Wow! This is an incredible testimonial from student Chris, who is emerging from 2 incredibly challenging years which have included a cancer diagnosis, surgery, crushed vertebrae, weight gain, despair, and now reaping the rewards of committing to a Bikram Yoga practice to help heal body and mind. We love having you at the studio, Chris, and are incredibly proud of your efforts. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly. We are sure you will inspire others to prioritise their well-being.
In Chris’s words:
“UNE SAISON EN ENFER ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I’m 59yo. I’ve always been physically very fit both from hard physical work and later in life through gym, swimming, cycling etc. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with liver cancer (despite being a strict non drinker). After a big surgical procedure I was sent home from hospital, dosed up on heavy painkillers and steroids whereupon I fell over my little dog, crushing two vertebrae and totally wrecking my back. I further exacerbated the injury by receiving CT injected cortisone which temporarily masked the damage. I was already committed to moving interstate, prior to hurting myself so I couldn’t stop the process. Paperwork had already been signed and new people were moving into my house. I had to scrub a huge farmhouse, move, then load heavy furniture and drive about 2000 kms. A couple of weeks later when the cortisone had slowly worn off, I crawled into A&E at midnight on my hands and knees in more pain than I knew existed. My blood pressure was 240 (caused by pain). It’s a miracle that I didn’t have a coronary or a stroke. I couldn’t get off the floor. I’d gone from being a strong, self sufficient person to being almost totally disabled. It slowly but surely crushed the life out of me. I spent 15 months living on the floor on my stomach with ice packs strapped to my lower back and right leg. I was taking enough opioids to kill 3 people. During this dark period I thought seriously about taking my own life (something that had never, ever entered my mind previously).
RECOVERY ~~~~~~~~ I’d had Bikram in mind for a long time, but I still needed a lengthy healing period for the inflammation to go down and to ease myself down off the painkillers. During that 15 month period I couldn’t even put my own shoes and socks on, and a combination of painkillers and almost total inactivity had resulted in me piling on 20kgs. It’s a long way back up from there.
So now after 5 weeks of Bikram (3-4 mornings per week) I’m losing the weight. I’ve dropped about 6.5kgs. My skin has a healthy glow again. I still struggle with the postures, but as the saying goes: “The only place where success comes before work is in a dictionary.” The heat in the room is enabling me to get movement and flexibility into a totally locked up body. That in turn means I’m rebuilding my back muscles which had all fallen away from disuse. Another surprise benefit is that I’d fallen prey to almost permanent allergies as well as sleep apnoea over the last few years. They’ve almost completely disappeared since I started Bikram. The despair I’d fallen into during these last two dreadful years is now lifting because such a comprehensive workout is obviously beneficial for the serotonin chain. You just can’t be on that many pain meds and in that much pain and stay mentally and emotionally healthy. It’s as much about fighting back mentally as it is getting back on track physically. I’m still grumpy and resentful when the alarm clock goes off at 5am but I always emerge from a class glad that I’ve made the effort. What can I say? It works if you work it!”