Malvern Wells Yoga

Smile, it's yoga! Yoga classes in the Malvern area.

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Hidradenitis Suppurativa – Silent Suffering

I have previously blogged about the skin condition Hidradenitis Suppurativa and the fundraising I will be doing on my birthday this year.  You can read the post and find a link to my charity page here.

For the past week I have been in agony.  Screaming, blinding, constant agony.  I’ve not had an attack like this for many years and although I pretty much suffer from this condition all the time, this one has completely knocked me off my feet.

Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) is a chronic skin disorder for which there is no cure.  It occurs when pus-filled abscesses form on the skin, close to the apocrine sweat glands.  These sweat glands are found in the armpits, buttocks, groin and under the breasts.  It is also possible to get them on the face.  It affects both sexes, developing anywhere between puberty and the early 40s.  The abscesses are sometimes small and go away easily by themselves.  Sometimes they continue to grow for days and days until they burst, spitting out a foul-smelling pus.  Sometimes they don’t burst at all and you have to go to hospital for surgery.  For more information about it, you can visit the NHS website here.

During a big attack life becomes very difficult.  A constant round of shovelling antibiotics and painkillers down your throat, followed by hours of debilitating pain until it’s time for yet more tablets.  This time I was lucky and it burst by itself meaning I didn’t have to go to hospital, but I still have to change the dressing and keep it clean.  Hopefully I’m over the worst of it now and will be able to function like a normal human being again soon!

So why am I speaking out about this?  Well, because HS is known to affect around 1% of the population in the UK.  It is suspected that many more people suffer from this condition but are too embarrassed to go to their doctor.  Even when you do go to the doctor, this condition can be misdiagnosed as something else and the treatments for it are not set in stone.  Basically, even the medical profession are somewhat mystified by it.

I want to raise awareness of the silent suffering and put an end to the embarrassment of having to tell your family, your employer, your friends, a new lover that you have this terrible condition.  It’s not your fault that you have it.  It’s not because you are unclean.  It’s nothing you did.  No one really knows what causes it.

Assuming I am well in August, I will be doing 36 Sun Salutations for the HS Trust.  Here’s another link to my charity page.  Even if you don’t want to donate, please read the text.  The more people who know about this skin disorder, the better.  Obviously I’d love it if you did donate, or you could always join me on top of the Worcestershire Beacon on Wednesday 14th August 2013.

Thanks for reading and thanks for donating.

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Feeling a bit philanthropic

So I’m feeling a bit philanthropic.  I’ve just been writing about Asteya, the 3rd Yama or restraint.  Asteya means non-stealing.  Not only does it mean not shoplifting or stealing tenners out of your husband’s wallet (I would never do that :-p)… but there are many deeper meanings too, that I may write another blog post about at some point.

Anyway, I got to thinking about what I give back.  Yesterday I took part in the International Women’s Day Celebration Get Together at The Grove in Malvern.  The whole day had been put together by a group of women who wanted to give something back and to help other women not as fortunate as themselves.  I just rocked up at the end with some yoga mats and candles and taught a Moon Flow class… but I didn’t really contribute to the day.

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time.  I was going to do it for my 40th birthday…and I still will, but I also want to do something now – well, in a few months.  To celebrate my 36th birthday on 14th August 2013 I am going to do 36 Sun Salutations on top of the Worcestershire Beacon.  At 425m, the Worcestershire Beacon is the highest point in the Malvern Hills.

I am hoping to raise £360 (£10 per Sun Salute) for the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust.  I have suffered from HS since I was about 15 years old.  It is a chronic, debilitating skin disorder estimated to affect around 1% of the UK population.  People often suffer in silence because the areas affected tend to be of an “intimate” nature and they are too embarrassed to seek medical advice about it.

The aim of the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Trust is to increase public knowledge and educate the medical profession on the symptoms, treatments and severities of Hidradenitis Suppurativa, and to provide vital funds for the purpose of research into causes, prevention and treatment.

So why 36 Sun Salutations?

I’m a Vinyasa Flow Yoga teacher.  I began yoga in the first place as a way to lose weight (something that can exacerbate HS), plus I found that yoga is an excellent way to manage stress (which also contributes to HS) and pain.  A flare-up of my skin can cause chronic pain that can last for days, weeks or even months.  Some people aren’t as lucky as me and they never, ever experience pain-free days.  Whilst HS is a recognised medical condition, there is no cure for it and the medical profession remains mystified as to how to control it.  I hope that by doing my 36 Sun Salutations and raising £360, I can contribute in a small way to the work done by the HS Trust.

Please give generously to help raise awareness and to help end the silent suffering.  Thank you.  Namaste. xxx