Ken Wood stays busy running his own business but still finds time for an active lifestyle. Always the type to enjoy healthy activities—cycling, scuba diving, hiking, the works—he always paired these activities with a nice diet. One day when riding his bike, his back began to hurt. He decided to see a chiropractor. During his visit, his chiropractor recommended he try yoga to help him deal with the pain between visits.
Ken snickered and said, “I’m sorry, doc. Yoga isn’t for me.”
Some time later, he began to feel off. Being as in-tune with his body as he was, Ken knew something was wrong. The problem he was experiencing was a blood clot, but he was also diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.
"How could someone who lives such a healthy lifestyle have this major of a health problem?" Ken wondered to himself.
Ken began treatment at CVPH FitzPatrick Cancer Center. As he got to know the staff and the nurses that were caring for him, they recommended a new program they were offering called yoga4cancer™. It had been started as a clinical trial and CVPH was one of only two hospitals in the country who offered it. Hosted by the hospital for cancer patients at Trinity Yoga Studio, it was led by instructor Lynda Garrand.
“Everyone knows each other by name. We hug each other. It’s amazing how it brings people together. You make real connections. It’s about more than just yoga.”
For some reason now, after all of this, and coming from people he considered friends at this point, Ken decided to give yoga a try. It turned out to be a great addition to the clinical care he was already receiving from CVPH. At the end of his first class, during the cool-down, everything came crashing down onto Ken. He had been struggling to accept his new condition and it was showing on this night. He began to cry in front of everyone. Immediately, he felt the arms of another classmate, a fellow cancer patient named Sara, embrace him. She comforted him and let him know that everything was going to be ok without saying a word.
One particular yoga class, Ken was feeling lost. Sara put it in a way that made him feel like he wasn’t alone. Sara said to Ken “It’s as if you are suspended in a black hole, floating, drifting. Nothing around you but darkness. But as you look up, there’s a beautiful blue sky. It’s your life and where you used to be. And you want to make it
back there. You tell yourself you will make it back there.” For the first time in a long time, he felt connected to someone. All because of the difference a yoga class made in his life. Now it’s a part of his weekly routine, and in addition to the connections he’s made in class, it’s also taught him breathing techniques and other ways to improve his overall wellbeing.
“I feel strongly about this program,” says Ken. “Everyone knows each other by name. We hug each other. It’s amazing how it brings people together. You make real connections. It’s about more than just yoga. Yoga makes me feel alive again.”