Monday
Feb222016

Showgirl's Guide to Having a Hysterectomy - 28 Days Post-Op

  I thought I would check in and report what it's like now.  I am 28 days post-op and am happy to say that I have had all the support needed to not rush my recovery. This is SO important! Lifting things over 10 pounds too soon or allowing anything to enter your vagina before the doctor's okay can lead to adhesions or infection- neither of which you want trust me! I have returned to doing my own laundry in the basement laundromat of my building but only one small (light) load a day, washing dishes, and de-cluttering papers etc... around the house. I also have been going out daily for a walk (I can not walk my poodle though which is sad).  The distance depends on how I feel but is about 4 blocks minimum now. I started with half a block walks at about 2 weeks post-op and now can run small errands to stores. I just have to make sure to not buy anything that adds up to 10 pounds or more.  Tomorrow I have a hair appointment and it will be my first time on the subway but I am feeling okay with it. I'm also taking 2mg of melatonin every night with my vitamins so I can sleep as long as possible. Sleep allows the body to regenerate.

(Movie Star seeing if I'm ready to wake up).

  As for my mental adjustment to my operation I am thrilled at how much of my life I am getting back! I had my cycle for 33 years and it was always painful but progressively became debilitating and I had started blocking out 3 days a month where I couldn't make plans. THREE days a month is 36 days a year - over a month of my life every year spent throwing up, crying, pushing myself through things I couldn't cancel even though I had horrible amounts of pain and even passing out from cramping. It adds up to 1,188 days of torture- give or take a few. My future planned number of days set aside for my cycle are ZERO! I had issues besides my cycle that showed up with ultra sound and that led me to my hysterectomy. If I had never gone to the GYN or had discussions with my other friends who have vaginas and ovaries I would NEVER have gotten to this place of freedom. Please discuss your body and it's functions with community and medical providers and healers. I'm so glad I did.

Monday
Feb222016

2016 Calendar to Benefit Legends of BHOF

Grab yours now- we have already raised $4,600 for this wonderful cause! All profits go to a fund that helps pay for Legends of Burlesque in need of assistance to attend the Burlesque Hall of Fame Reunion each year in Las Vegas! These are quality collector's items as well as a good deed done! Calendar includes Neo Burlesque Stars paying tribute to Bulesque Legends in the form of a styled reproduction of a classic pose- you won't wanna miss Dirty Martini as Jennie Lee, Julie Atlas Muz as Candy Barr or myself as Liz Renay! 

Tuesday
Feb162016

World Famous *BOB* Merchandise!

IGNITED NY is a NYC based art project.... they set up the cut out at legendary NYC Rock n Roll Party SQUEEZEBOX at Don Hill's...I stepped in it and a flash went off! Now you can have the final result years later....World Famous *BOB* lighters. 


Monday
Feb082016

14 Days After My Hysterectomy! *Showgirl's Guide*

  I can't BELIEVE two weeks ago I was in the waiting area for surgery losing my mind at this time (2pm).  I feel like I've been making great progress. Now please know if you're going to have a hysterectomy or already have that EVERY BODY HEALS DIFFERENTLY.  It can be dangerous to compare your recovery to someone elses and this is why the online community I found for information and support has been so valuable! It's called Hyster Sisters and here is the link (click on logo):

I found not only great support in the threads of women who were very generous in sharing but also videos of how to give yourself the BEST chance of healing well for every recovery period:

1-2 Weeks after surgery video (click snail):

Honestly you'll find everything you need for support there as well as great suggestions.  So some surprising things that happened to me after surgery were not being able to have a bowel movement (I'm going there) and a few hot flashes (keep in mind I still have my ovaries).  So this is what I did (you should always check with your doctor for what's best for you), I drank A LOT of water...and herbal tea unsweetened....and took Miralax and Colace stool softener EVERYDAY and after 3 days and still nothng I used a suppository and was fine right away.  Everything was back and working but the most imprtant thing is that I stopped the Miralax but continued the Colace for the entire time that I was on Percocet.  Opiates cause constipation.  I'm off of the opiates now and using 600mg of Ibuprofen every 6 hours and feel fine.  I did use the Percocet as directed and was on it every 4 hours for the first few days and then every 6 hours after that for 10 days total.  I don't see any reason in "toughing it out". I was in pain so I took the medicine but I did notice the last couple of days I took it I could stretch it to every 8 hours.  This is how I knew that I was getting better. It really is the little things at first. My couple of hot flashes coud be related to a temporary disturbance in the performance of the ovaries due to the trauma of the surgery. I will ask my doctor on my first follow up this week. 

  My amazing community (friends and family) have been showing up for me in great ways.  I've had a friend come and make a gorgeous organic salad for all of us for dinner, wonderful catching up sessions have arrived on the phone from my West Coast family and in the mail in the forms of cards and gifts from all over! Whether it's fresh flowers being brought or just a text asking me how I'm doing I know that this love and care is speeding up my recovery. I suggest that you don't be afraid to ask for support and help.  I emailed my closest circle and let them know weeks in advance what was happening and let them know that I would love visitors and calls during my month of at home recovery.

(awesome salad from Lucky!)


(tulips from Kate <3)

  A challenge for me right now is I feel better so I will go to do something that is not sugggested at this stage in my recovery like pick up something over 10 pounds or bend all the way over to the floor to pick something up.  My poodle named Movie Star is 10 pounds now and it's SO hard to not pick her up - we bond on grooming sessions and walking and I can't do either with her right now. I asked two of my dear friends to come over and "walk me and the dog" and that was great! I got out and had the fun of watching her be walked with us.

(me and my daughter Movie Star)

  My Husbear has been my greatest source of strength. He has fed me, cleaned the house, hosted several of my visitors, brought me endless cups of tea, wiped my feet with wet wipes because I couldn't reach them in the shower, ran to the store for me a million times, took over the grooming of Movie Star, and most importantly made me laugh everyday. It's such a wonderful feeling of joy to know that I am married to the man of my dreams and we can carry each other through anything. I'll post next week and do hope that this has proved helpful. 

(me and my Awesome Husbear at Arcade Fire)

Slow and Steady Wins the Race,

World Famous *BOB* 



Thursday
Jan282016

3 Days After Surgery!

I am writing this from the comfort of my recently purchased automatic reclining sofa from Raymour & Flannigan, (can't suggest buying a great recliner enough- I slept in it my first night home).  I had my hysterectomy (ovaries in tact but everything else gone) on Monday.  I was all packed and ready and had even ordered my car service ahead of time. I made a list of what I would need a few days before my surgery with reminders on it such as, "leave wedding ring at home."  Over the next few days if I remembered something I would add it to the list. Here's my show girl trunk:

 Not a fan of fasting I actually found the no liquids rule to be even harder than fasting but kept my positive attitude and rode up to the Bronx listening to Fleetwood Mac and holding my Husbear's hand. Once I arrived I was asked to take a number and enjoy the view which was incredible....

Then I got admitted and was asked to wait to be called into another waiting area for my surgery...

 

 I chose what to wear to the hospital carefully. No perfume or makeup for safety reasons but I did make sure to wear my favorite t-shirt. It's from Mod Cloth and yes they still have it (click on photo below for link to buy it)! It's a cat cop that says, "Who's laughing MEOW?"  It's a sure way to meet other cat lovers in any public space and sure enough it made me a friend in the waiting room! I can face ANYTHING as long as I'm allowed to bring humor with me. 

 Boy did I need my humor....so something you should know is you may wait all day in that waiting area so YES bring a friend and some music.  Watching the tv they give you can help until it goes to a food commercial or coke ad and then you find you're mouth watering over things you'd normally turn your nose up at. Also you can swish water in your mouth and spit it out to relieve dryness - just DON'T SWALLOW!  I was scheduled to go into surgery at 11:20 am with a 9:00 am call time but of course this always prepared show girl was there at 8:00 am.  Sadly I didn't get into surgery until after 4pm!  The only thing that saved me was my Husbear ... he found ways to make me smile and was even game to put a rubber glove over his head at one point but they were too small!  The other thing that distracted me for a bit was working out my surgery fashion.....

 

Finally it was time and I had my Husbear play We Are The Champions by Queen as I walked away into surgery. I was going to save it for when I left the hospital but the wait was so hard I felt like I deserved to hear it as I walked away.  My team was AMAZING and the last thing I remember saying is., "I perform on large stages and small gay clubs...big stages and tiny gays!" In my defense they had asked me where I perform.  I woke up to my super cute gay anesthesiologist saying he would come see me perform.  Then my surgeon came in and asked for my Husbear's number and called him for me.  Within moments I was looking at the love of my life Erik and best friend Yosh.  I felt tired, sore (especially my throat- from the breathing tube), and woozy. 

ALL I WANTED WAS WATER!  They slowly started giving me ice chips and luckily I wasn't nauseous. I was in surgery for about 2.5 hours and by 9:00 pm I had my room.

 

I spoke in my first entry about the importance of bringing gifts for your nurses with you. You don't have to spend a lot of money at all just make a gift bag of snacks and write a thank you on it. My night nurses were Sonya and Shaniqua and they were SO loving and helpful that I was instantly grateful I had brought them something.  *NOTE*- YOU DO NOT GET A LOT OF SLEEP IN THE HOSPITAL - people come in and take your vitals every couple of hours, assess your pain and even take blood in the early hours right before the vampires rest :)  You are paying A LOT of money to be there so although I wanted to rest all of the attentiveness made me feel safe and cared for.  I was just surprised at how little rest I got.  My first meal was a gluten free pb&j that I brought with me and it was superb!  I only had a few bites but then sleep came quickly...

 

The next morning I was NOT given a gluten free meal- *ALWAYS REMIND EVERY NURSE YOU HAVE OF ANY FOOD ALLERGIES YOU HAVE.  I had it on a wristband on me and was still served wheat toast. Thank Goddess I was awake enough to not eat it and remind my new morning nurses who were also WONDERFUL ~ thanks Carol and Janet!  I ate the eggs and drank the coffee and asked for more pain meds.  There is no need to be a supershero when it comes to pain - stay ahead of your pain with your meds in the beginning. I only today (Thursday) have lessened my meds from every 4 hours to every 6 now.  You want to heal not suffer.  

 

 

After everything checked out and my nurse Carol let me take a nice nap I was released from the hospital with my prescriptions and instructions around 1:30.  I was wheeled out in style with a poodle pillow my sister Melissa gave me.  PLEASE BRING A PILLOW TO HOLD AGAINST YOUR TUMMY and TO PUT BETWEEN YOU and THE SEATBELT.  I had my Husbear get a cab and off we went!

I have been walking VERY slowly and will share my tips for how to poop after surgery in my next post (trust me it's important) -I need to rest for now.  I'll leave you with this image...my poodle nurse Movie Star and my fuzzy slippers. Love and Courage, World Famous *BOB*