• How Instagram Helped Me Heal After Breast Cancer

    How Instagram Helped Me Heal After Breast Cancer

     

    Lately I’ve been taking a lot of crap from people on social media and in my personal life because I post yoga pictures on Instagram. My family has nothing bad to say about it; in fact, they help me take the pictures. (But they do joke that I’m obsessed.) My husband Jerry is also an Instagram yogi.

    After my last radiation treatment for breast cancer on January 31, 2013, the doctor told me to take a break from teaching yoga. I wasn’t practicing much because I was tired and sore from all the radiation burns. I was teaching about eight classes a week in a hot yoga room. It took four weeks for my burns to begin to heal. The top layer of skin on my right breast, shoulder, and armpit was completely gone and it really hurt.

    Almost five weeks after radiation, I went back to practicing yoga. Slowly but surely, I got into the groove.

    While going through cancer treatment, I made up a story in my head. I thought that since I’d had a double mastectomy, I would not be able to back bend as deeply as I’d been used to, and that I wouldn’t be strong enough to do handstands using a wall, let alone in the middle of the room.

    Well, I was wrong. Oh, so wrong.

    I’ve had an Instagram account for a while, but I never really kept up with it. I’d post a picture here or there and that was it. When I started my practice again, I began to take pictures and post them on Instagram to keep up with my progress. Then I started to surprise myself by getting into poses I never thought I could get into, like king dancer pose. I once tried getting into it before cancer and there was no chance.

    Could my double mastectomy have made my heart more open so that I could get into this pose? It appeared that it had. So I posted it on Instagram. The same thing happened with my handstand practice—it went from non-existent to pretty darn good in a very short period of time (with lots of practice of course).

    Soon after I started to post my yoga pictures on social media, I began to receive emails from people who would tell me that, because of my pictures, they want to try yoga even after going through cancer treatment.

    My purpose for posting these pictures then changed. I now want to show people that no matter what your body has been through, anything is possible, just look at me.

    I am missing muscles in the right side of my pelvis, I am missing muscles in my left leg, (all from previous colon related surgeries) I have survived cancer and I can do what I thought was impossible. So give it a try and don’t give up.

    Through Instagram I have met an amazing group of people. My favorite is a 12 year-old girl from the Philippines nameNoelle. She didn’t know about yoga until she came across a photo on Instagram, she then started to practice yoga and post pictures. She didn’t even have a mat! How cool is that?

    This little 12 year-old found yoga all because of Instagram. Noelle and I have become friends (with her parents’ permission) and she asks me about yoga all the time. I try to guide her by telling her how to do it with hurting herself.

    I love Instagram. I am constantly inspired by the beautiful pictures I see from the people I follow and I love to be able to look back at my account and be reminded how far I’ve come in just a short year.

    This article was first published on MindBodyGreen

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