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Yin & Yang of Chronic Illness Management

Posted Jul 18 2011 9:21am

“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” -William Londen

Life is not always as easy as following a well-laid out path to a particular destination. There are always twists and turns or ups and downs. When you are managing a chronic illness (such as MS) there are often many dramatic  ups and downs, yin and yang effects, that open your eyes or turn you around completely.

After the death of our Ginger in early July, I watched myself carefully, as did family, to see if the stress and emotional upheaval from grief would trigger another seizure. The good news was that it did not. However, I did end up at emergency the day after his death because I awoke with a sore throat and by evening I had fevers, difficulty breathing, dizzy spells, and I was coughing up green gobs of goo flecked at times with what may have been blood. So, SuperMike took me in to get checked, despite my weak protests. They took x-rays and cleared me of pneunemonia (the concern). Diagnosis: rapidly onset bronchitis. You see, my seizure meds have a side effect of weakening the immune system. So, the theory is that my extreme stress from Ginger’s traumatic death was unable to trigger a seizure due to the meds working, but my body was weakened enough to allow a bronchial infection to take rapid hold of me. Yin/Yang. Pro/Con.

It’s taken about 10 days to begin recovering from bronchitis, which triggered an MS relapse, forcing me to sleep many hours in the day and deal with my MS vertigo again. (Just when I think “I have this MS thing managed!” my body take a moment to remind me that it is an on-going management balance, and to not get too cocky!)

Sometimes a reminder like that can make one feel down. I choose to look at it as a sign of my success at managing my health, in that when I do have a relapse, I am made very aware of how much better I feel in general as a rule most of the time. Hence – success! I mean, hey – how can you know the ups if you don’t know the downs, eh? Since I could not keep as physically active as I like while I recovered, nor could I do my usual power yoga due to my vertigo, I began doing 20-30 minutes of restorative Yin Yoga before bed. What a joy – so very relaxing and beneficial, helping me sleep and move with ease! I am now looking at combining a daily Yin Yoga practice within my Vinyasa flow and walking. What a wonderful personal discovery that came because of an MS relapse!

“It takes both sunshine and rain to make a rainbow.” -Proverb

Namaste.

Carolyne


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