>> Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Eleven months ago I received my third liver transplant (I have a rare liver disease called PSC. See pscpartners.org). I’ve recovered fairly well and while I did all the doctor prescribed physical therapy like a good patient, I also included as much yoga as I could. I knew that yoga would better help my recovery on more levels than riding a stationary bike in a gym full of injured people while a therapist wrote down my progress in a file. For years I had been doing yoga in my home using DVDs and books for instruction. Around two months ago I decided that I was in good enough shape to try attending classes. It was a scary decision because I had only been to a handful of yoga classes and few private ones in my nearly ten years of doing yoga off and on. Would I be able to keep up? Would I get caught up in yoga bliss and accidentally overwork myself? Could I afford it? Would the teacher be knowledgeable and kind? Would the other students be friendly to even though I wasn’t skinny and didn’t have very good health? Would the studio be a positive, uplifting place? Long story short, I found my studio and my teacher. I keep up with classes and my mind, body and spirit respond with greater health and serenity. I’ve achieved a dream I thought impossible for years and found it to be so much more attainable and accommodating than I’d expected. Why hadn’t I done this sooner? Now I want to continue expanding my practice by trying new and more frequent classes. Also, it’s almost summer and that means yoga festivals. I’ve always wanted to go to a yoga festival. I always dreamed of going, even looking at the schedule and picking out the classes I would take, what hotel I would stay at and what vendors I give my business. It was a nice fantasy, but it never became a reality. I was always too sick or else I was on the transplant list and couldn’t leave the area. For most of my life it has been dangerous for me to travel alone unless it’s to the Mayo Clinic. Medical emergencies could happen in the blink of an eye or I could wake up one morning unable to get out of bed and have to stay there for anywhere from two hours to two months. This is still the case, even post-transplant. I almost always need to have someone with me who can lend a helping hand when needed. So you can see my dilemma. My heart yearns to go but my body is full of fear. Too much sun, heat or allergens and I could spend the whole time with a migraine. Being too far away from my hotel room could spell disaster if I’m hit with sudden, severe symptoms. What if I end up missing all the fun? And what if all those beautiful yogis look down on me because I’m sick? I know that part of this is useless fear but I also know that part is justified from experience. Out of town renaissance festivals and camp meetings have almost always guaranteed me some medical mishap. Just the amount of fatigue and pain I deal with on a daily basis make these things a challenge. If I knew people who were going to be at these festivals who knew what they were doing and were willing to help me then maybe this dream could come true. Maybe after years of hoping and dreaming I could actually attend a yoga festival. The pros are that the yoga would help me to keep my health in check or at least help me deal with any symptoms. Most likely the food would be acceptable to my body (by which I mean gentle, healing and vegetarian) and the soul-nourishing activities would help calm my fears. I guess I’ll never know until I try! So here’s my request: if you have any advice or other help you would be willing to share with me I ask that you please do so. I live in Nebraska but my dad lives near Denver so any of those awesome sounding festivals in Colorado are what I usually drool over.