Wednesday, May 16, 2012

9 minutes of yoga saved my life

Sounds like an infomercial no?

Let me explain a little bit.

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{these photos have nothing to do with this post, I just like them, and they seemed appropriate}

About a month ago I shot a wedding.  Like most weddings I shoot, my back is killing me by the end of the night.  The worst part is during the ceremony, waiting for the kiss with the camera up to my face.  FYI, that camera with a long lens and a battery grip is heavy.  Hold it up to your face for 5 min solid and it's like doing some torturous forced exercise.

I'm not complaining. I'm used to it.  I know how to deal with it, and that involves rest and sometimes advil.

But this time it was different.

You see, I've had issues with my back since around the time I graduated from high school.  I remember the first time I realized it, was when my ex touched a spot on my lower back and I thought I would come unhinged.  We weren't even married yet, so I was probably only 18 years old.

It's something after a while you just learn to live with, sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse.

When I was pregnant with Tanner, I lost the feeling in my left thigh.  It was weird, but I just figured it was from the pressure of that big headed kid kicking his way out.  After I had him, it went away.


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Fast forward a few years.  I was having some problems and switched chiropractors out of necessity one day (same 2 drs in one office).  My regular Dr was out so I went to his new partner.

I'd made a point of saying how I hadn't been able to sit "indian style" (I think the proper term is criss cross now) for years.  I hadn't thought about it, but something else that was going on, was that I also couldn't lay on my stomach without my bottom half literally feeling paralyzed.  I could move my bottom half, but it was really difficult.

New chiro took that as a challenge and adjusted me and pointed out I had a large amount of inflammation in my back.  He showed me where it was and by golly, he was right.  There's a mound there that I always assumed was fat. sigh.  But when it hurts more, it gets bigger.  When it hurts less, it gets smaller.

In fact, the Dr says there's noone that comes to his office that has a more sensitive lower back than I do. (It can hardly be touched).


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I've lived with it for many years and it's just my normal so I don't think much of it anymore. 

So back to that wedding in April.  I got home and things felt "different".
My back was really aching and I noticed over the next week, that when I stood my left thigh was going numb just like it had done years ago.  If I stood long enough, it felt like it was burning.

Then it got worse.... I couldn't sleep on my back, which is an absolute nightmare to a back sleeper.  My sleep patterns got really bad.  I had to sleep on my right side and when I did that, my hands would go numb because I couldn't change positions.

I went back to the chiro and announced I had a pinched nerve.
*because I'm positive I do*

He looked at me funny and adjusted me, sent me home and nothing really changed.  I had some relief for a day or so, but back it would come.  I went several times and the outlook was always the same.

On May 5, when I was shooting Tanner and Katrina's prom photos, I was so into it I didn't notice that my leg was on fire.  Literally from hip to knee was numb and it burned for hours. 

That shoot was 1/2 hour... that scared me.
What happens at the next wedding which is TEN HOURS?

Right around this time, my friend Laurie Ann posted something on her wall on facebook.  I've known LA for around 15 years now.  I knew her when she weighed 340 lbs.  She now runs on a regular basis and has lost a BUNCH of weight.  Read her story.  Anyway, she posts this video on her wall and I decided to watch...




The story is about Arthur, a disabled vet who is told he'll never walk on his own again.  He was a paratrooper and jumped too much, too hard.  He couldn't walk without canes.  Couldn't exercise.  No one would help him.

He found yoga and it changed his life.

And that got me to thinking, what would happen if I tried it out?

I did a little more youtube research and found this video:



It's a simple video. It's not fancy in any way, just a basic video for beginners.  I decided to give it a shot.  I made a fool of myself right in front of the cats.  They were definitely very much "wtf?"

It was worth a laugh....
for them.

But something happened about mid-way through.  My lower back popped loudly.  It felt different from any other pop before.  It kind of scared me as the rest of the day my leg hurt no matter what I did, standing, sitting, laying down. 

BUT....
The next day, after a good night's sleep, I felt good.  The tingling in my leg wasn't gone completely, but much better.  I started to sleep in my back again (leg propped up on a pillow).  I could stand for more than 5 minutes.

It was kind of like a lightning bolt.  9 minutes?  All those years of pain, and it was something fixable in NINE MINUTES.
Makes me kind of angry thinking about it.  But that gets me nowhere so I'll move on.

Anyway, so yoga is now going to be part of my new routine.

I think this was a wake up call for me.  It was something that really scared the crap out of me.  Reminded me of my mortality.  I think about my father working his whole life, and then he died.  He died right at the time when most people will retire and enjoy their later years.

Instead... he died.

I don't want to be like my father, although we're following some of the same paths.  I don't want to die at almost 68 years old.  That's only 26 years from now.  In fact, if I lived the exact same length of time as my father, I'd have 9527 days left.

*that's not enough*

So to do that, things have to change.  And they have.
Eat better.
exercise more.
lose weight.

Check. Check. Check.

I'll keep you posted on the progress and the things I'm doing.  Like a few other problems in my life recently, I decided to just throw some money at it and see if that fixes it.  I'm going to give nutrisystem a go for a few months so I can get some pounds off, and get the pressure of my back.

*I want to weight train again*

My first goal is to hit 50 pounds and when I do, Gene and I are buying Kayaks.  He's actually going to go out on the water with me.  This shall be a comedy of errors.  I'm sure they'll be video.

Stay tuned for the hilarity.

ETA:
Maybe yoga didn't "save my life" - but it sure made me feel for a few days that it did.

2 comments:

craveable said...

That's how I started Lana... yoga. Then I hiked... then backpacked.. canoed... and finally decided I wanted to run. You know my story and I know your tenacity. I know you can do whatever you set your mind to doing. You have my friendship and support - remember that. Always.

Laurie Ann

Amy Jo said...

I'm so glad you found relief! Wish you would have mentioned it before. I would have worked you over and told you yoga or pilates! We did pilates every other day in massage school and it changed my life. I've been going to chiropractors for my back, knees, and hips since 4th grade, plus I injured my shoulder in golf, had problems for years and Kevan Evans was the one who caught the problem (he loved the challenge of figuring out what was wrong with me "this time"). In fact, it was my interest in what he did that got me thinking about massage therapy. Doing pilates I didn't have any pain even though I was putting my body through hell with bad shoes and school full-time and serving for 8+ hrs a day. A little bit of stretching can make a world of difference. Proud of you!

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