If you follow me on social media, you may have noticed that I have been laying low the past month or so, and perhaps you have wondered why my teaching has been so much less these days. This month I had only two classes in my yoga studio and did not create any new virtual content. I have been working really hard at choosing radical self-care and balancing the demands of pretty challenging clients that I am blessed enough to see. My version of radical self-care is plenty of time to walk, working out everyday (in fact, I started an amazing strength training program five weeks ago that has rocked my world), and making the time for myself to feel my best in whatever that might be on a given day.
A couple months ago I mentioned to my doctor that I have been feeling pretty lousy, and the feeling was more than the usual chronic pain/fibromyalgia/lupus yuck that I experience most days. I explained to her that this new pain and not feeling great felt different, but I could not put a finger exactly on what I was experiencing. After listening to my symptoms she ran some additional blood tests to see if anything showed up. Indeed it did. She explained that my unexplained symptoms (extreme fatigue, soreness, loss of hair, weight loss, and overall malaise) might be contributed to very high iron levels. She ran some more tests and it was discovered that I have a single mutation of a genetic blood disorder called Hereditary Hemochromatosis. The way to remove the iron overload is a series of blood donations done fairly frequently. Many people donate blood and it is not a big deal. Well, since I am not like the average person (and if you ask my family, they will all say I am the difficult freak in the family when it comes to medical stuff), it is REALLY hard on me. It wipes me out like nothing I have ever experienced. I am exhausted, worn out, pale, puny and extremely weak for several days following my every two weeks blood letting.
At this same time, I committed to following my dermatologist insistence to begin a treatment to rid my over exposed skin to an intense skin cancer treatment. Essentially this topical treatment will eat away any pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. Because I have so much damage from the sun, he suggested I take three months to complete this protocol, rather than the usual two weeks regimen. Aye aye aye is all I can say. Imagine second degree burns and extreme itching for three months; blisters, scabs, abrasions, etc. all over my face, neck and chest. It is so uncomfortable and so painful, and really ugly.
Between the horrible blood treatments, the intense skin issues and my everyday pain and feeling miserable, I haven’t had the mojo to put on my pretty face and teach a ton of Yoga online or in my studio. These days I am lucky to make it to my assisted living sites and keep up with running a business to earn an income. The behind the scenes of any small business is bigger than one might imagine, and in normal months, it takes a TON of my energy. Over the last few months, it has been a real struggle.
So, if you see me walking in my neighborhood in a sun hat and a scarf, that is why. If you don’t see me producing tons of online content or hosting classes in my studio, that is why. If I don’t respond to your texts, emails or messages as fast as I used to, that is why. If I am grumpy and short with you, that is why.
As I teach so often, I am reminded that everything is temporary. That mindset does not mean that this is easy because it is not. But, I do try to hold on that this too will pass. My blood will be normal again. My skin will heal beautifully. I will manage my pain as I have for decades. In the meantime, I encourage each of you who is reading this to never underestimate the power of the human spirit, and also to remember that you may have no idea what kind of battle someone is fighting, so always err on the side of compassion.
Hopefully this will clear up some of the wondering some of you have had about my stepping back a bit.
Blessings to you and yours.