By Dr. Doreen Wiggins for Yoga Medicine®.
The last few weeks amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, have been a new frontier in the 28 years that I have practiced medicine. As a breast cancer surgeon, I am often the first caregiver a woman meets when facing a new cancer diagnosis. Me leading the charge, expediting a multidisciplinary plan and moving swiftly to treatment has been a way to help curtail anxiety for my patients. The viral pandemic has created an unseen enemy amidst the delivery of patient care. Moving surgeries, delaying standard treatment for less invasive cancer care, so not to compromise the immune function an individual’s health while awaiting the surge of the pandemic. Nationally and locally, new guidelines for treatment have emerged based on the need for systemic preparation to care for ventilated viral patients had lead to closing operating rooms, furloughing some healthcare providers, reassigning others. Paradigm shifts of uncertainty for all of us, well beyond medicine. Each decision I have made with thoughtfulness and compassion, bears weight for uncharted trajectory of patient care.
Bewildering as our circumstance is, my yoga training has taught me to dive within. To cultivate compassion for myself and others as I settle in to the discomfort of this moment. Realizing we are all connected, and that such immobilizing circumstances can be liberated with mindfulness to quell fear and isolation.
There are many things we can do as the Yoga Medicine Community. Our intentions, thoughts and actions, the sum of our choices can help others during this pandemic. In times of great challenge, is an opportunity to stand witness to uncertainty and fear, yet move beyond to inspire elevation. Inspiring elevation is the embodiment of altruism, connection to all, reaching through suffering to uplift, and create change within ourselves and others. Reach out to others, check in on neighbors and loved ones. Stay connected to your community.