January 11, 2008, I ran a red light; I genuinely
thought that I was alright. I was so wrong. I knew that I
was shaken up and that I had really trashed the front end
of my car. I went home to lie down and really did not get
up again for five months. I hurt everywhere. I was unable
to wear close fitting clothing and I could not sit up for
more than a few minutes at a time. An MRI of my thoracic
back was performed fairly early on and found a Schmorl’s
node. A Schmorl’s node is an upward and downward
protrusion (pushing into) of a spinal disk's soft tissue
into the bony tissue of the adjacent vertebrae.
I had been experiencing back pain off and on for years
and had no idea that I had such an injury. My doctor told
me that it is caused by repetitive lifting and is frequently
a problem weight lifters have. I am a fifty five year attorney
and the only repetitive lifting I have done was at work
moving large boxes of files.
Another MRI of my lower back revealed a torn disk and a
cyst on the disk. For the five months I was off work. I
was taking pain pills and other medications [anti-inflammatories
and muscle relaxers] that messed with my system and eventually
made me feel hopeless. Yes, the doctor gave me an antidepressant.
The pain and the hopelessness of not being able to go to
work, read or do chores drained the life out of me. I had
three epidural shots in my spine to help reduce the pain.
Both of my adult daughters had attended yoga classes with
Monica Matthews and the younger one coaxed me to go with
her to the gym because she thought it would help me. The
physical therapist working with due to the car wreck encouraged
me to do yoga to help build up my muscles to stabilize
my back. I was afraid to do anything for fear that I would
hurt worse. My daughter was insistent that I go with her,
so I relented and went to a couple of classes before I
had clearance from the doctor to do yoga. On those occasions
I mostly watched sitting on my new yoga mat. Once cleared
to “do Yoga” I joined the gym and started attending
Monica’s classes. December 2009 marked a year that
I have been attending Monica’s yoga classes. I have
never done anything “exercise related” consistently
for 3 months much less a year. There are few of the pose
names that I can pronounce, but when she calls them out
I know what to do. Sometimes my poses are not very pretty
and I continue to really struggle with my lack of balance.
I stand waiting for the elevator in the courthouse subtly
holding one foot off the ground trying to improve my balance.
In the year I have been practicing yoga I stopped the
all the pills and I rarely ever take even an Advil. I still
hurt everyday but the level of pain has been dialed back
to where I can function without the medications that mess
with my system and my mind.
If I miss a yoga class I feel it in my back the next day.
The pain intensifies and I know that I need to practice.
I am not a person that “loves” yoga. Yoga helps
me hurt less and move better. Yoga helps me focus on maintaining
my life and my health. My home practice is poor as I have
yet to become disciplined enough to practice everyday.
When I do practice at home the interruptions drive me crazy,
so I give up. Yoga has changed my life and I did not make
it easy as I am not a gym kind of person. I am a books,
chores, letters, gardening, cooking and work kind of person.
I have learned though hard knocks that just has the car
and the house and my teeth have to be maintained so do
my muscles, bones and my mind. Yoga is a gift my body demands
and I have learned that I need. Monica Matthews’ classes
are challenging and enlightening. I have learned a great
deal about my body and my capabilities while practicing
yoga. I know that without the enduring practice I for sure
will never improve and my pain will only increase. Medications
are wonderful for illnesses, but my body is not sick it
was injured, it is somewhat worn and it has not been properly
maintained due to my sedentary lifestyle.
. . Sharon Caldwell (March 2010)