Tuesday, December 18, 2012

6 months post surgery - status update

Wow - It's been 2 months since my last post. Time really does fly when your trying to recover from THR revision surgery. I'll give everyone a little update.

Today is exactly six month post surgery. For the most part I am recovering well - with a few hiccups - but according to my surgeon - things are going along great. He looks at me with great pride at all the things I am doing - he is quite proud of himself. HA!

I , on the other hand can't wait until I feel completely normal again. Not to say that I'm not cycling again, practicing Yoga and resuming my normal activities - because for the most part I am. But, I'd be lying if I said that everything feels perfect and that I can do everything I want to - because it doesn't - and I can't. I still have aches and pains in that hip and back area - which of course freak me out (is this hip not working either? Are my muscles ever going to be right after all that metal in the tissue? What other damage did the metal leakage cause?). My strength level is still lacking in that buttock area and my sciatica is bothering me. Dr. said this is all normal, that the soft tissue will take up to 1-2 years to completely heal after the invasive surgery he performed and  scar tissue will cause the sciatica to flare up (lovely!). I guess the most worrisome of it all is what long term affect the metal will have on my body and what will I do in 20 years when this revised hip prosthetic wears out? They can't really do a third replacement on the same hip so it may be the scooter for me!

I'm getting restless! I need to make an income to help my family out financially! I realize I need a purpose during this crazy time in my life - so I can stop worrying about things that might happen or that I can't control!

So, I'm planning on returning to the YMCA to teach part time after the first of the year. I begin teaching a class for Seniors at the UCR Extension starting in January as well as a class at an assisted living community in San Bernardino. My doctor advised volunteering to teach until then to see how my body will react to the teaching and being on my feet etc.

I can't foresee me re-opening my studio at least for another 6 months. My body is just not ready for that. I also am not ready to make that commitment in case something goes wrong during recovery at this time. As disappointed as that makes me - I know that I need to be patient with my healing. Now is NOT the time to move forward with that decision. I'm hoping that by my one year anniversary I  will feel better (mentally & physically) and sufficiently recovered to make long term career decisions about my future.

Until then, I'll go with the flow. Practice acceptance and patience and be grateful with my progress each day.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Mindfulness in Action - is that an Oxymoron?

We've all heard talk about mindfulness. Usually it is used in the context of being mindful of what you are doing at that moment. Being present with the task at hand. This week's blog is about mindfulness, but also about being present. Because it is my belief that we can be mindful but yet still not be present.

This week's musing from me comes after a moment last week when I found myself doing the billion (ok a slight exaggeration) of physical therapy exercises that I have been assigned to help with my recovery. I was doing those exercises and it occurred to me that while I was focused on the task at hand (mindful) I was rushing through them just to be on to the next exercise so I could finally be done.

I realized that we as humans are always rushing everything we do so we can get to the next thing. As a result we're really not present in the moment. If we're constantly rushing to get to that next thing, then we haven't taken time to enjoy this thing we're doing. For instance, how many of us rush in and out of our yoga poses so we can hurry up and be onto the next one or so we can be done? We're mindful of our poses, but we're not really present because our mind has already moved onto the next pose or a more likely thought, "Are we done with this pose yet, because I am dying!!!!!"

 Yoga is about quieting the mind and being fully present in each moment. Sutra 1.2 of the Yoga Sutras, "Yogah cittavritta nirodha". Loosely translated as "Yoga is the quieting of the fluctuations of the mind." Yoga is the mental discipline of being fully present and mindful in everything we do. Stopping external and internal chattering and becoming one with our soul.

This week's sequence - Mindful Standing Poses. Practice being fully present in each pose. See how your poses change as you mind becomes quite and your body and mind respond to that quiet.

Swastikasana (easy cross leg pose)
Tadasana - (Mountain pose)
Urdvha Hastasana (upward hand pose)
Gomukhasana (cow face pose - arms only)
Vrksasana - Tree Pose
Garudasana - Eagle pose
Trikonasana - Triangle pose
Parivrtta Trikonasana - Revolved Triangle pose - use a block on the inside of foot (helps with stability)
Virabhadrasana II - Warrior II - back foot at the wall (Make sure forward leg is in a 90degree bend and knee is in line with hip - back leg straight).
Utthita Parvakonasana - Extended side angle - back foot at wall. (Make sure forward leg is in a 90degree bend and knee is in line with hip, back leg straight). Hand can be on a block.
Ardha Chandrasana - with block at the wall (half moon pose) or with chair
Adho Mukha Svanasana - Downward facing dog pose x 2
Sirsasana - headstand - (only if you have done head stand with me or a capable teacher)
Salamba Sarvangasana on a chair - if you don't know this pose or have a chair you can use then substitute with:
Setubandha Sarvangasana - supported bridge pose with block under the sacrum.
Savasana - corpse pose - 5- 10 minutes (don't cheat yourself out of this quiet time)


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Life is a work in progress...learn to practice compassion.

Since my last post, (much too long ago) many life obstacles have gotten in the way of my yoga practice. It's easy to chastise myself for letting these things derail me. It's also easy to blame others for their "drama" that I allowed to invade my life and rob me of my yoga time. But that's not fair to me or to them. So I have to learn  compassion towards myself for not doing what I set out to do (my yoga practice) and realize that I chose to spend my energy being part of their drama.

That leads me to this week's blog post. Life is a work in progress. How easy it would be to say you were going to do something and then without fail do it consistently from that moment on. Imagine what that life would look like!  Actually, I can't imagine what that life would look like. Because it's the life "obstacles" that teach us the most important lessons in life and help us to search deeper inside.

Life is a series of events, adventures, misfortunes, blessings, good intentions, successes, failures, observations, stress, love, grief, humor, sadness, impatience, embraces, guilt, drama, rejections... you get my drift. Life is never what we intend it to be. We can get close to our intentions and often times see our greatest dreams come true. But still in the midst of all of that, things happen which we have no control. So we find ourselves adjusting our "plans" and moving forward.

When life throws you obstacles, learn to adjust and practice Compassion. In Yoga, Compassion ( a fundamental tenet)  teaches us kindness and caring toward others and ourselves. The practice of Compassion allows us to forgive when things don't happen as  planned. Compassion transforms the energy that we expend into positive expressions of love and caring. Practicing compassion isn't easy. It takes mindful intention - which is no easy task. When confronted with a life obstacle - stop, examine your thoughts for judgment or insensitivity, then breathe. Ask yourself, is this really a big deal? Or am I making it a big deal?IS this person just being human (like I am) in all our imperfectness? Smile, mentally wish them kindness and adjust your expectation.

This weeks sequence - Compassionate Forward bends (if you have any questions on the sequence please let me know I can help!!!!) Bolded poses for a shorter sequence or if you consider yourself more of a beginner.

Swastikasana - easy cross legs (3 ohms)
Tadasana - mountain pose
Urdvha Hastasana - Upward hand pose
Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana - Hand to big toe pose (with strap or foot on a chair or both)
Trikonasana - Triangle
Parsvottanasana - intense side stretch pose with blocks under hands concave back
Uttanasana - intense forward stretch with blocks under hands concave back
Prasarita Padottanasana - wide spread apart foot pose with hands on block concave back
Adho Mukha Svanasana - downward facing dog pose
Sirsasana - head stand - (only if you do head stand)
Halasana - plow pose on chair (please use blankets and straps as you learned from me - safety is of utmost importance)
Dandasana - staff pose (if your back rounds sit on blankets)
Urdvha Hasta Dandasana - upward arm pose in staff pose
Urdvha Mukha Dandasana - upward facing pose with hands to big toes or using a strap in staff pose. concave back.
Upavistha Konasana - wide legged seated angle pose. Sit straight
Baddha Konasana - Cobbler pose - or bound angle pose. Grab around feet or use a strap around feet
Pascimottanasana - intense forward bend - use strap to reach feet with hands and keep a concave back
Savasana - corpse pose (10 minutes)


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Home practice - for me and for you!

Since I last posted I feel as if I have cleared a giant mental hurdle. I feel more positive and ready to move forward with my life. Not everything is perfect - that is certain. I'm still not teaching, the future of my studio is still up in the air, and my physical limitations prohibit many of my usual life activities. But in spite of these issues I've decided to jump back in to whatever normal activity I can muster (or endure at times)- albeit at a modified level.

I've begun to re-read Mr. Iyengars book, "Light on Life". It has inspired me to re-start my home practice. Not just in the sense of physical postures - Asanas, but also to practice awareness in my life. Observing who I am through my thoughts, words, and actions. How do they serve me? What can I learn? How can I affect the world through them? What can I practice getting rid of and what do I want to keep? Being vigilant and aware is difficult at best - but in doing so I can practice ways of finding peace within myself and ultimately having a "peaceful" effect on the world.

Asana practice is the way to look inside of who we are.While we start Yoga for the physical aspects, the residual effects are the deeper understanding of who we are at the core - our soul.  In the Iyengar yoga discipline, we create a detailed awareness of each movement - nothing is coincidental - every body movement is made with a purpose. These mindful movements and actions provide each student with brief glimpses inside as we penetrate the layers of our physical body and move toward our spiritual body. Practicing the postures with awareness, kindness and honesty open us to endless possibilities as we learn to overcome our actual and perceived limitations and lead us to the light of our life - our soul.

As a bonus to those of you who follow me on my blog I am going to start including a practice sequence with each posting. This weeks sequence is a standing sequence. Do as much or as little as you want (the  highlighted poses create a shorter sequence if you're time pressed) , please use props when you need them (let your ego go- this is the honesty and kindness part of your practice), but make sure that you always do Savasana (corpse pose) at the end for at least 10 minutes.

Standing Sequence
Swastikasana (easy cross leg pose)
Adho Mukha Virasana (downward facing hero pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing Dog pose)
Tadasana - (Mountain pose)
Urdvha Hastasana (upward hand pose)
Gomukhasana (cow face pose - arms only)
Pascimo-namaskarasana - (back of the body prayer pose)
Trikonasana - (Triangle pose)
Virabhadrasana II - (Warrior II)
Ardha Chandrasana - at the wall (half moon pose)
Prasarita Padottanasana - concave back (spread apart foot pose)
Sirsasana (head stand - only for those students who know how to do this)
Chatush Padasana - (four footed pose - similar to bridge pose but shoulders and head on the floor)
Salamba Sarvangasana - (shoulder stand - only for those students who know how to do this)
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana - with medium block under sacrum (Bridge the whole body pose - this is an acceptable alternative to shoulder stand)
Savasana - (corpse pose)


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

10 weeks post surgery - Making Peace with Progress.

It's been a while since I posted on my blog. Recovery has been a full time job. I also have been enjoying a few beach visits and getting out more often with a pared down social life!

I'm driving - YAY! So nice to get some independence back. Now I don't have to depend on others to drive me to Dr appts, PT appts, to the Y , shopping etc. I still cannot drive for long distances since it really aggravates those muscles at the surgery site.

Speaking of muscles at the surgery site - it seems that some of my Gluteus Maximus muscles (buttocks) are not working properly and have not been even prior to my surgery. One set of them is not firing at all.  It is the set that propels me forward and is critical to proper walking mechanics. The metal that was leaking into the right hip from the bad hip replacement was causing inflammation and muscle and bone deterioration in and around those muscle groups. So because of the muscle weakness and deterioration, my hips throw me to the left (where there is more stability) and try to lock out the leg bones on the right side so that I can be stable. So needless to say, I have a really funky waddle because of it. PT is doing a good job trying to get those muscles firing again. It's a slow process, but we are starting to see some progress.

I'm without a cane since last week and just relying on my leg & hip brace which helps me to externally rotate my right leg. This has become a problem because of the weak buttocks muscles and what happens is the knee ends up hurting because it is pitching inwards instead of tracking as it should.

I started taking Pilates Reformer classes at the Y to help to strengthen my weak buttocks muscles and improve core stability. I am enjoying these classes and am regaining some strength in the affected area. I took a couple of short rides on my bike and it was so good to be back on the bike. Unfortunately I pulled a groin muscle! PT says it is because the weak buttocks muscles get tired and stop working, so some other muscles has got to pick up the slack - so my inner thighs bear the brunt and VOILA - pulled groin and inner thigh muscle.

My regular Yoga practice is suffering. I hate this feeling of guilt that I have about it. I think I am shying away from my practice because I just can't do what I used to be able to. Frankly a lot of it hurts still and my lack of flexibility reminds me of when I was a beginner. So instead of being confronted and disappointed with all my limitations - I'll just avoid it.

10 weeks away from a regular Yoga practice, Road cycling and teaching 7 classes of Yoga a week can wreck havoc on your body and mind. Let's just say 10lbs and flabby muscles is really depressing when you have worked so hard all your life to stay fit. It's also really easy to find comfort from all those depressing things with ice cream, chips, good beer and other late evening snacks that call my name. :)

All in all I'm good. Could I be better - of course! I could  be back to doing all the things I was before - but that is not realistic. I have to make peace with that. I have to make peace with 6 months being a more reasonable period to recover and get back to normal. I saw a friend at the Y today and she said, " In an entire life, what is 6 months? It's nothing - it's a blink of an eye. You can do it Amy".  She's right, I know it, now make peace with it Amy.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

EGO  (ahamkara) - getting over yourself can set you free

One of the basic concepts of Yoga is the Ego or the sanskrit word Ahamkara/Asmita. Our conscious over identification with our "self"  in relation to our external environment ( feelings, physical body,emotions, life stages, society norms) seperates us from the true state of "Yoga" - or union with the Divine.

The ego is one of the five Afflictions (Kleshas) that cause us suffering in this life (Avidya - Ignorance, Ahamkara/Asmita- Ego, Raga - Attraction, Dvesa - Aversion, Abhinivasa- Death). The cause of all the afflictions is embedded in the first Klesa - Ignorance. BKS Iyengar wrote in "Light on the Yoga Sutras", "Mistaking the transient for the permanent, the impure for the pure, pain for pleasure, that which is not the self for the self: all of this is a lack of spiritual knowledge".

I've been struggling with all these physical limitations lately. I take one step forward and the next thing I know my body or my emotions send me two steps back. Instead of staying present and acknowledging my ability for what I can do today - I end up looking back at what I could do before and then my Ego kicks in and I find myself sad, depressed, angry at my body - at my situation - at this juncture in my life. These feelings (my ego) tend to send me down a road that is just not realistic and frankly unhealthy for me and those around me.

Learning to stay in the present is hard. Past life experiences invade our present moments and creep into our future thoughts - often times undermining our progress and ultimately our Yoga practice. What to do?

Change my thoughts!

I am trying to remember that I am not 20 years old anymore - heck I'm not even what I was 8 weeks ago! My body will not do those things anymore. It is different everyday, every second, - every cell changes NOTHING stays the same - ever. I cannot hold onto those memories -that is all they are memories. From here on out everyday is new with its own sets of challenges and successes. When my Ego steps in and says - Wow - you can't do this like you used to, or you're not making quick enough progress like last time, or you're putting weight on around your middle because you're not working out like you used to, or am I embarrassing my husband because I am walking with a cane, or great one leg is longer than the other now and I have to wear a lift in my shoe. Uultimately all those Ego conversations just make me feel less and cause me suffering.

And I am not less - I am more than just this human body I inhabit. I make a difference - regardless of what this life (or my Ego) throws at me.

And readers - Guess what?  So are you!


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Happy 2nd Hip Hooray Anniversary - 5 weeks post surgery

This past week has been full of successes - some big and others minor, but my recovery is, for the most part, moving along.

I graduated to a cane this last Wednesday. I was a little nervous but I am faring well. I do find that I get tired more quickly, than when I was using the walker. I also find that when I get tired my limp really shows and my knee starts to hurt. Usually when one joint is suffering, the joint above or below takes the brunt - so my knee pain is most likely a result of week muscles on the right side. I have to remember to stop, sit and rest for a while - then I'm good for another short time period.

I saw the Surgeon this week. I am now allowed to go in the pool. The incision has mostly healed - but they are very cautious about infection in that area.  I have to keep an eye on the incision and if it looks funky or has pain I have to notify them right away. If infection gets down into the new joint it could mean open me up again and start all over - YUCK!!! The surgeon also said that all my soft tissue healing should be done in the next few weeks. After that it is a long slow process to gain my muscle strength back. I hope my muscle memory is strong and snaps back sooner - rather than later.

I've been in physical therapy 2 times a week and have been doing my own PT exercises at home another 3 times a week. I swam yesterday (swimming is hard!!!) and did some one legged squats in the pool and step ups on my surgery leg. I was amazed how sore I was today from such a simple pool workout. I am also noticing that my feet hurt all the time. I think it is because I walk all crooked, so the bottoms of my feet are working differently...and shoot howdy they are letting me know all about it!

I am off the scary pain meds! Thank goodness. I am now just taking Motrin 800 as needed for pain. I am so happy to be off the narcotics and most of the time feel clear headed . Speaking of clear headed - I am feeling less depressed. For that I am grateful. I am settling into my situation, and understand that this is not forever - but for now I have to accept my fate and keep an optimistic outlook.

I'm still not driving and most likely won't be for at least another month. My daughter has been a great helper and driver and many friends and family have lent me their amazing driving skills to and from Dr. appts , lunch, the store etc. I am so grateful for the support I have been blessed with!

A quick note - a Yoga student of mine is dealing with some pretty serious health issues right now - if you could send positive affirmations and healing thoughts his way I'm sure it would lift his spirits.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Aparigraha - One of the five Yamas or Moral Codes

One of the Yamas is Aparigraha (a-par-i-gra-ha), which has been translated as “non-hoarding”, “non-possessiveness” and “non-attachment”.  the meaning is so much more complicated than these three simple definitions. But for my posting I like to think it means “taking only what is necessary for you to live”.

I found this website that does a great job defining Aparigraha - the wording it uses resonates in me and sparked me to consider if I have been hoarding or to attached to my strong body and perhaps taking it for granted - which may have resulted in me not being honest (Satya - truthful - one of the Yamas) with myself about my body's limitations. Was I ignoring signals that were telling me something wasn't right? I'm so proud of my strong body and all that it can do - but was my ego - my attachment- my pride in that strong body, blinding me to the truth?

The website says:
"What does “taking only what is necessary for you to live” really mean? This means that we must have the basic objects to live a comfortable, safe and healthy life and that the purpose of material things we have in our life is to allow us to live this way. Instead of thinking of possessions as status symbols or something that represents our success, they should be thought of as simply tools that allow us to accomplish our goals in life."

Now that my body is slowly withering away, ( OK - so not withering away -but boy is it starting to get soft everywhere) and not able to do even a fraction of what it could do before, forces me to realize that I need to be kinder and nicer to this amazing machine - my body- so it can sustain me during this human life.  I need to only take what I need from it to really live. I will treat it with kindness and caring and not be so critical of its limitations - now and in the future.  Does this mean I won't push it when I'm fully recovered? Probably not, but in doing so it won't be for my need to be better or stronger or faster - but to keep it in tip top working order so I can accomplish everything that this life throws at me.


website link if you are interested:  http://www.instantgoodkarma.org/Aparigraha.html

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Physical Recovery Update - I'll save my pathetic whining for another post

Just wanted to give a full report on how I am recovering physically from my surgery. This is much better than my mental state.

  • Staples are out and my 11 inch scar is finishing its healing with surgical strips
  • I still cannot go into the pool until the incision completely heals - this is killing me. I could at least be getting an awesome tan floating in the pool. :)
  • I've started PT twice a week and am very happy with my therapists.
  • I've been doing my exercises as directed by my PT and can see progress being made already. Yay!
  • The PT said I could ride the recumbent bike at the gym for 20-30 minutes. YAY!
  • I have also started to incorporate a few very modified Yoga asanas. These are mostly restorative and chest and arm pit openers. Remember an open armpit makes us happy and helps to cure depression. I should be walking around with my arms up all the time -maybe that would help. hahahaha
  • I am starting to back off on my meds a little which is a good thing since they really F with my mind.
  • I'm starting to get more visits from friends and family and found that even a small daily outing can boost my optimism.
  • I'm still dependant on my sexy walker but am hoping to transition to a cane in the next few weeks.
Thank you to everyone who has been in touch with me. Your kind words and outreach of love make a difference in my recovery.




Saturday, July 7, 2012

Svadhyaya - Self study for a better life

Have you ever had a tightness in your heart that felt as if it were trying to suck you down into the depths of darkness?  That no matter what you did to move forward it just seemed to envelope you and block your way back to normalcy? Many of you are shaking your head Yes. For me this is a first, my normally happy, positive attitude has been replaced with sadness. And while not really a negative attitude has replaced a positive attitude - I just feel..well...sad. This sadness for lack of a better word is so pervasive that I cannot figure out how to get out of it.

As a result I have been digging deep into my mind, body and spirit. In Yoga this is called Svadhyaya. self study, self reflection - the willingness to look at behaviors that drive us in this human life. This self study helps us to see ourselves more clearly and hopefully in the process pierce through the self image veil so we can come out on the other side more whole and at peace with what this life has given us.

So in my self study I first tried to determine the root cause of my sadness. The root cause has not been too difficult to figure out. Just look at everything that has happened to me in the last few months. My real distress is my inability to find my way out of this sadness. You have to understand that I am a person who sets goals and then achieves them. Even if that means that I have to just put my head down and muscle my way through it. The problem is I can't figure out a way to muscle through this and end up on the other side.

Part of the problem is I don't know what is on the other side - I thought I did 6 months ago when I quit my job and opened a Yoga studio - but we all know how that turned out. So what does my other side look like now??? How do I get there if I don't know what it is I'm getting at?

Time for more Svadhyaya - I guess.

Namaste' my friends. I miss seeing all of your smiling happy faces. Please remember to practice your Yoga.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Amy's medicated mind

I have had many interactions with members of the medical profession over the past few weeks. Some good, some marginal and some downright disturbing. Of course all of these perceptions are laced with Amy's medicated mind - but that too gives extra cause for concern that these medical people should realize what they say and do can have profound effects on the patient.

I have found some pretty dark places in my mind over the past few months. The overwhelming sadness I had been experiencing before the surgery as I anticipated my fate, now seems light and flowery compared to the darkness since the surgery.

Some of that post surgery sadness was a result of the grieving process - that I know - but some of that sadness was a direct response to the words coming from my health care providers. And as I began to get really pissed off at one particular care provider and allow his words to plunge my normally optimistic mind down further into the scary abyss of Amy's medicated mind, - I realized that he was really just doing the best that he could. He thought he was helping. He didn't get up that morning and make the conscious decision to fuck with my life - he really was just trying to  be helpful - in the ways that he knew; albeit - flawed at best.

The lesson here is that we all get up and try to do the best that we can. Sometimes with positive results and sometimes not. But deep inside we are all good, we are all trying to make a difference during our brief time on this earth. Sometimes things get in our way as we are trying to do good - our ego, our worries, our medications, our finances, our relationships, - and yes these do affect our interactions with others -whether we want to believe it or not.

So instead of judging others based on their limitations or our interactions with them I try to remember that they are doing the best they can - just like me. We are all interconnected and the thoughts we share with each other - or keep to ourselves - radiate out into the universe and ultimately have affects on others. I'm not saying that I have to accept this medical clowns opinion - I don't  - nor will I let his words affect me any further - but I will accept that he means well. And be thankful that I only have one more appt with him and he can mean well with someone else. :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Can't at least one thing be easy?

This is my first post since surgery. The last week has been tougher than I ever expected. I discovered that not one thing is easy to do while you are recovering from surgery - NOT ONE. No not even "smiling" as a family member of mine texted me in one of my worst days of recovery. The only thing that would have made me worse that day, would have been if I had thrown that phone at the wall like I wanted to after I recieved that text. The good news is I am feeling a little better today and I still do love my sister in law.

The things we take for granted - those mundane things that are so "inconsequenctial" are the things that are really the glue of our lives. Lose those things like - standing up straight, sleeping on your side, picking up  something that you dropped, washing your face, taking a shower, putting lotion on, making coffee, getting the mail, petting the dog, pooping ( yes I know TMI - but seriously that was the WORST day of recovery so far) and you realize that the great big events of our lives are not really so significant without the ability to  do the simple things that we automaitcally do and have done for so long.

The Yoga Sutra's discuss this "Human Trait" of ours. This trait that dismisses the mundane and routine and sensationalize the pleasure events. The Yoga Sutra's say that this constant gratification seeking is really the undoing of our life. While we think we are getting pleasure from the sensational - in truth it only causes suffering. We are always looking for the next big thrill or new drama or longer bike ride or newest pose we can get into - when what really matters is someting as simple as getting up, breathing and being thankful for just that.

Now for some surgery detail stuff
  • Surgery took about 2 hours.
  • I was fitted with a 36M ceramic ball joint and plastic infused with vitamin E cup. This is supposed to last me 20 -25 years (maker BIOmet)
  • Surgeon took another 100CCs of green stuff out of me during the surgery. He explained that there was more but he was unable to reach it since it was located near arteries and he was afraid of causing any additonal damage.
  • Tthe incision site is gruesome, it is 11 inches long
  • The surgery was mostly without incident, my real issues have been low blood presure and bad reactions to the meds they used during surgery and afterward.
  • The hospital staff at Redlands Community were awesome  and made my "stay" as pleasurable as they could.

Now that I am back among the living - I'll post more frequently.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Envision the future that you want

Last week I was treated to a 2 hour massage by my friend Cheryl. Cheryl is a masseuse as well as a Chinese face reader and specializes in intuitive massage. This means while she is massaging you she often times receives messages from spiritual guides. These messages can help us through difficult issues or simply encourage us to stay on a certain path or change course direction.

After the massage, Cheryl related to me that the spiritual guides reminded me to picture the surgeon performing the surgery, his competent capable hands repairing my injury and making me whole again. By envisioning this I can alleviate anxiety and in a sense feel more acceptance of the surgery since I have already been through it in my mind.

This reminded me that all my life I have used this visualization method to reach my goals. Everything that I have set out to do and ultimately accomplished in my life was at first a vision in my head. By being proactive in my goals - seeing them, planning them, then executing them I was able to accomplish many things in my life. I realized that with the onset of the diagnosis of my hip and impending surgery - I had slipped into reactive mode - reacting to my situation and letting it control me instead of me controlling (not a great word to use) the outcome.

So last night (while I was awake for hours on end) I envisioned the surgeon carefully making me whole again. I also began to see me getting out of the hospital bed and being strong. Accepting help from my doctor, PT, family and friends and learning to walk independently on my own two feet.

I'm liking what I see.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Well Wishes - come in a variety of disguises

This week has been a blur. Trying to get things done before I am unable to do what I want to without the assistance of others. It has also been a week of others wanting some of my time to express their well wishes.

These well wishes come in a variety  of disguises. A hug, an invitation to lunch, a text, an e-mail, a visit to the final Yoga class, or a prayer for a speedy recovery.  For others it's a phone call, a 10 minute chat to see how you are and still for others it may be a gift. Some flowers, a card, a promise of a homemade dinner after I return from the hospital, a massage, a spread sheet - listing who is coming to take care of me and on what days, books on CD to listen to while I convalesce, and in one case a magnificent "comforting" home made quilt!

And while these gestures of comfort and well wishes all look distinctly different - they all mean the world to me. They all make me realize the gift I am given every day through my family and friends who love me and are part of my immediate and extended family. Whether it's my Divine Yoga Studio family, YMCA, Ride Yourself Fit, UCR or my friends and family who have been with me through everything. I am truly blessed.

Know that your words and gestures of of comfort and caring are carrying me through these last few days before my surgery. Also know that they will continue to carry me during and after the surgery as well. Thank you everyone for all your kindness.

Please, for me, as a gift from me to you -take a minute and think about all the people who love you and are there for you and who would do anything to make things better for you. Are you thinking of them??? Good - now send them a warm wish and thank them for their love. There really is no greater gift.

Here is a picture of the amazing quilt made by Cathy Brown - a Yoga student and friend of mine. Truly a talented quilter (and she has quite a sense of humor as well).

Monday, June 11, 2012

The color GREEN is not just for aliens.

Who knew that the color green could be so significant? This morning I had two appointments at the hospital. One was for an ultra sound of the right hip to see if they could detect any fluid in the area. And the other was for a CT scan of the right hip.

So, I'm in the Ultrasound room with a very nice technician. After lubing me up he proceeds to scan the R hip. He explains then, that the radiologist will be in to talk to me. The radiologist Dr. Broom, a very nice man, explains that they have detected fluid in the R hip area and Dr. Donaldson wants it aspirated and sent to the lab for analysis. Great I think - a big ass long needle into my hip - I'm not ashamed to admit I started freaking out a little and was wishing I had brought someone along with me to hold my hand.

So I lay back, they numb the area with lidocaine and the Dr proceeds to start aspiration. Relatively painless for the most part but I'm feeling emotional. So I go to my happy place and breathe. At one point I look up and the Dr is pouring something into a beaker - I say "Is that the stuff from my hip?" and he says "Yes". So I decide to look. OMG it is GREEN! Like avocado-guacamole green. I say, "That came out of my hip?" "Yep", says the tech. "It's green", I say. "It's probably better for you not to look", says the tech. I say,  "That can't be good". The tech just looks at me with big eyes.

So at this point I am no longer emotional I'm just amazed at this green fluid coming out of my body. Usually when it comes to medical stuff being performed on me I look the other way - but there I was watching all of this happen and being truly disgusted that this green stuff was coming out of my hip. At the same time I'm thinking get this out of me. That cannot be good.

And poof - just like that my mind switched from hesitation about my surgery to "get this hip out of me!" My poor body has been struggling to deal with this foreign object leaking metal into me for so long - I had always experienced some degree of pain and/or discomfort but seeing this green liquid come out of me really brought the importance of this surgery home.

So seven days and counting until surgery - bring it on. I'm ready (but still nervous).


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tibetan Mala Beads - an auspicious gift

A student of mine recently traveled to Tibet. On her return she brought me a lovely gift - Tibetan Mala beads! She told me it was high holy week (or month) in Tibet and what a wonderful time she had visiting Tibet. In our few shorts minutes of visitation, I noticed that she looked happy and peaceful .

I did some research on Mala beads and here is what I found. As far as I can tell the set she brought to me is made from Bodhi Seeds and is accentuated with a large "Guru" bead and two Mala Counters. In addition, the set is enriched with coral and turquoise and silver beads. To say it is magnificent is an understatement.

Traditionally, there are 108 beads on a strand of mala prayer beads. The significance of this number is that it is the number of mental conditions or sinful desires that one must overcome to reach enlightenment or nirvana.

The Bodhi Seed signifies the Buddha's attainment of enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree. While especially revered by Buddhists, a bodhi seed mala is considered auspicious to use for all practices, and represents spiritual promise, dedication and faith.

The Bodhi tree at the Mahabodhi Temple is called the Sri Maha Bodhi. According to Buddhist texts the Buddha, after his Enlightenment, spent a whole week in front of the tree, standing with unblinking eyes, gazing at it with gratitude.

To make the bodhi seed mala beads, the mala makers pierce the seeds and rub them to make it the appropriate size.

I've worn the set two days in a row now and find it brings me strength and calm. I am honored by this spiritual gift from someone whom I just recently met . I'm sure that her gifting this to me during this time in my life is no accident. I will use the Mala beads as a source of strength and peace during these difficult times ahead of me.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Everything is going to be OK!

So it's official. Surgery date is set Monday June 18th 2012.

Dr. will take me off on disability on June 11, 2012

I will end my classes at the YMCA on Sunday June 10, 2012.

I will finish up my classes at the studio the week of June 11th.

I will temporarily close the studio until I am able to teach again.

I will be OK - and once surgery is over I can make a plan to get better and resume my life.

My students will be OK too. They will practice Yoga everyday - (hearing the little amy in their heads).
This is so when I come back from this disability I will see that they have been practicing on their own or with another teacher and I will be amazed at their progress.

Everything will be OK (hmmm...who am I trying to convince - you or me???)


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Accepting Generosity - easier said than done.

This past weekend my daughter Olivia and I went to Palm Desert and stayed at the Desert Springs Marriott. The room was comped since Olivia was performing Saturday evening and had to deliver some of the gear that was required for the event.

Upon check in, the clerk stated that room, parking, and restaurant were taken care of. This was news to both of us since we just thought it would be the room only. We asked, "are you sure" and the clerk stated yes. So we thought cool, we'll be able to eat too. :)

We spent that afternoon at the pool, ordered some drinks, put the tab on the room. We went to dinner, had a fabulous meal and a couple of drinks and put that on the room. Saturday when I went to check out and clear up the drinks/incendentals from our stay ( we both assumed that we would pay for our own drinks) the clerk smiled and said,  "there are no incendentals to pay  for Ms. Brown". I said, "are you sure? We thought we would pay for our own drinks?" She smiled and said, "yes, everything is covered".

I almost started to cry right then and there. Seriously, I started to well up because of the swell in my heart from something good actually happening to me - that I had not put effort into making happen myself! It is so weird for me, a giver, to actually be a receiver. I don't know how to act when someone shows me generosity.

As  I was driving home from Palm Desert it struck me, that maybe this is a lesson that I need to learn during this upheaval in my life. Many people have said, "Let me know what I can do to help - anything - really." I smile and shake my head of course I'll let you know. But will I really? Or will I continue to try and do everything myself in-spite of my physical limitations?

Why does accepting someones generosity make me feel like I am a weakling? Why should a kind word or random act of kindness throw me for such a loop? How do I learn to say "Yes, I'd love some help", and be OK with it?


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Limbo - a forced gift of Savasana

It's funny how being in Limbo can throw a control person (like myself...I know quite a shocking revelation -LOL) ) into reflection mode. When you don't have the known to control, then you can't control what you don't know. You are forced to take a step back, and examine those areas in your life that need to be examined. 

This Limbo time (as I will call it)  - really is a gift to those of us caught in the control mode. It forces us to stop planning everything and be present. To withdraw from the external world and go inward - kind of like Savasana at the end of Yoga class.  Surrender to what it. And just like Savasana at the end of asana practice it is not  easy to shut the mind off and go inward.. 

When I find myself without purpose (controlling things that need to be controlled, scheduled, planned) I kind of find myself not knowing what to do (the refrigerator beckons all too often). I feel like a boat out on the ocean just floating - no clear direction. Not necessarily stranded, but unsure what the next navigation is. But then I realize that floating for a while is OK. I just have to stop judging myself because I'm not on some mission to get something done (kind of like in Savasana when my mind won't shut off) . But find a way to enjoy this Limbo/Savasana time and the next course navigation will come.

For those of you control persons who just need to know what is going on (tehe)- here is what I do know:
  • No surgery date is set yet
  • CAT scan and Ultrasound scheduled for June 11th
  • Waiting on the referral for the 3rd opinion for Dr. Matta in LA (he is a hip and Pelvis reconstruction specialist)
  • Securing an Attorney to represent me in a personal injury/defective medical device suit
  • Keeping the studio open at least through the month of June
  • Aleve works better on hip pain than Advil
  • the kind words of family and friends sometimes make you cry but are the best things in the world when you are down. :)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

A reflection of my current personal troubles leaves me feeling a little ashamed today.

Today we honor all the men and women who fought for our country so we can be free. Some are still with us, some paid the ultimate price with their lives and some will forever be changed physically and mentally as a result of their service to our country.

My troubles are minuscule in comparison and I will recover and move forward with my life. It may not be how I have planned it - but I will still have a future - whatever that may look like after all of this.

So many of our service men and women were not able to do that so easily. Some lost their futures and many had their future altered as well.

Remember - no matter how much we may suffer in this life - there are others who have suffered greater and lost more than we can imagine.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Being in the moment - trying not to let this obstacle define who I am any more than I have to.

Funny thing about life's little (or big) obstacles - it begins to consume your life. Everything in your small world begins to revolve around that one event or obstacle and the next thing you know; that is all you or anyone else you know ever talks about. 

The end result is - you miss out on what is happening now. Totally letting today, this minute, this moment pass you by as you fret and worry and complain about "poor pitiful me and my so sad situation".- blehhhhh!

I decided today with the help of my cycling friend Karen, that I am going to cherish each and every moment I have on my bike, in my Yoga practice, with my Yoga students and refuse to let this obstacle define who I am or will be in the months to follow.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Time to re-focus - Unhappiness leads to hatred. - Yoga Sutra II.8

I had a long lunch with a friend today. We talked a lot about my present situation. I found myself feeling and verbalizing ridiculous thoughts regarding my present reality. My friend wisely pointed out that what I am feeling is "grief" - grief from seeing my dream being shot down. Grief from my body part not working properly, grief from being disappointed in what life has dealt me. Grief at knowing what my body will go through in the next few months.

Grief (Duhka from the Yoga Sutras) is one of the afflictions of the body  "duhka" is loosely translated as sorrow, grief, distress, pain. When we mistakenly see the transient as permanent (when the Ego takes over), then we create pain. In my case - grief.  While what is happening is definitely real, it is also temporary.

My unhappiness at this situation will only lead to more unhappiness. Unhappiness will lead to negative thoughts, negative thoughts will lead to negative energy out into the universe. Negative energy out into the universe will not make things better for anyone. It will create a negative chain of misery - which will only lead to more sorrow and grief.

I have to have faith. Trust in the highest knowledge.- Faith that everything will be just as it is supposed to be. I have to trust the wisdom of the universe - I sure hope the universe is smart.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Revision Surgery - Learning to let go and accept my fate

One of the complications of the THR revision surgery is the removal of the metal cup on my acetebelum: This is the place where the femoral head connects at the hip joint. Because the metal from the original surgery fused into the acetebelum (better than cement they say - yeah as long as you don't have to try and remove it), they have to pry the "cup" off of that bone. It's tricky and could shatter the hip - and that would be very bad.

The Femoral head they installed from the original surgery is modular - so they can take off the other metal head and replace with a new ceramic head or another metal head with no history of metal leakage. Not sure what they are going to do at this point.

Because of the invasive procedure the recovery will be much longer and the bone will not be weight bearing as quickly as the initial surgery. So that means I will be in the hospital longer, with a walker longer and unable to do many normal things for up to six months. Yoga and cycling - obviously are completely out of the question until healing has completed.

I guess the worst part of this is knowing what I am going to go through during the surgery and recovery- because I have been there before. Last time I didn't know what I didn't know - this time I do. It wasn't fun before and this time it will be less fun than last time.

The Yoga Sutra's lesson of detachment asks us to willingly "let go" and "surrender" to what is. It doesn't mean we shouldn't care, it means that we need to see things as they really are - not what our minds have conjured up as horrible, awful, terrible, unfair - but to love ourselves and embrace what the Divine has given us. To me, it means it is time to change my focus from pity party (while it can be satisfying for a while) to changing my view of the situation and accepting today for today and dealing with tomorrow- tomorrow.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A little history - Part II

So off I go to see the surgeon about my results. Lab tests show Cobalt levels at 156 - normal is 2. Chromium levels at 15 - normal is .15 (this is a rough estimate since my actual results are at the revision surgeon specialists office). Needless to say - not good. Basically this Dr. days I need revision surgery in the next 3-6 months. I ask for a 2nd opinion.

2 weeks later I'm off to the 2nd opinion. This Dr. is a MoM revision specialist who has done hundred of these surgeries and has a FDA grant to study the results of MoM issues in the body. He tells me that he has NEVER seen anyone with higher levels of Cobalt and Chromium in their body and that I need to get that device out of me ASAP - it is a ticking time bomb (that is always so reassuring to hear from a Doctor). It could cause tissue, bone and/or nerve damage which is irreparable.

As of today I am awaiting insurance company approvals for referrals for a MRI and Cat-scan (hmmm... wonder how long that will take) to determine what if any damage exists at the hip replacement site. Surgery will be in the next 4-6 weeks - but no surgery date as of yet.

Surgeon says it is OK to continue doing what I'm doing until surgery - at this point it really can't do any more damage - I guess that is a bright spot. I can still cycle and do yoga until surgery date - whenever that is. Recovery will be a whole different story.

I guess recovery is what this blog will really be all about. Acceptance of my limitations. Learning to surrender to what this human body is limited to during the recovery. Finding new ways to practice my Yoga from the surgery room to the recovery room and convalescence.

Next post - Revision surgery & recovery  and what to do about my Yoga studio (Just so everyone knows I am eagerly awaiting a sign from the Universe on just what exactly to do about my studio).


Monday, May 21, 2012

A little history...

Ok - so here I am making this blog. I'm not much of a writer or thinker. I don't really have any profound thoughts to share with anyone. This is a selfish blog - a tool to get me through the next six months of my life...a life without Yoga - at least in the physical sense.

See I had hip replacement surgery in September 2007. I suffered from Osteoarthritis of the right hip and after many painful years we decided a THR was what I needed. Things went great. Successful surgery and post operative recovery without incident and I was back to my Yoga and cycling in 4 months. This hip was to last me until I died - at least that is what they said (this is where the ominous music plays).

Over the 4.5 years since my THR I'd had bouts of pain that I attributed to my active lifestyle. Yoga teacher, Spinning instructor, and road cyclist. Thought it was sciatica, tight hips, weak muscles at surgery site, piriformis issues from cycling - never once did I think it was my metal on metal (MoM) hip implant. Boy was I wrong.

In December 2011 I decided to quit my credit union management job to open a Yoga studio (wow talk about expert timing). I was experiencing some more groin pain and inflamed buttocks muscles and decided to go check on my implant with my surgeon - just to check that everything was fine and finally get some resolution on this pain I was having and what I could do to make it stop. After issues with health insurance and two months later I finally got a bone scan of the R hip. In conclusive they say - could you go have some blood tests done?

So I skip off to the lab, have 5 vials of blood drawn and a week later I get a call from the surgeon's nurse. You have elevated levels of Chromium and Cobalt ( metals from the implant that can cause hip and groin pain, bone and tissue destruction and nerve damage) in your blood. Doctor is recommending a hip replacement revision. Can you come see us next week?

I'll finish up with the remainder of the story tomorrow. I'm off to teach at my Yoga studio. Not really sure what will become of that right now. But I find peace in teaching and helping others find some peace in their life.

One of my favorites sayings is "everything happens for a reason". I wonder if everyone hates that saying when I say it to them as much as I hate it right now.