Stick to It
Whatever method you choose to stay healthy — dance,
meditation, hiking, stretching — it only works if you keep at it.
Most of us think of pint-size
tutu-wearing toddlers when
it comes to dance classes.
For me, it happened a few years ago, after a
car accident followed by a rather intense and
bloody head butt with a sailboat boom. A quick
look at our Top Docs list led me to the office of
Dr. Brian Su, and a sepia image of my neck. Su
used polite language to tell me that at my age,
I should expect a bit of degradation and wear
and tear, but we had some work to do. Luckily,
my injury was pretty common and after a few
months of physical therapy at Presidio Sports
Medicine, I finally started to feel good again.
The information in Kirby’s back pain article
meshed with what I discovered in my own experience. She interviewed Su and pointed out that
the problem most people have with physical
therapy is that they just don’t stick with it.
Speaking of which, the fact that 50 percent of
patients with serious medical conditions don’t
take their medications is baffling to me. Do we
just like to wallow? Are we too busy? When I
turned 50, I figured it was time to evaluate my
health. Medical tests yielded a few vague diagnoses of excessive mercury, something about
thyroid and possible Epstein-Barr virus. It was
suggested I go off gluten for six weeks. I did
that, and 42 miserable days later I reported to
my doctor proposing my own self-diagnosis of
Roseanne Barr virus. I had gained weight, was
extremely cranky and had developed a propensity for wearing baggy sweatshirts.
My road to recovery involved no magic pill. I
finally found a meditation practice I could stay
with, resumed my moderate exercise routine
and doubled my gluten intake. I’m not sure if
there is an easier county in the country to be
healthy in, given our open space, locally sourced
organic food and various health care modalities.
In fact, at the risk of being too corny, I will say
that being healthy is contagious here in Marin.
Mimi Towle, Editor
CELEBRATING THE TOPIC of health this month, our cover features the grace- ful Annie Rosenthal Parr of RoCo Dance and Fitness floating effort-
lessly amid Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.
Most of us think of pint-size tutu-wearing
toddlers when it comes to dance classes — and
yet thousands of tiny and not-so-tiny dancers
find their way to the Marin Center stage every
year as part of productions by RoCo, Happy
Feet and other local studios. I’ve often thought
of these performances as a rite of passage for
our young people, and of sitting through hours
of performances and paying for single-use
costumes as a parallel parental “right.” Yet
the rewards of this ancient art form don’t all
come from having an audience. There are few
things that give me as much joy as just dancing
with friends. Years ago, I wrote an essay called
“Solid Gold” in which I shared my unfulfilled
dream of being one of those sleek dancers on
the classic TV dance show. For hundreds in
our community, as Kier Holmes makes clear
in her Subcultures article, that dream is real-
ized through dance classes catering to adults.
Also in this month’s issue, in what could be
taken as a macabre match-up of topics, we are
running a raw, in-depth narrative by Melanie
Haiken on how eating disorders have affected
not only her daughter but many families here in
Marin, a county often maligned for promoting
a culture of perfection. I’d like to thank those
mentioned in the article for sharing their own
stories so others might be able to seek help.
Fronting our Top Doctors section this month
is a story by Carrie Kirby on back pain. If you
think about it, given that the human spine is
composed of 33 separate bones supported by
disks filled with fluid protecting miles of nerves
and veins sending messages and pumping blood
throughout the body, it’s no wonder that all too
often something goes wrong.