Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dancing With Lyme Disease

Yesterday, I felt like a pampered princess! I went to my weekly belly dancing class, which is taught by a good friend of mine, and then I went straight to another friend's house for my weekly massage. A girl could really get used to that kind of treatment!

I absolutely love belly dance class, despite the fact that I've been frozen in the beginner class for a long time because I've had to drop out a handful of times when my Lyme disease knocked me on my butt. But, I've learned several moves and I practice frequently at home, even--and especially--when I don't feel well. Also, since my friend teaches the class, she is very understanding of my situation and knows that I may need to quit early or alter certain moves.

Before I had even considered taking belly dancing, my friend--the belly dance instructor--posted an article on Facebook about belly dancing for people with chronic pain. I wish I could find the article, but let's just say it certainly piqued my interest! I called her up and asked if she thought it would be possible for me to dance with my Lyme disease and she said it was certainly worth a try.

When I first started taking classes, it was often the only time during the week that I was able to get out of the house that didn't involve going to the doctor's office or the pharmacy. I was surprised to learn one of the first benefits of taking classes during my illness was that it got me out of the house, which really lifted my spirits!

Belly dancing boosts your self image. It makes you feel more confidant and proud of your body. Let's face it--when you're sick, you don't look or feel your best. I've found that when I dance, it gives me a reason to be extra proud of my body--the body that I'm not always so kind to, yet daily gives its all to battle Lyme disease.

One of the greatest benefits of belly dancing is that the movements really help with my Lyme pain--especially the hip pain. To think that I almost didn't take classes because of my hip pain! On days when my hips are bothering me, I start dancing, and before I can say Metamucil, I no longer feel like an achy octogenarian!

When I first started dancing, I had to have someone drop me off and pick me up. Soon, I started to notice that I often felt completely energized after class, which, for someone with my level of fatigue is pretty amazing! I'm able to drive myself to and from class again, which makes me proud.

Dancing with Lyme disease has been quite an adventure, in more ways than one! And while I understand that belly dancing is certainly not for everyone, I do encourage you to find a way to keep yourself moving, especially if you have chronic pain. Even better is to find a fun way to keep yourself moving, like belly dancing. (Maybe I'm a little biased!).

When you are sick, it is so easy to fall into the vicous cycle of laying in bed for hours--sometimes even all day--and not getting any exercise at all. Even if it's just a few simple stretches, your body will thank you for it the next day!


  1. What a great way to get your exercise...and have fun in the process...It sounds very interesting. So glad you are able to get out and about and feel stronger once again.

  2. Hi,

    Love this post. For me, I turn to yoga.

    When my Lyme is really flaring up, I work twice as hard to make it to my yoga classes. Yoga helps so much with both the physical pain and the mental anguish, really resetting me. And since yoga really cultivates an attitude of respecting the body's limits, it's a great way to be active at any point in the flare up cycle.

    I've been following your blog for awhile - I've commented once before, but mostly I just like to read it. Of all the Lyme blogs I've looked at, I can relate best to yours. I think we're about the same age, and I'm parenting through Lyme too. What a ride.

    Thanks for reminding me that I'm not alone!

  3. Funny how one thing leads to another... Will try not to wind and twist TOO much in telling you this...

    I have been suffering with terrible hip and lower back pain, muscular, and recently have pretty concrete evidence that this SPOT is the former site of infection in 1998...lyme and bartonella. Okay, so started looking for qi gong classes today - I guess my ADD is HIGH today LOL as my brain skipped along from one thought to another.... not really sure why but for some reason remembered I could view STATS on my page (the Brighter Side Blog), so I did ... never have but today I did... and there I saw your link to this story, and here I ready you are not only LIVING with Lyme, but DANCING with it!

    If it's one thing I've learned it's not to ignore happenstance such as this... so perhaps I need Belly Dancing? Pretty sure those classes exist around here (I was striking out BIG time in the Qi Gong department). THANK YOU!!! So glad I peeked at my STATS.... love your blog. Following!

  4. Thanks, Renee! You will be back on your feet before you know it, too.

    Erin, thank you! Yes, parenting through Lyme is quite a ride! Do you have a blog?

    Julie, it's awesome!

    Donna, I hope you find a class! It's so much fun. I love your blog, too :)

  5. Another lymer and potential belly-dancer! Can you tell me if you're still stuck on the beginner classes? How long did it take for you to move up?

    Warm regards and good health