Honey Call the Doctor…Again
As I lied curled up in bed for the second consecutive week that month, I called my husband home from work to help me with our young children. I knew his work was starting to get annoyed with his constant carers leave, however the pain was unbearable. Calling him was my only choice. The pain felt like someone was stabbing me over and over again in my stomach. My back killed me. I just lied there wishing it would stop, tears rolling down my face. He called the doctor again, who ordered more tests. Honestly, I believe the doctor thought it was all in my head and whipped me in and out of his room faster than a jet plane.
I started opening up to family and friends about the debilitating pain I felt, with one friend saying, “God it sounds like you have endometriosis”. I looked at her with my face screwed up. Firstly I thought, what is that? Secondly I felt a wave of relief, thinking maybe she was right. We found a new doctor, and began the testing. After a few short weeks, and what seemed to be so easy, my doctor agreed that my symptoms were due to endometriosis.
“So…” he said looking at the results. I was waiting for him to tell me about a magic pill…..A once off pill that would quickly take all the pain away. How funny….
“Most women find their symptoms ease with the contraceptive pill” he explained, “then there is surgery, anti-depressants to manage your reaction to the condition…..” I zoned out…no magic pill then I am not interested. I started his recommendations of the contraceptive pill. You only need to ask my poor husband about how I go on the pill. It looks a little like this…depressing music, constant crying and the occasional tong throwing at his head as he attempts to walk through the kitchen. Crazy right? What other choice did I have?
So how does yoga fit into all this? Funny enough as I received my diagnosis, I had recently started with the Hervey Bay School of Yoga. One evening Polly leaned over to me and whispered, “do you have endometriosis?’ I nearly dropped over, how did she know that? (A few years on and a bit of self-awareness, I can see how she identified it so easily). I quietly responded with a yes, and told her how I was in the early stages of treatment.
As I dived more and more into the yoga, I began to research other options to manage endometriosis as the pill was driving me insane. All different options revealed themselves, yoga being one of the top options, along with diet change. I went to my doctor and asked if he would support my decision to try diet change along with diving into yoga. In fact the doctor had a smile on his face. Maybe I was his first patient that was tired of masking issues with a pill, or maybe he could see this is what I really wanted.
Never once did Polly tell me how to combat endometriosis, but she just knew my body. She also understood my pain, something for two years no one else had. This alone was a powerful relief, anyone that has a condition that no one comprehends will understand what I mean. She worked alongside me in class, adjusting my body and offering her subtle advice. The funny thing with yoga is it changes many things, in a good way. Yoga slowly helped my anxiety, my constant perfectionist traits and the need to be in control of everything. I honestly believe I kept all of this bottled up in my abdomen making it hard and locked, triggering my endometriosis pain. As I started letting go of those things, I noticed the tension in my stomach began to release and soften.
I’m not going to sit here and say the journey has been all butterflies and rainbows, because it has not. There have been many sessions I’ve gone home and cried. But it was ok, because the tears were tears of becoming aware of my body, of who I was. They were tears of letting go, of releasing tension, pain and control. I’m also not going to write to you and say I’m completely healed, because I am not…I have a human body after all, things aren’t that simple. But what I can tell you, is in two years my husband has been called home to help me twice. I no longer spend weeks curled up in bed with crippling pain, actually, I very rarely even need nurofen anymore. I take no medication, AKA the pill that sends me crazy.
In times where the pain starts to sneak up on me, I stop and assess my life. Usually there are tremendous amounts of stress going on externally, I may have steered away from my yoga practice or secretly consumed a little too much junk. I take time out to engage in yoga to manage all the external factors that may be triggering the symptoms. I work alongside Polly to create space in my abdomen. Within a few short days the pain subsides. The fact I can even sit here and say to you I am aware of these things is proof that yoga really does aid and assist in life, whether it be for a medical condition or just the stress of everyday living.
Practically speaking, when we are stiff in our hips and hamstrings our knees and ankles are ‘punished’. At some stage it is better to be accountable/aware of how to work with our hamstrings and hips so that the knees and ankles are able to get on with their work. It’s also the case in twisting poses that people twist into the flexible areas of their spine and in doing so completely miss the area that needs to be ‘accountable’: we are slipping around a stiffness and there will be consequences.
Our yoga classes for children have been running for 4 years and some of the feedback we get from parents and also teachers is amazing and encouraging. Children experience stress for lots of different reasons and yoga helps them to 'discharge' it through physical movements and also through breathing exercises and meditation.
When we go camping, we sit in awe of the magnificence of the mountain, the oceans, the sky. We go there because we recognize that some thing changes within us when we sit quietly within the wonderment of nature. We say "I am different", "I am happier", "I am energized", "I am more content". When we practice yoga we learn to sit in the wonderment of our embodiment. It is our microcosm of the macrocosm of nature. We recognize that being in the power of our own presence is a practice of being at one with the forces of nature.