Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy Feet...Kinda

Some of you have watched the saga of me getting older and my body essentially punching me repeatedly in the face. My hip has issues. My feet have issues. My doctor constantly tells me I am too young to be in his office as often as I am (currently, I am still visiting him weekly for hip and foot issues, where he also gives me B12 shots to help with healing). Today is an update about my new adventures with the Graston Technique on my left foot (right foot had surgery in 2013).  It took about a year for my right foot to stop hurting post-surgery. On top of all of this BS, my right foot has once again started hurting (so I only got about four or five months pain-free with that foot). I guess when you mess with your alignment, it can cause other issues.

So the left hip started randomly giving me trouble about five years ago (no injury to blame it on). I saw Keith and he got me back into a place where I could live relatively pain-free. After starting that new job in San Francisco in 2012, and going from wearing flip flops every day to real shoes, my right foot started really hurting. After having surgery and limping around in a moon boot for awhile, my left hip flared up again but I just kind of ignored it. My doctor warned me if I didn't take care of it, I would develop arthritis, and he started performing myofascial release on that hip this year. It has been life-changing. (We don't even have to mention how my little fall in Vegas put me back months and I'm still paying the price for that with my tight toes.) Something my doctor mentioned at one visit was how the tightness in my foot was related to my tight calves. Interestingly enough, I had just started having the Graston technique performed on my foot and calf the same week my doctor mentioned this.

I am about six weeks in to having the Graston technique performed on my foot (about once a week, although the holidays have made that a little difficult) and I really do feel like it is making a difference in the pain in my feet. The actual technique can be kind of painful. I have these crazy knots in my calves. I have always felt like my muscles practically melted after gastric bypass. Losing weight that quickly just destroys your body. My theory is that when the muscles started coming back, they fused in weird ways. When I used to get Charlie horses in my calf, it would be the back of the leg. After gastric bypass, Charlie horses moved into this place in between my muscles, which was completely unreachable and never could be rubbed out.

Although I am certainly not yet cured of foot pain, on the weeks I have Angela work on me, I am in significantly less pain than on the weeks I haven't been able to make it in. I am continuing with my yoga in order to keep myself somewhat stretched out. I am also using the Bledsoe brace on my left foot to keep pressure on the fascia. It is frustrating to be going through this on my other foot, but I really do hope that, if I keep up the Graston visits, I may be able to avoid future surgery on that foot.

Got any tricks for foot pain? I'm open to trying almost anything! I have been throwing around the idea of trying acupuncture. That should be fun...I really love needles. Not.

Bone spurs on the right foot. The left foot has similar, although smaller, spurs

Awesome bruise after a Graston visit

Friday, December 19, 2014

December 2014 Blog Hop: My Year in Photos!

It has, once again, been a crazy year.  Here are some highlights.  Sorry, I couldn't just pick one photo to represent each month and I'm sure I missed a bunch of things because I got tired of downloading photos.  And, since my life isn't just about pole, I really did include everything I did.  Enjoy!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Circle of Life

Two weeks to the day after Sassy Grandma passed away, my niece, affectionately referred to as "Tsunami" was born (my other sister-in-law is pregnant and "Volcano" is due in February).  My sister-in-law went through a very difficult labor (maybe we should have re-thought that nickname), but after a mere 50 hours of hell, the payoff was worth it!

Meet Seneti, our little Ginger Tongan!

I know I haven't been blogging a lot lately.  I've been doing a lot of soul searching about what I want to do with my life, where I want to live in the future and how much time I should spend doing my adventures.  And I want to make sure I spend more time with my family.

How do you make time for everything?  Work?  Exercise?  Family?  Fun?  There are only so many  hours in the day but I just don't see everyone seeming to struggle with balance like I do.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Fifth Anniversary as a Twirly Girl

I really can't believe I have been on this pole dancing journey for five years.  On December 2, 2009, Rita and I walked through the doors of Twirly Girls and we never left.  Not long after, Bel nicknamed me the Twirling Viking Warrior.  This has been a really difficult week, so I would have otherwise planned a longer tribute to my family at Twirly Girls, but I think pictures speak louder than words, so enjoy a few photos from the last couple of years of my journey.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Life reduced to the contents of a box...

A few years ago, my boss' grandfather died.  My boss went down to pick up his grandfather's belongings, then came back and handed me a box to go through to find important papers.  I had never met the man, but I felt like I got to know him through this box.  For one thing, he seemed to be a generous man.  He had a very limited income, yet he apparently wrote a check to every charity that called him for money -- even if it was only $10.  I read his bills, newspaper clippings, and papers he felt were important.  I found junk and baubles, which were often "rewards" for donating money.  I was at work, but I sobbed.  I sobbed that this life was extinguished and all that was left was a box full of papers that were dumped on a random, unknown secretary to go through. 

In the last week, I witnessed a life being reduced to a box first-hand.  The day after Thanksgiving, I was horseback riding when I got the text that my grandma was in the hospital.  She had been in the hospital before, so I figured this was no different (I think most of us in the family felt this way).  She was 83 and on dialysis, but certainly didn't have any issues that would have made us think she would be leaving us any time soon.  A couple of hours later, it became clear that this time was different.  It took almost 7 hours to get off the mountain and drive to the hospital but I made it.  My grandma was surrounded by family.  She had an oxygen mask on but was not technically on life support.  The doctors were very frank with us.  While we looked at her laying in the bed, kind of out of it, but still responding when we talked to her, we couldn't comprehend what they were telling us.  She had hours left, maybe a day or two, but that was it.  That can't be possible. 

On Facebook, I referred to her as Sassy Grandma.  My brother and his wife moved in to give her round-the-clock care a year or more ago.  She was able to walk but had fallen a couple of times and it seemed important to keep her in her own home as long as possible.  We watched my poor Great Grandma Ruby (arguably the sweetest person in the world) suffer when she lost her independence, so the longer we could keep my Grandma Myers in her home, the better.  When my brother and his wife needed a break, some of the family stepped up to help (probably not nearly as much as we should have now that I look back).  My Grandma was always slightly grumpy, but she got super sassy as she got older and had more pain.  So I called her Sassy Grandma.  I think she actually had a little following on Facebook as I would talk about all the funny things she would say. 

So, back in the hospital room, the doctor tells us that once the oxygen mask is removed, it would probably only be 10-15 minutes before she would pass.  It was slightly frustrating that the doctors weren't more caring, as she couldn't communicate well but seemed to be understanding everything that was being said in the room.  All of my Grandma's sons were out of state when she was taken to the hospital, so we were hoping to get everyone there before she passed.  One uncle came from Idaho and was there by around 9 PM.  The other came from visiting my dad in Texas, and was there by around 10 PM.  My dad was still in Texas and hoping to come the next day.  We were also conferring with her brother in Thailand.  Once the doctor mentioned that she would pass after the mask was removed, she started trying to push the mask off.  I think she knew.  The mask came off sometime around 11 PM.  Her entire family, save a couple of people who couldn't travel that far in time, surrounded the bed.  We cried.  We said our good-byes.  We waited.  Without the mask, she was so much more at peace.  Her breathing was slow and ragged, but she didn't pass immediately.  We waited until around 1:30 AM, then we decided to go get some rest.  We stayed up until 2:30, just talking about how fast this happened and how we were in disbelief, and still somehow holding out hope that she would wake up in the morning and yell to get her out of that damn hospital!  We finally went to bed but received the call at 4:45 AM that she was gone.  We got dressed and went to the hospital to say our final good-byes. 

I have seen dead bodies before.  When I was 9 or 10, I was at a Great Grandmother's funeral and I touched her hand.  It was so cold and I was scarred from it.  My Grandpa Myers passed in 2000, my Grandpa Last in 2003, and my Great Grandma Ruby also in 2003 (among others).  But there was something about being involved in the process of helping her pass into the next life that was comforting.  I was sad.  I cried.  But I was relieved.  I know she was in pain.  She had been going through dialysis and it was taking its toll on her body. 

Anyway, I wasn't planning to write all of that, but apparently I needed to get it out.  My Grandma passed early Saturday morning.  The funeral was Wednesday.  In those days between, we all had jobs to do.  Plan the funeral.  Order flowers.  Write the obituary.  Enlarge a photo and get a frame for the funeral.  Do a slideshow.  I had four external drives filled with photos.  It took me several hours to go through.  My Grandpa took thousands of photos (I guess that's where I get it from...I've heard he's my Guardian Angel).  We went through photo albums -- and kind of enjoyed talking about old stories.  I actually took those photo albums with me.  I have three large storage bins filled with those albums.  Eventually I'll figure out how to get them scanned to share with my family. 

I thought it would be nice for the grandchildren to wear pieces of our Grandma's jewelry to her funeral.  So we went through her drawers and boxes.  It felt like such a violation.  Even though we were told to do it, it felt wrong.  At the same time, it was another walk down memory lane.  We found photos and other items that reminded us of our childhood.  We opened up a cedar chest that included newspaper clippings from back in the 1970's.  It seemed to be a lot of stuff my Grandpa found interesting and important.  We found a box of my Great Grandma's things -- many of them things I was surprised my Grandma kept.  But then I realized, that was her mom and I'm sure it was hard to throw anything away.  Here was this tiny box with all of the memories of my Great Grandma Ruby.

The last week has been one of the most sad, tiring and stressful, yet, strangely, one of the happiest I've had in a long time.  No one gets together after you pass to talk about the bad times.  You remember the good and the happy times.  In death, we all deserve that respect.  I was surrounded by my entire family and we got to remember all of the amazing people who helped make us who we are.  However, every time I found a box with a deceased loved one's belongings, I couldn't help but think how sad it is that our lives are reduced to the contents of a box. 

I realized life is too short for jobs we hate, friends who backstab us or activities we don't enjoy.  I feel like some changes are coming for me.  And, someday when I pass, I hope that my box is filled with interesting things that make my family smile and remember the good times.  I hope that you are filling your box with love and fun as well!

Rest in peace, Sassy Grandma.  I know that you loved us and we love you too.  I am grateful that you're with Grandpa.  And I can't wait to see you again. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Adventures of my Ol' Lady Hip

I really can't catch a break in the body department.  I was close to finishing my rounds of myofascial release on my left hip when I flipped in Vegas and supposedly ruptured a disc in my back, screwed up my left foot and injured my neck.  Now, at about nine weeks out from that injury, I am almost healed enough to get back to the hip again. 

My hip has had quite a few pain free days so I can't complain.  The myofascial release really does work.  But the injuries to my foot and back have slowed down that recovery (perhaps even driven me backwards a bit).  I should have had another two appointments on my hip before my doctor could comfortably tell me if he thought I was "cured," but we had to switch the focus to my foot (we didn't even bother with the back...I was just told to be careful with my exercise to allow the disc to heal).  My doctor basically did the same thing to my foot that he did to my hip.  Like deep tissue massage but on a very bony area -- no fun.  He was also giving me B12 injections in the top of my foot -- even less fun.  Two months later, my left foot is still slightly swollen and the toes are tight so it is hard to bend them.  I have stretches to help with that, and they are helping, but this sure is a slow process.  And, now my hip is having more and more "bad" days again. 

At my last appointment with my doctor (I'm in this guy's office every single week now), he felt around on my foot and finally said there has to be more going on.  He says that a lot of these issues are related to my tight calves.  Funny he should mention that...  I told him how I was having the Graston technique done on my feet and calves (oh yeah, because my left foot has been killing me lately and I would really like to avoid surgery like I had on my right foot).  Angela had also noticed these ridiculous knots in my calves and really spent more time there than she did on my feet.  I told my doctor about our findings and he said he was glad she was helping us.

So, now that my feet are getting some attention at Body Strong Massage, I am hoping my doctor can get back to treating my hip.  I don't know if this injury is going to just be something I will have to return to have treated every few months.  I had experienced so much less pain for awhile there that I thought I might be permanently cured.  I guess only time will tell.

Getting old sure does suck sometimes!  I truly understand now what they mean when they say youth is wasted on the young.  If I could just Benjamin Button this life, I feel like I would be so much better off!!

Well, hey, as long as I can still do yoga in stilettos

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Dangerous Curves III

This weekend is the third annual Dangerous Curves, a celebration of plus size pole athletes, created and hosted by my friend, Roz THE DIVA Mays.  Roz has been a cheerleader for plus sized athletes in pole dance since the birth of modern pole and I appreciate all the love and support she gives me so I try to give it right back when I can.  I cannot be in New York this weekend (but am hoping this is a trip I can make next year, either as a spectator or maybe even as a competitor!!!?).  However, if you ARE in New York, please check out the show and give me a review! 

If you need more incentive, my loves at the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association are giving away a free ticket!!  Click THIS link for more information.

I encourage everyone to support the shit out of Roz and Dangerous Curves!  Please check THIS link if you're in New York and want to purchase tickets! 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Graston Technique: A Story About My Sad Feet

In my last pain update, I reported that I injured myself at Pole Expo and was dealing with some major foot and back problems.  It is about six weeks later, and I am happy to report that my back is feeling much better (though it is still a little tight).  I am finally back to doing mini backbends in yoga (in my world, standing upright is a back bend).  My left foot is slowly following along (well, the top of it and the toes -- we will get to the bottom of my foot later).  Last night in yoga, I was actually able to roll over my toes from plank to downward dog without having to lift my feet up and carefully place them on the ground in order to avoid the sad toes.  However, now my left hip, which had responded well to the myofascial release therapy (I actually had quite a few completely pain free days!), is suddenly hurting.  A lot.  I can't win.  Ever.  

Don't tell anyone I was wearing these shoes...
Anyway, I met Angela through a fellow Twirly Girl, Jessica.  Angela, owner of Body Strong Massage, came out to NCPP and did chair massages for most of the day.  When I met Angela, she was in the process of setting up a location pretty close to my house so I promised to set up an appointment for a massage.  It took me a few months to pull it together but I finally got out there last week.  While she worked on me, we talked about all of my body issues.  Scars.  Injuries.  We talked about my foot surgery.  It took about a year, but my right foot is now mostly pain free post-fascia release, however, there's still kind of a bump in my foot where the fascia was cut.  Sadly, my left foot (even before the latest injury) was starting to have the plantar fasciitis type pain.  I expressed my frustration and she understood.  Angela does those crazy ultra marathons.  The ones I couldn't even dream of walking, much less running, with all the issues I'm having right now.  Anyway, she pulls out this little metal tool and starts talking about the Graston Technique.  She tells me she battled plantar fasciitis for a long time and it almost ruined her.  So she does foot work for a very reasonable price because she feels so passionately about helping people live without pain.  

What is the Graston Technique?  

"Graston Technique® is an evidence-based form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively address scar tissue and fascial restrictions through comprehensive training, resulting in improved patient outcomes.

The technique uses specially-designed stainless steel instruments, along with appropriate therapeutic exercise, to specifically detect and effectively treat areas exhibiting soft tissue fibrosis or chronic inflammation. The instruments also are used diagnostically to follow the kinetic chain, to locate and treat the cause of the symptom as well as the specific area of pain."

Angela tried out the technique on me during the massage.  She likened the knots in my body to many plastic bags stuck together.  You know, like those little bags in the grocery store that we need to lick our fingers to separate and put our produce in?  Those ones.  The tool is this small metal, almost brass knuckle-looking, thing.  I think of it kind of like a squeegee.  Think of laying tint on a window and you're trying to get all the air bubbles out.  That's how it felt for me.  

Although, Angela worked on me a little bit with the tool last Friday, I made an appointment for last night just to have my feet worked on.  It was crazy.  I could feel all of these little cracky things in both feet and calves.  She could feel where I was tight and then follow the yellow brick road to another area of the leg that was also tight.  I am a little sore today but have another appointment for next week.  

This was a really great experience for me.  I am not lessening the amazingness of Keith but it is nice to have someone very close to home.  I am realizing that, although Keith really put me back together when I was in the worst place, I needed to be seeing him a couple of times a week for a few months in order to have truly reaped the benefits of what he does.  I didn't really get that until I watched my doctor work on my hip.  So I am going to be more proactive with my feet and not wait until I can't walk to take care of the problem.

So, between my doctor fixing my hip and Angela fixing my feet, my goal is to be relatively pain free in 2015!  I have not been that way in over five years.  

Have you ever tried the Graston Technique?  Someone mentioned that it can be used on scars in general so maybe I'll start having her run it over my plastic surgery scars that have tightened down.  I'd love to hear about your experiences with it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Artista Active Wear for the Plus-Sized Pole Dancer

When I posted about Pole Expo from the perspective of a plus-sized pole dancer, I mentioned that Artista Active Wear was one of the very few vendors who actually brought plus sized clothes to the show, and they were sold out by the time I stopped by to visit.  After my mention, Artista contacted me to offer a pair of their boudoir shorts to try, so I ordered a matching crop top and finally got to try them out this weekend!

I am six feet tall, 240 pounds and my measurements are 49 inches at the fullest part of the bust, 45 inch waist and 48 inch hips (I thought I was oddly shaped but I have been informed that people really do come in all shapes and sizes!).  I ordered both pieces in a 2X and they fit perfectly.  I technically could have worn the crop top as a sports bra (sans bra underneath) but did ultimately choose to wear a bra while I danced (and I know they offer other bra options that will provide more support should you need it).  I found that the bottom of the crop top kind of rolled up into my fat rolls when I sat down, so I just pulled it up to reside right under my bra line to kind of wear it sports bra-style, and it was perfectly comfortable.  The shorts provided wonderful coverage.  At no time did I feel like I was flashing the goods all over for everyone to see.  All-in-all, I felt like the clothing was well made, comfortable and beautiful.

Below, you can see some photos and a video I took.  I'm sorry I put the lace top over the outfit while I was dancing.  You probably won't get to see much more than the shorts.  But I do promise they were comfortable to dance in!

If you have any questions or have your own experiences with Artista to share, please feel free to leave a comment below!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Trick or Twirl 2014

Ginger and I performed another routine together.  This time, for Twirly Girls' Halloween show, Trick or Twirl, we did a Jeni Janover/Liquid Motion-inspired piece to the song, Motivation.  I really enjoy working with Ginger and I felt less silly with the sexy this time.  Don't get me wrong, I still feel silly but I am getting more comfortable with it.  Enjoy photos and videos below!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Chunky Girls at ConVolution

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of being invited to ConVolution in San Francisco to speak on a panel with the other girls from Chunky Girl Comics.  Definitely not the "normal" nerd convention that I am used to, ConVolution was a lot more sci-fi, but it was still a lot of fun. 

On Saturday, Marisa and I headed a panel called: Fierce, Fab and Fluffy: Women and Body Image in Comics, Cosplay and Pop Culture.

We were nervous.  Would anyone show up?  Who wants to hear us talk about being chubby?  Our back-up plan was to turn on music and booty shake for an hour and a half, if necessary.  It turned out, we had nothing to worry about.  We had a great group of ladies (and one gentleman), and we had a conversation about a whole bunch of things.  We discussed our personal body issues.  We discussed Chunky Girl Comics and the importance of seeing diverse bodies in the world.  We even discussed health issues and how you can address "food issues" without making them "fat issues" (because, let's be honest, a lot of the food in this country is lacking nutrients; and skinny people are eating the same crappy food as larger people). 

I did video the entire 90-minute event and still need to figure out how best to break that down into smaller video clips.  In the meantime, I wanted to thank ConVolution and Chunky Girl Comics for inviting me to be part of the event and I am looking forward to doing it again!  Until the video is ready, please enjoy a couple photos from the day.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pole Mamas Pole Body Grip

Yet another sample provided in our Pole Expo goodie bags: Pole Mamas Pole Body Grip -- Sweet Janeiro sample.  The sample is adorable.  It looks like a tiny, fat chapstick.  One of the girls in our room, in fact, may have used it as chapstick before realizing what it was.  I did finally try it out in pole class last week.  It is a bee's wax type consistency.  It smells lovely.  And it gives some decent grip (less than iTac2, which would be the closest in product consistency, which is good since iTac2 is awesome for gluing me to a spinning pole).  Again, as I don't have sweaty hands, I can't say how it would work if you are sweaty, but for trying moves like Jasmine (which is what I'm trying to get without crying about kneepit pain), it worked great! 

Achy Muscles? Try Sore No More!

At Pole Expo, we were given a sample of Grounding Flight Aromatherapy's So No More in our goodie bags.  Remember how I smashed my face on the ground while I was there?  Well, I had expected to not be able to move the day after that little incident.  As I was going to bed, one of the girls in the room suggested I try the sample in our bag.  I realize that a product like this can't fix a ruptured disc, but it certainly did seem to help my muscles relax!  I was able to move around a lot better on Sunday than I expected. 
I have continued using the product on my neck and lower back in the last couple of weeks as my muscles take on various aches from being injured.  It is very gentle (not like the shock of my usual favorite, BioFreeze), so I can still use a heating pad with it.  It smells slightly lemony, so it also doesn't shock the senses like Icy Hot or BioFreeze.

So if you are looking for another way to ease those achy mucles, give Sore No More a try! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My performance at Cowboy Wild's Pole-Tacular Birthday Extravaganza

This will be short and sweet.  Here's video of my performance at Robert's birthday (you can read more about the weekend HERE).  There is also the playlist of other performances.  Thank you to AJ for teaching us the choreography from the video!  And thank you so much to all of my back-up dancers!  Since I could barely remember the dance, I needed you!!! 

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September 2014 Blog Hop: Hot for Teacher

You've heard the saying:  "Those who can, do; those who can't, teach."  While I know a ton of amazing pole teachers who can do *and* teach, in my case, that is actually true!  When Bel asked me to become an instructor almost three years ago, I really didn't feel qualified.  I didn't have a background in dance or fitness.  I really had only a very basic understanding of body mechanics.  I had been working out, doing yoga, and paying trainers for almost 18 years, but that still does not make me an expert.  However, I started to shadow Bel (who is a certified fitness expert and is also Xpert certified in pole) and eventually started to teach a beginner pole class. 

Many of my students were also friends and ended up dancing with me for over two years.  We also had new students come through, so I was teaching a mixed level class.  Again, I didn't feel qualified.  A few months ago, we started trying to encourage them to take other classes so that I could get back to basics and teach the beginner levels again.  The plan is for my class to provide a solid foundation so that little baby pole dancers can go on to intermediate and advanced classes with confidence. 

While I miss my regular class and friends terribly, I also really enjoy teaching beginner pole.  I feel like I can actually provide useful information and teach moves. 

I have been frustrated with my pole journey lately.  I recently lost 21 pounds and wanted to start taking more classes so I can grow -- not only so I can be a better pole dancer but so I can be a better instructor.  As seems to happen to me, injuries, time, money, all gets in the way. 

I really do enjoy teaching beginners because I feel like it allows me to continue to be an ambassador for pole.  Each time I teach someone who has never poled before, I feel like I am responsible for helping them see how awesome pole is.  I see Yelp reviews for studios and instructors who are horribly mean and nasty to their students.  That will never be me.  Everyone is welcome in my class.  You won't learn how to Iron-X in my class, but I promise some dancing, sweating, and a lot of laughs. 

Who was your first pole instructor?  Do you still take class with them??  Leave your comments below!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mo' Injuries, Mo' Problems

So, I mentioned how, at Pole Expo, I'd flipped out of the Fly Gym and smashed myself up pretty well.  Although my toe was super bruised, and I thought possibly broken, my first and biggest worry when it first happened was the crack I heard in my neck. 

First off, I did have my foot x-rayed.  There was no break.  Although there's not much that can be done for broken toes (other than taping, usually), my doctor was concerned that the metatarsal may have been broken based on the level of bruising and swelling.  Although everything ended up being fine (well, "fine" as in, "not broken"), over two weeks later, my left foot is still swollen and my second toe hurts like a bitch all the time.  I imagine that constantly walking on it with a body weighing 240 pounds doesn't give much rest to tiny toesies.  I have another doctor's appointment this week and will probably start icing the foot to get swelling down.  I just barely got over my last foot problem (other foot, at least).  I don't need to go through this again. 

One creepy, bony foot; one swollen foot
Next issue:  that sickening crack I heard in my spine when I hit the floor.  The first doctor's appointment after Pole Expo was to deal with the toe.  The purple bruising was pretty fantastic, and everything else was just vaguely sore.  When I went in the next week (which was last week), my doctor asked how I felt.  I said, well it's weird but I feel this pinch and pain down my entire leg.  He said, I was worried about that!  He also said he was surprised I wasn't in even more pain.  Well, now that he's mentioned it, I *am* in a ton of pain! 

My doctor said that most likely I ruptured a disc when I fell and it was swollen and pinching a nerve.  He said to be careful about my arms (potentially indicates ruptured disc in neck) or legs (potentially indicates ruptured disc in lower back) falling asleep, because that could mean we have a larger issue (or worse injury than we thought).  At that point, maybe I will need an MRI??  Well, I'm sure its psychosomatic like the previously reported increased pain, but suddenly this weekend, I had several instances where my arms or legs went to sleep.  In fact, when I got up on a massage table yesterday, there was a pillow under my feet and the angle almost immediately put my legs to sleep.  I had to move it and shake my legs out and I was fine within seconds.  It was scary though.  And I'm still wondering if it is mostly in my mind. 

Apparently the next six weeks are critical (well, the next four weeks since two weeks have already passed).  I am supposed to be taking it very easy in the workout department.  No lifting of heavy things, which means no spotting during pole class.  I also need to be careful about back bending.  I haven't been to yoga in a couple of weeks (mostly because my toes hurt in positions like downward dog) but did do a very gentle Fly Gym class with Ginger last week, which felt great.  My doctor said this type of injury is usually too deep to ice but I have been icing my back and hip on occasion anyway.  I did a lot of walking and sitting while driving this weekend, and have low pain this morning, surprisingly.  This morning, in fact, my left hip is completely pain-free for the first time in years (thanks to the myofascial release).  The rest of my leg is slightly throbbing, however.

I feel like I will never get ahead.  As soon as I'm ready to start kicking ass and taking names, I get pushed down in the dirt.  I have another doctor's appointment this week.  I will mention the sleepy arms and legs, but am still feeling a little crazy that I didn't notice it until he mentioned it.  My goals at this point are to figure out how to be kind to my body without letting all my progress go by the wayside.

How do you deal with injuries?  I don't want to injure myself permanently, but if I stop exercising every time I'm hurt, I will essentially never exercise.  If you have any advice, please leave it in the comments below! 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Need another product to stick to the pole? Try Stunt Grip!

While at Pole Expo, I met up with Steve Gale, one of the creators of Stunt Grip (he and his partner, Victor Flores, are also known for bringing us Pole Sleeves).  As Steve has been in the business of stunts and Chinese pole for many years, I very much respect what he has to say and any products he endorses. 

Earlier this week, I wrote a review about Dry Body, a product to help you stop sweating.  Now I want to write about how to stick to the pole once you've stopped the sweating.

Stunt Grip comes in a little black bag.  You tap the bag onto your hands.  You can use it dry OR you can use a spray bottle of alcohol to set the product (which is why a little sweat doesn't hurt...and maybe if you are sweaty, you don't need the alcohol, as your sweat will be enough).  I find that the delivery system helps keep the clumps (which happens with chalky tacks) from falling into your hands and only allows a fine dust to cover you.  Over the last week, I've asked several people to try it and give me their feedback. 

For myself, I found it to work well.  It is a chalky powder but it didn't get everywhere.  Since you do use liquid to help set the product, sweaty hands isn't an automatic death warrant.  However, for my *super* sweaty-hand friends, they did sweat through it (remember, I sweat from my head, not my hands).  It might be a good product to layer over something like an anti-perspirant or Tite Grip (or Dry Hands, or whatever product you like to get your hands to stop sweating).  I feel like Ginger gave a great assessment.  It gave her more stick than Mighty Grip, and I would add, but less grip than iTac2.  It would be a great medium grip product to add to your arsenal (you know, trying to avoid that "cooter squeak" by not over-tacking yourself). 

So if you're still looking for that perfect product to stick you to the pole, give Stunt Grip a try.  You can check out their website HERE.  You can also find them on Facebook HERE.  They have a deal on the price if you purchase before November! 

Check out Steve in action below:

Have you ever tried Stunt Grip?  If not, pick some up and let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dry Body and Mighty Grip

At Pole Expo, someone from the Mighty Grip booth gave me a couple of samples of Dry Body.  It stops sweat, they told me.  Stops sweat?  This can't be true.  Yeah, I've heard of the medications you can take to stop sweat.  And yeah, I'm a sweaty person, so you would have thought I'd have looked it up before now.  But I guess I'm just lazy and until someone handed me a product, I never really thought to try it. 

[Want to catch up on my sweaty adventures?  Read THIS about my issue and THIS about magnesium.]

Anyway, back to the Dry Body.  My first concern is that sweat rids your body of toxins, so will stopping the sweat allow toxins to build?  According to THIS article, we have nothing to fear: "Another common concern about antiperspirants is that they may plug sweat glands and prevent toxins from leaving the body through underarm lymph nodes. However, there's no connection between your sweat glands and your lymph nodes [source: American Cancer Society]. In addition, your body doesn't get rid of waste through the sweat glands -- your kidneys and liver filter out toxins."  I mean, if it's on the internet, it MUST be true, right?

Dry Body is essentially like rolling your anti-perspirant all over your body.  You can read up on how that all works HERE:  "When an antiperspirant is applied to the skin surface, its active ingredients – usually aluminium salts – dissolve in the sweat or moisture on the skin surface of the armpit. The dissolved substance forms a gel, which creates a small temporary ‘plug’ near the top of the sweat gland, significantly reducing the amount of sweat that is secreted to the skin surface."

In this case, Dry Body, however, claims to work for an entire week.  I felt like the best way to find out if it worked was to try it!  So, here are my sweaty times.  I sweat in the middle of the night.  I sweat after showers.  I generally sweat when I get to work (left-over post-shower sweat plus now I've walked to work).  I sweat when I work out.  I sweat when I get nervous or am in pain.  I sweat when I eat sugar.  I sweat under hot lights.  I pretty much sweat all the time (which I have always attributed to my clear skin, so I'm mostly okay with it!).  My sweat mostly comes from my head, which then drips down my body.  I don't get super sweaty arm pits or palms.  If I am doing a crazy work out, then I will sweat all over my body, but for the most part, I have wet hair constantly from sweating (losing weight did help me be less sweaty but I've never been non-sweaty, regardless of my weight; my grandma is sweaty, as are a few other people in my family). 

So I followed instructions to dab (not rub) the towellette on my scalp, hair line, neck, and then, for good measure, added in some dabs under the boobs (yeah I guess I do get boob sweat) and arm pits.  Then I went to bed.  I did NOT like the tingle it gave me around my face.  It felt like little needles poking me over and over.  However, it didn't kill me and I was able to fall asleep fine so I wasn't uncomfortable for long.  It also smells like cloves, which triggers some old memory that I can't exactly put my finger on.  So it brings me to a weird place mentally when I use it.  That's not the product's fault though. 

Day 1:  Woke up un-sweaty.  Normally I sweat in the middle of the night.  After my shower?  Not sweaty.  Got to work?  Not sweaty.  I was even wearing Bb cream on my face and didn't sweat thoguh that!!  (Oh yeah, heavy lotions, especially on my face also make me sweat.)  Day 2:  I did sweat a bit in pole class that night but it took longer to start and I didn't sweat as badly.  Days 3 and 4?  No sweating.  Day 5:  Back to normal levels of sweat in all areas.

So maybe I didn't get a full week of non-sweatiness, but four days wasn't so bad.  I did another wipe again last night, and this morning, have had very little sweat.  I am still nervous about not sweating, so maybe this isn't something I would do to myself every single week, but perhaps before large events where I don't want to sweat through my performance, this would be perfect for me.  In fact, I wish I had used it before our pole show on Sunday, because I was a freaking wet wreck before/during/after that performance.  It does require a little forethought, as you are supposed to apply it the night before (and I don't like how it makes my hair feel, so a wash is definitely required in the morning). 

Below, you can see some photos of the packaging, the towelette and how I used it.  If you are interested in checking out Dry Body, please visit Mighty Grip's website HERE.  If you use the product, let me know how it works for you!