26 November 2010

Pain and Peace through an Ovarian Cyst

This is for any woman that might be panicking about experiencing an ovarian cyst or trying to figure out the pain down below. Take care, but don't panic.

A few days ago, I woke up to an agonizing pain in my lower abdomen. (the day before a full moon). The pain felt like I was having menstrual cramps, but I knew it couldn't be, as I just had my period 11 days ago.
Today, the pain in my ovary area is worse, especially as I walk. With every footstep, it feels like someone is stabbing a dagger into my ovaries.

Just want the pain to stop

To ease my menstrual cramps, I typically lay a hot water bottle over my lower abdomen. I've always opted for a hot water bottle rather than a heat pad to ease cramps. I don't like the idea of having electric coils on my internal organs.
After no relief with the hot water bottle, I was desperate to make the pain stop. Rarely do I ever take drugs to alleviate pain, but I as was scheduled to teach yoga classes, I needed something. I could barely take a step without stabbing pain. We don't get Aleve or Tylenol in Egypt, but the pharmacies here are an amazing source of help. The pharmacist gave me ibuprofen. Definitely helped me.

Pain in my uterus and ovaries has happened to me before. When I lived in New Mexico, I didn't have medical insurance. But, I was able to negotiate a discount and payment plans so that I could see an Ob-Gyn doctor for an exam and sonogram. The diagnosis was a cyst. It went away after a few days.

I don't have a doctor here in Cairo, but I know more about my body than any medical practitioner. I know my body was moving through ovulation and had a formed a cyst. Intuitively, I knew I had a cyst.

Important to know that the vast majority of ovarian cysts are not cancer

There are many different types of ovarian cysts, and they are an extremely common gynecologic problem. Because of the fear of ovarian cancer, cysts cause a lot concern to women who experience them. But, it is important to know that the vast majority of ovarian cysts are not cancer.
The good news is that almost all ovarian cysts will go away by themselves without doctor's treatment. Since the vast majority of ovarian cysts are benign, the presence of an ovarian cyst should be a non-worrisome occurrence.

Here's what I did to ease this painful journey


1) Understand messages from the body
The following are a few excerpts taken from "Messages from the Body, Their Psychological Meaning" by Michael J. Lincoln, Ph.D.

Uterus Problems: "I don't dare." She feels that it is not safe for her to manifest her creativity or her generativity, and she threfore distrusts and has disgust towards undertakings. She fears rejection, abandonment and attack, along with envy, jealousy and retaliation.

Ovary Problems: "She-jection." They have a fear of and rejection of their creativity and femininity. They are systematically self-denigrating and ashamed of the feminine role and situation. "Self-undermining." They have a great desire and need to be respected that is being prevented. Their circumstances are of such a nature as to be exploitative, non-accepting, and denigrating.

2) Ease off on activity
Rather than whinging about not getting to the gym, I took some down time.
Heat eased the pain, so I went to the steam room or sauna.
At home, I took advantage of a hot bath and a cup of hot cinnamon milk tea.

3) Take focus off of pain. Direct focus to lofty thoughts
The pain becomes so intense that "P A I N" is all that I can think about. My mind travels through every notion of pain.
But, I completely believe the body is an extension of thoughts and one can not have pain without thought.
The mind dictates, the body follows. 
By shifting my focus and reflecting on the messages revealed from this experience, I was able to create a space to clear accumulated emotions, fear, and pain. When the pain struck, I remembered my breath.

4) Use yoga postures to ease pain
I tried many postures but the only one that seemed to bring peace was bow pose.
I'm holding my tailbone a bit high in this photo of bow pose
taken at an earlier date.  Rather, one should burrow
the tailbone down toward the floor

At first, the pressure from being in the posture was intense, but as I breathed in, down into my torso, my breath cleared everything. In a state of bliss, I realized that I was meditating in this posture for almost five minutes at a time.

Dhanurasana (Bow Pose) How to do it:

1) Lie on your belly with your hands alongside your torso, palms up. (You can lie on a folded blanket to pad the front of your torso and legs.) Exhale and bend your knees, bringing your heels as close as you can to your buttocks. Reach back with your hands and take hold of your ankles (but not the tops of the feet). Make sure your knees aren't wider than the width of your hips, and keep your knees hip width for the duration of the pose.

2) Inhale and strongly lift your heels away from your buttocks and, at the same time, lift your thighs away from the floor. This will have the effect of pulling your upper torso and head off the floor. Burrow the tailbone down toward the floor, and keep your back muscles soft. As you continue lifting the heels and thighs higher, press your shoulder blades firmly against your back to open your heart. Draw the tops of the shoulders away from your ears.

5) Eat and drink specific foods
I drank plenty of fresh ginger root tea and cinnamon stick tea with milk. As it is the season, I ate fresh mango and fresh banana. Both are excellent for women. According to Yogi Bhajan, mangos are a woman's medicine that works in every area.

6) Practice patience and fearlessness
I decided that I will allow at least 14 days for pain to pass. If the pain didn't lift, then I will seek a healer to help me.

Alhamdulillah, Kulla Tamem

updateafter seven days of terrible pain, my body is now healing. The pain is almost gone. I plan to deeply explore the messages of manifesting my creativity and generativity without fear of rejection, abandonment and attack.

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PLEASE READ: I am presenting MY pathway to healing. Since I do not subscribe to western medicine practice, I approach ALL of my health matters with an attitude of gratitude and self-healing using yogic principals.

Always consult your physician if pain persists. Nothing in this website or this particular post is to be construed as medical advice. The benefits attributed to the practice of these techniques presented here or the use of Kundalini Yoga will vary with individuals.
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