Who Knew A Colonoscopy Could Be So Fun?!
Having reached the milestone of a half century last year, it was time to finally get my ever dreaded, preventative Colonoscopy. My mother had polyps in her 50s, and since hereditary plays a part, I was eager to confirm that my colon was Polyp-free! Though I was confident my lifestyle choices of proper diet, and years of hot yoga and Pilates supported a clean colon, I definitely believe in getting this preventative procedure that makes colon-recto cancer almost 100% preventable. What I didn’t expect, were some of the other interactions that also reinforced all the years of leading a healthy, ‘Hot Yoga Lifestyle’, have really paid off. You may also be wondering what is going on in these photos, and don’t worry, I will come back to that.
Once I arrived for my procedure, the nurse took my blood pressure. She was really impressed with my reading, 110/62. I have to say that I know that 20 years of yoga have given me excellent blood pressure. (One of the many side benefits of an Original Hot Yoga practice.) But the nurses were so surprised by my blood pressure; they took it again, only to reveal the same number. (Why should such healthy blood pressure be so abnormal?)
Next, they asked me about any medications I may be taking, but I take nothing, which also surprised the staff. Why is it shocking to not be on any medications? There’s obviously a place in our society for medication, but has it really become the norm, for everyone to be taking something? Don’t we want to avoid taking medication if at all possible? When I think of going to an orthopedic surgeon at a big Cedars Sinai office in LA when my arthritis started in my late 20’s, all he offered me to “help” me, were 3 prescription drugs and a diagnosis of a hip replacement in 3-5 years. (I was only 28 at the time, and did not want to take these drugs!) It was after this appointment that I knew this was not the path I wanted to take and sought out a more natural way to decrease arthritis pain and put off a hip way beyond age 31.
I have also learned that many people became addicted to opioids after having them prescribed for pain. (especially in the mid-90s when I went to this doctor.) I know that certain teens were particularly susceptible and some of the biggest victims of our current opioid crisis that is currently getting litigated in court with huge judgements. Why are pills being prescribed so effortlessly? I’ve had 2 C sections and a hip replacement in the last 15 years and in my experience, doctors love to prescribe pain pills even when you don’t want them. I realize sometimes people are in pain, and pain pills are appropriate, but ideally, you want to stop taking them as soon as possible. Also, more doctors should explore alternatives or complimentary natural ways to alleviate pain like stretching, strengthening, physical therapy and of course, yoga.
The third thing that happened, as I got rolled into the room for the procedure, was my nurses’ shock at my age and that I, “looked great for 50.” I realize they may say that to everyone, but I know a consistent and frequent Hot Yoga practice keeps you looking great at any age. I also saw this first hand in my early days of practicing in Beverly Hills with these women in their 60s and 70s that looked phenomenal and were amazing people. They did not only look great, but they just had a light and energy that shone inside and out. Their yoga practice was clearly their foundation to an overall healthy life. I aspired to be just like them when I started practicing at 28, and while I am still quite young at only 51, I hope to inspire others as well.
The cherry on the top of this fascinating day was the results of my Colonoscopy. The nurses showed me photos of my colon (lovely) and the compliment from the doctor that my colon was “beautiful.” I know, I know, don’t get jealous, and I don’t mean to brag, but it was a nice thing to hear! In all seriousness, with my mother’s challenges at my age, hearing about my beautiful colon, was fantastic news to receive. I feel confident that the choices I’ve made with my diet, yoga and lifestyle choices have definitely contributed to my healthy colon, and I’m thrilled I won’t need another colonoscopy for 10 years.
Now let’s get back to these photos. A few weeks after my colonoscopy, I was invited to a surprise 50th Birthday party with a dress up theme of “80s Prom.” I rarely do ‘Dress up parties’, but my friend and I share the same birthday, and I kind of wanted to “bring it!” Then a week before the party, I realized I still had my actual senior prom dress, from over 30 years ago. (No I’m not a hoarder! ) I ran upstairs to find it and try it on. It took a minute to get on, but it actually still fit! Ironically, the whole look is pretty much back in fashion, but the shoulder pads were still extra. I can’t tell you how fun it was to wear this dress to the party, and tell folks this was my actual prom dress from 1986! I was always a bit of a fashion gal, so even back then, I thought this dress was stunning and cool. So while I clearly knew how to dress my proportion even at 17, even with some changes in my body in the last 33 years, I thought I still rocked this dress and had fun doing it. I’m grateful my Original Hot Yoga practice has kept my body and mind fit throughout my adult life.
I am proud to say that after 23 years practicing and 21 years into owning this studio and teaching this yoga, I am still passionate about the transformation and healing this yoga can bring to anyone willing to come and try. I also love the expansion of classes offered at my studio to provide a wider array of benefits to change more lives.
I am not sure if my yoga and nutrition are the reasons 100% that I have such a beautiful colon, but I feel confident they are huge contributors. All I try to teach preach and live every day is that we have the power to stay proactive about our health and lifestyle choices. While there are no guarantees yoga practice will prevent cancer, heart disease or a stroke, (or that it is a substitute for medical advice) it is likely to reduce the risks, alleviate the symptoms of many diseases (like arthritis from personal experience)) and to live a much better quality of life in general.
So get that colonoscopy when you are 50 and every 10 years after that, and in the meantime, find the time, to make your health a priority and live a life where you prioritize your health, diet and balanced lifestyle. Make the best choices you can, and you may get a nice complement on your colon too.