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:

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Bellydancer and Her Hysterectomy: Welcome to the Club...

Well, I am 48 hours post op and doing very well...  
In case you didn't know, I had a hysterectomy on Monday (11/10/14)  morning....
Here is my story to share, with the intention to update often as I progress through my recovery:

I am so lucky and extremely grateful for my surgery outcome (LAVH: laporoscopy assisted vaginal hysterectomy -  removed: uterus, cervix & tubes) and my wonderful doctor and surgery team. I had a little nausea upon waking up from surgery and of course pain, but my nurse took care of that right away for me, and gave me ice chips - which at that point was all I *really* wanted LOL! 

I was up and around to the amazement of my anesthesiologists and recovery nurse, dressed with hair fixed and lip gloss on (always keeping it glam, you know) 2 hours after surgery and ready to go home. My Dr. had already discharged me to go whenever I was ready. I had and still have moderate pain, but nothing worse than I have suffered over the years from my menstrual cycles.   The pain medicine (NORCO) seems to be keeping it under control and so far so good. I have a pretty high pain tolerance due to my many years of dealing with the severe pain from my period, so in a way, that is a plus for me and will definitely help in the days to come.

 I asked for an abdominal binder from my nurse and she got me one - It is currently my best friend! I highly recommend one to help keep down swelling and give support to your belly after a hysterectomy or any ab surgery. I slept ok the first night but got up every 2 hours or so to pee, which is good I suppose. Last night I slept MUCH better, only getting up twice (I think). A little bathroom tip: Rolling up a towel and holding it against your abs when you "go" after surgery - It totally helps! Best advice ever! I am hoping for a poo soon (sorry, TMI - but super important after any surgery!)....  Keeping my fingers crossed it happens today.  

My appetite is coming back: I had 2 cups of veggie broth and some toast throughout the day/eve my first day home. Yesterday I had some peanut butter toast and black coffee in the morning, veggie broth and crackers for lunch, and finally a real meal of tempeh and kale for dinner with a little chocolate for dessert.  This morning, more peanut butter toast and black coffee. I take coconut oil as a mild laxative, and started taking it actually the night before my surgery, so hopefully it will do the trick! And of course I am drinking a LOT of water....  I had my dad and my sis with me the first night (sis is an RN) to help me, and my sweet boyfriend came to see me the first night too. Today, just my dad and the kitties are here.  The kitties are being soooooo good and are wonderful nurses.

So all in all, my experience has been a good one and I wish the same for any of you waiting for your "big day". For those of you waiting for your surgery, have hope and go in with a positive attitude - It will make all the difference in the world. More later.... xo 

Here is a little photo journal of my hysterectomy day...

My "Good Luck Bunny Socks" gift from a friend ~ My surgery team let me wear them in the OR and they did the trick!  ♥

My Dr. knows I am a bellydancer, so she told me to draw a line on my abs where I wear my skirt/belt so she would make sure to make the incisions below it - And she did!  Of course I added a "thank you" note to her ♥

Part of my recovery team: Nurse Natasha ♥

These beauties were waiting for me on my front porch Monday when I got home from the hospital - From one of my dear dancer friends ♥