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My Journey With Yoga and 15 Reasons Why You Should Try It!

My Journey With Yoga and 15 Reasons Why You Should Try It!

 

I tried a few free yoga classes here and there. At that time, yoga seemed like a luxury or a cool experience. I started taking yoga more seriously after being diagnosed with breast cancer. My journey with yoga happened in an unexpected way. The hospital where I received chemotherapy treatments had recently started a holistic program. The program incorporated therapy dogs, massage therapists, yoga, and meditation instructors. I had a history of having anxiety attacks prior to my chemotherapy treatments. As soon our car pulled into the hospital parking garage, my anxiety levels would shoot through the roof! One day, the yoga instructor stopped by my little “chemo cubby” and offered a guided meditation session. My treatment had just started. I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon so I thought sure, why not? After the meditation session, I opened my eyes and immediately noticed how relaxed I felt. To my surprise my body felt lighter and my anxiety was completely gone! I couldn’t believe focused thoughts and controlled breathing eliminated the uneasiness I’d felt just moments earlier. I realized that yoga and meditation gave me something I could control in a world that was full of unknowns. After completing 16 rounds of chemo and multiple surgeries, I received good news. The oncologist determined that I had a complete pathologic response to all my treatments. This meant I was finally cancer free! God had answered my prayers and healed me! I also knew yoga played a key role on my journey to recovery. As a friend once said yoga became my “chemo gift.” These are gifts I received during treatment that I may not have experienced otherwise. It was at that point I decided that I wanted to become educated enough to share my love of faith and yoga with others. In 2019, I officially became a Certified Yoga Instructor! My kids and I have “mommy and me” yoga sessions at home. I am also a yoga instructor at a local studio in my city and I’m truly enjoying it!


I’ve been asked many questions about yoga. I always say if you can breathe you can do yoga! Modifications for the poses are always available. You can also use blocks or straps to help you extend your stretch. Yoga literally means to “yoke.” It’s the unification of mind and body. It is not a religious practice. Yoga is an energy practice and a spiritual practice. The postures of yoga are just one aspect. The purpose of yoga transcends beyond the physical poses. As you train your body to become more disciplined you also train the mind. I’ve experienced firsthand the physical and emotional repercussions a cancer diagnosis can cause. For me, yoga was an escape from the chaotic repetition of treatments, doctors’ appointments, scans, and surgeries. Yoga can help restore mindfulness and balance back into your life! Have you ever considered trying yoga? I’ll help make the decision easy for you! Let’s take a look at the many physical, emotional, and health benefits that yoga provides.

BENEFITS OF YOGA
1.) Increases metabolism and energy levels
2.) Stimulates balance
3.) Encourages flexibility
4.) Increases strength and stamina
5.) Tones muscles
6.) Eases anxiety
7.) Used to treat depression
8.) Relieves back pain
9.) Helps with arthritis pain by lubricating the joints
10.) Aids in digestion
11.) Lowers high blood pressure
12.) Improves asthma
13.) Supports healthy sleeping habits
14.) Cultivates awareness
15.) Promotes increased self esteem

We live in a fast paced world that thrives off instant gratification. Yoga allows us to pause and live in the present moment. The practice of Yoga fosters patience. It encourages us to peel back the layers and see ourselves as we truly are. In return, we become the best possible version of ourselves. The inward journey of discovery leads us to our true purpose in life. Just like holding the more challenging poses, yoga teaches us that nothing in life will lasts forever. You can breathe and get through it. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change. So take a deep breath and draw your focus inward. Yoga doesn’t require much. Just hold on to your faith, grab your mat, and you’re ready!
I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite quotes:


“Yoga is not about touching your toes, it’s about what you learn on the way down.” ~ Jigar Gor


“The yoga pose is not the goal, becoming flexible or standing on your hands is not the goal. The goal is to create space where you were once stuck. To unveil layers of protection you’ve built around your heart. To appreciate your body and become aware of the mind and the noise it creates. To make peace with who you are. The goal is to love… well, you!” ~ Rachel Brathen


I hope my experience inspires you to deepen your practice or give yoga a try. Much love and light always!
Until next time, Ciao Bella!!!


Micky

 

BONE SCAN CT SCAN and MRI’s, OH MY!!!!!!

BONE SCAN CT SCAN and MRI’s, OH MY!!!!!!

I was diagnosed with breast cancer via confirmed biopsy results. It was at this time my doctor decided it would be best to have additional tests to make sure the cancer had not spread anywhere else. This is when she ordered at CT scan, a Bone Scan, and a MRI. Even though I work in the medical field, I have never had to undergo any of these tests personally. The thought of all these huge machines and little ole me became nerve wracking! Prior to the tests I had some anxiety. Once the tests were over I thought, “I did it!” and “This wasn’t as bad as I thought!” After conquering my fears I thought it would be helpful to go over a few pointers. My hopes are to help someone else out there that is experiencing testing anxiety. Let’s get started! BONE SCAN: A nuclear imaging test that is helpful in determining if cancer has spread to the bone. The test uses a radioactive substance called a tracer that is absorbed by the bones. Cancer can be indicated by how much tracer shows up on the images. I was injected with a tracer called Tc99m MDP (Technetium 99m- methyl diphosphonate). It was given to me intravenously. Be prepared to get an IV (intravenous therapy). I was told the wait could be anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on the circumstance. My wait was about 3 hours. The test itself took about 30-40 minutes. MRI: This stands for “Magnetic Resonance Imaging.” This is a straightforward test that provides detailed images of the organs inside the body. A strong Magnetic field is used to create pictures of your body’s tissues and organs. I was injected via IV with a contrast that helps the images show up better. There is a radiographer available in a room close to you while the test is going on. The MRI machine is very loud so be sure to request headphones or music if your treatment center has them available. Also, be cautious if you are claustrophobic. You will be positioned inside the machine face down. There is not a lot of space. Be sure to signal the radiographer if you start to feel uncomfortable. I was given a button to push in case I needed assistance. The test can last anywhere from 15-45 minutes. My MRI lasted approximately 45 minutes. Also make sure to notify your hospital if you have any implanted medical devices that contain metal prior to you appointment as they could potentially interfere with you test results. CT SCAN: Also known as “Computerized Axial or Computed Tomography Imaging.” This particular test has the ability to show abnormities in the body such as tumors or irregular blood vessels. The machine takes multiple X- ray images from different angles and uses a computer to create cross sectional pictures. CT scans provide much more detailed information then regular X rays. I was given a beverage called READI- CAT 2 (Barium Sulfate Oral Suspension) to drink an hour prior to my Scan. It comes in a smoothie like form and it is “berry” flavored. You’re not to drink it cold. The purpose of the drink was to coat the lining of my stomach. I was also given another contrast intravenously. This contrast was different then the MRI contrast. It makes you feel warm all over as it enters your body. Once the contrast reaches your pelvis/abdomen area you may feel a sensation like you are urinating on yourself (trust me you’re not really “peeing” on yourself. It just feels that way!). The scan itself takes less than 30 seconds. It was the shortest of the 3 tests! All of the tests were painless (minus the IV’s). My advice to you is to relax and think of these as another step in your journey to becoming breast cancer free! These tests will give your doctors and care team more information on how to treat your cancer and possibly what stage you are. Don’t have anxiety because although it may seem like a lot happening at once you can totally get through it! Just for the record, all my scans came back cancer free, thank God! I have a video on this same topic in which I talk about my experience in great detail. Check it out when you have time. Please, share your story or any other tips you may have on test taking in the comments below. Until next time! For additional information on these tests you can visit www.cancercenter.com Ciao Bella! Micky