Friday, August 03, 2007

Me and Tai Chi

This is a picture of the actual building in the Clarksburg countryside where I go to take tai chi lessons. Yesterday, on Thursday, I restarted practicing tai chi again with the approval of my surgeon. My instructors noted that I was grinning from ear to ear with happiness. I am convinced that tai chi saved my life in both April and May of this year. I believe that without a doubt.

Tai chi teaches you to focus and control your energy. It is sometimes called moving meditation. I moved myself from the operating room gurney to the bed in ICU. The epidural that was still in my back helped, and I was ready to get out of bed, which is probably explained by the epidural, which stayed in for three days. I was out of bed the next day when the surgeon came in and let me.

Diabetics heal a lot more slowly than normal people. Yet I healed ahead of the curve. My surgeon has told me twice that he thinks it's my attitude, the fact that I got out of bed and did roadwork, walked with my IV pole and the saline around the hospital rebuilding a little strength and causing the blood to circulate.

The bandages came off two weeks after surgery. You can see a thin line about 4" long from my belly button up. I guarantee you that isn't attitude. I have continued walking, but the surgeon didn't want me to go back to tai chi until yesterday. The fear is that you stretch or twist too much and rip out a stitch internally.

I was released for return to action Thursday, and at 9:30 am, I was on the mats. There are 6 sets of routines that comprise the Form, as the routines are called in tai chi. I do Yang's Long Form, the name of my particular brand of tai chi. I was a little nervous, not having done the form since April. I had done the first set in my living room the night before, and run out of energy.

I warmed up with the rest of the class, and did the first set clean, watching the woman who also teaches me swords. I decided to also try the second set and went into it as most of the class started dropping out where they were learning something. I got into the third set and shut down before we got to the kicks. I didn't have any strength left for that. I rested through the rest of the third set, then I tried the fourth set with the instructor. I made one small mistake, but I was moving a bit too fast. I then sat down and watched her finish the last two sets. She had definitely improved her already excellent skills. I told her this afterwards, and she told me she had a breakthrough.

I went home, and promptly fell asleep. I had done three of the six sets in the form, and I hadn't made a fool of myself. It's going to take work, and I am out of shape. But, I will make it back. For something that looks easy, it's amazing how much of a workout you get, and it's zero impact. I am so happy to be back.


Wicked H said...

Good for you!

I am certain someone else who went through exactly what you went through and lacked the inner fortitude and good attitude that you posses, would not be in the good place you are right now.

I was going to tell you to not push and listen to your body but then I re-read the last paragraph.

WanderingGirl said...


Anonymous said...

Yeah!!!!! I'm so glad you are out there and working hard. You must love it!

Claudia said...

Congratulations!! Feels good to recover, doesn't it?

cmhl said...

good for you!!!!!!!!!!!! what a fantastic post, ceo... makes me smile.

AmyTree said...

That's fantastic!! A good attitude goes a long way in the healing process, and you've got a great one! Congratulations.

MJ said...

I am glad to hear that you are back at it again !!! I still don’t have the clearance from the surgeon yet.. but when I do ..I am going to look into tai chi :)

Glamourpuss said...

Tai Chi is fabulous. What I've done, I've enjoyed. I always end up back at yoga tho'. But it's all about intent and with focus, you can do anything.


rebecca said...

sounds right up my alley!!

once i lose a good portion of weight, i want to try that or yoga and someday pilates. we'll see what happens. can't put the cart before the horse (thank's ali! ;) )

The CEO said...

Sis, I have been practicing all weekend.


Pool, it is sheer mental health!

Claudia, you know it is wonderful becoming active again!

CMHL, when I go in to work out, I remember to be humble by remembering you running for an hour and not being out of breath. My hat is off to you. I use you as a goal a lot.

Amytree, my friend, attitude is what I have! Next is to be in shape!

MJ!It's great seeing you! I love tai chi. If you can get into it, there's nothing better. I found that I was losing energy and dragging my butt. When you can, go get someone to show you. If there isn't anyone in your area, try yoga. Do something. I need you back!

Puss, what you said. I think that both tai chi and yoga depend on both the teacher and the actual locale. You really need them both. If I didn't have the tai chi instructor that I do, I'd be doing yoga.

Rebecca, do well tomorrow. You'll love whichever you do. And they are healthy! It will go hand in hand with your weight loss. You'll be so much happier!

Odat said...

Congrats!!! Keep it up....I'm glad to hear that!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm happy to know that you're doing so well. Attitude is everything and can accomplish anything.

Last week I decided to get into Tai Chi as I have fibromyalgia and back problems and think it would be great for me, but then I forgot about it again.

My husband studied Aikido in Hawaii and says that in many ways they're similar except that on the mainland, Aikido is more aggressive.

Now we just need to find the right class, but reading your post has encouraged me so much. Keep up the good work!

Echomouse said...

I think you're right. It's your attitude and your push to help the healing process along. Good for you!!

It definitely must feel wonderful to be getting back to your old self. And what a gorgeous place to go for a workout. I've never had the patience for Tai Chi but think I might take it up after reading your experience :)

animalmind said...

Awesome news.

The CEO said...

Odat, it's always good to see you here.

Hearts, tai chi works with back pain, and fibro too. I have both in my class, and I have two herniated discs myself.

EM, I'm so glad you're back. I have been going through your pics. I still love Canada. You need to visit here. If your cats will let you.

Hi Matt.