The Dance of Her Life - Page 3
She always dreamed of being a dancer, but she chose resort and hospitality management with an event management concentration as her major. Even though her parents taught her she could do anything she wanted to do, Lynn knew she needed a backup plan.
She has not had the lung capacity to dance in three years.
In performing her last few dance routines, she picked up the tempo by watching other dancers breathe. “Bounce, bounce, slide,” became “breathe, breathe, slide,” because, at 20, an antibiotic called Tobramycin caused her to lose her hearing and she could no longer hear the beat.
Two years later, she was diagnosed with episodic arthritis, “directly related to the bacteria growing inside the mucus stuck inside of my lungs,” she says.
That mucus also makes it hard for her to gain weight. She remembers celebrating when she finally reached 100 pounds, swallowing enzymes at each meal, then running around and saying, “Go ahead, ask me how much I weigh. Ask me.”
Lynn now weighs 113 pounds.
Despite all of her ailments, she does not look sick. She looks like a thriving college girl – her university T-shirt cut into a V-neck, hair tie around her wrist, knees bent to her chest, wearing the same jeans she had on the day before. Beauty marks, perfectly placed near her jaw and on her neck, overshadow her hearing aids.
“Yes, her cystic fibrosis is sad, but you wouldn’t feel that way around Melody, because Melody’s not that way,” says George Alexakis, an FGCU associate professor in the resort and hospitality program. “She’s made her mind up to be happy. It’s as simple as that.”
Lynn does not ask “why me” because of a walk she took with her mom down the hallway of the neonatal intensive care unit during one of her stays at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
“Here were all these babies, helpless. Their parents were not there,” she says. She does not pray to God to save her from her disease. She may be breathing at 30 percent, but she’s still breathing. She may not have the energy to walk her dog around the block, but she’s still walking. She may not be able to get her IV port wet in the shower, but she can still wash her hair in the sink.
“Other people need His time more,” she says.
Her grandmother, Bonnie Smith, remembers hospital hallways and her own conversations with God. She remembers “losing it” in the elevator, pulling it together in the hall, somehow walking into her grand-daughter’s room and saying cheerfully, “Hey baby, how you doing?”
Since graduating in December, Lynn has been in limbo. Without her consent, she says Medicaid changed her insurance provider to one her pulmonologist does not accept. Hence testing for her pending lung transplant was delayed by paperwork. Lynn says she was able to start scheduling appointments Feb. 1.
In the meantime, she treated herself to a haircut and got caught up on her dental hygiene, having four wisdom teeth extracted and 13 cavities filled on the same day – Friday, Jan. 13. To ward off painful dry sockets in her mouth, she was unable to use her aerosol treatments so her arthritis flared up. And she had to sleep sitting up in a recliner in her living room for two days.
She also auditioned for “Chicago,” running March 16 to April 1 at the Cultural Park Theatre in Cape Coral. Casting called her back and she awaits her second audition as Pinnacle goes to print.