Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One year post surgery

Ok, so I had quite a few thoughts about life after a full hip replacement. That day was one year ago. I was so scared walking into that hospital. I wanted to just turn around and say sorry I decided I really don't any to do this anymore. At the time I thought the pain of every day life would be better than the unknown of getting this major surgery. I was also scared because there was no turning back. Once someone saws your bone in half your kinda in this for the long hall. You can even ask my mom. I laid in the waiting room crying because I wasn't sure about all that it entailed. To this day I'm. It quite sure why I didn't run out of the room and say never mind. All I remember saying was lord please help me get through this. I don't know if anyone can ever really put the words together to adequately describe how someone feels going through such a major surgery unless you have experienced it. I think the thing that made it worse was that I am so young. To be 29 (now 30) and having this kind of a surgery was scary in and of itself. To put the thoughts of that day into words I was scared of the unknown. Scared of the future, scared to put my life into the hands of someone else. Yes I was scared of something bad happening, but I was also scared of the possibility that things could finally look up for me. A life without pain, at the time felt like the biggest lie I could imagine. The idea that I didn't have to accept this as my life was far beyond that person grasp of thinking. Luckily for me today life is quite different from what it was a year ago. I can not even begin to describe to you what it has meant to have this new life. It has taken me awhile to figure out now how to function as a "normal" person. It was strange and scary at first. luckily I had a therapist who aided me in figuring out what this new life was and really what I wanted. It was so hard at first. She would say imagine yourself dancing doing what you loved to do. And I can honestly say I couldn't even bring myself to dream that possible because I had accepted the fact that I was just forever suppose to be in pain and not be able to do certain things. I can tell you that is not the case anymore. And while I haven't actually been dancing anywhere the fact that I know I could and I would be good at it again is enough for me. I guess this past year in regards to the surgery has been full of ups and downs. I have been scared to do things because I didn't want to over do it, but honestly I don't think I have pushed myself to that limit yet. I have had the opportunity now to go hiking with my friend. That was an experience. It was such an accomplishment. Let me tell you. We both were so happy I could do it. It was neat to experience that moment with my friend because she had been there when I struggled to walk sometimes. She took good care of me those times and always provided me with a shoulder to lean on when I struggled to walk, or an arm to hold onto. I asked her once why she always helped when I clearly never asked. She said when her mom was disabled she just got in the habit of holding her arm out for her so it was the same thing. She clearly knew I was just as stubborn and would not ask all the time I needed help. We even had a few awkward moments of me not being able to do stuff and her quickly and without hesitation helping. But after you have experience all of those things and then you finally get to experience the joy of hiking up a mountain together (cause well now you can) a lot of the joy and accomplishment of the moment just doesn't need to be said it is just felt. That I think has been my greatest accomplishment this past year. That dang mountain. It only took us 3.5 hours. Longer then normal but hey it wasn't even 6 months after the surgery. The other thing is I have now had the opportunity to look at my life and decide what parts I have wanted to change and make a new direction for myself. Like I said before it was hard for me to think about a future when I knew my disability would clearly stop me from those things. Well once I didn't have that obstacle in my way, it left for quite the decisions to be made. I'm not sure I fully made the decision yet but it's nice to know I have more options. I only recently have made the resolve to try my hand at those 'unknown' things and so far I like it. It feels good to look at something I want to do and just be able to go after it. It may not be right for me but I'm glad I now have the option. Honestly if you would have asked me one year ago today how I thought my life would turn out. I could not have imagined this. I don't necessarily think it's because this magical huge even happened. The change happened because I was able to grow mentally and spiritually because of it. Yes, I am able to do a lot of different things now. And I am beyond grateful for that but it was because my body finally matched what brain wanted to achieve. I feel so blessed that modern medicine has been able to come so far that it was able to give me a new hip. Honestly I had the best doctor ever. They took extra care of me and reassured me that he had done this many times before and that he was confident this would improve my quality of life. He said he would take extra good care of me and would make sure this was perfect. And he did. I am grateful for modern medicines am grateful for modern medicine, because without it I would still be in so much pain. So I guess I'm writing this to refresh myself on the events this year, but also to explain a bit more about what has happened to me this year. I don't think I explained a lot about what happened before the surgery or during or right after. It was hard for me to express myself and be sure of any decision at that time. Any huge event like that would. I don't know if even now one year after the big event if I fully understand and have a grasp on what it has meant to my life. I'm still figuring that out. And I am still finding my limits. I think it's trusting my limits now that I'm still scared of. This prob felt like a scattered post, and I know it is. I just felt like I needed to express a few of my thoughts about the subject over the past year. And maybe most of this is for me but honestly I think that everyone gets so wrapped up in the day to day life that we forget others have been struggling with things also. I know I do. I want everyone to know that I understand life gets crazy but I also understand that sometimes the biggest risk we take is trusting ourselves. Trusting we can have a better life for ourselves and then actually having the courage to do something to make it better. I know because I know I didn't fully believe it myself at first. It wasn't until I let go and decided to let God take control of my life that I truly got my life back. Life is scary. I know I have been through it. It's how use your second chance that makes the difference. So the moral of this blog/ rant is that you shouldn't take any day for granted and that you should not be scared of the unknowns in your life. Even when you are so scared you can't even put into words all of your feelings and you don't know if you will ever be able to put into words your thoughts. Keep going, one day you will figure it out. Life isn't always hard, and it does get easier. And don't be scared of the unknown. Unknown doesn't mean bad. It's simple unknown. I think that's why it's so good to be optimistic about life. Why spend your time worry about all the bad things going wrong? Dreaming and focusing on life being good is so much healthier and peaceful then worrying. I have also found that in the dreaming you make better things happen for yourself. Ok, so most of this was written last night as I reflected on the events that have happened. Today I went for a one year check up on my hip. It was a good visit. I haven't been having any complications with the hip so it was a short visit but it was good to be reassured that my hip is working well and that everything is going well. We talked briefly about how life has been and he said that I should feel comfortable running now. Well, not that I should take up running but to feel comfortable being able to run after a kid if they are running out in the street, etc. he said n=most people feel that comfortable at about a year. So that is good news to know that now I am able to do more things. I think that just goes along with my idea that I still haven't found all of my "limits" with this new hip. I know for sure I need to be extra careful. Like not doing things where I could fall or put myself at risk of getting hurt. But, I think that is a given. Overall this has been quite the year. I hope this blog has helped you to understand a bit more about me and my life/struggle, as well as has helped me document my progress on my new lives journey.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Living with arthritis

So I needed a way to express my feelings about dealing with my arthritis and this is how I am going to express myself. So recently life has been really hard, I mean really hard. Dealing with arthritis has it really sucky moments. Well over the past two years I have gotten to the point where I can no longer touch my left leg much below the knee. Yes I can't even touch my toes. As you might be able to guess I can no longer put shoes on either. It's really hard to admit that but it sucks to not be able to do that. It feels like I am no longer a real human. I and almost 29 years old and I am so disabled because of arthritis I have lost the ability to function as a normal human being. For the most part I try to deny I have this happening to me and I brush it off and I continue to go on like any other person but it catches up with me. Recently I started physical therapy. It has helped but honestly ace me have to really look at myself and truly admit I am disabled. I don't like to think of myself as disabled but I am. One day I will tell you how it feels to be in a wheelchair. That one subject could fill an entire blog post so I will save that. But accepting a disability is hard. Admitting it changes your life forever is something different but having it happen so young changes things. It puts a damper on relationships. I have been on tinder and such trying to meet men. It's been successful in the fact that I find and talk to incredible men. They are put together great men, who initionally are interested in me. We talk and have fun getting to know each other. And this is how the rest of it goes. We get to the point where we decide we want to meet. So we do and they notice I limp. They don't say anything at first but eventually at some point in the date the bring it up. So I tell the truth. Of course I don't explain the full truth or they really would run for the hills, but just enough to be honest. And I can tell on their faces it is something they can't handle. They can't deal with me having that. I can't really blame them either with the billions of other girls in child rearing years why would they pick one who can't walk let alone put on shoes and socks. So they leave politely as possible but want nothing further to do with me. The second thing that happens is that while talking I sY something bout having arthritis and as soon as I say that they respond with well it seems like you have it under control but then after me trying to start up another conversation I get no response. Which means they decided they don't want to waste their time getting to know me. I have actually had some guys stop mid conversation with me and stop responding. That hurts a lot. But what I have found no matter what the situation is or how I present it. Or when I say something is that NO guys want to be with me. It's just how it goes. There is a reason I am Turing 29 and still haven't been in a relationship or kissed a guy. Some of my friends said that some of them are concerned that I won't be able to have sex with them. I don't care the reasons behind it I just want someone to love me. I see all the time women who have stuff ring with them and women in wheelchairs yet they find me who love them. So why is it so hard for me to find anyone who is even interested in dating me. I don't get it. I am so much more then my disability. But they don't see that. They don't see the strength it takes for me to be who I am. They don't see anything past arthritis. I am still hanging on to the hope that one day it will change. But how long can a person hope and dream of something without ever getting even the smallest ounce of encouragement that things will change. At this Point it is pure faith in god that is keeping me going. I have nothing left to give. I have no other options. I have thought about everything possible. And nothing changes. How long can a person be put n the same position over and over again and think something will change. Isn't that the definition of insane. But I will continue to keep putting myself out there in the hopes that one day something will happen. I see others getting in and put of relationships. I see clearly what I want and what I deserve I have even tried lowering what I want to simply being LDS. But yet still nothing. It will take a special man to look past all of it and want to take care of me. What I am saying is it is hard and I don't think most people actually see or realize just how hard it really is. I am strong and I won't stop but it is taking all of the strength. And a whole ton I didn't even know I had to deal with my arthritis daily. It's a struggle I keep quiet for the most part because who really wants to see that. They don't plus it's easier to just put on a happy face and pretend like it's not happening . Actually most of the time I am in my own little world being greatful it is not worse. And while yes it could be much much worse I feel like I have to share the struggles I have because most of the time all people will see is the happy me. While I find that to be very helpful and. Y true self sharing what I struggle with makes me human. It makes me who I am. It makes me authentic. I hope by sharing this I touch at least one person. Serving others helps me forget myself. And I love that. Anyways I could share what helps me get over feeling sorry for myself but I will save that for another post. Right now I just needed to share the raw emotions of my struggle to release the pain and hurt I am feeling. It's real guys and sometimes it hurts, more then I can even describe.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Random Thoughts on Music and its Beauty

So right now I am sitting down with a piece of music. This isnt any piece of music, nope it is the song that I will be conducting the chamber choir with tomorrow. I dont know why but for the first time since having the piece I am connecting to it, and its not your every day ya that piece is nice. No, this is like serious movements of glory and wonder and awe for this piece. I have been needing to connect to this piece for awhile now but it hasnt been coming, i dont fully know why it took me so long to be able to realize all this piece has to offer but i see it now. I also am reminded of just how much beauty, love and life lessons can be learned from music, it isnt the same for everyone and thats ok it doent have to be but there is sincere beauty in music. As a music major sometimes I forget that music really is what makes my life complete and beautiful. i live to sing and perform and study the beauty in music. it isnt until I sit back and let the music become ingrained in me that i fully comprehend all that music has to offer. And that is what has just happened to me. I have connected to a piece so strongly that it brought me to tears. As a conductor it is your job to be able to protray the emotion behind the piece that the original composer intended to share. i understood that in theory but it wasnt until tonight that i FELT that. I know i will be scared out of my mind to lead but i know i need to put that aside for the sake of creating beautiful music. I guess the big lesson im learning right now is what it means to feel like a conductor. im not use to that feeling because up until now it has only been about me. it has been either following the emotions that somebody else is creating for the piece or singing by myself to create the emotion. this just takes all of that up another step. It is about placing yourself in a role and showing that in every part of your body. ok, well i dont know if i am making much sense to any one. I guess what im trying to say is that im learning. Im learning again that i love music, i love the emotions that are conveyed through music and i love how the same piece of music can touch people in different ways. A piece of music that once was just notes and symbols on a page have taken on a life of its own in my heart. I hope i will be able to express my dream and my vision for this piece of music tomorrow and do it the justice it deserves.

just so you know the piece i have chosen to conduct is "Bitter for Sweet" by John Chorbajian, the words are taken from a poem written by Christina Rossetti.  if you havent listened to you i encourage you to look it up.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Arthritis Doesnt Define Me it Refines ME

OK, so Arthritis sucks....alot actually, anyone who tells you otherwise is lying. If you dont know me or havent figured out by that last sentence, i have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and sometimes it really sucks. and lately yes it has gotten the better of me. I mean in my head not actually out in the open (to real people) because i made a promise to myself a long time ago i would not be know to everyone as "The Girl with RA".  I saw those people who used diseases to make excuses as to why they could live life to the fullest and excuses as to why they didnt do things they wanted to clearly do. so i promised myself i would do what it took to stay motivated and to not use that as my main excuse. For the most part it has actually worked and I have people in all aspects of my life, church, school, friends, who all compliment me for always having a smile on my face even when they can clearly see im in pain and struggling. I will be honest this is not always the case, sometimes especially at home. I simply cant keep going and i need help to do things. I do my best to not get to those times but sometimes they just come and there is nothing i can do, I feel helpless and I have to rely on others to do simple tasks.  As of lately that task has been putting on shoes, because my hip is the joint that has decided to flair up i cant put on socks and shoes easily so I had to ask my little sister to put it on for me. she always does it and is really sweet about it. she is 6 and I dont think she understands why I cant but she helps me all the same. I will admit that I dont normally ask for all the help i need because I feel like I should be able to do them and really wish I could do them so i muddle through whatever pain that entails to prove to myself I can be as independent as possible....Sometimes that works better then others but eventually it gets done and i can move on. And move on I do....

side note: I do love when people just ask to help me or insist on helping me even when i feel like i can do things. I have a new friend who does this constantly and because i dont ask for all the help i need, (which she knows) and because she wants to help it has helped build a friendship of caring, and service in which i am forever greatful.

I dont dwell on  the things i cant do, but focus on the things i can and do my best at them. im glad the people around me can see how happy i really am in spite of the current situation i find myself in. i know it is but a small challenge and i truely believe that everything happens for a reason and this is one of those things. i do not understand why God has chosen to refine and polish me like this but i know i am greatful he has put so much trust in me to continue and endure. The biggest reason why i feel like i can get through all of this is the lord. i have faith that this will not be an eternal disease that i will carry and i know that one day i will be able to have my body back. I look at my disease like this....if i make excuses when i do have RA, and has physical limitation one day after i die, it will be ingrained in me to make excuses and to find another way to make excuses for myself to not participate. that is something i dont want. i want to be able to take full responsibility for my actions and be honest in what i want. I have found joy in doing that because im honest with myself and others, and suprising has eased the pain of the RA because i tell my body to suck it up and keep going...yes i talk to my body and my joints often.....i think if people were around me at all hours of the day they would be suprised with how much i really do talk to myself.  i say things like...ok body keep going, i know you can do this, and ok one step at a time till your there. Little things like that really do help....maybe im a little crazy but dont knock it till you try it.

One thing i enjoy is people i dont know well saying oh i didnt realized you had arthritis, and i secretly love it when somebody i have told i have it forget and when im having a bout of pain come to me again and sincerely ask whats wrong...it means i have done my job in not being "That Girl with RA".  I really, really sincerely hope i become that girl who smiles and faces challenges head on without excuses and can be honest through all of it.  Because i want to be known as more then that. Arthritis doesnt define me it refines me. yes and ill say it again Arthritis doesnt define me it refines me. i thoroughly believe that is true and i am in a constant process of refinement. i know i am not perfect and i have a long way to go but i know through my faith and through my heavenly father i can get through anything.   it is that faith that i believes gives me the strength to keep pushing and and enduring well.

i normally dont like to talk about my arthritis but for weeks i have been thinking that i needed to write a blog on this subject, i dont know if its just for myself or if it will inspire anyone but either way i needed to write the words that have been on my mind.  i sincerely hope that anybody reading this realizes that no amount of pain or struggles are ever in vain. Strength doesnt come in a day it comes with CHOOSING every single day of your life to be happy to keep going even when it get tough. yes some days are hard to get out of bed ( I KNOW) but the constant process of simply willing yourself to get out there and go and choosing to have a positive attitude through it all will change your life and one day before you know it it becomes easy and just a part of who you are.  "STRUGGLES DONT DEFINE YOU THEY REFINE YOU"  keep going and push on life does it get easier and even if it doesnt......well it could be worse.  (i tell myself that too). life is good and gods grace has blessed me with so much. i am grateful i have come to see the many blessing he has blessed me with, and the strength he has given me to press on and endure well.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mental Musical Blocks

So i have been lately alot about mental road blocks people, but more specifically singers place on themselves.

Well this is one of those things i have been pondering on.  A couple weeks ago i  had sung in a master class, and after i was discussing some of the things i could improve on, with my private voice teacher.  we were talking about alot of different things but then something was said in which i replied, well i would probably be more willing to try something crazy and new in front of a group of peers instead of in a practice room with my teacher.  You can imagine the brief shock that went through my heart at that moment.  all i can remember thinking is why is that the case.  and why on earth would i feel more comfortable singing some crazy blur in front of people i dont know as well rather then someone i have spend years studying with???

The answer i think was more shocking to me then i had originally had thought. Basically it boiled down to the fact that i am scared to let those i truly care about hear me sing in a daily setting.  As i thought i realized that i have a mental block with letting people i care about hear me sing because i think they are going to judge me on what it sounds like.  but it goes further i take it so far as to say that i think that if i let them hear me sing and i dont sound good that they will like me less and that i wont matter as much to them.......Can you see why this is twisted.  I know its not rational, but since when has any mental block ever been rational?  its not thats why its a block.

So then i analyzed my singing habits. i dont practice in front of my parents or family members.  i practice in my car driving or in a practice room at school.  My whole family can tell you this is true.  i guess i just felt safer singing there then with them all around. then i though about all the times people have asked me to sing on the spot and how many times i have said no because i was too embarrassed about them thinking i was bad.  As you can tell all of these instances are about me thinking, people think i will be bad.  The reality of the matter is that rarely if anyone willl ever tell me i suck to the point of them hating me.

I stand up in front of all my teachers semester after semester having a jury and they are constantly encouraging me, and giving me pointers as to where i can improve so i can achieve the best sound possible. that to me is an awesome experience and i am greatful every time for somebody showing me how to be that much better and how to get an even better sound.  but the fact of the matter is this.......IF I DONT MENTALLY BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY ARE SAYING WHAT GOOD DOES IT DO ME? 

Really they could say it all they want but in my head if i blow it off im not really learning anything.  I cannot explain enough what an eye opener it was for me to realize, I had so many mental block when it came to performing.  Singing really is a physical activity and not a mental one.  The realization of that has taught me alot and i have grown so much more from that then i think i have at any other place in my singing career.  I can sing as pretty as i can but it isnt untill all the brain chatter and mental blocks go away that a person can REALLY start to connect to singing a piece of music.

I believe music is sung as a means of expressing ones self and ones emotions, many times words cannot express all the words somebody has to share because they just dont make logical sense.  So what good does it do a person to hold back a part of themselves, or censor themselves.  they at that point are no longer putting their whole soul into singing and it is just robotics and going through the motions of it.  is that stilll good...YES,  but it is missing the magic that everyone is looking for.

there is just something about a confident musician.  all the famous singers out there have it. That confident attitude of i know im good so im going to share this with you.  we dont go to see a performer who is afraid and shy on stage. we go to see confident people who love what they do.  They know that just beause somebody may not love their voice or the genera of music they choose to sing doesnt mean people dont like them.

That has taken me a very long time to not only realize but to really get past. it was not a easy road mind you and it still may take me awhile to really gain a strong grasp on this, but realizing and being able to get past it is the first step in becoming a better musician. i am now more determined then ever to create that sense of confidence in my singing, that i know should and can be there.

So its my new goal for the rest of the semester to gain this sense of confidence in my singing.  I have just recently gained that confidence in every day life, so it really was just a matter of time before it came in my singing life also.

Its interesting to me why this has all of a sudden decided to come up.  Life has a strange way of teaching you a lesson i one aspect of your life then transforming, just like a rolling snow ball becomes bigger as it rolls. this is one of those moments for me in my life. something else had to happen in order for me to gain the necessary knowledge to grow.  Heavenly Father truly knew what he was doing when he thought me confidence last year.  i know everything happens for a reason, and i am even more excited to know that this is the break thorough i have been needing to achieve the next level of musical advancement.

So here is to all those doors and possibilities opening in order to continue on this great musical journey.

~~Amber Dawn~~

Monday, October 24, 2011


Hello friends and family and welcome to my new blog

so i dont really know what i am doing on this thing or what i am going to write but i have been inspired to start one of these things.  i still dont fully know why but i think this is going to be a good way to share my thoughts and opinions in a better way then facebook can.  i know its good for keeping up with friends and staying informed but i feel like i have so much more to say and share that i need somewhere else to express those thoughts and feelings, so this is my crazy attempt at that.  So welcome to my blog and for all the fun crazy, and down right funny stories that i am sure will come.

~Amber Dawn~