Wednesday, April 28, 2010


one hour until i meet with my endocrinologist. if i'm not nervous (and i truly don't feel like i am), then why have i been up all night? and who schedules patients at 6:45am? i guess i'm relieved that my doctor is a workaholic.

today has the potential for being a really sleepy day. i can already tell.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


There are things that you don't want to do in front of your 6-year-old child OR your 66-year-old mother. Things that might be embarrassing or inappropriate or anything that might be in the least bit frightening. Needless to say, after this morning's incident, both of my roommates - my young son and my mature mother - are both keenly aware that something is not quite right with me. And perhaps a bit scared, too.

I was in the kitchen, drinking coffee when it hit. "It" is a sharp pain, almost a spasm in my low abdominal area. "It" feels like childbirth. Times twenty. "It" strikes without warning. "It" takes my breathe away; makes me see stars. "It" is unlike anything I've ever felt before. "It" brings me to my knees. Today "It" brought me to the floor. With a blood-curdling scream.

Ben looked up from Tom and Jerrry. My mom rushed in from the front room.

I tried to speak - to say anything - that would articulate what "It" was doing to me. But there were no words.

There was one thing I knew to do and that was to push back into Child's Pose and breathe like I teach: sloooowwwwwlllllllyyyyyy.

"It" started to go away. I got up off the floor. I think that the impact of the event hit my mother harder than it hit Ben. He eventually went back to Tom and Jerry but she didn't go anywhere.

I explained to her - as best that I could - that T3 and T4 hormones are your "fire" or your "agni," as we call it in yoga. T3 and T4 get you out of bed in the morning, they tell your metabolism to start its daily burn, these are the hormones that prompt your body to digest each meal, each snack, each stolen piece of chocolate and to move fluids through, as well. This power of this dynamic duo cannot be under-estimated. I read that when low levels of T3 and T4 go untreated, that major feelings of apathy, depression and even psychosis start to emerge.

"It" is one of the really ugly parts of having no digestion to speak of. The littlest thing can set my system off and "It" comes out, showing his ugly, demonic self. I'm lucky that so far, each episode has occurred in my own home.

Lest you think that I am shedding pounds and pounds of weight with all this going on, let me say that I could go on a water only diet and still gain several pounds a week, at this point. I went through the disappointment and the being so-pissed-that-I-threw-a-few-things-at-my-bedroom-wall-while-trying-to-get-dressed-phase and now I'm much more at peace with it. I'm even pretty zen. I have a ton of clothes a la Crossroads and my friend, Michelle's Swap event, that I could care less about what's fitting and what isn't. Seems there are bigger things to worry about.

Like not letting "It" come around when Ben and my mom are here. No doubt, I've totally freaked my mom out but I think I've saved Ben. For the moment.

Stay the fuck away, "It." Or at least don't come back until Ben is in school and preferably when my mother is out shopping. That's all I ask.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I am convinced that God is intent on priming me, in this year - the last year of my 30th decade - to be fully self-actualized for my 40s. Why else would there be so many damn challenges thrown my way in such a short amount of time?

I take such enormous pride in my health, I really do. Some people might call it a compulsion, I call it a passion. Simply put, being healthy is the biggest priority for me. Because if I'm not healthy, then how can I take care of my son? How can I make money to sustain our home and our basic needs? How can I be a caring daughter? A reliable friend? A loving sister? A consistent mentor? I can't do any of these; not without my health.

So it was very disappointing to watch - almost like an observer outside of my body - my entire sense of being go through a major shut down in the month of March. It was actually a slow descent; one that I didn't fully realize until I noticed that my clothes weren't fitting, that my legs appeared puffy and bloated, that I couldn't warm up even despite having a heavy down jacket on all the time, that my nose kept draining this funny clear fluid, that I wanted to lie on my bed for absurd amounts of time during daytime hours, that a stroll on the treadmill felt like a death march up Half Dome, that my life seemed to be slipping by in a hazy, hazy fog.

On March 1st, I started a daily preventative medicine for my migraines. By the end of March, I had convinced myself that the meds were to blame and I tossed the bottle. But I didn't feel any better. If it all possible, I felt worse.

I called up my doctor. "You need to do some blood work," I told her. "NOW." Then I took five days off. I figured that I needed a little rest; some downtime.

My doctor is so great; she called me at 8:30pm the night that I had done my labs. I was in the middle of TJ Maxx, looking for yoga pants, size Large, thankyouverymuch. Sigh.

"Well, dear, I think I see the problem but I don't know what to do so you need to see a specialist." The "problem" was my thyroid. Sort of. On paper, my thyroid looks great. Perfectly normal. The issue lies in the hormones that the thyroid produces: T3 and T4. Those levels were (are) not good. In fact, that lab flagged each because they were so low. "I can't treat you for low thyroid," she said, "because your thyroid is fine. But your levels aren't. And that concerns me."

It concerned me too. So much, in fact, that I pulled up the online database of endocrinologists in my network and started to make phone calls. Do you know how hard it is to see an endocrinologist without a referral? Extremely. Fortunately, as my doctor would later put it: "I had an angel on my shoulder that day."

Indeed I did, because not only did I get in to see one of the most reputable endocrinologists in town, he agreed to see me the very next morning at 7:30am.

Dr. C looked at my labs and spent an hour examining me. He spent very little time on my thyroid and more time on my head and vision. He asked a lot of questions about my headaches. He promised to tell me what he was thinking at the end of the exam. I tried not to freak out.

At the end, he told me that he believed that I have a pituitary tumor. I didn't freak out. He told me about the surgery. About the treatment. I still didn't freak out. We agreed that I would have the lab work completely re-done, that an ultrasound of the thyroid would rule out its role in this whole situation and that a MRI would show exactly what is happening in the pituitary gland.

Because something is, happening, that is. According to Dr. C, when the thyroid numbers are inconsistent like mine, then it is likely that the pituitary gland and the thyroid aren't communicating. They're not even on speaking terms. The body can't regulate digestion, temperature - but it can produce a whole of ambivalence and fatigue.

So I haven't freaked out but I have done a lot of reading. And I have been more than a little frustrated with my lack of energy, my fatigue, my clothes that are all too small. More than that, I have shed quite a few tears over the pervasive feeling of my body feeling as if it has checked out of the building. No amount of caffeine could motivate me this week. Even after taking a few days off.

I know that God is in my court and that the Universe is holding me up, even though I feel so deflated. I know this because I'm seeking the answers, I'm turning over every stone, and the resources are coming to me. Quickly. The call back from my initial doctor. The next day appointment with Dr. C. The ultrasound that is happening on Monday. Either the big dollars that I pay for my PPO plan are finally paying off, or the Big Guy above is carefully guiding me to the answers that I'm so desperately looking for.

Today I had lunch with my ex. "Do you think I have a tumor?" I asked him. As if on cue, he reached over and wiped my wet and draining nose. "You have the symptoms," he said. "I feel horrible," I told him. "You look great," he replied. Then he gave me two enormous containers of MiraLax, saying, "I know you need this." Indeed I do - I'm cutting through that stuff like it's candy.

I truly don't have any plans to freak out anytime soon. What I'd like is to feel a little bit better. I know I'm not going to get to the "feeling better" point by freaking out. If I've learned anything in my 39 years on Earth, it's that the more you seek, the more you will (likely) find. Clearly, I have a lot of discovery work to do before I turn 40. I'm not afraid.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I have a friend whose friendship is like a beautiful spiritual gift. She's the reason I fell in love with yoga and her radiance as a yogi is awe-inspiring. I can never get enough of her...her teaching, her time, her wisdom, her light, her warmth, her energy.

What I adore most about my friend is that she challenges me to be a better person. She takes the simplest question or thought and turns it into a heart crushing inquiry that echoes into the deepest part of my soul. It's incredible, really it is. This gift that she has.

This latest idea that she imparted last night in her class is a keeper; a beautiful gem of honesty, raw truth and limitless potential:

"See what needs to go in order for you to really feel alive in your life. What can you metaphorically set on fire?"

Who doesn't want to feel more alive? I know I do.

My friend is a gift from God. My heart expands when I'm around her. She taught me how to yoga nine years ago. Now she teaches me how to reach into my spirit. I love her for it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


March Madness. That's what it's going down as. The most maddening month of my adult life, thus far.

Glad it's over. Bring in April.

I should probably just call it "Medicated March" since that's what it essentially was. Thirty-one days of haze.

I have a new sense of respect and empathy for people who have to take medications that fuck with their whole lives, their whole sense of being, their role in civilization.

Last March, incidentally, I had a client who was going through the ringer with her emotions. Post-hysterectomy, she was an absolute mess. Her doctor had her on several drugs to resolve the fluctuating hormones. Her thyroid was whacked, her anxiety was high, yet she was so depressed that she walked into every session with me in complete tears. I didn't understand - I couldn't understand - I thought that much of her misery was psychological. Now I know better.

The meds took four days to clear my own system and I'm just now starting to feel like I'm a bit more connected, more aware, more motivated, more of a person who can handle life's responsibilities in a way that is focused and centered.

Thank you, God.

Now, on to the hard part. Tackling the nine pounds (as of this morning's weigh in) that showed up in March. Removing all migraine "trigger" foods (goodbye, afternoon caffeine and chocolate and evening wine). And, most importantly, reducing the stress that I carry in my head, neck and shoulders (hello, more massages and yoga!).

One of the reasons that I love Easter is because of the symbolism of the resurrection. Not that I'm entirely sure that it happened or at least not in a way that was so grandiose as told by the Bible - but to me, it's all in the message. We are resurrected every day. It's the essence of spring with new life and fresh starts. We can birth a new beginning any way we like; and at any time. Spring isn't my favorite season but it is a time that I always carefully contemplate what needs to be cultivated and re-birthed in my own life.

Last year, it was a relationship. One that was troubling me. I spent Easter Sunday with this person. In fact, we spent the entire weekend together. In honor of our time together, I planted flowers that Easter morning; and I planted the vegetable garden, too. I also planted the seeds for a relationship that could have lasted months beyond that weekend. But it didn't. I remember feeling, at the time, a sense of relief the week after Easter, when it became apparent that this person and I weren't meant to be together into the spring. My tomato plants died. So did my cucumber plants. But the flowers went crazy. The lesson was so simple, yet so beautiful: not everything we tend to will blossom into something new and full of life. Despite our best efforts (and a whole lot of fertilizer and manure!).

So here we go into April. 9 months until my birthday. Enough to literally birth a brand new life. March feels so far behind me now, yet it's only been three days. As I let go of all of the darkness of those thirty-one days, I'm inspired by the light that is beckoning me to move forward into Spring.

Resurrections are my own personal testament in sweet divinity. I love watching them, being a part of them and learning from them. As I dig through my own life and gently cultivate the areas that need to be loved, I wait in quiet anticipation of the flowers that will spring forth.

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I'm having to make some decisions regarding my business. Difficult decision that are tearing at my heart, at my spirit and surprisingly, at my ego.

I started teaching yoga as a way to make money. I never thought I'd build a business around this; it was simply a way to make enough money to sustain my son and myself. But now it's become much more. The way I see it, I have two businesses: the business of delicately offering hand-on-hand wellness through my personal studio and the business of traveling around to local gyms to teach to larger groups.

The financial demands have become increasingly more significant as well. It has become all to apparent, recently, that if I want to have an independent life (separate from my live-in mother) and continue to be a homeowner, I have to do something different. It's time to let these jobs morph into a career.

Which is what I've been trying to do for months now. But the late nights are still there, the fatigued days, the added stress of running from this gym to that client to another gym and oh, right, I have to get Ben from school and somehow squeeze in homework and maybe some down time with him before running off to the next gym and client.

It's too much. I feel like I'm holding myself back from moving forward because I'm just simply moving around too much every day.

On a profitability level, this became extremely obvious when my dad and I laid out my W-2s. "Tell me again why you have so many of these," he said. So I did. And next to my own studio income, the earnings from teaching at the clubs seemed paltry. Because they were. And are.

The answer was as clear as day: let the group work go. Concentrate on the profitable side. Save energy for the clients who are paying for it. Save myself before I burn out so much that I can't come back.

Gut-wrenching, this decision has been. Yoga instructors, or any fitness instructors, for that matter, thrive on numbers. A class of 20 is rewarding, a class of 30 is the pinnacle of your yoga teaching career. At least in a city like Sacramento. See, we don't get much in the way of career feedback in this business. I know I'm doing well when people show up; when they keep coming.

So much of my ego is tied to this decision and if I tell my ego to shut the hell up - just for a second - then I can see so much more clearly. Which is what I'm trying to do. Until...

I realized one evening this week, as I reflected on my day, that I had taught yoga to 55 people that day. 55 people.

I made a deal with myself. I'm keeping my biggest class. My favorite class. The class that gathers together early, the same class where it's a huge chat-fest and I can hardly get everyone's attention to get going because of all the talking. The class where I get at least a couple of hugs. The place where I started: three years ago with just nine people. Now we're up to 25.

That feels like a good compromise for now. Maybe someday there will be an opportunity to bring yoga to people in a way that is profitable for me but for now, I'm re-tooling my entire studio business and that's where my energy needs to be going.

As I make yet another transition here, I'm feeling settled. Every decision I've made this year - this pivotal year of being on the cusp of a new decade - has felt spot-on. No regrets. No looking back. Just moving forward on a path that seems to be leading me right where I need to go.