A year ago, my doctor discovered a small lump during my annual pelvic exam, and ultrasound revealed that it was a fibroid. It also revealed that I additionally have a very large fibroid on the back wall of my uterus that's pressing backwards, and if it grows, it could squeeze my colon shut, which could kill me. (It's also pulling my uterus out of alignment, but that's far less of a concern to me, as I'm child-free by choice and intend to stay that way.)
We've adopted a "wait and see" approach, and so far, all is well, but if the big one grows, I'm going to need to get it treated, and I'd rather do it on my terms than as emergency surgery when my colon backs up. Here's the issue: I'm a bellydancer who's only recently gotten good enough to perform, and all of the treatment options I was preliminarily presented with sound like they'd stop me from dancing for months, and perhaps set my performance skills back by a year or more:
- Starving the fibroids with pellets: it's non-surgical, but the amount of pain involved sounds daunting. Prolonged abdominal pain will mean no practice or performance until the process is over, which means skill loss. Also, it's not a cure, so I might have to do it repeatedly.
- Surgically removing the fibroids: this would involve cutting through my abdominal muscles. From what I've read on bellydance recovery from a c-section, it takes anywhere from 6 to 24 months for a dancer to regain full abdominal control after having her abs cut through. Also, it's not a cure, so again, I might have to do it repeatedly.
- Hysterectomy: see above about cutting abdominal muscles. I've read that it's difficult to get a vaginal hysterectomy if you've never given birth, and I'm not sure "but I'm a bellydancer and I need my abdominals to remain intact" will convince my health insurance company to authorize the procedure if it will be more difficult/more costly. The up-side is that I will never have to have fibroid treatment again.
I'm having a follow-up pelvic ultrasound in a week, and depending on what it reveals, I may need to make a treatment decision. If we had Star Trek transporter technology, I'd just have my uterus beamed out and get it over with, since I'm not using it for anything and don't ever intend to. Are there any bellydancers (or other dancers/athletes that need agile and strong abs) in this community that have been through this and can tell me what the recovery will be like for any of the above options? I'd welcome hearing from people who've had c-sections as well, since that's probably got a similar muscular recovery time to a hysterectomy.