I wrote this post several months ago, but as with many posts of a personal nature, I waited to share it. Tasha’s MRI ruled out most scary diseases and identified some that were treatable. The photo in this article was taken 90 minutes after she had surgery to replace her hip, which was hopefully her biggest problem. But the primary learning for me is that, as the sutras say so beautifully, I can hold on to my past and let it dictate my future, or I can let it go and live in this amazing present moment. It’ s my choice. It’s yours as well.
I was nineteen the first time a serious-looking doctor told me I might have a brain tumor. The tiny, rare growth she thought had taken up residence inside my skull terrified me. Tests showed that I probably didn’t have it—yet. But I’d need to be reevaluated if any more symptoms appeared.
In my mid-twenties, a second doctor with an equally serious expression said I needed more definitive tests. If I refused, I potentially faced a number of bad outcomes, including blindness.
And so on, and so on.
For the next several years I rotated through blood tests, contrast CT scans and multiple MRIs. Every time I went to a doctor, the diagnostic circus (and the associated panic) would start again.
In my early thirties, I stopped going to doctors.
By the time I started having checkups again in my forties, my physicians were too focused on menopause to worry about my little non-existent growth.
About two months ago, my beloved dog started ailing, and we don’t yet know why. As a physician friend of mine says, “Ask two doctors and you’ll get three diagnoses.” Tasha has been to six. An MRI can definitively diagnose several issues, but it’s expensive, so most vets don’t recommend it. A few weeks ago, I finally brought it up myself. “Would an MRI be a good idea?” I asked.
The unanimous answer was yes.
As the time for the neurologist appointment approached, I started feeling anxious. Tasha’s health has been improving the last several weeks. We’re finally developing plans for her future. I was the one who suggested an MRI. Why, then did I suddenly start panicking?
I spent some time Saturday reflecting on The Yoga Sutras. The sutras say that dvesa—holding onto prior pain—is one of the primary causes of suffering. In one swooping rush of insight, I realized that my panic was more about my past than Tasha’s future. I had equated Tasha’s upcoming neurologist visit to all of my terrifying evaluations in the past.
Somehow, that simple realization calmed me down. My anxiety, while not completely eradicated, was significantly reduced. Tasha and I met the smiling, friendly neurologist this morning. He evaluated Tasha and said that he did, indeed, think an MRI was warranted. But none of the issues he suspects are deadly, most of them can be fixed, and none of them are brain tumors. He suggested we do the test today, so I didn’t have to wait any more. He’s even allowing me to be with my dog as she comes out of anesthesia.
Tasha’s in the MRI now, and I don’t know what the images will show. But I do know that Tasha’s issues have nothing to do with my past. I can release that irrational fear now, thanks to yoga and the insights it continues to give me.
Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out my author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. MURDER STRIKES A POSE is available for preorder now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Whole Life Yoga, and other retailers!