Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Standing INSIDE The Fire: Garth Brooks Concert

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide...yes

I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

--Garth Brooks, The River--

Our View

Going to big concerts has never been something I've done a lot of in my lifetime--even before I got sick. I've seen Chicago, Phil Collins, Billy Joel and REM. Yup. I think that's it. Because well, ya know, Phil Collins was pretty cool in 1994. 

The Stage

The last big concert I attended was at the same location as this most recent concert--Billy Joel in 1998 shortly after I got sick. I remember the struggle it took to make it through that concert. It was before I had a diagnosis or any idea what was wrong with me.

Here's Garth!

While we were at the beach, it was announced that The Garth Brooks World Tour with Trisha Yearwood would be making a stop in our town.

All I could think was: could I make it to this concert? Is this a possibility? Can I sit up long enough to go to a concert now? Can I handle the crowds, the lights, the noise level? 

I asked myself these questions because seeing Garth Brooks in concert is at the top of Jeannine's bucket list. 

After talking to Lisa at the venue we have attended all of our concerts (Wynton, Audra McDonald, etc.) about the logistics of attending, I decided to give it a go. 

The logistics ended up being a bit of an accessibility nightmare, but I'll save that for another post. Too bad Lisa doesn't work this venue, because she hung the moon.

Obligatory Selfie

I called Jeannine from the beach and asked her if she wanted to go. Of course she did. But she wasn't going to ask me or tell me about the concert because she didn't want me to feel pressured to do something I might not be up to. (Thank goodness Mom was reading our local newspaper while we were away).

And Another One

Jeannine went online right at 10 AM the day the tickets went on sale and after additional concerts were added, we got seats. Six sold out concerts! 

Garth Looked Pretty Teeny From Where We Were Seated

Jeannine has had the shittiest 2015 so far, so Mom and I were so excited to be able to treat her to this outing for her birthday.

To be able to accompany her on one of her bucket list items meant the world to me. 

Garth is not a 'bucket list' concert for me, but he puts on a great show and so does Trisha. 

I wanted to hear my three favorites: The Dance, The River and Standing Outside the Fire.

And I got to hear all of them. 

Trisha only sang three songs, which was a little disappointing because she is definitely one of my country favorites as well.

He's A Great Performer

There's this love that is burning
Deep in my soul
Constantly yearning to get out of control
Wanting to fly higher and higher
I can't abide
Standing outside the fire

Standing outside the fire
Standing outside the fire
Life is not tried, it is merely survived
If you're standing outside the fire

Playing All Of The Favorites

Even before I got sick, I spent so much of my life coloring inside the lines. But afterwards, I found that so much of life was literally merely surviving. Surviving was often all that I could manage. Joy is hard to come by in the midst of so much suffering.

Now I just want to grab life by the reigns. I'm jumping into the fire, taking the risks that come with life, falling in love, branching out, trying new things.

It's all part of what Garth would call The Dance ("I could have missed the pain but I'd have had to miss the dance.") and The River.


I am SO glad I did this! It's another HUGE victory in what feels like a year full of victories.

Just a year ago, going out to dinner was a huge victory. Going to performances where Lisa works was still very hard. 

And now, here I am in April 2015 doing what seems unimaginable to someone with an overactive sympathetic nervous system.

Bright Lights! Big Crowds! Flashing Lights! Lots of NOISE! Sitting Up for Several Hours! Singing Along during the Concert! Clapping My Hands Over my Head! Gone From 6:00-10:30!

(My PT was particularly excited about the hand clapping over my head. :))

Ready For Garth!

Was I completely exhausted the next day? Yes. Did I stay in my PJs and barely move? Yes. 

Did I have an Autonomic Storm that left me up all night sick with forceful heartbeats, ringing ears, tremulousness, shakes and chills, agitation, anxiety, PVCs, gastroparesis, nausea and neck pain? 



I took a small amount of extra medication to sleep, but otherwise my ANS was CALM.

This quieter sympathetic nervous system and being able to sleep after a big event is the biggest reason I can now engage in more activities, be in larger groups of people, and go to events with more noise, lights or crowds. 

The biggest contributor to the quieter ANS is definitely the mestinon, but it's also a culmination of 17 years of hard work tweaking of medications plus incorporating other therapies.

Bucket List Time

Was one day of recuperation worth it for the joy in my best friend's eyes as she watched the concert? Absolutely.

I'll never forget that we got to check something off of Jeannine's bucket list Together. This time, I got to be by her side for something. She's always beside me.

Spoon Necklace + Garth Shirt

I have a little bit of buyer's remorse over spending the extra bucks to buy a shirt, but it's going down as one of the most comfy shirts ever. And it's going to be a reminder of all of the changes happening in my life. It is a reminder of this new life, of this body that is healing, of this friendship that has sustained me, of the courage to continue to Dance, travel The River, and Stand INSIDE the Fire.

Hearing Standing Outside the Fire makes me want to hop back in time and dance with my Connor House Girls (my eating house at Davidson) in one big circle as we dipped our feet into the "fire" as we danced.

In fact, I think I just may turn it on and dance to it myself. Just because I can DANCE again. I am dancing again--body and soul.



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