This blog post was written by Aurorae CEO & Founder, Dennis Ingui, after his spinal fusion surgery:
When I started practicing yoga over 13 years ago, I was not 100% sure what I was getting myself into at the time. I knew that yoga was going to help me develop both my body and my mind while I recovered from my cancer. I knew it was going to be a lifelong practice. I didn’t know I would make such lifelong friends. And, I certainly hadn’t expected it to prepare me for future medical issues.
On Monday, April 28, I underwent spinal fusion surgery to correct a deformed lumbar. This type of back surgery is fairly serious and requires a recovery period like many other surgeries. Finding a comfortable place to even just be still was going to be a challenge post-op.
Leading up to my surgery, I continued my every day yoga practice and strengthening exercises. I practice my core exercises while I watch TV at night, doing between 100-150 crunches per night just to build my back and core muscles as I knew I would need these muscles after my spinal fusion.
My Yoga Synthesis practice was very core intensive with many planks, Downward Dogs, balance poses, hip and shoulder releases. I focused on this keeping in the back of my head how important this will be to my surgery recovery. I wasn’t doing anything that wasn’t feasible for anyone at any age that was going to go into surgery. The commitment I made to my body by having this surgery was only deepened by ensuring that my recovery was going to be the best that it could be. Why have this surgery, hopefully relieving myself from pain, if I wasn’t going to give 110% of my efforts towards recovering strong.
I scheduled aromatherapy massages at home once I was discharged from the hospital. Both the massaging and the essential oil aromatherapy helped relax me and accelerated my weaning off the pain medication. Those nasty, crazy pain meds.
For days I couldn’t find a comfortable position, whether it was sitting or lying down. I couldn’t lie on the floor so I called for my wife to bring my Synergy mat to me. Wow, talk about becoming one with your mat. I really felt a connection as my comfort level was higher than anywhere else. Though I could only remain in that position for an hour tops, it was an hour longer than any other place I could find.
In just about two weeks from surgery, I’m already walking without a cane or a walker. These little miracles are really not miracles at all, but rather a result of preparation and natural strengthening. At 61 years old, and major back surgery, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be driving my new car within a few weeks, that I’ll have a full season of boating this summer and I will be back on the Vermont slopes skiing with my sons this upcoming winter.
I’m stronger every day. I’m taking care of myself (and God Bless my wife, Val, as she has been my savior, crutch and [quite literally] the backbone of my being).
If at 25 years old you would have told me that yoga and meditation were going to shape me into who I am as an adult, I would have laughed at you. If at 40 you would have told me that I could have major back surgery later in my life and be able to bounce back from it like I was a 25 year old, I would have scoffed.
If seeing is believing, then I don’t need to see anymore to believe. It is now my mission, whether through Aurorae or through just my every day interactions with people, to show anyone how beneficial strengthening through yoga practice can be to a post-surgery recovery.