How many of you ignore doctor’s orders? Most people do not know about my medical condition but I have no problem with saying I have glaucoma. Glaucoma isn’t that serious (at least for the time being) for me personally. It is a condition where the eye pressure increases leading to a gradual loss of vision. In my case it is a hereditary disease. I do not have any symptoms or loss of eyesight as of yet. I’m still young by the disease standards so I don’t worry about it too much. Now why bring it up? Well I had been ignoring doctor’s orders for a while because I was being stubborn but I am not supposed to be upside down, like ever. This means no practicing handstand pushups, wall climbs and even downward dog. At what point do I want to take my health seriously?
Now when I first started Crossfit I had never been upside down in my life, besides the occasional cartwheel when I was 7 years old. When starting Crossfit and getting over the hump of a beginner exerciser I wanted to work on my weaknesses. One of those was controlling my body and having spatial awareness, so that meant working extra hard on gymnastics (Mexnastics if you will). I got better, I had good strict pull ups, legless rope climbs and my wall climbs were very good. I could hold the top of a wall climb, which just meant I was in a handstand supported by the wall for more than a minute for various sets. Then learning to get over my fear of kicking up to a handstand and then working on all variations off of a box so I could get stronger in the upside down position. But I did notice severe headaches and blurred vision for a long time after some of these movements, not always but sometimes. I thought nothing of it, maybe I was holding my breath too long and that was causing those annoying ailments.
Around the time I was the most enthralled in my gymnastics work , my mom lost most of her vision. She has about 15% vision out of one eye only now. Glaucoma had taken over and robbed her of her eyesight. We had to scramble and she had to learn how to live in her new reality which still to this day has been a very difficult transition. This condition then became something I asked my own eye doctor about right away. I wanted to make sure I could do whatever possible to not lose any vision and year after year on my regular check ups it has been unfortunate but my eye pressure has been steadily getting higher. I have glaucoma, it’s still early but at some point in my life I may not see the same. I will do what I can to fight this obviously. The doctors would ask me a lot if I worked out which is a plus to stave away the increased eye pressure but they said not to do any of those ‘yoga poses’ where I was upside down. That’s great because I really don’t do yoga often so I ignored the whole upside down scenario. But holding an upside down position for strict handstand push ups is honestly worse and I knew it. I ignored them for a long time. I’m sure we all turn a blind eye (pun intended) to what experts such as doctors or coaches say from time to time.
My mom has gotten worse though, I see her decline and this time heeding to caution is something I have to do. Asking more questions now from not only my doctor but my mom’s specialist I see that it is necessary for me to stop any movement where I am inverted. It is what’s best for me and the longevity and quality of my life. The sacrifice is I see everyone progress at things I love doing. I want to join in on the fun but I know I shouldn’t and it’s a bummer. I can’t go upside down unless I want my life upside down. No more ignoring orders because that doesn’t benefit anyone. I’ll do other things and learn to love new movements. So when you get that news and you have to take a break or go see a specialist please do it, being stubborn will only worsen what it is. Take care of yourselves and don’t turn your life upside down.