ChemoAsana: my pre-treatment yoga cancer rally.

The Cancer Diaries: June 26th, 2013

What the hell is a ChemoAsana? You might be asking… 

che•mo asa•na (noun) ˈä-sə-nə

: the use of yogic arts to uplift the body’s assimilation of chemical agents in the treatment or control of disease (as cancer)

First Known Use: circa 2013, Nantucket, MA.

 

As those of you who have been following me since I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in March already know, I’ve developed a little pre-chemotherapy routine that helps me to feel empowered. This ritual includes packing up my chemo bag the night before (statues of Ganesh and Nataraj, Bose earphones, iPad, eye pillow, thank you cards to be written, and my son’s blankie) getting to the hospital extra early the morning of my treatment for my blood draw, and then taking a 75 minute yoga at my studio. The ritual continues with a stop at The Green (smoothie, green juice, shot of wheatgrass) on my way to the Nantucket Cottage Hospital and ends with getting hooked up to IV fluids and doing my ChemoAsana.

As of today, I have completed 14 infusions of Taxol and Herceptin, and I have the 14 ChemoAsana photos to prove it. Now I get to kick back and let the chemicals work their cumulative mojo while focusing on building my blood back up and preparing my body for surgery.

To celebrate I thought it would be fun to revisit all the ChemoAsana photos my friends and I taken over the past 3 months. The first two are hardly asanas at all, but as the chemotherapy progresses the poses get more complex. Looking back on the past three months, it seems that the days I felt the most out of control I would harness whatever power I could muster from my yoga asana.

Now more than ever I believe in the power of yoga to heal. I have my very own, first hand empirical data forever charted in my medical history; proof that yoga boosts your white blood cells, platelets and my personal favorite; the ANC, absolute neutrophil count.

Call me crazy but I attribute my son Griffin’s 2 hour natural childbirth AND the way my body has held up over these last 14 infusions of highly toxic chemicals. “Om F-ing Om” sisters and brothers!

ChemoAsana

Below is a compilation of all the pre-Taxol ChemoAsana I’ve done since the end of March. Some of them much more ridiculous than others.

1. Enter the Dragon

March 28th, 2013. Mass General Hospital
ChemoAsana: a first infusion. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

Awaiting my first infusion: March 28th, 2013

 2. Maskasana

April 4th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana #2: April 4th, 2013

ChemoAsana #2: April 4th, 2013

 

3.Pincha Mayurasana

April 10th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #3: April 10th, 2013

 

 4. Eka Pada Rajakapotasana

April 17th, 2013. Mass General Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #4: April 17th, 2013

 

5. Anjaneyasana

April 25th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #5: April 25th, 2013

 

 6. Natarajasana

May 2nd, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #6: May 2nd, 2013

 

 7. Leg Behind the Head Pose

May 8th, 2013. Mass General Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #7:May 8th, 2013

8. Hanumanasana

May 15th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #8: May 15th, 2013

 

9. Inverted Chemoasana

May 22nd, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana: a first infusion. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #9: May 22nd 2013

10. Adho Mukha Vrikshasana, straddle variation

May 29th, 2013. Mass General Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #10: May 29th, 2013

 

11. Dragon Fly Pose

June 5th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
 
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #11: June 5th, 2013

12. Upavistha Konachemochairasana

June 12th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #12: June 12th, 2013

 

 

13. Flying Lover’s Padmasana (bonus #1)

June 20th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #13: June 20th, 2013

14. Group Loveasana (bonus infusion #2)

June 26th, 2013. Nantucket Cottage Hospital
ChemoAsana. Breast Cancer Jedi, Caitlin Marcoux

ChemoAsana #14: my final infusion of Taxol – a drug that made me absolutely sick as a dog.

 Sometimes pictures tell the best stories.

As I end my dialogue with Taxol and move phase two of my treatment (mastectomy and reconstruction) I do so feeling fully supported and cared for: nurtured by my practice and supported by my community. I have professed my love of yoga hundreds maybe thousands of times and I’ve said that I love Nantucket at least as many times. I’ve lived in NYC, Paris, Ireland, and Chicago, (and I’ve practiced yoga in everyone of those places) and yet I cannot imagine a better home than here.

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Comments

  1. Allison Avery says:

    Caitlin…thank you for sharing this. Your photo journey is amazing and proof that one can persevere and stay strong during the hardest of times. You rock! XO

  2. Caitlin, the day I met you, you were this tiny, little, adoreble girl, standing on a booth, next your mom, who had just moved here. This was at a place called, The Dory. I was drawn to you both. Intrigued, I wondered what your story was. Two beautiful women. One a mother, the other, a toddler daughter, the scene captured my heart. I was sitting at the counter, and was immediately drawn to you. I watched you the whole time I ate., intrigued by your amazing personality!! That, was a lifetme ago……………. One day, I walk into the yoga room, and there you are, about to teach my class! I was so excited… I said something silly to you, like, OMG! I have known you since you were a tiny tot!!! hahaa That was before Griffin was born…… boy, it has been one interesting path, has it not??? And then, as I think everyone knows, I fell head over heals for Griffin, as well… My ever loving , huggin, boyfriend !
    Well, I am in awe, of what you have become, what you have given, and what you are !!! I am honored to know you, and feel such gratitude, to be able to call you friend and teacher……. My prayer for you is this. May you be healed quickly, may you always be filled with light and love , and when in need, put me in your fast dial… I would be honored to be at your side, whenever you need me,
    Much Love,
    Cate Raphael

  3. Caitlin– Pictures do speak a thousand words. This is amazing. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing your journey. Much love.

  4. tiffany says:

    You are the strongest girl I have met.. What an amazing role model for the mini”s!! Those picture books from them brought a tear to my eye. You go girl. The grace with which you have handled this time since your diagnosis blows all of us away.
    Namaste my friend
    TIffany

  5. Seeing this photos gives me hope that I can practice yoga – vigorous but gentle – during my chemotherapy, even with a port. *sigh*

  6. Hi there, Loved hearing about your journey as a fellow yogini and cancer rider. Your pictures are so fantastic. So full of life. Yoga most definitely was my life raft during my treatment. I wish you all the best and thank you for sharing your adventure. Long life to you my friend!

Trackbacks

  1. not done yet says:

    […] of social media that day to Tweet about it, post it on FaceBook, take all kind of ridiculous chemoAsanas for my Instagram account, and celebrate the my way through the halls of the Nantucket Cottage […]

  2. […] here on my blog, I took you with me from the point of my initial diagnosis (terrifying), on a chemotherapy roller coaster ride (tenacious) and through my surgical recovery (triumphant). We’ve moved through the phases […]

  3. […] teachers Jessica Bellofatto of Kama Deva Yoga & Paddle Diva in East Hampton and Caitlin Marcoux of Nantucket SUP Yoga & The Yoga Room in Nantucket, are thrilled to be teaming up for the first […]

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