Since a surgeon in Tampa removed a benign tumor the size of a walnut from the hypoglossal canal behind my right ear several weeks ago, I’ve had to step away from my mat and usual practice of asanas.
I can’t very well do a forward bend or downward dog, never mind a handstand, after brain surgery, you know?
Nor can I do very much of anything except sit with my eyes closed listening to the magical sounds of life flowing all around me and learn to be patient and hope that my strength and energy will return one day.
The surgery made me realize how much I have to be grateful for. The simplest tasks — opening my eyes after a nap, being able to take a deep breath, or managing to balance as I take a step from the bed to the bathroom — become reminders of the gifts that I am given each day.
Even sleep is a gift when each night becomes a challenge for me to close my eyes because the slightest pressure against the back of my head makes it painful to rest on the pillow.
It was only a few weeks ago that I returned from the hospital with a 12 inch crescent-shaped incision covered by 44 staples behind my right ear and looked like the King of Punk!
Today the incision is almost invisible. But it serves as a reminder of the five hour operation and the careful and precise work of the surgeons to remove the tumor.
I still feel dazed by gratitude … and by all that’s happened. I know I am very lucky.
I know the operation, despite the lingering pain and fatigue, was successful.
I know the risks that I feared going into surgery were avoided thanks to the skillful hands of the surgeons (and divine guidance).
And I know how many friends and relatives offered prayers and sent healing thoughts to help me make it through the surgery and to begin the recuperation process. (Many thanks to all of you for your kindness and support!)
It seems like a miracle that I can sit here typing or can sit on my mat again, not for long, just a few minutes at a time, and do easy stretches and simple twists.
When I unrolled my mat on the floor that first time and sat on it, I felt as if I’d awakened from a dream.
I swept my feet back and forth. I gently moved my knees. I twisted one way, then another, each movement slow and deliberate, careful not to strain my neck where the surgeon had cut through the muscles, tendons, and bones to reach the tumor.
I’m learning to do less than I want to do and resist pushing further.
If I feel pain, I stop.
I’m not writing in my journals.
Or on my blogs.
Or on Facebook or Twitter. (Not much, anyway.)
And it may be a while (until after the next stage of treatment which involves radiation) before I return to writing and posting.
For now it feels like I’ve turned off a noisy radio and can hear the music of silence, the restorative rhythm of life.
I am practicing patience.
It’s a different kind of yoga, but it’s still yoga.