Digging in my Heels

Exactly one year ago tomorrow, March 31, will mark the one year anniversary of my surgery. Anyone who reads this blog or my Twitter will know that surgery literally knocked me off my feet, a surgery that while absolutely necessary to improve my quality of life and repair an injury truly took its toll on me both physically and mentally. Granted this repair and hysterectomy was thankfully not cancerous, something I am so truly grateful for, it was nonetheless a procedure that was as the doctors and nurses referred to it, a ‘big,big surgery.’ Recovery put me in bed for two weeks and left me pretty much in a limited state for another 6-8 weeks. After that, I truly didn’t feel myself for up to six more months. I healed, and in many ways the surgery was a success. However, given the success rate is about 80 percent and my doctor deemed me to have about a 60-70% success rate over a 3-5 year period, problems arise. 100% success for me lasted about 4 months. Unfortunately I can’t say the surgery has been a quick fix, and my surgeon would like to do another procedure whenever I say the word. 

This is where I ‘dig in my heels’ as my family doctor suggests. So many possible discussions arise! The good and bad to leaving things be! As things stand right now, I’m a firm believer in the let it be approach. For now. I will continue my Physio/Pilates training, lots of walking and starting out some yoga. I’ll keep a positive attitude. Things can be a million times worse! I don’t want pity about this or my migraines – I may not work OUTSIDE the home but that’s not because of things related to my health – that’s for other reasons I’m making peace with (or not) on any given day. 

At any rate, I feel reflective today. I’m here in this most beautiful place, and at the risk of gagging anyone reading this I can’t help but feel so well, #blessed. I thought about getting to this trip through many long hard days over the past year, and we finally made it. People actually live here! And they actually dig their heels in the sand (for fun)every day. Aloha! 

  

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Radha

  

Almost 15 years ago I was given this book for a birthday present from a yoga teacher who I’ve mentioned before in a previous post. She presented it to me for my 25th birthday and probably knew that I was a searching soul. 

The book sat on my bedstand in my tiny apartment, through moves and boxes, shelves and piles. If you’ve been following me on Twitter lately you might have picked up on my extreme cleaning binge where I donated over 80 books this past holiday season and have been going through some sort of ‘search’or ‘cleanse’ or – I don’t know what. 

But I didn’t purge this book. I’ve finally picked it up and started reading it, along with about three others, in the wee hours of the early morning. It is written about a woman’s pilgrimage to India in the mid 1950’s. It’s still meaningful, and perhaps with today’s extreme popularity and push for yoga and meditation, even more so today. 

My personality is such that I will probably always be searching, likely another 15 years from now. And so, as I continue to clean, search, read and maybe even meditate, this one will stay on the shelf. 

Thank you for the gift Yasmine. 

Namaste. 

Worth the Risk

Yesterday I was in a restaurant with my family when I noticed a brand new baby being held by her mother’s friend.  The scene caught my breath and I instantly felt a need to hold that fresh baby against my skin.  I knew after I had two children that was enough for me, but somehow that feeling of needing to hold and look at a new baby just never goes away.

Maybe it’s what being a mother or a woman or what society views women to be that instills that feeling inside of me.  That equals worth to that feeling of being able to create and sustain life.  Of knowing that you are able to do this means you have been successful as a women.  Perhaps this feeling feels stronger for me since at this point in my life my career is motherhood.

On Tuesday I am having an operation where I will essentially have the part of me that helped create life removed.  I know that sounds dramatic, and for the most part I’ve tried not to think about it in those terms.  I’m done child bearing, have been for years, and for my personal health and quality of life I must have this operation.  It will improve me in so many ways.  And yet, when I saw that baby, the little voice inside my head, the one that creeps in to shower doubt and feelings of shadow when you least expect it, made its way through.  That baby, I thought.  One more thing I can’t do….

Pelvic Organ Prolapse is a real condition that affects millions of women, mainly caused by childbirth injury.  It causes a variety of health conditions that cause many health concerns.  Not everyone will require a hysterectomy, or mesh!(that’s another post) or surgery to benefit their health, there are other options that can help as well, such as physiotherapy, exersize and so on.  There are four stages to prolapse, with four being the worst.  Mine is diagnosed as stage four, hence the reason for the major surgery.  Most often the condition will affect women later on in life but it can also cause problems for women of my age, 38, as well.  I encourage anyone reading this who think they may be affected, or who are wondering what it is, to search more about it and educate themselves.

I have considered writing about this for quite some time, and didn’t know if I should.  It’s not exactly dinner table conversation!  However, after visiting the doctor’s office, in what felt like the dungeon’s of the hospital last month, and knowing that so many other ‘male dominated’ clinics and health offices often get the green light for funding and education, I figured, why not start talking about it.  I’m not afraid to talk about mental health, and I’m not afraid to discuss women’s health either.

I am however rather afraid of the actual surgery and 8 week recovery process.  I’m grateful for the support system that I’ve set up here to help look after my children and my husband is a wonderful support system as well.  The kitchen is stocked and the closets are clean.  There isn’t much more I can do but pray.

I know the main cause of this is childbirth.  But when I looked at that tiny baby yesterday, clinging to the woman holding her, when I listen to my two girls sit chatting and singing as they watch TV, I know that childbirth is worth the risk.

I don’t know if I will be able to keep you posted on how it all goes, but if I can, I’ll let you know….

A 🙂

What Happens After the No?

Ha. Haha. Bet you thought I was done with blogging right? Oh, not quite. Sure, it’s been a year, and it might be another year before I post again. I still post on my family blog from time to time – mostly for my own sense of keeping track of what happens in our life. I wish I possessed enough energy to keep up with this more often, but I simply don’t. The truth is most of the time I’m simply exhausted by whatever it is that life brings me, and I’m just trying to stay afloat in order to give my family what little best of me there is. I’m thinking one day I’m going to get ‘it’ back. That sense of me that shows up from time to time and gives me those little bursts of life and allows me to accomplish tasks, read books, purchase new clothes and maintain a somewhat together household. I keep holding on to far off dreams of one day being a mom that will work part time again and contribute to whatever it is that I’m supposed to contribute to in this world and maintain whatever it is that I’m supposed to maintain at home. Or something like that!

Until then, my wheels keep turning on mental health issues, healthy eating, getting my kids to eat anything at all, motherhood, women’s health, the state of the education system and so many other things that anyone reading this who knows me or not might not know me may be surprised by.  No wonder I wake up sweating at night.

Actually the thing I think about most often is how to just stop thinking. Seriously! The last two years I can honestly say that I totally figured out how to set personal boundaries in my life. I read Brene Brown and Oprah, Martha Beck articles, and so on and so forth. I did and do yoga and listen to Deepak Chopra and whatever and whatever. I get how to say no when I feel there is too much going on – and you know what? I do say no. It’s interesting. I have met with many reactions to this answer. It can be surprise, envy, support, resentment, or understanding. Too many activities going on in my life? Time to say no. Too many commitments? No thanks. Will this booking make me too busy?  I’m sorry, but that won’t work for me. Too tired or party that is too late? No. Family event too late for the kids? Not happening.

But the thing that I still need to work on, and will be what I keep working at this year and probably the next and the next, is what happens after the no. The feeling I feel after. It’s usually guilt. It’s not always a good feeling. Sometimes I’m totally good with my answer and I know I’ve made the right decision.  Other times I ‘stew’ and worry and feel bad and like I should change my answer. If I say no, this person/group/family may not like me anymore. They may never ask me to do this activity, want to get together, come visit me, be my friend, like me ever again. They may be mad!! Does it sound like I’m 12 years old?  Perhaps. The reasons people say no are not usually vindictive. They are not because they want to be hurtful or mean or unjust. It’s the old saying – put yourself in their shoes and think about why they might be doing/saying what they are saying. Why might they be saying no??

I’ve doing some work to try to figure out how to feel better about myself, my life, and the  answers that I give. I have learned  the reason is usually because I am doing what is best for my family or myself. I must continue to care for myself and family first – and not drop to the fear of all the ‘what ifs’ that people may – or may not – like. I wanted to share this in a blog because I wondered, am I the only one who goes through this??

And so. For my Boxing Day present to myself, I ordered myself a special necklace. On it are the words, “Be Vibrant.” It has special “healing stones” on it including Amethyst and Amazonite which I am sure are ‘definitely’ going to cure everything that ails me. 😉 Beyond that, I find it quite pretty and it was on sale for a limited time. It is also from one of my favourite Natural Health websites, http://www.joyoushealth.com, if you are interested in holistic nutrition at all.

Related to that, I wish anyone still reading this blog a happy and as the website says, ‘joyous’ new year. The site also states to ‘be awesome,’ and ‘be vibrant,’ which I will attempt to do course, just as soon as those healing stones start working. 🙂

Happy 2015 everyone!

http://shopjoyous.joyoushealth.com/product/joyous-jewellery/

Get Talking

Last night my husband and I watched the 60 Minutes which aired on CBS Sunday evening.  The main story was a report by Scott Pelley on the plight of resources for mentally ill children in the United States. It shook me to my very core.  I sat on my couch with this giant lump in my throat, tears welling up in my eyes.  It is gut wrenching to think about the heartwrenching pain parents must go through to seek treatment for their mentally ill children, and the fear and pain these children must endure when plagued with a mental illness.

While this story takes place in the United States, I can’t see that it would be much different in Canada.  I am familiar with the stories of what happens when there are no beds and no resources for adults afflicted with mental illness, and I’ve spent time in the emergency room of the children’s hospital for minor physical issues  with one of my own children. I’m willing to guess that the resouces and funds are short and likely close to being tapped out.

My heart aches for the parents and children that deal with this.  For the doctors and specialists that are doing their best with what they have and who are trying to make a difference under the slimmest circumstances.  I have no answers. But I wish I did.

Today in Canada is Bell Mental Health Awareness Day.  Tweet or text #BellLetsTalk and 5 cents will go towards mental health awareness projects.

I encourage anyone to watch the 60 Minutes story I’ve included below and Tweet #BellLetsTalk.

Get Talking!!

60 Minutes Story

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mentally-ill-youth-in-crisis/

Bell Let’s Talk story on CTV news:

http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=282905&binId=1.1201914&playlistPageNum=1

This Breaks My Heart Open

This Breaks My Heart Open

I across this article (see link below) over the weekend and felt compelled to post the link on my blog.  I am so glad these family members have brought the public’s attention to some of the abusive care that patients receive in carehomes.  While the majority of patients are dealt with in a beautifully, loving and wonderful environment, it is absolutely crucial that this treatment must not be ignored and be stopped in its tracked.  I hope the province and our country sees this story as a way to improve it’s guidelines for staff ratios, caregiving practices and whatever else needs attending to for the best patient care possible.

 

http://www.calgaryherald.com/health/Province+says+patient+deaths+Calgary+nursing+home+were+isolated+incidents/9426709/story.html

More Yakking About Yoga

Last week I promised to discuss some of the types of yoga I have experienced in different classes. While I am by no means an expert or trained in yoga, I have tried many different styles to see what I like best.

One of the reasons for this is because I have found some yoga classes make me dizzy. These are mainly the classes that focus solely on Vinyasa or ‘Flow’ style. Too much ‘down dog’ and my head is down for the count! I’ve tried going before or after eating and keeping to classes that are not too warm but it doesn’t matter.

Vinyasa style can be described best here:

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/what-is-vinyasa-yoga.html

These classes are excellent if you are looking for an active, energizing style yoga class. They will lengthen and strengthen, wake you up and keep you toned.

The next type of class that I have tried is Hatha yoga. This can be best described on this link:

http://yoga.about.com/od/typesofyoga/a/hatha.htm

I personally prefer yoga classes that focus on holding poses for extended periods of time, finding that balance between breath and challenging your body and extending certain muscles. Many of these classes are also considered restorative or ‘yin’ yoga because they focus on releasing stress and tension in the body. Many of the poses are floor poses with less focus on standing or downward dog.

Then come classes which offer a combination of different types of yoga, such as ‘yin/yang,’ ‘stress release,’ or any number of classes where instructors may combine styles to fit the needs of their students, the time of day the class is offered and so on. These types of classes are my personal favourite, such as one I take called ‘Stress Release,’ or another I take on Sunday afternoons called ‘Sundae Yoga’ which is a mixed style geared towards preparing for the week ahead.

There are also more specialized classes of yoga that can be found. Yoga for kids, pre and postnatal, yoga for seniors, yoga for back injuries, yoga for women. The list goes on. If you are looking for a certain class I would encourage you to research your needs further to find out what works for you.

Regardless of what style of yoga you try, find something that works for you and that you enjoy. That are so many options available through studios, dvd’s, community centres, and even online. Yoga is more accessible that it has ever been before.

You may think that a little bit of stretching and relaxation is not much of a work out. But as my yoga teacher used to say during her classes many years ago, “your body will say, thank you for working me!”

And it will. Namaste.

A few online resources and studios in my city I think are just great:

http://www.myyogaonline.com
Access to thousands of online yoga classes and videos for only $10.95 USD/month. A great resource!

http://www.yogapassion.ca
A great little yoga studio in west YYC!

http://www.yogamandala.ca
I have never been to this studio but have taken classes with a couple of the instructors from there who are wonderful.

http://www.yogawithsara.ca
An awesome yoga teacher! She has a lovely video available for purchase on this site as well. While it is largely in the Vinyasa flow style I enjoy it!

http://www.westsiderec.com
This recreation centre offers a diverse mix of pre-registered yoga classes.

http://www.chapters.indigo.ca

Yoga Zone  http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/entertainment/dvd/yoga-zone-ultimate-collection-6/741952615392-item.html?ikwid=yoga+zone&ikwsec=Home&gcs_requestid=0CIjxh63RmbwCFVTt5wodKhMAAA

This DVD was recommended to me by the teacher who instructs the stress release class I take. While I don’t own the video she said there are many similarities between the class and DVD. I often find purchasing online to be much cheaper than in store.

Good luck and enjoy!