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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Yoga and MS: Part 2

I remember the day I was diagnosed in rather a blur. Two days before, I had been hospitalized after spending hours vomiting blood because of a Mallory Weiss Tear in my esophagus. Fortunately, much of that event still remains a blur. I do know that I spent the night in the ER and that I was released the next day once they determined that my internal bleeding had stopped. The night of my release I got my first brain MRI. The next day at 2:00 p.m. my doctor called to give me my diagnoses. His news barely registered but I remember thinking, “Will I still be able to walk?”

After several moments, my husband actually articulated the real question on my mind. “Can she still become a yoga teacher?” My doctor assured us that I could. While I reeled with the news of my diagnoses and tried to process what my doctor was saying, I reassured myself by thinking that I still had about six weeks to get healthy for yoga teacher training. Ironically, when we left for Kaiser to have tests run, I could not even walk without support. At the office, I gratefully allowed myself to be wheeled in.

Even after four days on 500mg of Prednisone a day, I could barely walk. I staggered from couch and bed to bathroom and back to couch and bed, clinging to the walls for support or crawling along the floor. I had never been so sick but still I dreamed about doing yoga. It was several weeks before I could get into any poses.

Asana (physical poses) have always come easily to me. Try as I might, I never could master the yogic breath though. It was only when I began to deal with the pain locking my entire body that the breath began to come. One night, I went to bed and found my body so tight and my vertigo so intense that I wanted to scream. Rather than screaming, I started breathing deeply through my nose like I had practiced in yoga. As I breathed, the pain began to lessen and my muscles relaxed slightly. Each breath brought more relief. I kept breathing, keeping my eyes open to orient myself in space. Finally, I forced myself to move around in bed and breathe into the vertigo.

For hours I breathed, moved and prayed, rubbing my aching limbs at every turn. At the end of two hours the vertigo was gone and most of the pain. During the night I healed. It was probably the steroids that finally brought me back towards health, but it was the yoga that brought me into the light.

To be continued... To read Part 1 click here.

Today I am thankful for my yoga practice.

11 comments:

Webster said...

And today, I am envious if your yoga practice, too. Be well.

Webster said...

I really should learn to proofread everything I type! LOL

Merelyme said...

your story is so incredible nadja. I just got a book out from the library about yoga for people who have MS. and I am just about to order a video on it too. I also have a tai chi video I had gotten for christmas. I want to do all these things and then life takes me away. I need to make the time.

Thank you so much for sharing your journey here with us. It helps so much.

Denver Refashionista said...

Don't be envious Webster:) You can do yoga too. You should check out the book and the DVD I mentioned in Part 1 of this series. Even people in wheelchairs can do yoga and everyone can practice the breath that saved me.

Denver Refashionista said...

Thanks for dropping in Merely. Make the time! Even half and hour will do. Good luck.

pat said...

The concepts and principles of yoga seem to help your focus.Good energy to you! I admire your commitment and determination.I never had the courage to try it. Maybe I will now.

Denver Refashionista said...

Go Pat. You know you want to. Everybody's doing it:)

Diane J Standiford said...

Yoga in my bed has helped me greatly. Anyone can do it if I can. Mentally the logic behind the poses helps me fight through spasticity.

Denver Refashionista said...

Diane, you are right on the money. Good for you. Have you gotten the Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis book? it has tons of great ideas for things to do seated, laying down or in a chair.

pat said...

I wouldn't know where to begin! Besides, my mobility is greatly limited.(is there yoga for the handicapped?)

Denver Refashionista said...

Pat, there is. Check out the book Yoga for Multiple Sclerosis that I recommended in part 1. You can also look up Therapeutic Yoga on Google and get book recommendations and ideas.

I have taken therapeutic with people in wheelchairs and people using walkers. Good luck!