yes, september can be a rough one. summer is slipping away and dusk dances across the horizon much earlier, its inevitable temperatures cool and pedi’s fade. it is back to school and work. it can be exhausting, exhilarating and invigorating–all at the same time.
not one to miss out, i embraced september with a ‘let’s kick this into high gear’ attitude. i decided to get down to brass tacks– i opted for a treatment (medication) that i had been avoiding for 4 years. on september 11 (that mighta been a tip-off) i went for it.
it took 3 weeks to get me to crazy. it wasn’t a slow and subtle transformation, i went from 0-100k in 3 days…sort of like a roller-coaster ride… the slow anticipation as you climb to the top and then as the nose points downwards you start to smile, then scream, and before you know it you are hanging on for dear life.
it was as if overnight i became irritable, irrational, impatient and a little bit angry all of the time. moreover, i was plagued with lower back pain, hot flashes, anxiety, heart palpitations, mild to splitting headaches and bone and muscle aches. best of all, i was getting fat! medically this might be defined as “water retention,” but when your jeans are snug and your face is puffy…there is not a medical term in the world that can right that wrong.
on october 2 i called a cease and desist. no more treatment. if that was a fix i would rather be broken.
so what did i learn in my 3 weeks to crazy? well…
1>i can trust my body and myself.
2>i am so thankful for my support system. i didn’t want to live with me, so i thank those who did.
3>when you are diagnosed with anything you need to have your doctor on your side. my doctor is an angel, but i went through a few before i found her. we tried and failed, but she was on my side when i said no more!
4>my body beats to its own drum–yes i succumbed to some of the noted side effects (only seen in about 1-3% of all women) but i produced a few of my own–so i am pretty confident the side effects were not a self-fulfilling prophecy
5>i have the power to help and share with others some of the tips and tricks i’ve learned to be happier and healthier
so what is it that has me a little bit broken? i like many other women have endometriosis a condition, disorder or disease depending on who is defining it. it is one of those ‘things’ we don’t talk about it over coffee or dinner because it involves lady parts. the best way to explain it–it is like ‘weeds in the garden’–there are cells growing outside of the uterus. let me assure you, you don’t want them there. from insufferable infertility and crippling pain that morphine or oxycodone can’t touch, the road is a little bumpy. and although there are courses of ‘treatment’ there is no cure.
a while ago i was trying to figure out what would light my fire? well after 3 weeks to crazy i know that was a ride i would have skipped. after 23 years i’ve got a pretty good perspective on endo (as i call it) and i know i’ve got it within me to advocate, to educate and to share.
next steps, i am going to share the good the bad and the ugly…not here (i’ll spare you that) but in a space and place where perhaps i can ‘tell it like it is’ and help other women find their way to better health and healing
it ain’t an easy ride (they never are) but if i can prevent one more 3 week ride to crazy i will. stay tuned.
at 8:10pm last evening, amidst the icy shards of February rain, and the dampness of days and days of west coast weather i hopped in my car and shivered my way to my yoga mat. the studio was blissfully warm as a horde of sweaty, satiated bodies emerged from their hot practice.
i lay down, closed my eyes and waited for the stillness and the silence…and waited…and waited. although watchless i was confident we were on the other side of 8:30, and still teacherless. moments later i felt the rush of feet beside me…the footsteps emanated a mild anxiety. my mind awoke and i gauged a fluster in the air.
my yoga teacher addressed us and apologized for her lateness.she had been at the airport for an emotional goodbye. she stilled herself and began. her voice faltered and we felt her unsteadiness. it seems no matter how practiced, how spiritual or how prepared–sometimes we stumble. that small crack in her voice and a sigh connected us all, no matter how different we are, how diverse our jobs, lifestyle or age we are all vulnerable and have moments where we need to lean on others.
as a yogi she drew from within, she asked a student to join her and lead the practice. it was a strong, compelling and decisive moment. her wavering was not a flaw it was sadness amplified. she showed compassion for herself and for the 30 or so unsettled bodies floundering on the mat.
the student became the teacher. his deep baritone brought focus, direction and balance to the room. a surety swept through the room as subtle and a slight as the first fluttering of a breeze. our breath united, bodies relaxed and anxiety slunk out the door.
i applaud my teacher, she had the wisdom to hand over the reigns and slight egoism at the knees. there was more than one instance in the ‘corporate’ world where i would have appreciated higher-ups handing over the reigns to their team. on more than one occasion i have sat through a meeting listening to superlatives and summations knowing i would have to reconvene with the second in command.
60 minutes on the mat brought about physical restoration but a more powerful lesson about letting go and holding strong.
i was crossing my fingers hoping that after 20 days of yoga i would have miraculously found a zen like existence. i thought i would be ethereal and meditative, contemplative and unflappable. i also thought i would be a little more bendy, but sadly i think i am a little more creaky.
over the past 20 days i have learned a few things:
1> hydrate before hot yoga but not immediately before….cobra pose places a definite pressure on the bladder
2> avoid the bohemian yogic man, he is a natural yogi…’au natural’ to be decidedly fair, with a penchant for his own blend of aromatherapy. ensure maximum distance from his mat while being mindful of possible downwind effects
3> friday evening classes can get a bit touchy feel, well very touchy feely, and yes i found i was out of my comfort zone, and decidedly uncomfortable. i haven’t quite ventured back.
4> don’t cheap out on yoga tights, some of my fellow yogis need to buy a new pair. black stretched lycra can be surprisingly shear.
5> kalabati breathing – blow your nose first and avoid 7pm classes…garlic….
6> 7:30 am classes rock
7> this pose will take me years to get to… not sure why, but my hand can never find my foot
and yet…..i can do this…..
amidst these little nuggets i have found a plane of positive and meaningful change. i find making more time for myself is rewarding, i sleep better, eat better and drink more water. i feel pretty justified wearing yoga pants everyday (that is a lazy perk). even though i still raise my voice at my child and i’ll admit to some unreasonableness with my husband–more often than not i’ve found myself taking a deep breath and approaching things a little differently. the whisperings of my teachers have nestled their way in…
‘quiet your mind, set an intention, be mindful’…deep in my bones those murmurs are bouncing around, they are willing me to be, to think and to do, to enjoy and to breath.
only 10 days to go, we’ll see what unfolds, but for now, i have found my way back to the mat. i’m going to hang out here a little longer and a little more often. i will have to hold myself to it, or else you might.
photo courtesy of truestar.com & yahoo fitness
i like to think i am open to new experiences…well experiences in my realm. there are things i know i would not do today–bungee jumping, skydiving and yes, swimming with the sharks. i have adventures but they are not the extremes, and sometimes they don’t have to be.
stepping out of my comfort zone is a bit more everyday, a bit pedestrian but still a step out there. this month i am embarking on a 30 day yoga challenge. i will have to be creative to get yoga in every day and will have to try new classes. challenge on!
up until last night, i felt i had evolved my yoga practice and become somewhat enlightened. but it is apparent i have a ways to go. well miles to go to be exact…..miles and miles.
friday night i ventured into a dark candle lit room, quiet and still and very, very full. i sat and let go. or at least i valiantly tried. the class started, and it was 5 mins of expectation and 70 minutes of….well….well it was a lot.
we kicked our feet like 2 year olds, flapped our arms like birds, and staggered left and right somewhere between an 80’s aerobic class and a very bad chorus line. seated we pushed ourselves off of our bums with our fists and laughed–we sounded like a pack of hyenas. we danced and chanted with partners back to back, sweaty and sticky and sang ‘i am beautiful, i am bountiful, i am bliss.’ we proclaimed affirmations – joy, self-love, inner peace, humility, kindness, friendship and more. try as i might, i struggled to find comfort and confidence in this practice. i tried to judge less and let go but still i held back. mercifully after 70 minutes we came to shavasana. i lay down and finally found peace with my mat. it was somewhere i knew.
my inner giggles subsided and agitation screamed silently out loud. i recognized i was out of my comfort zone, and was decidedly uncomfortable. clearly i’ve got some stretching to do.
will i venture into the class again? maybe, maybe not. there was something about being uncomfortable. it was fresh, it was mindful and it was prickly. it struck something in the back of my consciousness. it brought about a realization that i am not as free or open as i thought.
i’m probably not ready to get my kicking and chanting back on, but i had an experience with being someplace i am not used to being, AND that awareness was pretty cool.
so tell me, have you stepped outside of your comfort zone lately?