Tammy Takes on Hatha to Become Kidney Donor
|Tammy Brazil walked into a yoga studio with a goal to lose weight in order to become |
an organ donor for her sick husband.
|Tammy carries a "before" photo of herself everywhere she goes.|
In 2009, my husband Corey was diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) - a type of kidney disease. Basically, his kidneys are scarred up due to a bad infection from when he was younger. He is in stage 3, with 15% usage left in both of his kidneys. Stage 4 is dialysis, or transplant. We have been very lucky so far, as we have been able to keep things under control with diet, exercise, medications and supplements. We were told that one day our luck will run out and we will need to find a living donor for transplant if we want to avoid dialysis.
As you can imagine, all of this changed our priorities. Before Corey’s diagnosis we lived in the moment. Worked hard and played hard. We took our health for granted when we ate and drank whatever we wanted. His diagnosis was our turning point. We slowly changed our lifestyle, picking up healthier habits while dropping the bad ones.
In January of 2011, feeling much healthier I decided to see if there was a possibility that I could be Corey’s kidney donor. After months of extensive physical/psychological testing/examinations, it was determined I would be my husband’s living kidney donor- I was in disbelief. He is getting my left kidney whenever, or if ever, he needs it. My surgeon informed me that it is very rare for a husband/wife to be the spouse’s donor and we are very fortunate that it will work out. We have a plan B! But… before the surgeon could clear me to become a donor, he wanted me to lose some more weight. I was down about 30 lbs - but it wasn’t enough. I needed to lose another to be in my healthy BMI range. The healthier and stronger I was, Dthe lower my risk levels would be.
In the past I had tried yoga, but it never really stuck. Once again, I was motivated to give hot hatha yoga another try but this time I was much more than determined to make it work. Stress is very hard on the body and I needed a healthy outlet. I started practicing at St. James Hot Yoga in Winnipeg, Canada.
I started slow at first, practicing 2-3 times a week. It was very uncomfortable, as I was a very voluptuous size 16. I felt like I was fumbling and rolling around my mat. I didn’t quit, though. Tammy Martin-Beck and the staff at St. James hot yoga helped me so much. They were so patient with me and very supportive. They encouraged me so much!
After a many months of consistent practice, the inches started falling off. Then the pounds started coming off. My hard work was starting to pay off. I also realized something: the yoga was helping me feel so much more balanced! Not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, too. Being a 43 year old woman, it’s hard to keep your hormones stable. This helped and continues to help me immensely! When I am in my yoga room, that's my time to get well, my time to rejuvenate, my time to help stay healthy.
I stepped into that yoga studio 2 years ago so I could reach my healthy BMI goal and become my husband's kidney donor. I have reached that goal, but I've gained much more. I was aware of the physical benefits of hot hatha yoga. I did the research before I started. What I didn’t expect was the emotional, mental and spiritual growth. It has helped me so much in my personal/professional life. In my journey I found a passion and love for yoga. I learned so much about myself. I walk taller and have a new found confidence. This is the best I have felt in over 20 years. Tammy and the staff at St. James Hot Yoga have helped me become a better person; they have taught me so much about myself and for that I am eternally grateful..