Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Woman With MS Does Bikram Yoga, Day 3

I'm going to keep a little journal of my first 10 days of Bikram yoga. I'm not doing them consecutively, necessarily. But I want to track how it goes.

This was the hardest day so far. I did much more work, in terms of doing more asanas (postures). But, I think I pushed it too far. About 20 minutes from the end of the class, I started feeling MS symptoms starting up from my elbows down to my hands, and from my knees to my feet. It's an unmistakeable tingling, numbing feeling that lets me know there is something going on. I get the same symptom when I eat food I'm sensitive to, too much Splenda, overeat sugar, etc. (I've actually quit the Splenda. I was getting this insane itching on the underside of my forearms a few times a week. I finally started paying attention to what I was doing right before it started. It turned out to be the Splenda in my tea! I had thought maybe I could get away with it, since the other artificial poisons are right out. So I'm back to stevia, honey, agave and the occasional sugar packets.)

At first I panicked. I used my mind to help manage the panic, and I stayed in the room and finished the class. I went back out in the hallway as soon as I could. I poured out my fears to Esak, the instructor. He was very kind, and told me he'd find someone else with MS doing Bikram that I could connect with. He's hooked into the WBN - the Worldwide Bikram Network. I just relaxed at the place for about an hour, and took a cool shower. After the hour, the MS symptoms had subsided. That is the normal thing with MS & heat. Once you cool back down, the symptoms start receding. But if I stay overheated for too long, I find that it takes me 24 hours to get past it. So catching it early is good.

What I did was overheat myself. I'm really going to have to watch that. I can tolerate the heat in the room. It's my body getting overheated from the effort that is the problems. I'd prefer not to have the MS kicking in, even though I know I will recover. I will need to take it a little slower than I want to. I tend to be, inwardly, rather competitive. I so want to be at the front of the class, if you know what I mean.

I also work out at Curves. Like the Bikram yoga, another experiment. With Curves, I can go in there for 35 minutes and I come out feeling fantastic, with more energy. There are fans all over the place. With the yoga, I have a bit of an energy drop, but then get a burst later on. The Curves workout doesn't begin to touch the yoga, in terms of aerobics and heart rate. I'm using it for strength and toning. We'll see how it works out. I am doing two months with them.

So my lesson learned from today - just because I want to be a super-yoga babe for Esak (to be clear, he doesn't know anything about that. It's completely in my head...), doesn't mean I can push myself like all the other little yogaheads. Patience, trrishie. And it may be that after 10 classes, I find that it isn't gonna work for me. (But I want it to!!!).

Something I notice whenever I have any kind of flare-up, however minor, is a huge sense of disappointment. Because, for however long I've gone without one, I've started thinking "maybe it won't come back!", in spite of myself. It always does.


Anonymous said...

Have you herd of Purely Delicious a raw food magazine? The editor has MS and has completely rid herself of symptoms for 5 years by eating a raw food diet.

You ay want to check it out. She is also into hot yoga.

trrish said...

I'll look her up. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Wow....I just got home from my second bikram yoga class and I am so pleased to find your blog. I was diagnosed with MS in 2007 and have been basically symptom free since...tonight, toward the end of the class my arms, ie my right arm was tingling. Oh gosh did that start the mind panic! I laid on my mat and tried so hard to concentrate on my breathing, in and out! My mind was racing with all the negatives of oh crap I hope this doesn't last and what the heck is going on with my hands and arms, I've never felt this before! Luckikly I had a good friend next to me...once those 90 minutes were done, she helped me out by carring my water. Legs shaking and myself praying to please not pass out and just make it to the changing room to sit. I was shaking and nervous! So wanting the symptoms to go away!!! They did, just like you wrote, once my body cooled, I was ok! Little nervous for my next time but I'm not giving up! It feels great afterward! Thanks so much for sharing your experience and allowing others to not feel alone in this crazy thing called MS!

trrish said...

That's cool that you are trying Bikram. It does make you panic when you feel the symptoms, doesn't it? I'm glad you had a friend there.

I ended up not continuing with it because I didn't like the flare-ups, even though they would decrease after an hour or so. I still do "not hot" yoga though. I'd love to know if you continue with it and what happens. Bikram is almost a religion to some people who do it, and those people told me it would "cure" my MS. That really turned me off! A better way of saying that is "if you keep doing Bikram, it can be one of the things that keeps your MS at bay."

What I do now for my MS is manage my bladder infections with D-Mannose (ClearTract or similar), avoid gluten and too much crappy food, mild yoga, and Amantadine for fatigue. I seem to have a flare-up about once per year, usually in winter. It's much better than the 4x a year I was having before.

I wish you the best!

Anonymous said...

Hi hope you still look at this. My Dr is doing tests for ms. I have been getting tingling on my right side face ARM hand leg foot for 5 months. It comes like clock work every month a week before menstration. I get a b12 shot and it goes away for a month. I started hot yoga a week ago and have gone to 4 classes. I feel mild symptoms in certain poses in regular yoga and hot yoga pigin pose is the worst. I'm so scared!

trrish said...

I understand the fear. You know, if you are going to be diagnosed with MS, now is a pretty good time for it. There are so many more options available to people that ever before, and with early treatment, you could keep your disease course pretty mild.

My symptoms often get worse around menstruation. Are you doing an MRI?

Cheryl Taylor said...

Hi, I have MS and someone told me to try Hot Yoga. I thought I'd look into it, but I'll probably just do "not hot" yoga. For all those out there with MS, please look into Dr Roy Swank and Dr George Jelinek on the internet. The key to Overcoming MS is what we eat, getting enough Vitamin D and listening to our body. I haven't had a relapse in 2 years and don't plan on having one for the next 20. Others on the "diet" have gone 23 years without a relapse. Please, please look into. YOU CAN TAKE CONTROL OF THIS DIS-EASE!

Anonymous said...

Diet and exercise ARE important, but don't be fooled into thinking you are "curing" youself of this relentless disease. You may look fine for a couple of years, but eventually it will take is toll on your brain. Find a neurologist, pick your drug, and get with your program.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I do George Jelinek's OMS program and have not had a true relapse in 6 years. I have had pseudo exacerbations and times when I felt worse than others but no MRI change and no active lesions in the entire 6 years. I am a firm believer that the OMS program is the key. I'm not foolish enough to not take the meds. If I can get a 30% reduction in relapses I'll take it but I also do what I can to help control the disease. Six years later...I'm going strong.