Wednesday, June 3, 2015

31st Birthday Blog!

Finally making some time to update my blog. It's my 31st birthday today and I wanted to write! First off, thank you to everyone who contacted me this year, for those who have driven all the way to visit, and for the phone calls and e-mails! I hope I have been of some help and support. It has moved me to see others speaking up about what they are dealing with and sharing their own research and findings too.

This summer I am working on writing an article over FTSED, and a lecture/presentation to give at possible conferences this coming year. It is a lot to undertake and a bit overwhelming because I'm of course not a medical professional, but just a musician who can only share their experience with FTSED. However, I think it is important to not only make others aware of injuries through writing...but to speak about FTSED, music performance-related injuries, and resources out loud. It needs to be brought up not just at conferences, but around peers, and especially in schools where advanced musicians are training.

On a personal note, I have unfortunately experienced a lack of motivation to write lately, mainly because of my recent diagnosis of TMJ. The fact that I have another hurdle to overcome makes me frustrated. I don't know whether or not the TMJ is a result of trying to rehabilitate on my horn with a dysfunctional embouchure for the last couple years, OR if it has always been an underlying issue creeping up on me overtime and caused the damage and dystonia.

At least when I was dealing with my nerves flaring up and my dystonia symptoms setting off, I could manage it and still play/rehabilitate. But with TMJ now it's almost impossible to play my horn due to overwhelming pain, or even try...and that is what has thrown me into this slump. I still have hope that someway, somehow, I'll be able to afford medical care later on (probably not until I graduate) and get the jaw splint/guard.

Despite feeling down I have a lot to look forward to! One of my favorite professional horn players will be in Boulder playing principal horn with the Colorado Music Festival. During my undergraduate studies I had planned on going on to study with him for graduate school while he was teaching in Illinois at the time. However, I ended up with dystonia, and he ended up taking a job with an orchestra. So we haven't seen each other since 2010!

I think being around a horn player that I admire so much will be therapeutic for me and remind me of my roots and bring back some life to me. With FTSED, after so long of not playing with a group or being able to play your instrument, you begin to forget who you's almost like a long lost memory...but every now-and-then, that passion that you felt for your instrument comes back at unpredictable times (at times it can be a happy feeling, and other times a sad feeling); it could happen while sitting at a coffee shop and your favorite horn concerto comes on the radio. Or when I am walking to a class and hear an orchestra rehearsing in a concert hall, or coming across an old photo of myself playing horn.

I've been missing horn playing more and more lately. I do feel no matter how much progress you make in rehabilitation, you go through not only physical relapses, but emotional too, but they become less intense over time. For instance, right now I am feeling down, but it is a bittersweet feeling. I am glad to look back on the past, but I am not devastated over it...just like missing a loved think of all the good memories and think, "I sure do miss them, but I know they're still here with me in the little moments like this." I still hold faith all these years later that I will beat this embouchure dystonia!

Not to get off track. I'm also working out a lot this summer. Time to get in shape! I started a new job not long ago and am still involved in concierge work. I can't explain how much this area of work has helped me to get where I am today...even if it's not what I love, I do enjoy it and getting to know the people who travel through. I also have one year left at CU and I've worked SO HARD, I can't wait to graduate!!!

If anyone wants to share any links of interest related to performing arts related injuries, please feel free to comment or send me an e-mail. I'll gladly share! Thank you again for all those who have kept up with me over the years, and I will write more soon.

- Katie