Well, what happens in Bali definitely doesn't stay in Bali. At least...not for me. Unfortunately I came home with much more than souvenirs and amazing adventures to share. I was injured the beginning of the second week and had a much different experience than many of my fellow students. It wasn't quite what I expected...but it was still amazing on so many levels. More importantly, I FINISHED. I am now, in addition to a Certified Fitness Trainer, a Certified and Registered Yoga Teacher.
But, let's go back to the beginning. The day I left, I wrote in the previous blog post:
"It's currently 3:30 pm and I leave for the airport at 5 pm. I am excited, nervous, and all sorts of other incredible and scary emotions. DEEP BREATHS! Radical self reliance for a full month. I CAN DO IT. I CAN DO HARD THINGS!"
I think the Universe took my confidence as a challenge. Well played Universe. Well played.
After three flights, totaling almost 30 hours, I arrived in Bali. The first flight was just a hop to San Francisco with a 4 hour layover. The second flight was 13+ hours and I was in a middle seat in the middle of the plane. YIKES! There is no way I would have survived this 180 pounds ago and my neighbors would have been even more miserable. I didn't want to ask the older gentleman next to me to keep getting up but sure took advantage of the two times that he did. I arrived in Taipei and was so glad to be upright and walk around for a bit. Unfortunately, it was an almost 5 hour layover there. Finally, a 5.5 hour flight to Bali. I was THRILLED to done with air portion of travel but still had a long day ahead. I caught up with another yogi waiting for transport and we had to wait just a little longer for one more; then, the long-ish ride up to Ubud from Denpasar. It's not THAT far, but traffic on this beautiful island is INSANE and it makes driving time extensive. I arrived three days before training was to start, checked into my first resort and slept VERY WELL that evening. Fortunately, going forward didn't leave me thrown off time wise. (Coming back was jet lag hell.)
I spent those first few days enjoying the beauty that is Ubud. I stayed at Cendana Resort & Spa. It was a little intimidating choosing in advance where to book as so many places look INCREDIBLE but the prices are RIDICULOUSLY inexpensive. Our dollar goes extremely far in Bali. Currently:
So, for $27 a night, I was in a beautiful suite at a gorgeous resort, breakfast included. Some pictures from my stay there:
If you read the captions, you'll sort of follow that my room was a haul from the lobby and entrance area. Again, I WOULD NOT have been able to do this before. It was a long walk including a lot of stairs AND IT WAS HUMID! Humidity was the most difficult thing to adjust to. Especially for this desert girl since I was still trying to protect my recently healed armpit (Brachioplasty surgery...see previous blogs.) I didn't want to be sweating for fear the bacteria would cause another issue. I spent the next few days showering three times a day.
Fortunately, the resort was very central to most things interesting about Ubud; at least, in the city itself. The following day I went to the Monkey Forest. From their website, "The Ubud Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, which owns it. The village's residents view the Monkey Forest as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village. There are many of point of interest that you can see here. Other than around 700 monkeys, you also can see 186 species of trees in 12.5 hectares of forest, where will allowing you to get an abundant of fresh air."
I took at least a hundred pictures of the monkeys and quite a few videos, but I'll spare you. Many visitors encourage them to climb on them for the perfect picture. BUT, I did see one bite a man, breaking the skin, right after entering the park so...figured I'd play it safe. This little, gentle guy liked my fingernails and just reached out to play with my hand and fingers. That was enough for me. I didn't want to risk my health or safety before training even began. I spent the next couple of days exploring Ubud near the city center. The lotus garden, temple, and palace were all beautiful. There had just been a royal wedding so there were offerings everywhere and clean up was in progress.
The night before check-in for training I was surprisingly nervous. I don't know why. It's just who I am. I doubt myself and my abilities all the time. I had brought my motivational script books, pad, and pens. So...this is what came out.
Did I do well? I succeeded though I was in immense pain. Did I fail? No. I accomplished what I went for; though, it was extremely difficult and not at all what I imagined. Was I the fat girl that couldn't keep up? It wasn't because I was fat. It was because going from no activity to a lot of activity combined with a perfect storm of other things left me with a horrible medical injury/complication. Perhaps part of the problem WAS because of my previous weight and the toll it had taken on my posture and body. Did I surprise myself and others? I can't say whether others were surprised but, I KNEW I wasn't going to give up...though I wanted to EVERY SINGLE MOMENT.
The first week was fabulous and extremely difficult. The days were VERY long. Our two hour morning yoga practice started at 7am each morning and classes finished at 7pm each evening. We had a breakfast and lunch break throughout the day but it a lot on the body to sit in the Shala ALLLLLLL day. Fortunately, were allowed to make ourselves comfortable as necessary during lessons and lectures. The most challenging part of the journey...SO FAR...was going from eating a high protein, ketogenic diet to being vegan overnight. My body CRAVES meat, high amounts of protein, and can't function on with soy. Though I hate to see anyone suffer, I was glad I wasn't alone when it came to the lack of appetizing food. I could feel a difference in my body right away. I did take some protein bars with me and all of my vitamins but it just started to get more and more difficult. More power to those that love to be and can be Vegan. It's not easy when you've been an omnivore for 45 years.
The first Saturday afternoon arrived and it was finally break time. A group of us headed to Canggu for a wonderful weekend away. Only, that weekend would turn out to be bad news for me. Only, I didn't know so until Tuesday morning. Some pics from that weekend:
On our way to Canggu, our driver accidentally hit a speed bump going extremely fast. I bounced off of the seat and hit my head on the top of the car. I didn't think much about it at the time. It didn't hurt, we laughed, he apologized, and that was that. Two days later I woke up and thought I just "slept wrong." My neck hurt extremely bad and I went to morning yoga at 7am like normal hoping it would help. I had to skip part of class and just continued to take some notes on asanas (yoga poses) and cues to help teach. By breakfast, it felt as if my neck were broken. I was in tears and couldn't bear the weight of my head on my neck. I felt like I was being crushed from the top down. One of the coordinators arranged transport for me to the medical clinic and that is where my journey would take a complete 180.
I saw the doctor, explained the issues, he sent me to the hospital for X-rays and upon return assured me my neck was NOT broken. He thought perhaps I had torn a muscle (rhomboid) and that the accident just complicated the pain. He counted 7 vertebrate in my C-spine, gave me a bag of pain killers, muscle relaxers, encouraged no activity and sent me on my way. I got through the week with the help of pain meds. I was immobilized as much as possible but still required to attend classes so I could pass. I spent much of the time on my back on propped up and took LOTS AND LOTS of notes. I just knew it was more than a torn muscle. I have never experienced pain like this before. It had to be something else. I began to wonder if it was muscular atrophy as a result of the extreme diet change and protein deficiency. I started eating as much protein as I could find in hopes of correcting the issue.
The second weekend comes around and many would be celebrating at a full moon dance party that sounded incredible. Unfortunately, I couldn't do that. I spent the weekend alone because I didn't want to kill anyone's good time with my pain and suffering. I booked a room at the Mason Elephant Lodge and am so glad I did. It was UNBELIEVABLY AMAZING! Though I was still dealing with a lot of pain, it was a low key weekend, and I got lots of rest.
I spent time at the spa and later getting some foot reflexology with a pedicure. Anything to help me feel better. The reflexology definitely helped relieve pain even if only by distraction.
In a picture, this is how I felt:
The beginning of the last week I was out of pain meds and the pain was back in full force. I had cried...NO BAWLED...to Alan numerous times that I was miserable. I had to go back to the medical center. It was a different doctor on duty and when I showed her the X-rays (they give them to you there) from the week before, I could tell right away from the look on her face that she was concerned. I knew she didn't want to say that her colleague was wrong. Instead, she said, "There is space between each vertebrae, but not enough. You have a lot of compression between C4 and C7 and are likely pinching nerves that are the source of the majority of your pain. You need to see someone as soon as you get home." She gave me enough meds to get through my last week and on my way I went. EVERY SINGLE DAY I was suffering but did what I had to do to finish. The last two days of training we were all suppose to teach our classes that we sequenced to one another. My teacher knew I was suffering and asked if I was willing to teach on Friday, and could get an earlier flight home, would I want to leave early? I would still pass, and would just write my final after returning home and feeling up to it. We spoke about that around 9am and Alan called and changed my flight to 4pm that afternoon. I missed my fellow students classes and the beautiful closing ceremony. I WAS CRUSHED but had to do what was best for me and my body. I was scheduled to stay an extra three days after training ended, so this put me home a full 6 days earlier. Recovering in my own space, home, and bed has been easier.
I taught my class to the entire group and am so glad I got to, at least, experience that.
I travelled the long journey home, injured, in pain, while feeling like a failure and success at the same time.
BUT, I DID IT!
Gurumukh asked, "Why are you in pain?" I told him because of the accident/injury/complications, ...I dunno. He looked deeper and asked again, "No,...why do you choose this pain?" I didn't know the answer at the time. I think I do now. BUT, this blog is getting REALLY LONG. So, I'll explain more details about what I have since found out about my injury tomorrow.