Little did I know as a child when I was always dancing on my toes and dreaming of being a dancer that one day that my dream would become my reality.
But not without a few bumps in the road first. I initially experiened a nightmare. At the age of 50, upon suffering a stroke in January 2003, speaking articulately, and in complete sentences, applying lipstick, tying my work out shoes, zipping my pants, showering, driving and writing were only a fraction of the challenges I was facing.
My professional career as the president of a management and public relations firm and active personal life came to a screeching halt. I had all the ‘innate and acquired skills’ to move forward. The stroke had left its mark on my speech and physical mobility. I had no time to ask ‘why’? Instead I was asking how can I move beyond what has happened?
The aftermath of the stroke forced me to participate in speech, physical and occupational therapy. None of the therapy was producing the results I was so desperate to achieve – to regain my life once again.
Mentally, emotionally and physically depleted – one night after several weeks of therapies, I sat in my home/office and through my tears, I glanced over at my vast music collection which represented the best original artists and music from the 40’s/Big Band, 50s/60s, disco, current pop rock; Broadway show tunes and Jazz.
The idea crossed my mind - maybe if I was distracted by the music, I could forget the pain in my entire right side and create movements my body liked.
Routinely, I performed the movements many times a day, simultaneously singing to myself with the music, which helped my then incomplete sentences and improved my articulation.
I was ecstatic as I did one movement at a time - sitting, standing, trotting and progressing eventually to jogging.
I promised myself, when I was fully recovered sometime within the year - as my reward – I would fulfill my childhood dream and just ‘once’ I would offer an exercise class for the physically active or physically fit and the physically challenged.