CIU Couldn’t Keep Me from Dreamland

Rick & Sarah Pinedo - Winners of Dancing Into Dreamland dance competition in the Dreamland Ballroom. Chronic Urticaria did not stop me that night!

Rick & Sarah Pinedo – Pleasantly surprised to win the Dancing Into Dreamland competition in the Dreamland Ballroom. 🙂

My administrator walked up to me at work the other day with a copy of the weekend’s newspaper & a pen saying, “Your Famous!  Can you autograph this for me?”  Aside from it being kind of funny, 🙂 it helped me decide to put a small piece of my story down on paper.

On Nov. 18th my hubby & I danced an Argentine Tango in the “Dancing Into Dreamland” competition.  It is a yearly fundraising event to help with the restoration of the historic Dreamland Ballroom.  The craziest thing is not the fact that we won (although that’s pretty crazy) but that we even made it at all.  Why?  Because I have CIU, a disease you’ve probably never heard of.  Until recently I haven’t used the word disease as it puts a certain picture in one’s mind, plus I just don’t like to think of myself as having, Gasp! …a disease.

What is CIU?  CIU stands for Chronic Idiopathic Urticaria.  Urticaria is a fancy word for hives.  Idiopathic means they show up when they want to and we don’t always know why.  Over the years we have figured out some of the triggers for my flare-ups of Urticaria, but not all of them.  This disease can be like that annoying person who spontaneously shows up on your doorstep and you really don’t want to let him in, but he barges in the front door anyway, makes himself comfortable, and you can’t get him to leave!  So he messes up whatever you may have had planned for the evening.  Or he can be like that crazy relative who pops in uninvited for a few days but ends up staying for weeks, driving you totally nuts!  Ah!  The dreaded “pop-in” …You know what I’m talking about.  The thing is, when Urticaria pops up it not only messes with your plans (and your head), but your body itches, feels pain, you’re left sleepless, and just plain miserable.  Actually, it’s a lot like the annoying person who pops-in! 😉   And that’s what happened before the Dancing into Dreamland event.  Urticaria decided to pop-in on me.

A week before Dreamland we had a “Friendsgiving” at church for the ladies.  It was planned to be outside as we’d had some really beautiful weather leading up to that day.  The ladies who put it together did a lovely job with the outdoor décor and we were having a really nice time connecting with one another.  The temps got cooler and cooler, and for a moment I thought maybe I should go.  You see, one of my triggers is cold air.  Yep, it’s called Cold Urticaria.  Even though I grew up in Chicago, playing in the snow & making snow angels, and I lived in Alaska for a few years hiking & camping…my lower body, hands, and feet, no longer like cool temps, cold water, cold anything!  So I thought about leaving BUT, I decided I was not going to let my body tell me what to do…and I stayed.  I was glad to be a part of this really cool thing we were doing as women and connecting with each other.  By the time I got home, however, I could feel my body rebelling against me.  Over the course of the week I ended up with a pretty bad flare-up and my lymph nodes decided to get in on the party Urticaria was throwing as well.  I was in enough pain by Tuesday that I missed work, which brings me to Friday and the event at the Dreamland Ballroom.

The Dreamland Ballroom is a majestic place.  It’s on the third floor of the Taborian Hall, a 100 year old building which is the home of Arkansas Flag and Banner.  The “Dancing Into Dreamland” event is to raise funds to continue the restoration of the building and it comes once a year.  Because I get terrible stage fright, I had to be coerced into dancing in it a few years ago for the first time.  This year I was a little more at ease with being in it, until I had the flare-up.  But as unsure as I was about being well enough to make it through the whole evening, I decided I was going!  I know that if I don’t do things while I can, I’ll regret it during those times that I can’t do them.  Friends of Dreamland, the group dedicated to the restoration of the building, puts together a really great night for everyone and the 18th was no different.  It turned out to be a very nice evening.  And surprise surprise…the judges awarded us first place!  So of course, I was truly happy about making myself go out there and be a part of it.

The following week the Urticaria continued to get a “little bit” worse.  And truth be told there were moments I felt a bit down.  But then I would think on that night at Dreamland Ballroom.  That crazy, lovely night, hanging out with great people and dancers, dancing myself, and being given first place, is a great memory.  And that brings a smile to my face.  🙂

Here’s a Video of the Performance via Youtube.

Rick & Sarah listening to the judges comments after the performance

Rick & Sarah Pinedo listening to the judges comments on their dance.


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