s why there are rules.  The rules, sometimes, depending on the sport, can be extremely specific and go on for pages and pages. These rules spell out exactly what is and is not allowed if you wish to retain your “Amateur” status for the purposes of competition.

Organizations Governing Dance Competitions

global-danceMost of my dance experience and training is in Country Western Dance, so I’ll speak to those groups of which I have knowledge.   These are the groups which have rules under which I compete or have competed in the past (in alpha order):

Confused?  You’re not alone.  It makes my head hurt too.

Perhaps now you have an inkling as to why me saying “I’m turning Pro” is more complicated than it seems at first glance.

The rest of the stuff this past week…mostly medical.

I have reached the “out of pocket maximum” for my insurance policy which means that everything from now through Dec 31, 2015 is paid by the insurance company at 100%.  Yay!

So I’m getting a lot of stuff taken care of which I had put off due to financial reasons.  Yay.

Visit to the doctor on Monday the 10th

Doctor KittyMy doctor was very pleased by several things:

  • My weight had dropped from the visit the month before.  Yay!
  • The 3 month follow up on my a1c blood work (the test used to monitor diabetes) looks good.  She wants to see further improvement but she’s happy with the direction that things are going.  She repeated her conviction that within a year I should be able to start weaning off the diabetes medications and return to a non-diabetic state of health.  Yay!

I talked with her about the Niacian supplement she was having me take.  After talking with her she told me to stop taking it.  It was interfering with the effectiveness of the two diabetic drugs I take: Janumet and Invokana.

But for me the BIG THANG — this would be Big THANG #3 if you’re keeping score, is something I noticed during the “getting to the doctor” and the “coming home from the doctor”

It wasn’t an ordeal.

Didcha get that?

Getting to and from the doctor… Was. Not. An. Ordeal.

Back in the Spring of this year, when I first started going to the doctor, the act of visiting my doctor wiped me out for the rest of the day.  Getting down the stairs, driving to the doctor’s office, walking across the parking lot, actually doing the “seeing the doctor part” and then reversing that to get back home was exhausting.

By the time I got back home I would collapse into bed and sleep because the toll on my body was so demanding that my body in turn, demanded immediate full throttle REST after the exertion.

29 This is how the "Descent into hell" (see earlier photos) looks when you're at the bottom. From this angle I like to call these stairs "Mount Turtle Creek Terrace"

Stairs to my condo


On Monday, November 10th…

I walked down the flight of stairs from my building only lightly touching one handrail.

I walked down those steps alternating between left foot and right foot, one foot, one step, one right after the other.

I walked down those steps, not thudding onto each step, allowing my body to come to a complete stop with a tiny bit of rest on every step, but pretty much went down those steps in one continuous smooth sequence from beginning to end.


I actually stopped at the bottom of the steps and looked back, proud of my accomplishment.  Because it was.  Compared to where I was at the worst point in my journey from “healthy me” spiraling down into to NOT-health and now on my way back to “healthy me” it is absolutely an accomplishment.

I actually took a video of me at my heaviest going down those stairs.  I’ll have to take another now and post it here on my blog so you guys can see the difference.

The rest of the medical stuff…

  • Medical stuff resizedI had a small lipoma on my right arm removed when I was in my doctor’s office on the 10th.  Yay!
  • I also had a small skin tag removed while I was there.  Yay!
  • I had hemorrhoid surgery on the 5th of this month. I had the followup visit with the surgeon in his office on the 12th.  According to him everything is healing nicely, which is good to know.  This kind of surgery can be potentially dangerous due to the large number of nerves and blood vessels in the are under discussion.
  • I had an MRI on Wed last week (the 11th) — I thought I had a torn Rotator Cuff in my left shoulder, but that guess on my part was incorrect.The MRI shows that I have a posterior glenoid labral tear” so my doctor is going to send me to an Orthopedist.  From what I read online, that means that I’ll have to have an exploratory surgery where they cut two tiny holes in my shoulder and stick in tiny cameras to take a look around.I will not know until after that is done whether surgery is required to fix the tear or if physical therapy alone will be sufficient.  There is definitely impairment in the movement of my left shoulder and if I’m going to be able to teach dance and to compete then I have to have it fixed.
  • I had a sonagram on my left shoulder up where it meets my neck.  (The MRI was at the other end of the shoulder) I have a pocket of fluid on the shoulder at the base of the neck.My doctor is trying to figure out what it is and exactly how far into the shoulder it goes.  I first noticed it soon after the injury to my shoulder joint.  My guess was that the the fluid formed to protect the injury.  Which is why I thought my injury was the rotator cuff, because the fluid is up on top where the tendons of the rotator cuff anchor.But, I was wrong.  So who knows why there is this pocket of fluid there.  But it needs to be gone.  So, surgery it is.  That’s two, perhaps three surgeries I’ll be having between now and the end of the year, just in case you weren’t keeping count!
  • I’m getting better at taking my medications and supplements on a regular schedule.  Not where I should be, but better.

Whew!  It was quite a week!

So, it was a busy, event filled week.  And this week is likely to be just as busy.

But the bottom line is that I’m getting fitter; I’m getting healthier; and most of all…

I am dancing again!

One last bit of news from last week…

Dallas Dance FestivalOn Saturday, I actually went, as a spectator, and watched my former dance partner Donna dance with her new partner, JimDavid at the Dallas Dance Festival.  It was the first time in three years that I had been to that event. The last time was in November of 2012.

It felt good.  I got to see lots of friends from the dance world that I’d not seen in a very long time.  Keeping touch through Facebook is great but seeing people in person is much better.

I am very very excited by the potential in the coming year and going to the event on Saturday was something of a kick off for the beginning of lots of good things to come between now and Worlds 2017.

Backdrop on the stage at Worlds 2013Oh!  And a bit of AWESOME news!  My best friend told me last night that he is going to pay my way to go with him to see the last three days of the UCWDC World Championships of Country Western Dance to be held in Nashville TN the first week in Jan 2016!

This so rocks! WooooooooHoooooooo!  YeeeeeeeeHAW even!  😀

So, the rest of this year and the coming year is going to be filled with awesome things as I continue my journey, Dancing my way to a Healthy Me!

See ya on the dance floor!








About TxCowboyDancer

Professional Dance Instructor teaching Country, Ballroom, Swing, Latin and Line Dance. Eleven time Country Dance World Champion.

Posted on Mon, Nov 16, 2015, in Dance, Getting Fit, Getting Healthy and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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