CORE Revelation

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365 Days


August of 2012 was when I received the diagnosis of a compressed disc.  Having just finished teaching summer school at a studio that I’ve been with for 10 years, I was told I could no longer dance…..for the time being.

It’s been a year, and the no dance order is still in existence.  Six weeks, six weeks is all I need without any pain going down my leg and my physio will let me try some sort of dance movement.  Sadly, six days is still tough. The danger zone is when I’m feeling better so I’ll try to do a little more, especially with my daughter, and then back to square one.  I am really thankful that in these past few months, I’ve only had one flare up that lasted two days and was able to resolve on my own without treatment.  Flare ups before would be 1-2 weeks and would definitely need medical attention.  It’s good to know I’m very slowly inching forward!  As for what I’m allowed to do physically, walks for cardio, band work and squats!  That’s where I’m at, after a year of working at it.

God has been encouraging me through all of you who continue to subscribe to our youtube channel, or through calls or emails I get to send our dancers out to events.  Since I’m unable to train anyone, we don’t have a team right now, but I’m always happy to go speak or share whenever possible.

The photo above is of me earlier this year, while still limping, dying to dance a little, so I cheated with posing.  At the time, I thought “hey, this would look cool.”  Now looking back, it’s two fold - how I can easily have tunnel vision, and only focus on the goal of dance that I can miss out on the big picture, the bigger plans that God has for me.  And second, there’s always light at the end of the tunnel, and little rays of encouragement along the way.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105)

Fighting Temptations to Move and Groove

Spending more time on Instagram while I’m not dancing.  Journey with me there @steftong.

Well I’m still on no sitting orders by my physio, which means no dancing.  I have been feeling a little better this week (no pain shooting down my leg) so hopefully at my next appointment I’ll be able to progress my exercises.  Six weeks….I only need six weeks of no pain down the leg before I can groove a little, so far I’m only counting in days.

As you can tell from the photo above, it’s REALLY HARD for me not to stay in motion.  I sneak in a little here and there, like 10 seconds in my kitchen, being silly with my daughter.  Being a mom is taking a bigger toll on my body than any dance injury ever did.  The lack of sleep and physical demands of being a mama are prolonging this injury, or maybe I’m just getting old!

To be honest, it’s difficult to remain positive about it all the time.  I was fighting doubts last week and wanted to give up the fight - either just dance and deal with the consequences, or give up on trying to dance again.  How often do we find ourselves giving into temptation when the real prize is within grasp?  I know I don’t want to miss out on the prize.  As hard as it was last week to stay disciplined in this rehab journey, I carried through.  Our society is all about quick fixes it’s difficult to tune out the “how to do this in 60 seconds” buzz!  It was torture to observe a dance class and not join in!!!!  But so very thankful that I’m still able to mentor in this season of no dancing.

Though I’m physically not capable to do the things I want to, it allows me time to strengthen my spirit and my faith.  My faith is my foundation.  If I keep that strong, and not let cracks of temptations to seep through and cause me to crumble, I know that when the time is right, I’ll come back stronger.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

It’s been nearly two months since I started rehab for my compressed disc, and four months since it’s been a diagnosed injury.  It was going really well, I was getting stronger, no pain down the leg, walking normal….until this week.  Suddenly there’s pain down my leg, it’s been difficult to get up and down and I’m limping and walking slowly again.  

I had physio this morning and didn’t even get through the assessment!  Things are bad.  It seems that I’m pretty much back at square one, probably due to the fact that I’m home alone more with the baby and having to do more physically.  Lack of sleep also makes it difficult for rejuvenation to happen.  It’s tough not to get discouraged, but I know that there is a purpose for all of this.  One day it will make sense.

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.  Though I cannot physically dance, I remain hopeful and faithful.  God has blessed me with a mentor relationship.  A student that I had taught two years ago asked me if I could be her mentor this year as her goal is to choreograph a piece.  In the midst of pain, set backs, and numerous rehab appointments, I can honestly say that I’m looking forward to this season.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a blessed 2013.

My Rehab Trainer

I find that every time my back flares up, my mind starts to wander.  I tend to hold it together emotionally, but there are moments where tears have fallen.  The battle with my back all these years gets very tiring.  At times I can’t help but wonder why?  Why this, why now, why this long, how come it’s happening again, why are there no concrete answers?  I was sent for trauma therapy two years after the first car accident because my chiro thought I needed to grieve the loss of my range of motion.  I loved therapy!  It taught me a lot about myself, very freeing.  

This recent flare up is perhaps not an acute flare up, but chronic.  My physio said that compressed discs can take years to show up, that my pregnancy could’ve loosened everything up and x-rays were finally able to see it.  So here I am.

It’s been a rough week with my thoughts.  I truly believe that God leads us in seasons, not a linear season from 2012-2013, but seasons of life.  I also believe that what ever he leads you to (good or bad) he will lead you THROUGH!  The tough part is remaining faithful, believing in what we cannot see.  I began thinking maybe my time dancing is over, maybe God is closing that door, but could that really be what is happening?  Dancing is such a big part of my life, would it just be taken away?

Then I began to think perhaps this is a season of training.  Like any athlete who has to rehab after an injury, maybe this down time with my body, is a time of rehab for my spirit.  A time to enter into a greater relationship with my trainer, to know him more.  How any rehab specialist knows the athlete, how much strength should be used, what exercises to do, how many reps, angle of execution, God knows the ins and outs of my spirit.  Of course if given the opportunity and the right beat, I’d probably freestyle until I fall over, which is why I need to submit to the authority of my trainer.

In my lowest point this week, I turned to my husband and said “I don’t know what to do anymore, maybe my dream is gone.”  The dream of sharing positive Hip Hop music and movement with the community.  Maybe my time is up.  A trainer also encourages.  Yesterday, the word of encouragement came through a previous student.  One who I had only done a few drop in classes with.  He posted this on his Facebook:

Thank you Lord for encouraging me through others.  What a blessing to do what I love and to work with such amazing people.  Is my dream gone?  NOPE!  Just being refined.  Why all the pain, why me, why now?  I don’t need to know, I need to trust.  The bible says that all things work together for our good.  Our timeline is just way slower than God’s, and in the midst of suffering it’s tough to know that good is coming.  I think that we can’t handle how much good is actually coming, which is why we’re left to the surprise!

Tomorrow is the three week mark that the hospital said it would take my MRI results to reach my doctor.  No matter what the results show, I know my healing is on its way.  I’m trusting in what I cannot see.


Bring on the imaging!

I haven’t danced for two months, and it feels like forever!  The last week of August, I found myself having trouble walking, with pain shooting down my leg.  The last time this happened was during pregnancy, so they couldn’t do any imaging.  This time, I was ready to get anything and everything!

My athletic therapist had suspected disc damage when I told her sneezing and laughing shot pain down my leg.  My chiro thought my pain was disc related or possibly a hernia.  Either way, nothing was comforting to hear, so the requisition got sent for X-Rays.  X-Rays showed a compressed disc and tons of inflammation, so in went the requisition for a CT Scan and MRI.  The wait time for an MRI was a few months, I prayed hard and got in three weeks later.

Geared up and in the tube I went.  Then the technician announces “sorry, it’s not working, I have to reboot, it’ll be about 10 minutes.”  Thankfully I didn’t have to wait in the machine.  I was worried they’d have to reschedule my appointment, but thankfully everything got done that day.  I was also supposed to have a CT scan done, but the MRI trumped that, yay! (Every minute counts when you have a 9 month old waiting at home for you)  Three weeks for the results to reach my doctor.  I’m feeling better, today there was no pain shooting down my leg, so I wasn’t limping, but my back is still quite sore.  My pain tolerance for my back has increased over the years and I forget that it’s actually hurting until I can’t move.  Not good.

My to do list until further diagnosis:
- Lie down as much as possible
- No weight bearing
- Limit sitting (Thank you to everyone who has reminded me to stand)
- No bending
- Traction
- Exercises
- Ice (I’m horrible at this)
- Take pain meds!  (I’m not so good at remember this one either) 

I’m being more mindful of my daily activity, but it’s definitely tough working with preschoolers, being a mama and fighting the urge to dance!


Arts Award Ceremony

We just got home from the city’s arts award ceremony.  I still can’t believe we were named as a finalist.  Other nominees in our category were Royal Bank, Anna’s Cake House, Concord Pacific Development and Accent Inns to name a few.  BIG TIME BUSINESSES!!! And here we are, little CORE Revelation named as a finalist!  God’s ways are far beyond our own.

Press release naming the finalists.

When we received the invitation to the awards ceremony, it said to have a three minute acceptance speech prepared incase you are the award recipient.  I didn’t prepare one, seeing that the other finalists were Am-Pri Construction and Appia Group of Companies.  I did however start thinking about a speech while sitting in the council chambers.

Thank you to the Richmond School District for welcoming CORE Revelation into so many of the elementary and high schools and for continuing to do so.  I’m looking forward to teaching at McKay, Westwind and Brighouse in the next month!  A huge thank you to the Tapestry Church for allowing us to run our programs from the fellowship hall and for allowing us to mentor dancers who strive to impact our city and our nation through dance.  Thanks to all the community centres, dance studios and fitness studios that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching at.  It’s been an amazing decade of teaching and look forward to the years to come.

Congrats to the winner in the Business and Arts Category, Appia Group of Companies.  For those of you who are not familiar with them, they donated $200,000 towards public art along Lansdowne Road and the Canada Line.  What a big honor to even have our name mentioned next to them!

Master of ceremonies, Mayor Brodie, inside Council Chambers.


City of Richmond Arts Award Finalist!

We have been selected as a finalist for the City of Richmond Arts Awards in the category of Business and the Arts!  It is such an honor to be selected as a finalist in a category that Coast Capital Savings won last year!  Business and the arts recognizes a business that has made a significant contribution to the arts in Richmond by supporting a Richmond-based artist or arts organization through sponsorship, philanthropic and/or volunteer service. Here’s the press release.

I had an amazing afternoon workshop yesterday grooving with the ladies of SD 38.  It was a wonderful experience to be a part of the school district’s primary teacher pro-d extravaganza.  Though most of my time is spent working with children and youth, it’s always refreshing to teach adults.  

Being on mat leave has been great, dancing around the house with my little B-girl.  (For now the B will stand for baby, maybe she’ll be a breaker in the future)  It’s such a blessing to be able to get back into teaching so quickly!

Back into the Groove

Well it’s been a long 10 months since I’ve danced, but happily returned to the studio on March 10th!  It felt wonderful to be moving and grooving again without the 30 pounds of pregnancy weight!  (Yes, I was still trying to dance at 37 weeks pregnant)  I’m looking forward to getting back in shape and dancing on a regular basis.

Right now I’m working on some strengthening exercises from my physiotherapist as the pregnancy took a toll on my sciatic nerve.  Ready to loosen up and get groovy with everyone again!

Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus

The show was worth the one year wait!  Within the first fifteen minutes we saw Hip Hop, Ballet, Stomping, Breaking, Acrobatics, Aerial Artists and more!  The show really captivated what MJ was all about.  What a fantastic experience it was to see the signature choreography to such songs as Beat It, Dangerous, Thriller and They Don’t Care About Us.  The cast and band were great, lots of talent, energy and style.  I can’t wait to see what the show will be like once it takes residence in Vegas!"I keep on dancing and dancing…and dancing, until there is only…the dance"- Michael Jackson 

The show was worth the one year wait!  Within the first fifteen minutes we saw Hip Hop, Ballet, Stomping, Breaking, Acrobatics, Aerial Artists and more!  The show really captivated what MJ was all about.  What a fantastic experience it was to see the signature choreography to such songs as Beat It, Dangerous, Thriller and They Don’t Care About Us.  The cast and band were great, lots of talent, energy and style.  I can’t wait to see what the show will be like once it takes residence in Vegas!

"I keep on dancing and dancing…and dancing, until there is only…the dance"
- Michael Jackson