Wednesday, September 16, 2009

After the first treatment

At 5 am, I lie in bed doing viloma pranayama listening to the crickets and a lone bird. Viloma pranayama is a yoga breathing practice that deepens and steadies the breath. I've been practicing it intermittently for over a decade, less frequently in recent years. I take in a full breath, let out some of the air and pause for a couple of seconds. Then I let out more air and pause again. Finally I let out the rest of the air and relax as much as I can with empty lungs.

The new breath comes in easily and deeply on its own.  I'm aware of a strange tightness this morning, as if I can't get enough air.  My collar bones feel glued to my ribs.

After a few more breaths with the pauses on the exhale, I switch to the practice of viloma pranayama on the inhale.  I breathe in for four counts, hold for two and feel the belly rising.  I take in more air, pause and feel rib cage expand even more.  I almost have to force air into the upper chest -- it feels so tight -- and when I breathe in, I begin to feel something.  The collar bones lift and pull on the connective tissue below.  It hurts a little, but it's a good hurt, the sweet pain of releasing congestion.  I hold for more than 2 counts waiting for the pain to dissipate, but it doesn't, so I let the breath out slowly and steadily.

Ten, fifteen minutes later, I am still tight.  This is very unusual for me.  My mind is calm, so I can't blame my tension on worrying.  And despite the early hour, I feel well rested.

I check the time on the alarm clock --  5:25 am, and do some calculations.  I went to bed at 8:30 and fell asleep immediately, so that makes nearly 9 hours.   I decide to get up and meditate while the sky has a faint hint of light and the world outside is silent, except for the crickets and a chorus of birds.

In meditation many thoughts come to me, but the ones that hook my attention are about this new tightness in my chest.  What could be causing it?

I had a picc line installed at the hospital Monday afternoon, but I don't think it is the source of my problems.  Picc stands for peripherally inserted central catheter; it makes it easier to receive intravenous medications. The surgery (a sterile outpatient procedure) was painless but for the prick of a Lidocaine-filled syringe piercing my skin. I lay on a hospital bed covered in sterile blue paper sheets.  The nurse wore one of those cotton shower caps, a mask, and a sterile paper gown over her scrubs.  With an ultrasound monitor showing her exactly where to poke and push, she fed a long, slender, flexible tube through a hole in my upper arm, and advanced it until the catheter tip terminated in a large vein beside the heart.  Even though I was curious, I turned my head and didn't watch.  I was afraid the visual image of something going into my body would haunt my dreams.

The procedure finished late, causing me to miss my first scheduled I.V.  Hospital registration had taken 40 minutes thanks to three ambling old codgers ahead of me whose walk from waiting room chair to intake office took 5 minutes apiece.  (How long did it take them to find their Medicare cards?)  By the time I got into a bed, the nurse had gone to take care of other patients and I had to wait 1 1/2 hours before she came back.  Then, a chest Xray showed my line was 1/2 centimeter too far inside so I had to have it shortened.  Nevertheless, I felt elated when I walked out into the golden sunshine and felt the warmth of solar radiation on my cold hands and feet. I felt so good I went shopping!  And that evening I slept easily and well.

The parking lot was empty the next morning when I pulled up at the doctor's office, eager for my first treatment.  The I.V. nurse who came out to greet me was an old friend -- a terrific energy healer who had taught me much at the beginning of my journey in 1995.  The woman at the desk was an acquaintance from former yoga workshops.    All in all, I felt welcome and comfortable.

I was glad to have the picc line, for my treatment was utterly painless -- no burning, no sensations of cold or heat as I'd had in the past with other doctors.  I just lay back in a soft faux-leather chair reading the NY Times while medication dripped quietly into my veins.  By the time I left, every chair was full.

I felt no different afterwards, just hungry for lunch.  And here I'd been naive enough to think that getting intravenous amino acids would diminish my hunger!  I had awakened with a tremendous headache around the eyes and temples  I still had that awful headache which I knew was toxicity from the lack of a bowel movement.

I drove home, ate, and in the comfort of my own home, cleaned out my bowels.  My headache soon disappeared, but I was unusually tired.  I did some restorative yoga before dinner.

On my meditation cushion this morning, I realize that I haven't felt this much physical tension in my muscles and connective tissue for a long time.  I used to feel this stiffness come over my body every day and had to stretch two or three times a day to release it. I try to remember.  When was the shift?  I seem to think it has something to do with starting the methylation protocol, but I am not certain.  Perhaps it has been longer.

My medication contained amino acids, B12 as cyanocobalamin, B1, and a tiny bit of B complex.  I find myself wondering whether it has folic acid.  I've been avoiding the stuff on Rich's advice since I started the Simplified Five.  Rich thinks folic acid interferes with the active forms of 5 MTHF and folinic acid. Could this be making me tense?

I know I'm not using folic acid properly, or at least I wasn't when I started this protocol.  After three months, I brought seven of my nine abnormals numbers into the normal range on the Methylation Panel from Vitamin Diagnostics.  Folic acid surprised me by moving 5.5 points higher on the retest than it was on the first test even though I was studiously avoiding it in vitamins and processed foods.  It made me wonder whether some of us accumulate folic acid in our tissues and have to detoxify it as we get our methylation cycles working properly.

Whatever I got yesterday, it seems to be giving me lots of cardiac symptoms.  I felt a strong, irregular heart beat last night when I got in bed, and all morning I've had mild chest pains. Time to call the doctor's office and see what they recommend.


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