AFTER AN EPIC FAIL, I FLED
After observing one yoga stretch class, I decided it was a better fit for me than the Pilates stretch class. I was wrong. First, from where I placed the mat, I could not see the instructor. Since I am not fluent in the language of yoga, I felt as though I had entered a class without the proper prerequisite. If this had been an academic course, I would have been out of the door in a flash. However, I had so much “gear” and it was so spread out that leaving would have been disruptive.
When I could see and/or understand the instructor, she was saying things like “child pose” or “downward facing dog.” In a previous blog, I discussed the limited flexion allowed by my prosthetic knees. It comes no where near being child’s pose. Since I had been working on my own to see if I could improve this situation, the knees and the bones of the lower leg, especially the tibia responded loudly to the in class attempts. These protheses are expensive. They cost money, pain, and time. It is not in my best interest to engage in any activity that threatens to damage them. And of all my physicians, my orthopedic surgeon is the one I least like to visit.
However, the complaint of the prostheses as I attempted child’s pose was a whisper compared to how my right wrist and shoulder responded to downward facing dog. These are the arthritic joints that sustained the most damage from the disastrous fall in February, 2015. They are why I spent so much of my summer in physical therapy. The fragility of these joints is why becoming fit enough to stand without using them is one of my life’s major physical goals. I need to strenthen the muscles involved in the use of the joints but I do not need to be putting weight on the joints themselves numerous times in a 45 minute period.
The yoga instructor did demonstrate an amazing stretch for the deep hip flexors. Unfortunately, I was unable to see how she got into the position and attempting to do it myself put way too much torque on the prosthesis in my knee.
And yes, I am aware that there are yoga classes in which modifications and props are used to allow people with prosthetic joints and injuries to participate. Since there are other people in the class who seem to know how to take advantage of these modifations, that is clearly the prerequisite that I missed. If I decide that I really want them, I will seek them and perhaps even fight for them. This class simply flowed from one movement to the next with me being the only one who was lost. I have a large number of issues and taking the time to offer me accommodations would definitely blow the flow.
Remember my motto:
When you can’t fight, and you can’t flee, flow
In this case, I was not able to get into the flow. I don’t ( at this time) see yoga as being worth a fight. So, I accepted my epic fail and demonstrated my willingness to flee.
THE GOOD NEWS
The first good news is that I have found one land class that works for me: Classic Chair. Between this class and walking (when my right tibia allows) I should have enough weight bearing exercise to maintain my current bone density for a while. Discovering that I had osteopenia should not have come as such a huge surprise. By the time my vitamin D level reached 4 ng/ml and the pain of osteomalacia convinced me that I was near death, I knew that my bones were not strong and healthy. Now my goal is to keep osteoporosis at bay.
Being African American does not protect me from osteoporosis. Any bone density advantage that I was born with has been leached away by lupus and medications, such as prednisone and the anticonvulsants used to help with neuropathic pain. I believe that everyone should check out their level of risk by visiting the website of the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
I am also aware of the increased risk of death among women who break a hip.
I am keenly aware that the risk of death following a hip fracture is especially high for black women.
The good news is that the extra work I have been putting in on my hip flexors seems to be paying off and I have been able to return to deep water classes.