April 26th, 2012
Two weeks ago, when I got the news from the SFDD that the disease was most likely flaring, and he bumped up my meds — back on the Septra for chronic bronchitis (it’s cleared up), back on a high dose of prednisone for the joint pain and sinus infection-related stuff (it has also cleared up), and I posted up a note about feeling defeated. My friend Kat, who is one of the healthiest people I know, suggested that a session of hot yoga at Iyashi Bedrock Spa would do wonders.
Having never done hot yoga, and being so out of my own yoga practice, I was a little (a lot) nervous. But the spa is an incredibly welcoming place — very quiet and unobtrusive, you enter into a room that’s beyond hot, lay down on some black silica bedrocks imported from Japan that smell wonderful and then, well, you sweat like the dickens. My fingers were sweating. My ears were sweating. My hair was dripping. After laying down for a half-hour, the teacher, a wonderful, quiet-spoken Englishman, takes you through some very gentle, restorative poses, shoulder stretches, hip stretches, legs up the wall (my favourite!), and then after an hour (with a break in between; there’s no way I would have made it through without the five minute pause; it was just so hot!), you’re done.
I could do about half of the poses. Some I didn’t even attempt because I am so very out of shape. But with everything in the last few weeks, I’m just trying to take small, quiet steps towards a more healthful existence. I didn’t push myself. I didn’t worry about looking like a fool (although I am pretty sure I did). I didn’t care that my hair was standing straight up and that my face was as red as a McIntosh. Because I felt amazing. I felt cleaner inside than I have in ages. It’s a very odd feeling, having your body invaded by a disease. You know it’s there — there’s a foreignness to your system that’s easily recognizable. The only time in the last twenty years where I haven’t felt invaded was the week in the hospital having the plasma exchange treatment — where they removed all the bad antibodies that carry the disease from my blood — and I felt, again, amazing (well, as awesome as you can feel with a central line and being this-close to death, you know…).
There were points where it was almost way, way, way too much for me. I had eaten some soup before the class, which I do not recommend for anyone thinking they might like to try this kind of treatment; I felt nauseous in parts because I think it was all too much for my system. But the clean, stripped-down feeling from the inside out was something I didn’t expect. My body is so clogged up all the time with medication, with disease, with stress, that when it’s presented with another option, it doesn’t quite know what to do, and so even to be freed from that for an hour, well, it was like taking a vacation from the disease. And Kat was absolutely right — it did wonders for my mind, body, soul.