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National Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month with Uptown Studio Manager Allie Eckels

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National Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month with Uptown Studio Manager Allie Eckels

Allie: My experience started with a "thunderclap" headache which is sudden and severe head pain and breaking out in sweat. Immediately I wanted to close my eyes as light made me nauseous. My blood pressure was elevated, but I have high blood pressure, so I thought it was a hypertensive crisis which would have led to an ER visit anyway. What was going through my mind at the time was that this wasn't a normal headache that would subside by the time I had to work that day and that I should go to the hospital. 


Allie: Box breathing really helped me stay calm while I was in CT scans, prepping for surgery and all those needle pricks. I couldn't move much while confined to the bed with many attachments but "Legs up the wall" and "supine figure 4" were my first yoga movements after surgery. Towards the middle of my 2-week hospitalization I was given freedom to do yoga out of my bed which included gorilla pose/rag doll/forward fold due to help neck stiffness.  


Allie: Every day feels like I'm living on borrowed time. With this gift I've been much more family focused, present and empowered to impact others through the 2nd life I've been given. 


Allie: Most start thinking about severe health issues -only- when they get older. Being 29, I thought I was a long time away from the 'screening' stage. (colonoscopy & mammogram) But anyone can have an unruptured aneurysm and getting screened for aneurysms is lifesaving as having one rupture is life threatening. I'd suggest anyone over 18 get screened for unruptured aneurysms because there are several non-emergency procedures that can take care of those. I didn't know I had an unruptured aneurysm that was there long before it ruptured. My case would've gone from crisis to prevention had I been screened before my medical event occurred. 


Allie: "I can do anything" was my affirmation during the first days of uncertainty. Yoga is connection with mind and body. When my mind and body are disconnected, my emotions displace. Yoga is the equilibrium with my mental health as I face health challenges. Yoga makes me feel powerful when I'm powerless. 


Allie: I was confined to my bed in the ICU, but less than a week after surgery the staff realized I wasn't their usual ICU patient. I could easily walk & dress myself. I kept asking for more freedoms that by protocol the ICU didn't allow. Yoga was the only time they let me out of bed without a reason. I wasn't allowed to walk the halls of the unit, but I was allowed to practice yoga by the nurse station so they could keep an eye on me. I grabbed a tissue box from their counter to use as a block for "half moon." 


Allie: Yoga has me playing 'catch up' during different times in life. There are postures I had previously mastered and then have to remaster because of the loss in balancing skills I've faced.  But the muscle memory is all there, and a continued practice keeps me 5 steps ahead even if I fall 3 steps behind. Unlocking my untapped physical capabilities is what keeps my mental health occupied in the positive realm.


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