Friday, January 29, 2016

Ten Years Married

This month, Big A and I celebrate a decade of marriage, and mark 15 years to the day we met.

Sometimes it seems like those carefree single days are a lifetime ago, and perhaps they are. Back then our social lives were a whirl, with late nights spent out with each other or other friends several times a week despite the day jobs we both maintained. We lived in the hippest part of town, a short walk from the best bars and trendiest new restaurants.

These days, we still live in the (new, decade or so old) hippest part of town, but now we prefer to stay home in the evenings, relaxing after the days' work and anticipating the next morning's early school run. Nights out consist of the occasional movie, or dinner for a friend's birthday. Alcohol is consumed with a mind to the early morning wake-ups courtesy of Little A, and the fact that our now middle-aged bodies don't recover as quickly as they used to.

Much has changed in Big A's and my relationship in ten years of marriage, as it must with all couples; many challenges have been thrown at us financially, employment-wise, and as a result of Little A's autism diagnosis. But thankfully we have managed to weather them together, despite the issues that plague all marriages. 

One decade down then, and overall we have been blessed far more than challenged as a family. May the next few decades be just as kind.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

New Year's Maintenance

2016 is here. And with it, new resolutions. I normally don't make any, but this year I vowed to be healthier. And that meant addressing issues long neglected.

When newly pregnant with Little A, I was put on bed rest for a few weeks in the first trimester due to bleeding from polyps on my cervix. I had to work from home, and was forced to do this from a sideways reclining position which was the closest I could get to sitting upright.

As a result, something twisted in my left hip, near the coccyx. It didn't bother me unless I pushed for full spinal and hip rotation mobility, which is not something one really needs when mothering an infant, doing housework and performing other basic life chores. Sometimes though, when seated for a long time, I would feel a twinge, and when doing my eventual, sporadic, exercise classes the past couple of years, I knew something in my spine was rather misaligned.

This month, after a dozen years' absence, I finally paid that long overdue visit to my chiropractor.

At age 11, I was informed by my ballet teacher that my hips, ribcage, and shoulders were not the straight line they should be and in fact curved rather like an S. It was visible from the mirror, when looking at my body in a leotard. My mum has mild scoliosis, so we assumed I did too. I was taken to an orthopedic doctor to see about straightening my spine, as at this time I was already applying to ballet schools in the UK.

The orthopedic doctor informed my parents that my degree of scoliosis was such that "it was a miracle I could walk properly", and that the ideal treatment was to put me in a spinal brace, with no more ballet in my future.

Thankfully, a second opinion was sought from an alternative practitioner. The chiropractor ran his hands gently up and down my back, then told me to lie on the special bed and with a few quick pulls and tugs, corrected the nearly 2 inch difference in my legs, straightened my hips to an even keel, and aligned my ribcage and my shoulders. I stood up slightly taller than before, feeling "straight" for perhaps the first time ever.

It took another visit or two to get things fine tuned, as I got used to an entirely new centre of balance in my ballet classes. But to all intents and purposes, my spine was straight, I could carry on dancing, and all was well.

I continued to see this chiropractor yearly when I was in Manila, and found an osteopath to see in London while at boarding school.

Fast forward to the end of my dancing career, and the beginning of my corporate one. No more regular, demanding physical activity meant less chances for spinal misalignment, so my chiropractic visits dropped to once every two or three years until Little A was conceived and I stopped going for over a decade.

I figured that after the pregnancy would come years of baby carrying, which would no doubt throw my alignment further out of whack. With Little A now 8 and nearly as tall as I am, it was time to finally get my back back in order.

It had been so long since I'd been to the clinic that my old chiropractor was no longer in full-time practice. He had taken on a partner - his daughter, who had been a pigtailed pre-teen in a photograph on his desk all the years I'd been coming to the clinic. She was fully qualified now, and strong enough to wrestle 300 lb men's spines into submission.

These days I walk straight once more. And now I have no excuse but to start the second phase of my New Year's Healthier Me programme - exercise classes.