Tuesday, November 10, 2015

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: One Year Later...

Today is my one-year Hyster-Anniversary! 

I am doing great and my entire journey before and after has been a good one and I do NOT regret one thing about my decision to have a hysterectomy (LAVH). 

With all of life's ups and downs, the best thing ever is: I NEVER, EVER, EVER THINK ABOUT IT!!! 

So for those of you who may be pre- or newly post- hysterectomy, believe in yourself and just know everything will be amazing "on the other side". 

Blessings to all of you, my Hyster-Sisters. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Reflections... 1970

Feeling a little reflective right now... 

Today is my birthday and my dad gifted me with the LA Times (he has saved it all this time) from the day I was born: May 5, 1970

Front page was the Kent State anti-war protest student killings, the Vietnam War, and teacher strikes... 

Quite sad to think that 45 years later, it seems not much has changed in our world.... 

Think about it and do something for positive change today! I have faith in YOU! 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: Back to it...

I made it!

Today I am 7 weeks and 1 day post op.  Time sure flies...  The holidays have come and are almost gone...  I got through my "5-week meltdown" (thank goodness!) and I am getting closer to 100% back in action.  It feels good.  I have had a number of private lessons with some of my wonderful students over the past few weeks as well as over-the-phone Pilates Mat lessons. With each lesson I am getting stronger and stronger, and ready to jump back into my busy weekly bellydance class schedule.  My 2015 classes start next week and I am super excited!

Dance, Dance, DANCE!!!  ♥

My journey with my hysterectomy has been a real trip....  From the day I made the decision with my doctor to do the surgery, to my surgery day...  then healing...  resting...  more resting...  and now...  getting back to it.  I have an even more real connection with my body than before, and I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world with I all of the support I have received during this brief yet incredibly transitional time in my life.  

The coolest part of my journey (besides no more bleeding/pain/etc. - Yippee!) has been connecting and re-connecting with women who are also facing this same decision/transition as I did/am in their lives right now and being able to talk and offer support to them.  While a hysterectomy is a common surgery for women, there is so much mystery and dare I say "taboo" linked to the subject.  I am amazed and baffled at the lack of medical information readily available to women about the subject of their bodies and the fear most women have about it. My advice to all women out there is: TALK to your doctor and ASK as many questions as you can think of about what you are experiencing with your body.  


Also, when making the decision to have a hysterectomy, take your time and really plan ahead.  Truly, you are out for the count anywhere from 6-8 weeks (or longer), and each surgery recovery is different for each woman.  As I have mentioned before, I had an LAVH (laporoscopy assisted vaginal hysterectomy -  removed: uterus, cervix & tubes) and my doctor was/is simply fantastic.  My healing has been rather quick and my doc is pleased with my progress, however I still get tired easily and some days I have a bit of nausea.  I take each day as it comes, and do what I can, but I also let myself REST.  If I feel like I need to lay down for awhile, I do, and even though I am dancing right now in moderation and gearing up for my regular dance schedule, it really kicks my ass!  Good thing my kitties are always ready for a good nap...

Nurse Natasha says it's time for bed...  ♥

So, with all of this talk of resting, it is just as important to be active.  Finding the daily balance of the two can be difficult, but can be achieved.  I walk for over a mile everyday (when not dancing or doing Pilates) and I *KNOW* that walking (along with being vegan, taking my vitamins and being pretty fit to begin with) has put me on the healing path much quicker than some. Also, I still wear my abdominal binder (I named her Lucy) when I walk, drive, sleep, and anytime I feel like my abs need a little extra support.  I cannot express enough how I believe this simple thing has helped with my healing!

My belly-binder and best friend, Lucy  ;)

It is almost the New Year and I am grateful.  Grateful through the ups and downs, and for everything else I have gone through to get to this point in my life.  I am stronger than I have ever been in so many ways and pretty much ready to conquer the world ~ So get ready, here I come!

Comin' atcha!  :)

Lastly, here are some encouraging words for the New Year from me to you:
Listen to your body and do right by her ~ She will return the favor and do right by you.

I promise.

Thanks for checking in...  Happy New Year!

There are some wonderful hysterectomy support groups for women that I am a part of.  If you want their info, just let me know.  ♥

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: Ups and Downs...


Today I am 5 weeks and 2 days post op...  It is kind of hard for me to believe that it has been over a month since my surgery.  All and all I am doing very well and healing more and more every day.  The support from my family and friends has been wonderful, but I am at the point now on this journey that since I have a lot of (forced) down time I am starting to go a little stir-crazy...

I am still unable to really work (namely: dance) and while I have my post op Dr. appointment tomorrow (12/18/14) and some Private Lessons lined up for the weekend (since I *know* my doc will clear me to dance in moderation) I can't help but feel a little uncertain about my future....

As I have mentioned before my financial fear is real, and sometimes that fear leads to a little anxiety.  

I have my good days = Feeling optimistic and excited about the New Year coming up and all the opportunities that are waiting for me

And I have my bad days = Feeling down in the dumps that I am "stuck at home" and unable to jump back into work and earn a living and take care of business

Thank goodness that I have a little $$ in savings, and have sold a few things online to keep me afloat...

I *know* I have to rest, and I *know* in a few months I will be feeling amazing and ready to conquer the world, but the "right now" is getting a little hard.  I am, however, able to snap out of these rough patches pretty quickly and realize this is actually a big part of the healing process.  Hormones and their effects on the brain and emotions are REAL (I still have my ovaries, so still have normal hormone production) and I need to remember that.*

By the way, I do not regret for a second my decision to have a hysterectomy.

So with that all being said, I am moving on in a positive direction and fully open to any and all opportunities that come my way.  My 2015 ATS® Bellydance classes are scheduled and on track, and I am broadening my horizons, so to speak, in terms of a career.

I hope that other women who are going through similar "ups and downs" from their hysterectomy (or other life changing surgery)  find comfort in knowing: "You are not alone."

Know this: If I can do it, you can do it!

Thanks for checking in...

*Afternote: I have been told by a fellow hyster-sister that what I am going through right now can be referred to as "The 5-week meltdown" and there is light at the end of the tunnel...  Good to know and WHEW!!  :)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: So Thankful...

Today I am 2 weeks and 3 days post op, and it just so happens to be Thanksgiving Day.  I have so much to be thankful for, but I will try to keep this short and sweet...

I am amazed at how well I am healing from my surgery, physically and mentally. I am completely off my prescription pain meds (I took myself off early) and am down to only 1-2 OTC ibuprofen pills a day.  My incisions are healing up nicely with no trace of the incision in my belly button and the two lower incisions becoming fainter and fainter every day. I have my good days and bad days, mostly now dealing with fatigue and a little nausea...  Little reminders that I need to rest...  Oh yeah, that...  ;)

My belly 2 weeks and 3 days post op...
I am so grateful for my Dr.'s skills ♥

I have had a lot of love and support from family, friends and my students, which makes everything soooooooo much easier.  Receiving "get well" cards in the mail and little messages online definitely makes my day.  I even have some of my students lined up for Private Lessons at the end of December (after my follow up appointment with my Dr. of course) for which I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to start the New Year with a bang!

Funny "get well" cards from my students and friends...  
You'd think they knew me or something...  ;)

Then of course, I have my caretakers...  My dad has been super supportive and will do anything I ask him to that will help me. I am so lucky to have a dad like I do!  

My boyfriend has been a dream during "all of this" and is always there for me, daily on the phone and chatting online. He lives over an hour from me and whereas before my surgery we would take turns driving to each other on the weekends, he has been driving to my place every weekend since to be with me.  (My Dr. cleared me to drive after 2 weeks, but I am still not going to push it by driving long distances until probably after 4 weeks)  He is on his way over to my place today for our first real Thanksgiving together - We have been together for almost 3 years, and this is the holiday we spend separate with our families...  but not this year.  It makes my heart happy that we get to have a nice quiet day together with an all vegan meal.  It's just what this bellydancer ordered.  ♥

The cats are turning into pretty good nurses...  Except for the fact that they can be pests at times, like jumping on my belly, picking fights with each other on the bed while I am trying to sleep, making messes for me to clean up and getting into mischief, etc.  However, the purrs and snuggles make up for all the "bad kitty" moments any day...

Nurse Natasha making sure I stay warm and cozy  ♥

I had this idea to post all of my merchandise online (as a Facebook group) since I could really use the extra dough during this time, and honestly, it wasn't doing me any good to just have it in boxes waiting for the next vending event....  Thank goodness I did this!  I have had a lot of great orders and wow, such support.  I am very thankful to everyone who has purchased a "Politti's Pretties" item or two - Your orders are helping me earn the money I need to stay a float for the next month before my classes start back up again in January...  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

"Politti's Pretties" on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1535269640051157/

So, all and all, this bellydancer's journey with her hysterectomy has been a good one.  I hope that any of you reading this who may be faced with this decision in the future find hope and inspiration in my posts.  It's no picnic, this hysterectomy thing, but I *know* it will all be worth every bit very soon and for this, I give thanks.

Renenutet is the Egyptian the goddess of plenty, and good fortune... an annual harvest festival was held in her honor during which a quantity of the best quality produce was dedicated to her...

Happy Thanksgiving ~ I am thankful for YOU!

More later....  xo

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: Belly Up!

Today I am 1 week and 2 days post op.  Still feeling pretty good and getting stronger everyday.  I wanted to share my belly today, and how well she is healing:

This is my belly the day of my surgery after I got home...  As I mentioned before, my Dr. knows I am a bellydancer and she told me to draw a line on my abs before surgery where I wear my skirt/belt so she could make my 2 lower incisions "below the belt" so to speak ~ And she did!  Have I mentioned how RAD my Dr. is? I am so lucky to have her!  ♥

This is my belly at 5 days post op.  The little swelling I had has gone down and I have no bruising.  At this stage of the healing game, while the outside looks good, the inside hurts a lot...  I have starting weaning myself off of the full dosage of my pain meds and walk everyday, but there are some moments my body says "ENOUGH!" and gets super crabby and hurty...  :(

I would like to take this moment to introduce you to my abdominal binder.  Her name is Lucy and she is currently my best friend.  I asked for her at the hospital and my nurse got me one...  I attribute my lack of "swelly belly" to her and she has really helped with pain management.  If a hysterectomy (or any ab surgery) is in your future ~ Get one of these!!!  You will be soooo glad you did!  :)


Day 7, the medi-tape over my belly button came off after my shower and this is what I found - NO SCAR!!!  I am completely in awe of my Dr.'s skill and how she kept her promise to me that the incisions would be so small that no one would ever see them.  You cannot even tell by looking at my belly button that I have had surgery... Now THIS is a bellydancer's dream come true.  ♥

Now, I don't want you think that my whole hysterectomy thing was only dependent on whether or not I ended up with scars on my belly.  I was in 100% regardless of the "scar outcome".  I needed this procedure done to better my quality of life.  I am, however, incredibly grateful my Dr. is a highly skilled surgeon and a really cool chick.  I give thanks everyday.

Now if only the  internal "healing pain" would go away!  I have succeeded in cutting down my pain med dosage from 6 pills a day to just 2 pills a day, but I need to remember there is a reason they tell you to rest for 6-8 weeks...   ;)

Thanks for checking in on me...  More later...  xo

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: It's Kind of a Big Deal...

Today I am 5 days post op and feeling pretty good. I have been taking it easy (which is *very* hard for me!) by taking small steps towards my recovery.  The little things are the greatest successes: Walking around the neighborhood, taking a shower and washing my hair, cooking a little meal for myself, caring for my kitties, etc...  One thing I still cannot do in my daily activities is clean the cat box (no bending or lifting)...  Thank goodness my dad and my boyfriend don't mind helping with this!  And of course the other thing I cannot do is DANCE.  I do, however, have a lot of time right now.  Time to think, time to read, time to rest.  It is during this "time" that a lot of things come to mind and my goal is to share these things.  Hopefully to empower my fellow dancers and friends, and to help others to understand exactly what a hysterectomy does to a woman: In this case, a woman who is a bellydancer.

Nurse Natasha says "Good Morning!"  ♥

A hysterectomy  now a-days is a fairly common surgery, in fact, I am sure you know one or more ladies who have had one.  The key word to remember here is "surgery", and a hysterectomy is MAJOR surgery.  There are *many* different types of hysterectomies and all are individualized to the woman.  I consider myself lucky, I had an LAVH (laparoscopic assisted vaginal hysterectomy) removing my uterus, cervix & tubes.  I got to keep my ovaries which I am so thankful for. I have 3 tiny incisions in my abdomen (from the laparoscopic part) and the removal of my uterus, cevix & tubes was done vaginally. This type of hysterectomy (assuming there are no complications) should be a reduced healing time of 6 weeks.  I took the rest of November and all of December off from teaching my ATS® Bellydance classes (and of course performing), so I could return in January "better than ever".  Now this is where the "bellydancer" side of things comes into play...

Having this hysterectomy was one the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, and not for the reasons you are probably thinking.  It was absolutely the *right* decision, but hard nonetheless.  The surgery itself was a piece of (vegan-gluten-free) cake.  I was not afraid of having surgery and completely trusted my OB/GYN, the hard part was what I am going through now: NOT WORKING.  Remember, I am self-employed, I am a bellydance teacher and performer, in other words: an artist.  When I am not teaching, I am not earning money.  I am lucky that I have medical insurance that covered my surgery costs, but now I am eeking by the best that I can with everything else.  Of course I "planned" for my surgery, saving every penny I earned from my classes, but things "came up" (as they often do) and they kind of left me hanging, and not in a good way.

I know that everything will work out (I trust the Universe), but I really want people to understand that this surgery was and IS a really a big deal to me for oh so many reasons, the biggest being financial fear.  I am bettering my quality of  life for the future, yet making deep sacrifices in the present to do so.  I just hope I can get back to teaching a few Private Lessons before the end of the year ~ Cross your fingers I can and that my students are willing!

Thanks for listening...  More later  xo