Because of my orthopaedic care, I can dance and move with tremendous ease, confidence and power.
I teach dancing like I always have and more. It has given me a new hip attitude on my life, skills and future adventures. It is hip heaven sent!
After being in deep, chronic hip pain for over 3-1/2 years(2006-2009)and ultimately walking with a cane, I realized that I could not tolerate my pain anymore and I needed to finally face “la musica”. This action became the catalyst for a whole life change in me.
These were challenging times. Anger, frustration and low self-esteem hung over me like a dark cloud. Familiar faces would see me limping and say, “You’re a dancer, this shouldn’t have happened to you!, ‘why are you limping?’, or “how are you going to teach?”. I live in a small community so everybody knows me as the healthy and fit “dancing man”, hence the myriad of comments. Many times in town, not to bring focus on my hip, I would freeze and pretend to look for something in my pocket when a friend walked by. My constant, unpleasant thoughts arm wrestled me into thinking that after 58 years of expressing myself through dance (27 of those years teaching and performing in Friday Harbor, Washington), I wouldn’t be able to dance anymore. Toward the end of my painful struggle, I would sit in a chair at my studio and teach on the sidelines or one of my senior students would instruct my classes for me. I became the observer, not the participant, which was totally unlike me, as dancing and teaching has always been an intrinsic part in the joy and passion of my everyday life.
The thought of limping, not dancing, and feeling miserable because of chronic pain, my inner light began to fade. It totally affected my natural makeup – fun, loving life, joyful, happy and positive.
My chiropractor recommended I consult an orthopedic surgeon for my condition. Always using eastern medicine and alternative healing modalities for my health and well-being (naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, herbal care, vitamins, chiropractice, massage, yoga, walking, exercise, meditation and visualization, to name a few), I turned to western medicine when I saw my x-rays. My bones (right hip ball and socket) were fragmented and “love” was the only thing holding my hip together. I had no cartilage left and I was bone on bone. For me that became very sad and unnerving.
My surgeon, Dr. Williamson, considered one of the best in the Pacific Northwest, said, “Your hip condition occurred as a youngster when your bones were growing. It had nothing to do with dancing, yet moving and exercise is probably what saved you all these years.” He said, “You have two choices: walk with a cane under medication for the rest of your life, or, get a full hip replacement. And, not to worry, you’ll be dancing again.” It was then that I surrendered to surgery as my best solution to better health. (I was not a stranger to surgery, having gone through the experience as a cancer survivor 35 years ago – and back then surgeries and treatments for cancer were truly different than they are today). At that moment I realized that my mantra “I will always dance forever” was real, possible, more powerful and much more attainable.
After deep inner reflection, what I really know for sure is that living in pain was not a future path to pursue in my life, and, dancing, being happy, peaceful, balanced and joyful was my true life choice. So, with my newly found positive attitude I chose my new hip. I mention this because if you get to that place with a choice for hip replacement, or any type of joint replacement, take the leap now and end all sorts of “crippling” pain. Being a victim? – not worth it!
On August 9, 2009 I took the leap. The night before my surgery a fountain of tears completely washed over me. I discovered the tremendous gratitude I felt as I said goodbye to my “loyal hipster friend”. My body and I were now ready to receive our brand new hip – a wonderful gift in “disguise”. Placing my total trust in what was to come, the outcome of my surgery was a huge success.
After a speedy surgical recovery, physical therapy, and my wife, daughter and friends’ loving care, I immediately started feeling pain free without the use of drugs of any kind. Four weeks later I was the very proud father walking my lovely daughter, Vanessa, down the aisle on her wedding day and dancing Salsa and Swing with her to the amazement of the wedding party.
My healing process was remarkable. I felt complete joy again, like drinking a glass of cool water when really thirsty, or, even better, witnessing a perfect double rainbow – aah!! My community and friends made comments like “you look great, you’re 10 years younger”, “congratulations”. I realized all the anger I felt towards people “caring” and asking why I was limping was my physical and emotional pain and frustration constantly nagging at me. I interpreted their caring as a judgment of me. (By the way, the x-ray of my new hip looks like a white karaoke mike, so I guess it’s safe to say that “I’ve got the music in me!”).
As a result, I now give counsel to individuals considering joint replacement surgery. I teach them visualization, meditation, and other techniques to use for their pre and post surgery experience and how to create ease and harmony with themselves during their healing process.
The following October, two months later, I started teaching my classes again. One day I was dancing in front of my studio mirrors and a voice came to me and said “you’re back!” I wept right then and there. I was really back. When our annual show arrived in June at our community theater, I tapped, clogged, line danced, and performed my traditional Disco Bill routine with huge 5” platform shoes. It was truly a miracle.
On September 18, 2010, 11 months post-surgery, I took my first Zumba training to bring it into my life and community. I have been passionate and head over heels about it ever since. My wife, Rita of 30 years, was born in Cuba, so I definitely had it in my blood. (For years we’ve taught Latin ballroom together). The only Zumba I did was at home on a DVD that a friend gave me a few years before and said I should be teaching this. I viewed and reviewed the DVD, called “Zumba Advanced” (2004)(one day a collector’s item). I loved it! After that I enrolled in the nearest Zumba Basic I in Everett, Washington. Priscilla Mirabel was my ZES.
The day of my Zumba training had finally arrived, and even though my surgery was a year before, I was somewhat apprehensive to walk into the 24-Hour Fitness Center for the event. I thought “This is going to be too much for me. What if my hip pops out or I couldn’t keep up? What if?!” I was the only fortunate male with a brand new hip among 60 females in their 20’s-early 50’s, all shapes and sizes, with cartilage and joint function intact, no doubt (and maybe not even aware or conscious of it like I was).
I said to myself, “Bill, are you crazy?!” As they say in Zumba “just dive in”. So, I dove! Priscilla began the training with pizzazz. I came alive. I sweat my body and soul. I Salsa-ed, Menregued and Lazy Legged. I did it all. Totally drenched with complete elation, I was anointed with the Zumba spirit. I smiled so much that my “Julia Roberts” grin did not want to end – it transformed me from the inside and out. In retrospect being the only male allowed me to be completely pampered during the entire workshop.
After the training I practiced and practiced. Six weeks later I was ready to teach Zumba. My wife and I advertised, talked up a storm and enrolled countless people. Sixty-five community members (due to room capacity we had to turn many away that night!), who know me and my work teaching dance, came to experience my first class, making history in Friday Harbor, Washington. Located on San Juan Island, off the coast of Washington state (a part of an archipelago of islands between the United States and Canada) there are 6,800 permanent, year round residents on the island, which is the same size as Manhattan and a lot less populated. We are surrounded by the ocean, green forests, bald eagles, fox, deer and orca whales, to name a few – a paradise to call home.
I was so uplifted and inspired teaching my first class that the wild and outrageous part of me came out again, just like Beto when he breaks out with new moves. I was crisp, centered and I got down with cumbia funk. People went crazy for it, like bees to honey. The rest is history.
At present I am teaching 10 classes per week, sharing its magic to adults and teens with Zumba Basics. I just had my 1 year anniversary (November 2, 2011) teaching Zumba (what a total, exhilarating blast it has been!). With Zumba Gold (Ali Ramirez, ZES) I even have a legally blind man in my classes who loves it and watches the shadows of my legs for the steps. He dances for the full hour with his guide dog, Emilio, sitting on the sidelines. It doesn’t matter that he has the moves down. He is smiling and dancing! Pretty inspiring! That’s Zumba in a nutshell. And, Zumbatomic (Joy Smith, ZES), where the L’il & Big Starz have lots of fun dancing and learning new choreography. Even they give me new ideas for steps. We also had a Flash Mob at our annual Children’s Festival in May, 2011. People were stunned as Zumba dancers come out of nowhere to wiggle and shake!
During this time I was approached by the Zimmer Industry, a multi-billion dollar joint replacement industry that gave me my new hip in 2009. They were making a music video about “dancing” and the celebration of 15 patients nationwide to be part of their film, 2 of which were hip replacement clients. They said “we want to honor you by being the only real dancer in the film”. They flew to Friday Harbor and filmed one of my Zumba classes. We got to shake, rattle and roll that night. The videographer said that he had “gold” in his cameras and with a big smile said he didn’t know he was filming a “musical”. Zimmer will show this film to their “in house” employees around the world and to use at conventions for doctors, surgeons and hospital administration to view Zimmer’s joint replacement products and how they contribute to a person’s new lifestyle.
In addition to my busy Zumba schedule, my wife and I operate our Dance Happy business, teaching ages 2 through 80 in Creative, Pre-Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Clogging, Line Dance and Ballroom dance styles. We even present several Zumba numbers on stage in our annual community theater show.
Through all my years of teaching dance, aerobics, steps and exercise classes, Zumba is by far making an incredible transformation as the leading edge in the world of fitness and health. It makes exercise so much fun, erupts into “a real dance party, people come alive and class hours just zoom right by”!
I am in deep gratitude to Beto, his vision and mastery, to the ZES’s, and to all of the Zumba family for bringing Zumba to the world and for making it available to millions and millions worldwide, all sizes, shapes and ages, as they experience the joy of dancing and exercise. When I see 1,000’s of Zumba people dancing together it is a most magical moment to witness. It is also great to know that I have Zumba friends and classes to take all around the world!
As a planet we are finally recognizing the power of dance and how its universal language connects human beings in a very positive, uplifting and happy way. That has always been my mission in life. Zumba and my new hip have finally found their match.
Ortho-Pinion: Bearing Surface Options in Total Hip Replacement
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