Archive for the 'Rib Fracture' Category

The Mind-Body Connection


May 26th, 2011

window
It’s amazing at times how things come together. Things which are seemingly unrelated coincide uncannily with other things that your conscious mind sees as separate. It makes you realize who’s really running the show sometimes. This is a pic from my continuing window series, THE VIEW FROM MY CHEF’S TABLE.

wakingThis week, the recurring theme in my subconscious is the mind-body connection. It all started innocently enough. I got a message from my boyfriend’s sister, Julie. She started yoga this week. She needed a ride, and I offered to take her. Normally, it would be a bit of a trek, but this week in particular it was meant to be. I was scheduled to get my MRI close by at around the time she needed to go. PLUS, this was a very special yoga class. An adaptive yoga class taught by MATTHEW SANFORD. After my CAR CRASH, I came across his truly inspiring story. He was paralyzed in a horrible crash at the age of 13. This story chronicles his healing journey. He is now an expert on the mind-body connection, and he teaches adaptive yoga for people with disabilities. Julie has spina bifida. I had mentioned the book to her at the time, and she had heard of Matthew Sanford.  That little seed sprouted into her signing up for his class.  Monday just so happened to be the day of her first class and my MRI. An interesting coincidence (as you’ll come to see).

matthew sanford
Matthew Sanford was fascinating. I was too shy to go talk to him, but I was very impressed with him. He had very radiant energy. Limitless. That’s the first thing you notice about him when he comes into the room. This is a topic which he touched on in his book and the class. That yoga helped him to become conscious of this energy and how it moved through his body. He also talks a lot about the mind-body connection (which I find fascinating).

crash
After the CRASH, an interesting thing happened to me (which Matthew Sanford describes in his book). Many survivors of these types of accidents speak of this phenomenon. I became very euphoric. I giggled a lot. People would ask me why I was so giddy after being in a crash. Things that were supposed to hurt..didn’t. I just didn’t feel anything. Because of my LIVER ISSUES, I wasn’t really able to take any of the pain medications that were prescribed. And I think this only heightened a sort of natural endorphin response. I felt very connected to something otherworldly. I had the sense that there were guardian angels watching over me.

chair
The mechanics of the crash were truly awe inspiring to me. The door that received the impact of the crash came to the middle of the steering wheel. I was sitting in the driver’s seat. In this seat. It was hard for me to fathom how I survived this crash short of a miracle.

aura
Not long after this happened, I had a picture of my aura taken on a whim. I’m generally kind of skeptical about this kind of thing. But the outcome was interesting. The girl asked me if I was healing from some major illness, and I said ‘Yes. Why do you ask?’ She said my aura was all white which usually means the body is in a major healing crisis. They also had designation for how much of you manifested as body, mind, and spirit. I was 0% body, 1% mind, and 99% spirit. Matthew Sanford speaks a lot in his book of disconnecting from his body when things became too painful. That much of his healing journey involved him figuring out how to reconnect with his broken body on a conscious level. That you separate from your body as a protective mechanism. And that in going back to it, you reconnect with the pain and memories of what happened to it. I feel like I have been going through a process of this ever since the crash. And it has been hitting me over the head this week.

fissure
Yesterday, I went in to get the results of my MRI. This isn’t actually mine, but this is what it looked like. What I found out was that I have a ‘fissure’. I’ve never heard of this. Apparently, this means that one of the discs between my L4/L5 vertebrae (the one picture here) is ripped. The gelatin-like stuff inside is leaking out and bulging into my spinal cord. This is causing some nerve problems where my leg goes numb, etc. What’s interesting is that I believe that this natural endorphin response/disconnect from my body has allowed me to tolerate the pain of this injury really well. I’m not even consciously aware that I am doing it. But I think the stress of doing this all the time is causing me to have headaches. I should qualify this statement with the fact that I have no scientific basis for saying this. It’s just my instinct. I am reconnecting with my body little by little! And it is teaching me some very important lessons. I’ll keep you posted on my progress…

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Day 75. The Zen Thing


February 26th, 2011

chard rolls
Well, today was day 75 of my BIKRAM YOGA CHALLENGE. It has been a wild ride. But an enlightening one. I’ve been playing this down (mostly out of laziness about posting), but I’ve been doing a raw food challenge too. Not for as long. Just since the first of the year. But the combo has clearly been having an impact on the congestion in my body. This was a swiss chard roll with a little cucumber garnish I made last week. Another recipe from CHARLIE TROTTER’S BOOK.

camel
This is the camel pose. It was my nemesis when I FIRST STARTED taking Bikram Yoga. I talked about it during my 15 seconds of fame (check out my interview). Did I mention that I’m the YOGI OF THE MONTH? Yep. AND I was on the NEWS DOING YOGA too. (I’m the one with the tattoo.)  I’m going global!   :)

cukes
I was telling my friend, WILL (who just finished 60 DAYS YESTERDAY) about this zen thing that kicked in right about the sixty day mark. It’s not that yoga got easier really. But maybe I was more indifferent to it. Or adapted to it. Or something. But it just started whizzing by. Instead of being kind of torturous. Maybe I’ve gotten in the moment? I think it coincides with me being more ‘tuned in’.

savasanaI’ve been starting to have interesting revelations about myself. This is my big one for this week. Bikram class has 26 postures and two breathing exercises. But those postures are broken down into series. There’s a standing series and a floor series. The last posture in the standing series is called Tree Pose. Every time I attempt that pose, I fall. The same way. It’s like I can get down into it, but once I’m there I realize that I’m extremely off kilter. And the inevitable happens. After this pose, we have a reprieve where we go into this pose, savasana (or dead body pose). Seems simple, right? WRONG! After I crashed and burned in tree pose the other day, I was lying there (just like this) thinking to myself, ‘Why does this happen every time? I don’t get it. I wonder if my alignment is messed up. Maybe I’m maligned and I’m not aware of it.’ Just as this thought was running through my mind, my yoga teacher (Martha) walked up to me and started adjusting my alignment!! How freaky is that? She said it’s actually gotten a lot better, and it was 50% worse when I started. I was shocked. My body is still in the shape of the IMPACT, and I was completely unaware. Amazing.

goji maca bars
These GOJI MACA energy bars are great for yogis on the go. Aren’t they pretty? It’s a MATTHEW KENNEY recipe. They went over surprisingly well at the guitar store too. (I get around).

barfer
Last but not least, this is another deceptive pose. You basically lie on your stomach and raise one leg at a time to a 45 degree angle. Seems really straightforward, right? You would think so. But truth be told, I’ve swallowed my own barf TWICE now in this pose. I don’t know why this is, but my theory is that is kinda squishes your LIVER. And I have a BAD LIVER (This band was huge when I lived in Austin. Who knew I would one day be one of them).

That’s my update for now. I’ll check in with you later…

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The Holidaze


December 26th, 2010

presents
Look what Santa left under my tree? OK. It wasn’t really Santa. It was my boyfriend. He knew just what to get. I have been wanting that ANI PHYO book since it came out. But he also found another one which I haven’t seen before. It’s kind of nice. It’s organized according to ethnic groups: Italian food, Middle Eastern food, Asian food (kind of like the stations at 105 DEGREES).

kim chee
Speaking of ethnic food. I’ve been hooked on this kimchee lately. Now that my garden is in hibernation, it’s time for FERMENTATION projects. I’ve got all manner of these going at the moment. Pomegranate kefir is another favorite right now. My friend, Helen, and I made a VIDEO which I released recently explaining how to make this (as well as yogurt and cheese). AND there still a few days left to enter the kefir kit giveaway if you haven’t seen it yet (check the video for details).

boots
This is another one of my Christmas presents (from my Mom). I LOVE these boots!!

boots
And they are coming in more than a little bit handy now. That’s for sure. Winters up here are quite a bit more brutal than the pseudo winters I grew up with in Texas. In Texas, boots are more of a fashion statement than a necessity. I remember coming home for Christmas with blue toes the first year I lived here. I don’t think my mother was very happy to see that because she has gotten me new boots for Christmas pretty consistently since I’ve lived here. :)

ice palace
The Minneapolis library looks kinda of like an ice palace with all of this snow. I took this picture while I was switching buses the other day on my way to yoga. Speaking of, I just finished day 14 of my BIKRAM YOGA CHALLENGE. It definitely feels like my body is doing some power healing right now. This week, the issues that I’m noticing more are my hamstrings on my left side right where they connect to my hip. This makes a lot of sense as I’ve had to do a lot of physical therapy on muscles that attach to my hip. It’s funny how unaware of these muscles I was before my ACCIDENT. I’m also noticing my rib cage a lot. It just feels sensitive and bruised. Not in any particular part of my rib cage. It’s more like the whole thing. This makes sense too as I broke a couple ribs, this part of my body was clearly subjected to some trauma. It’s peculiar though. It’s almost like emotional baggage that my rib cage is holding on to. Or something. It’s hard to describe. The other thing I’ve noticed is that I am drinking a LOT more water. I can’t drink enough. The air here in winter is BONE DRY. So today we got a humidifier. That should help with that. I will keep you posted on my progress. I am going to start ramping up the raw food quotient as well now that I’ve acclimated somewhat to the yoga. Those recipe books are going to come in handy!

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Bikram Yoga Challenge


December 19th, 2010

yoga sign
As you might have guessed from my LAST POST, this is the time of year when Minnesotans switch up their exercise routines. I have been finding myself rather addicted to BIKRAM YOGA lately.

walker
If you have been following my blog for a while, you might have heard about some of the health lessons I’ve been working through lately. Last summer, I was in an ACCIDENT. I sustained a number of injuries in the crash including three pelvic fractures and some broken ribs.

hospital
Prior to that, I had worked through a number of complications related to a toxic exposure. It’s kind of a LONG STORY. But essentially, I had a severe exposure which unfolded into a colorfully epic saga involving seemingly every organ system in my body. The lastest drama is that I’ve now tested positive for rheumatoid factor twice (the antibody seen in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease). Now before you get too worried, I actually had a SIMILAR DRAMA to this last year when I tested positive for ANA twice (an antibody seen in patients with lupus, another form of autoimmune disease). We’re still figuring out what this means. The exposure that happened to me is actually pretty unusual. So, it’s difficult to predict how things will evolve. I’ve personally gotten kind of detached from the outcome at this point (this has been going on for four and a half years – YAWN. I’m over it). Whatever it is, it’s just a name. In a lot of ways, I think the mystery is kind of a blessing. As long as the future is unknown, the possibilities for healing are limitless. But what I can say for sure is that I have issues. Liver issues. And autoimmune issues.

studio
This is perhaps why I find bikram yoga so compelling. Bikram yoga class consists of a series of twenty six postures and two breathing exercises which are practiced in a room heated to 105 DEGREES! Isn’t that an interesting coincidence? (The same temperature that my CULINARY ACADEMY was named after). The heat does AMAZING things for my muscles. I have had a lot of muscle pain since the accident. I distinctly remember the moment of impact. It was like this incredible amount of energy was transferred to my body in an instant. I remember feeling like every cell in my body was spinning in overdrive. For months after the crash, I couldn’t really feel anything. I was in the ‘beyond pain’ state where the muscles just clamp down. The process of restoring them to a normal state of tension requires you to work through the pain little by little. I can say that without a doubt, this form of yoga is having a huge impact on this issue! I can’t get enough. I go to class and find relief for a few hours. Then, I wake up the next day and need another fix. It’s a good kind of addiction.

awkward pose
I’ve noticed a lot of changes with this pose this week too. This is awkward pose. You sit down in an imaginary chair and try to lean back as far as you can. This pose uses a lot of muscles which got really weak during my sedentary phase of healing. Back muscles and hip muscles. Triangle pose is another one that uses those muscles a lot. I’ve made a lot of progress on these two already.

window sill
I feel like this yoga is having a big impact on the autoimmune issues as well (a revelation that perhaps deserves it’s own post). I have decided this winter to dedicate myself to the next phase of my healing, and my instinct is that this is it!

studio lobby
Luckily for me, Minneapolis is home to a really wonderful BIKRAM YOGA STUDIO owned by Martha and Eric Williams. I just purchased an unlimited pass there. Many Bikram studios offer these ’30/60/100 Day Challenges’ as a motivator for students. Right now, I’m feeling very motivated to practice yoga as it is acting as a pain reliever for me. I’m not sure if my own challenge will conform to the 30/60/100 day model. But, I am starting a challenge of my own. Since I have a number of medical issues, I am hesitant to commit myself to one of these numbers as I don’t want the number to take precedence over my focus on healing. But, I am committed to seeing how the yoga can impact my health issues. And I appreciate and respect the discipline that goes along with the challenges. I just want to be gentle with myself. Today was my seventh day in a row. I am noticing lots of positive changes already. I will keep you posted on my progress…

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Indian Summer


October 13th, 2010

bed
We have had some freakishly warm weather (for Minnesota) the last week or so and I am LOVING it. I missed a lot of summer this year (as I was RECOVERING my accident). So now is my chance to soak it all up. Consequently, my garden is a little wild this year (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

flower sign
One of my fellow gardeners grew a communal bed of flowers! How lovely is that? It sad to say goodbye to gardening season.

garden harvest
I have really gotten into juicing garden harvest. It’s so luxurious (esp. when you consider how much it would be to BUY all this).

miss
My physical therapy right now involves BIKE RIDING. This is a scene from my bike ride to the garden. I have to cross the mighty Mississippi River to get there. (It seems like a trek, but before you get too impressed I should mention that it’s not actually that far. And I have to walk my bike part of the way. But I’m getting there).

green juice
Still, things are definitely looking up out here. I’m moving a little slow these days, but you know what they say about slow and steady…I’m just saying!

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Rockin' the Crutches


July 27th, 2010

giant zucchini
Look at this giant zucchini we picked from our GARDEN the other day. It weighed three and a half pounds! Not being able to get down on the ground is lending itself to more weeds and bigger vegetables this year.

stiar steppingHere is an action shot of me taking the stairs. My boyfriend has been documenting this period very thoroughly. :) I’m actually getting around surprisingly well. Yesterday, I went to the grocery store by myself and pushed a cart around the whole store. I wouldn’t really recommend it, but I got ‘er done. I’ve been working on a very special project that I will tell you about tomorrow.
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backstage
In the meantime, I’ve been going to work with my boyfriend a lot. Hanging out backstage at shows…

sound girl
…Hogging chairs in the sound booth…

sitting
…And playing my first show sitting down.

Life is good.

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Kefir and Crutches


July 16th, 2010

bubbly
Good news! I’m back in the kitchen a little this week. Here I have my latest addiction…watermelon kefir! I can stand for short spurts now…perfect for kefir making.

mathces
My thing right now is drinking it over ice in a wine glass. Look how it matches my wall.

helen and i
Incidentally, I have some exciting news. It’s about the next episode of PRL TV with special guest, Helen Castillo of THE RAW PALATE. Helen and I discuss fermentation in the raw food kitchen. Specifically, we will talk about making cheese, yogurt, and kefir! But WAIT! There’s more!! Erin of WATER KEFIR GRAINS (where I purchase my kefir grains) has generously offered to donate a kefir making kit to one lucky viewer! Stay tuned for details…

crutchin
In other news, things are going well. I got upgraded to crutches! So, I’m getting around a little better. I still use the walker at home, but the crutches are great for getting about town. Here’s me with my guitar teacher. Guitar is an amazing and appropriately sedentary pasttime.

window
Check this out…It’s the VIEW FROM MY CHEF’S TABLE. I love it. The best part is sunset. You get a perfect view of the sun setting in the west. I’ll save that for next time…

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Downsizing the Dream


July 8th, 2010

parfait
Well, things have been a little tricky this week. Since I BROKE MY HIP (I guess I cracked a rib too!), I haven’t been able to do very many things for myself. I usually do most of the food prep with help sometimes from my boyfriend. But he has been really AMAZING lately. He made me this. It’s coconut yogurt (which he made from scratch) with strawberries and cacao nibs. He also made kefir! And he’s been making me green juices and smoothies every day. Way to make a person feel loved!

me with my walker
Here’s me enjoying my parfait with my walker. With this kind of VIP treatment, I should be better in no time!

new car
Going for a ride in the new (old) car. We bought it from my boyfriend’s cousin, Marilyn, who has my same birthday and middle name.

boxHere is my boyfriend boxing up my new DEHYDRATOR with the blinky lights. It’s a great looking dehydrator, but unfortunately it doesn’t dry things so well. Maybe it’s just too closed off with not enough air circulation. That’s my personal theory anyway. So yeah, I guess you can say that I’ve crossed into the next phase of empire building: MEETING OBSTACLES HEAD ON. I just need to remember that this is part of the process. I was actually starting to wonder. Things were happening too easily – a recipe for long term failure. Obstacles make a person stronger and have more empathy for others. Unfortunately, they’re generally expensive and make one have to strip down to a more elemental state. Time to cut the flack out of the system. No more blinky.

zuch
Good thing I won’t have to downsize EVERYTHING. Like this zucchini that’s growing like crazy in my garden. I CAN NOT WAIT until I can stand up and start making recipes again. I think I’m getting there. Maybe soon…

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