I'm afraid this is not going to be one of my funny, lighthearted blogs, although I hope it will have a happy ending.
Recently I found out that one of my longtime students has been battling cancer for the last few years.
We all have that one quintessential story of the amazing, sweet, nice, wonderful person who didn't deserve to get sick. Tyler is mine.
Tyler had been a student of mine for many years. Without knowing her very well on a personal level, I adored her and was always happy when she showed up for my class. She is a lovely, good-natured person with a graceful, easy practice and a strong and flexible body. Yoga seems like it comes naturally to Tyler, but the most striking thing about her practice is her humility.
When I last saw Tyler in class, she seemed so happy and like she had her whole life ahead of her.
She was 33 and had just gotten married when she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After being initially misdiagnosed for far too long, her cancer advanced to stage four. She has since had a complete hysterectomy, chemotherapy, and all sorts of alternative therapies.
It's always the nicest people who seem to get the short end of the stick. And of course, this story has the standard evil health conglomerate twist to make it even more dramatic.
To hear more about Tyler's fight, read more.
Nothing makes the healthcare argument more vivid than seeing a lovely person in their prime being denied of coverage when they get sick. Although Tyler had a perfectly good insurance policy when she first found out she had cancer, after two rounds of chemo her insurance company denied her any more coverage for treatment. Now on her third round of chemo, Tyler and her husband are paying for it out of their own pockets.
Luckily, she is surrounded with people who love her and are rooting for her. I attended a benefit in her honor last week at The Independent in San Francisco, where several thousand dollars were raised to help pay for her health care.
When I think of Tyler, I think of her beautiful yoga practice and the way she handled even the most challenging poses with a face of calm, radiant ease — kind of like she is now handling her cancer. She's the type of student whose energy lights up a room. I hope to see Tyler continue to light up people's lives for many years.
If you know Tyler and you want to contribute, this is the official "Fight With Tyler" web site with all the information you need: www.fightwithtyler.com
(And lots of pictures of this beautiful bright star of a woman.)