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    Is yoga therapy?

    For me it is. It is good for me in a number of ways. It was good before I got sick, and it is good for me now whenever I take the time to do it. It was especially helpful after I had surgery. My doctor was delighted and amazed at how back I got my range of motion! At this time there is no difference in how I can move my left arm (the one affected by surgery) and the right. There is also very little difference in strength, although I have some lymphedema in the left arm. The lymphedema occurred for the first time when I got distracted and neglected my practice of yoga.

    Here is why it’s good practice:
    1. It is meditation, for folks who are challenged to meditate. The poses require concentration to do properly, and the breathing is very settling. I believe that yoga provides the same benefit for me as sitting for meditation. It is true also that the practice of hatha yoga is said to make the body comfortable for meditation. Either way it is a win/win.

    2. Yoga brings my full awareness into my body. I am more aware of all of me, my spirit inhabiting my body and everything going on it it. I am more likely to take care of issues before they start if I am doing yoga.

    3. Yoga is just plain good for me. It is one more expression of valuing myself. My balance, flexibility, and strength are improved when I do yoga regularly. The benefits are more than the sum of their parts!

    4. When I am doing yoga regularly, I suffer fewer odd aches and pains. When I feel rotten in general I get paranoid and off center, fearful of the beast coming back. This is something that survivors deal with all the time. The fewer odd aches and pains I am subject to, the less anxious I am! I think also that the awareness I have will make me notice sooner if there is really anything amiss.

    5. Yoga, practiced vigorously, is good for your heart. It qualifies for the type of exercise survivors need to decrease the likelihood that our cancer will recur.

    6. Yoga makes me sleep better. It also makes me require less sleep. Now that’s efficient!

    There are yoga centers everywhere, some good some not so good. It’s important to feel confident and at ease with the person you are learning from. There are also a lot of great videos out there. I mostly taught myself and then go to classes every so often to make sure I’m doing it right. I also love the yoga program on my Wiifit!

    For now I’m going to follow my own advice, and sign off so I can do some yoga before I go to bed!

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    This is a special time of year for me. Not just because it’s Christmas, but because somehow I managed to skip being sick at this time of year. The Christmas before my diagnosis was lovely, and then I was diagnosed in late February. By the time Christmas 2007 rolled around, I was sporting cool short Annie Lennox hair and feeling pretty good! I spent it in Seattle with my family, and I was high on life, grateful beyond words to be still around and not sick. My husband was a nice guy on the periphery of my world, and 2008 brought him right in. It was a wonderful time of joy and appreciation. Somehow that feeling is now linked permanently with Christmas, and each one since then has felt indescribably blessed.

    This Christmas is my third year after cancer, currently No Evidence of Disease (NED). As I am grateful and mindful of this, I am acutely aware of all the women I know who are still dealing with it. I am also acutely aware that this could change any time for me. Each day is a gift, and each Christmas of health and love is a priceless treasure.

    A woman on my support list who was dealing with a recurrence just had a clean scan for Christmas. Woo-Hoo! God is good.

    We just had our Christmas, because my daughter is with her dad now. So the madness occurred last night and this morning, and now all is calm (and the house is trashed!). It’s kind of nice to be in a quiet space while much of the rest of the world is still shopping madly!
    My husband, my son and I will go to bed early and be up before dawn to deliver meals to shut-ins tomorrow morning. We did this for Thanksgiving, and my husband got a call earlier this week asking for our help again, because they were terribly short handed. This surprised me! I guess folks don’t want to get up that early. Denny’s, here we come!

    I give thanks today for the light of hope and gratitude in my life. May your holidays be filled with every blessing!

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    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 12:46 PM, CDT
    Feeling anxious and discouraged today. I guess I get to have a bad day sometimes… could be worse. I’m nervous about the next infusion, and I’m tired of it all. I’ll be getting infused every darned week, and I am not enthused.

    Improv was great last night! Worth saving my energy for. I was lucky to get to go, because the children’s father is out of town and he usually keeps the kids on Improv night. My wonderful neighbors, Becky and James, took over so I could go. Thank you, thank you! Improv is therapy. I’ll keep going even if I just watch! Fortunately last night I played.

    I’ll see Dr. Brown today, and maybe she can ease my fears. I just don’t know how my body is going to react to these chemicals. Once I have it behind me it will not be so bad… Flo says the anticipation is much worse than the real thing. I’m also discouraged because I will still get herceptin every 3 weeks after the rest of chemo is done, until it’s been a year. That’s next April! It seems like such a long time to wait to feel really well.

    There’s my whine for the day. I’m still lucky when I consider the alternative!

    My Aunt Darlene is coming today for a few days. No doubt she’ll cheer me up!

    Love,
    Elizabeth

    ***

    Present time postscript:
    Dr. Brown confirmed at the time of this writing that the cancer was in retreat, which made all the difference. It was timely right now, after how I’ve had a fear recurrence, to be reminded of how well chemotherapy went well for me.

    I wonder, does the fear ever go away for good? I would like it to, because it is unproductive.
    Seeking the formula…

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    Hey, I won!

    The thing I sent to Pink Link means I’ll be getting a copy of “Laughter is the Breast Medicine” soon in the mail. I can’t wait to read it, and review it here!

    I think laughter is good medicine for anything. It’s a great strategy for dealing with teenagers, coping with any kind of stress, supporting your immune system, and beating the blues in general.

    I get my daily dose with the kids on every day but Wednesdays. I know I’m stressed if they don’t make me laugh at least a few times in 45 minutes! I have also noticed that if I can find something funny about something that’s really bugging me, it has less power.

    Here’s something therapeutic if your beloved cat is driving you crazy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKvNqe8cKU4oor

    For my way of coping with being a uniboober, check out my other blog at Everyday Health.

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