A powerful journey from living with an artificial heart to a heart transplant....

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mistress of the Pole

I'm sure many of you will find amusement in this post.

I have started taking some dance/aerobics classes. Two per week actually. One class I take is yoga. It's great for relaxation, stretching and flexibility. I do not perform any moves that require me to be completely upside-down. I have been cautioned against being in a downward facing position for an extended period of time. The blood rushes into my heart and may cause it additional difficulty to pump. I always secure my backpack by the waste band nice and tight so it doesn't hit me in the head when I go into down-dog. And when I lay on my back I just put my backpack flat on the floor beside me. Since I have the LVAD, I am not supposed to lay on my stomach. Luckily there aren't many moves on the stomach. It is very clear that some people wonder why this girl exercises with a backpack but I think I do pretty good.

The other class I take is the more, let's say, exotic-type class. Once a week I take pole dancing lessons. You read that right. Ok. Laugh a little. And laugh a little more.

I will tell you that it is very sexy with a backpack. Ha! Obviously I do it for the exercise benefit. Let me tell you, it is a real workout! I chose pole dancing because there aren't any moves on my stomach and there isn't any jumping. Those particular restrictions really limit the aerobics and dance classes I can be involved in. A friend of mine said she was going to try pole dancing and I said, why not just go and see what it's like. I had so much fun! After three weeks, I'm not too bad. I have figured out how to do some moves and lower myself at a good speed. The first week was rough on my muscles and I was sore for about 5 days. The only other problem is the bruising on my knees. Most spins require the dancer to land on their knees. I was purple and blue for a while. I decided to cover my knees with gauze and tape to reduce at least some of the bruising. It's another class that people wonder why I wear my backpack. They would never guess that I have the artificial heart in there and I'm waiting for a heart transplant. I really enjoy the classes and look forward to improving!

I understand that these classes can be a risk. I have discussed certain limitations and concerns with my kinesiologist. I am aware that if any symptom was to arise to just stop and relax. I take care not to get my drive line caught on anything. I'm not going to wait to live anymore. The LVAD has made me feel significantly better that I want to get to the things I've always wanted to do. It's uplifting. I'm having a great time!


  1. You go girl. Love that you are enjoying yoga. Pole dancing -- now that sounds fun, too. You inspire me.

  2. Wow! Your are an inspiration and amazing! So, when do I get some private lessons?? In yoga that is - LOL, love your mom-in-law!!! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  3. That's awesome - good for you!!

  4. Wow I cant believe you go to dance class whilst on the transplant list!!
    Truly an inspiration to living life to the full!

  5. Classic! You'll have to keep that backpack well strapped in when you get up some speed in the spins, eh? I bet you're going to be an awesome pole dancer.