It’s really amazing to see how much my yoga practice has helped me through my recovery. If you’re generally healthy like me, the differences aren’t noticeable right away.
Don’t get me wrong, the changes are dramatic, but composed of small changes over a long period of time.
It’s been pretty amazing to go through a surgery and really experience how all of the work I’ve been doing has prepared me for moments like this.
Immediately after my surgery I couldn’t move. They cut through my abdominal muscles, and through my uterus to remove the fibroid.
We use our abdominal muscles for almost everything, so I couldn’t get up and walk around, and I needed help if I wanted to sit up or shift around. I think it was around 2:30pm when I was finally out of surgery, and moved into a comfy room. Well, as comfy as a hospital room can get.
I was able to rest and relax with my family for the next few hours while I was coming off the anesthesia. It wasn’t until 11pm when my nurse told me we should give walking a try.
She held out her hands. I latched on, and she pulled me up. She turned me onto my side. I carefully swung my legs over, and she guided my feet to the ground. Then, I had to hold onto the side rail to stand on my own. She locked her arm with mine, and we started taking small steps. We just walked a few feet and turned around.
She helped me back into my bed, and I slept for a few more hours.
It was crazy and humbling to be in a position where I needed help moving and walking.
I needed help with everything.
Even though I was taking pain medication, and had a nurse to help me move around, it was still quite painful. My surgery was right above my bikini line, so besides the fact that I had no use of my muscles, I was also recovering from a deep incision.
Every time I tried to move around, you bet I felt it!
So, here’s where the yoga starts to work…
A few hours of being in the same position in one of those hospital beds is painful in other ways. My back started to ache, and my shoulders were tightening up. I just wanted to sit up, so I slipped my hands under by bum, arched my upper back, and used my upper body strength to lift me to a seated position.
I didn’t use my stomach muscles at all.
See, if I didn’t have that flexibility in my spine, and strength in my chest and arms, I wouldn’t have been able to lift up. There’s no way I could have used my abdomen muscles since they cut right through them. So, I literally had to squeeze my shoulders together so that arms pushed into my upper back, and used those muscles to leverage me into a seated position.
If you’re a yogi, then you’ll recognize that this is similar to how you’d take fish posture.
Most of the ladies that I’m talking to in my fibroid Facebook Group couldn’t move for the full 6 weeks, and it took them between 4-6 months to start exercising again. It was only the people who exercised regularly or did yoga that were able to start moving around during the 6 week recovery.
I started to get my abdominal muscles back two weeks after the surgery. I had to wait for the nerves to reconnect, and then just to get to a place where I wasn’t feeling pain from coughing or laughing.
After two weeks I was able to start teaching yoga again. I wasn’t demonstrating, but talking students through the practice, and helping them individually. The first week back was draining, and I had to go home and rest. I just kept showing up, and my strength and energy returned.
By the 5th week, I was able to demonstrate most postures. I didn’t do intense backbends or twists because of where the incision was located. I did try upward facing dog, and although it wasn’t painful, it was very tight on my stomach, so I’m going to keep those light for now.
My surgery was the same as a C-Section, so all of my yoga students who had gone through that couldn’t believe how fast my recovery progressed!
If I wouldn’t have had my experience with yoga, and the upper body strength, I would not have been able to move. You can also have this same effect by lifting weights, or any other type of exercise where you gain strength in your upper body. The flexibility in my spine and hips helped with movement, and the breathing techniques helped with pain management – which is a direct result of yoga and meditation.
I’m really excited to start slow and see how my body feels once I start moving again. I’ll be able to start Wednesday this week, and mostly I’m excited to feel what’s going on inside.
This is all new for me. I’m usually someone who wants to jump ahead and advance as fast as I can.
I’m looking forward to seeing how it feels when I do my first sun salutation, or forward fold. I’m excited to do modified versions of postures or shorter practices. I’m excited to feel my body open up gradually.
Yoga has taught me to work from a beginners mind, and I’m looking forward to being a beginner again with this new awareness.
Love you tons,