Then in 2007, I began having intolerable pain. I couldn’t sit without it hurting. And since I was in a wheelchair full-time, this limited my activities. I could endure it for 20 minutes, sometimes up to an hour, before the pain would demand I lay down. Suddenly my time was not my own. It was a difficult life change to adapt to, given that I was used to being active. And, I was an actress! What was I going to do with all this creative energy?
Eventually, I had to take an early disability retirement from my job of 20 years at the University of Colorado Medical School. And I had to give up my stage work. I was devastated. I attempted two shows after my retirement. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST in 2010, where I played Mrs. Potts, and FIDDLER ON THE ROOF in 2013, where I was Golde. It was difficult and I was so preoccupied with pain, half the time I couldn’t remember my lines. The cast and crew were so understanding and accommodating. But I couldn’t continue to do theatre that way. My performances were negatively affected. This was not the actress I wanted to be remembered as!
But I found something to do with that creative energy! The process of jewelry-making actually allows me to meditate, affirming myself pain-free. And it works! I call it Song Sense Jewelry!