What is your PulsePDX story?

PulsePDX Member TaniaThree years and 3 months ago to the day I was laying in a quarantined room with Covid for weeks and weeks and weeks, months actually. That was before we knew we didn’t have to quarantine that long. I was too sick to get up and really thought I was going to die a bunch of times. I have had doctors say I wasn’t imagining that, I was that sick. In the middle of that I’ll never forget laying there alone, just limp and so, so sick, but I had my laptop open with the live stream Zumba on. I moved my feet. I couldn’t move my legs and I didn’t really move my feet from where they were planted. I had my eyes closed most of the time but I think I remember smiling. I just turned my ankles a little side to side and my toes a little bit to the beat and to the choreography I remembered. Sometimes I would hear your voices. Meant a lot to me to hear your voices.

Young Tania DancingBack then I believed if I survived Covid, I would get all better and be able to come back and dance again, but that wasn’t what happened. I didn’t have any idea what my body would go through for the following 3 years. I will never forget the first day I tried to come to Zumba. I thought I’d try using a chair to hold onto and sit in, but even then I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t dance, like not really at all. No part of my body was the same. It wasn’t just my heart and lungs, my brain suffered from the inflammation during covid, and most likely many mini blood clots, and it was a few months into it that I first heard the words traumatic brain injury. Watching the moves that day I couldn’t translate them to my feet. I could see but not make my feet move the ways I was thinking to make them move. Plus I couldn’t track or remember anything, and everything that felt like it made me feel like “me” , like dancing, that I loved so much my entire life, felt totally gone. I was devastated, confused, scared, and angry. I went back and forth trying to figure out what “acceptance” meant, but I didn’t want to let go… I just couldn’t let go. I wouldn’t even stop my membership, because mentally, I HAD to keep that hope alive. I HAD to keep trying.

It’s been three years, and for a time I really never knew if I would be able to dance again, let alone go up on STAGE ever again.

Today I did that!! ☺️

Tania's stage returnIt was only because I am lucky enough to have a community of people surround me with care and encouragement that allow me to: be myself,  sit in a chair and just move my feet, only stand if I can, leave for weeks or months when my health plummets, and come back months later, just to keep trying again and again. I cry sometimes, I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard. But I could keep trying because I felt safe coming and sitting in a chair. Knowing it was ok if I was different, and ok to just do my best, even if my best wasn’t anywhere near where I wanted to actually be, but to try to learn to take joy in each little thing. And there is SO much joy in those little things!

I told Jennifer about a month ago or so that it was my goal to just, some day, be able to go back on stage, I didn’t care if I had to modify the moves and use my cane. I just wanted to be able to do it again, someday. Which I imagined would be far away.

But today out of the blue Jennifer pointed to me and asked if I wanted to come up for a song she thought would be safe and I would be able to do.

I’m tearing up right now, just as I write this because the feeling I had was so good, but so scary to go up on the stage. I was so overcome walking towards that stage again. I was afraid I would faint or fall down or trip on myself or forget everything I was doing, lol… Mostly, I was afraid I would faint up there and that would be the worst thing (that’s because a parting gift from Covid makes it difficult for me to regulate my heart rate. It goes crazy high, and blood pressure and other things that are supposed to coordinate to keep my blood pumping thru my body, and especially to my head, don’t coordinate and I can very actually faint 😉 … though I work super hard not to).

Tania HNone of those scary things happened, instead, I did it!! It was so meaningful to me that everybody understood how important it was to me and cheered me on, and it couldn’t have been better.

While I danced, so many memories of, not only the days in bed and the struggle to keep trying to dance, but especially memories of all of the other times over the years of being up on that stage. Memories of all of you dancing together with me, through fun times and tough times, to triumphant stick-it-to the man times, rushed in and filled me with so much connection and gratitude. It felt so good to reclaim that bit of me, even though my heart was beating so fast. I couldn’t help smiling so much, and then I couldn’t help crying… But mostly smiling. At the end, my legs shook going down the stairs, and as soon as I got to the floor, I just kind of sobbed. It was an overcome, grateful, I can’t believe it kind of crying. It’s been a really LONG three + years. I have been tearing up each time I tell anyone and think about it all day today, because I am so happy. It really does feel like a miracle to me!! 💞And I love all of you.

And Jennifer Steider Nielson, Pulse will always be so special to me and I hope I’ll be dancing, sitting or standing, for so many more years to come. I’m not all better, and I don’t know if I ever will be, but I will learn to do the best with what I have where I’m at. When I’m on a high I will stand up and dance in my way, and maybe even go up on stage. When I’m on a low and I can’t stand, I will sit if I am able, and try to remember that things don’t always stay the same and one day maybe I’ll stand again. But either way, if I’m standing or sitting, I’ll still be dancing with all of you, and I realize now, that won’t change ❤️. I love all of you guys so much and I’m so grateful for this whole community. The joy multiplied so much sharing this milestone with all of you, and the truth is that I really couldn’t have done this without your support❤️