Wednesday, July 30, 2014

When Positive isn't Very Positive

While the results from my MRI came back negative for any brain tumors, the little nipple I introduced to my doctor as he was walking out the door turned up positive for Squamous Cell Carcinoma--skin cancer! 

Now they will cut into my check and dig out the rest. Whatever happened to my vertigo? Oh yeah, they haven't got to that yet. It would be nice if they found the vertigo problem just under the nipple the doctor cut off, but the two-birds-with-one-stone thing doesn't happen very often if ever.

I recall meeting a guy in my high school days that was related to my mother's side of my family. The guy was covered in tumors--no kidding. There was something very fatal about him, his tumors showed me that people are flawed and ultimately dying. I have no idea where this guy is now and, though he seemed like a nice person, I don't care to know--he was a constant reminder of how flawed we are.

At my age, I can see things going in that direction. It's humbling. My wife's key fop offers some sound advice:

Life is short
Pray hard!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Very Good Yoga!

I had a very good yoga experience this afternoon. The Sunday afternoon class I have been attending for over a year is called "Gentle Yoga," but it is really a regular Hatha yoga class. The difference is the new teacher, Aviv, emphasizes the modifications rather than the last two teachers that directed us straight to easier modifications from the start.

I didn't like this approach, at first, but I have grown into it and try the more difficult postures when I can. By the end of the class I have worked up a bigger sweat than on Tuesdays when Heather teaches the mild version of Vinyasna.

Now, to get to the bottom of this vertigo problem and start attending other classes!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gone But Not Forgotten

My doctor could make me sigh with relief telling me I have an advanced stage cancer and only a month to live. Just kidding. I'm scared shirtless that the nipple-like growth on my cheek is cancer. I won't get the results back from the lab until next week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Getting Old is a Bitch!

No, it's not a nipple. The big question is, is it cancer. 

I needed to see my doctor to check on my MRI results. (See previous post.) Good, I don't have a brain tumor. I will now see an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist to see what they has to say. 
While I was in the examining room I showed my doctor a toe that has been bothering me for a couple of years and what appeared to be a nipple on my cheek that was a new development. The toe business was pretty straightforward and I was satisfied with his diagnosis and rx. When he looked at the cheek nipple; however, he started typing, saying without looking up, "You will need to make an appointment with me very soon so I can remove it and have a biopsy done on it to rule out cancer."
It's frustrating how when I go in for a problem that won't go away and he does not have an easy fix, he then says, oh by the way you might have skin cancer on top of the vertigo thingy. I've had medical challenges my whole life: seizure disorder, lazy eye, skin problems, degenerative disc disorder in both my upper and lower back, this chronic vertigo, and now this pimple from hell. 

It's a bitch getting old!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

I had an MRI done yesterday to rule out a brain/inner ear tumor. As stated in earlier posts, I have been suffering from constant and mild dizziness. I don't think about the specter of a tumor that much, but when I do it is not a pleasant feeling.

I recently became acquainted with a college friend I have not seen for twenty-five years. He is down on his luck: no job, no love in his life, and very frustrated about his lot. I am trying to "be there" for him, but at times the tumor thing comes up. At times I want to say "buck up, why don't you. I may have a tumor," but that wouldn't help either of us.

I wish I was more dedicated in my yoga practice. It is funny how when I am practicing my asanas I don't think of this crap, but I am horrible at getting on the mat. Yoga is chiefly responsible for me losing twenty pounds. You would think I would be grateful!

5 Yoga Poses For Better Posture

5 Yoga Poses For Better Posture

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pets and Yoga

My labrador has messed up many an inversion.

Vertigo and Yoga

I have been struggling with what my doctor believed to be Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) for a couple of years now. It seemed obvious at the time and may actually have been this simple form of vertigo: I would get dizzy from time to time when I got up in the morning. The remedy was to perform the Epley Maneuver or the “Half-Somersault” Maneuver. These procedures would move the particles that had collected in one of the semicircular canals of my inner ear creating a “piston” that would result in an imbalance.

As much of a pain this vertigo was, I could deal with it when it occurred, and since it always occurred in the morning, it never got in the way of my yoga practice. On the weekend starting May 5, however, things changed for the worse. I experienced multiple bouts of vertigo, some of them minor others quiet disorienting. The bigger ones would not go away after performing either the Epley or Half-Somersault. I got a break the following Monday, but setup an appointment with my doctor for the following afternoon. Around 11 a.m. on that Tuesday, May 9, sitting in my cubicle at work, I had the Babe Ruth of vertigo attacks and couldn’t shake it.

Drenched in sweat, I frantically dialed my home number hoping to get my son on the line. After failing to correctly dial the number twice—I could not correctly navigate my fingers to touch the proper keys on my phone—I reached home and had my son pick me up and rush me to my doctor’s office where he saw me immediately.

My doctor tested me for stroke, but that came up negative. He then performed the Epley Maneuver and the vertigo went away. My son drove us home. I was unsatisfied. There had to be something else wrong with me. There appeared to be.

I never completely got over the vertigo. A faint sense of dizziness remains. I could still practice yoga, but lost the nerve to practice with the advanced groups on Monday and Friday, cutting my structured practice down to Sundays and Tuesdays.

The dizziness became worse on Father’s Day; however, it did not prevent me from attending a Sacramento River Cats ball game with my mother and father. I noticed at that time that looking up and down brought on the symptoms more than looking laterally. Still, I was able to enjoy the game and company.

What was depressing about this condition was not just that it wouldn’t go away, but that it was a direct threat to my yoga practice. I believe yoga is the main reason I have lost nearly twenty pounds since January of this year. Diet and commuting eleven miles a day to work and back by bicycle can be given credit, but it wasn’t until I started yoga that I started caring about my body! If yoga went away, I was afraid I would throw it all out the window and go back to my old ways.

I attacked this problem aggressively in three ways: I scoured the web and for solutions to my problem, I looked into ways I could practice yoga in this permanent state of dizziness, and finally, I saw my doctor again and explained that I am suffering from something additional to BPPV or something completely different.

As I write these words, I am about eight hours away from an MRI to see if I have a lesion in my inner ear or somewhere else in my brain. Scary shit! If the MRI does not detect a tumor, he will send me to an Ear, Noise, and Throat specialist. He still thinks I could have suffered a stroke, but I can’t imagine that.

Yoga is for Studs!

Here's a wonderful example of yoga--practiced by a very skilled man from

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Stuck in an elevator with …

Before ever hearing of the saying “I’d hate to be stuck in a broken elevator with that guy,” or heard of the list “The Ten Worst People to be Stuck in a Broken Elevator With.” I used to wish to be stuck in a broken elevator with certain people. This was not a sexual thing—a vehicle for picking the ten sexiest women in the world. It was a way to pin someone in a place where I could ask them questions, my questions, and when I got their first pass at answers I could asked for clarification, drill down.

The first person I wished I were stuck in a broken lift with was an owner of a small stereo store back in the late 70s. I used to hang around the store where the very cool, very knowledgeable sound guru would answer my questions about Nakamechi, Macintosh, and “watts per channel.” I never seemed to understand what he told me since someone with money would always walk into his shop and he would walk away from me as if I was an eight track tape player before my understanding of some concept he told me would crystallized.

In college, I became enamored with a college professor. I would sit in the front row and try to understand everything he said. When I decided I didn’t want to share the professor with anyone else I would request a meeting in his office, but these sessions were always too short—even when I got him to agree to meet during one of his open periods.

This idea sounds strange, I know, and probably unhealthy to someone with claustrophobia or someone who is very withdrawn or shy. I am neither of those, but I am someone who tends to retain very little of what I hear or read. Knowledge I glean from a lecture or a book seems to vanish as if the information was a mere vapor. People close to me say that is because I am not really listening for content, but rather for entertainment. Hmm.

I have seen where fictitious characters in film have learned important things from being captive in an elevator with someone:

  • Jack Black’s character in "Shallow Hall," stuck in an elevator with Tony Roberts, received a spell from the famous motivational speaker that opened Hal’s eyes to inner beauty.
  • Tom Hanks’ character indirectly receives romantic advice from his doorman while stuck in his apartment elevator in the movie "You’ve Got Mail."
  • Though it’s a stretch, Keanu Reeves’ character, Neo, in "The Matrix" reassures himself as he destroys the elevator beneath him and his partner by whispering to himself, “There is no spoon,” which turns out to be a key to his (and the world’s) salvation.

In the years since I graduated, I would read someone’s work or hear someone speak and immediately think of the broken elevator, but for the most part in the last twenty-five years, I really have not found myself confronted with someone I wished an intimate audience with—until lately.

After reading, “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” “Death of the Liberal Class,” “Empire of “Illusion” and his column in, I thought I would like to be stuck in an elevator with the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chris Hedges. But the preceding words are over two years old and things have changed in my life. I suppose I would still like to pick the brains of someone I have enjoyed reading, but seriously, who wants to be stuck in an elevator anyway. Would if the elevator is stuck because the building is on fire. Cooked as if in a Dutch oven!

To tell the truth, the only reason I posted this is to mark a significant change in me. The above was a work in progress back when I was writing my Jockomo blog; I guess I wanted to post it to show myself I have moved on. If you have stumbled onto this blog through a Google search and are now wondering just how batty I am well, pretty batty, but I am getting better!

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

One Asana at a Time!

I waste far too much of my time and energy looking up to people; wishing I could be like them or look like them, or whatever like them. I have more years behind me than in front--there is no more time to think this way.

Yoga to me is getting in touch with my body and mind in a far deeper way than I ever have before. Following a yoga teacher is critical at this juncture, but I need to only follow the proper postures not wish I could do this or that.

With that said, this well-made video shows how beautiful yoga sequencing can be when executed by an expert yogi.


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Meditation is the Key!

Yesterday a yoga instructor come to work and we practiced during lunchtime. This is usually a time I spend eating and watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. I protect it like a momma bear protects her cubs, but I spent the time practicing asanas and trying to meditate. I say "trying" because, like analyzing (I am an IT analyst), it is something I do, but not very well.

I know I should practice my yoga more and watch TV less, but it is a daunting challenge for me. Recently, I read a  piece on 10 Ways to Create More Space in Your Life that reminded me of a book I just read, "Everything That Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists" that chronicled how two successful businessmen who left their high-paying jobs to live lives with less and ultimately felt more fulfilled by living that way. Anyway, the "Create More Space" piece fascinated me and I am now trying to incorporate many of the items in the article:
  • Start a Journal. That's why I have resurrected this blog
  • Clean out your closet. Good idea. Haven't done it yet, though
  • Make space in your stomach. I just ate two servings of Baked Ziti. I won't be starting that today
  • Cut the clutter. a BIG challenge
  • Meditate. The grand daddy of challenges for this scatterbrain
I have a problem concentrating during the savasana portion of my practice, if I am not worrying about something or playing back an incident that happened recently or a long time ago, I am sleeping. I have been told savasana is a very difficult posture and this is why: it is difficult to keep present when you are just laying there. Savasana is the perfect time to meditate, but my attempts to achieve this state usually fail.

Of the five above bullet points that I have decided to work on, I believe the fifth one holds the key to the other four and much more!