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10/24/2013: Summer Come and Gone

10/24/2013: Summer Come and Gone
October 24, 2013

by Dr. Lita

Well folks the summer of 2013 has come and gone. It was the best summer I have had in a few years. It all began for me with the 2013 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. It was our 30th Gathering; and it was the very best. The dancing and singing was super great. The Music in the Pit and on Stage 49 were also the best. This year brought out many people who I have not seen in years.
Two weeks after the Gathering I had my third annual post liver transplant check up at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. After the life threatening issues I experienced last December when the Hepatitis C treatment ended, I was not looking forward to this Mayo Clinic appointment. However after two full days of blood tests, X-Rays, Scans, and other exams the consultation with the doctor was way better than I was anticipating. The doctor reviewed the results with the three of us (Derek, Melonie and me) and said that I was in pretty good shape. My liver was doing very good and over all I was quite healthy. There was mention of the Hep C level. The Hep C is still there, however was somewhat low and not raising it’s ugly head at the time. I was told that in comparison to most people at the three year post transplant exam, I was in the top five percent. At the end of the consultation, the Doctor told me to go and have a great summer and I did just that. October Dr. Lita
With that good news, The three of us headed out of the Mayo Clinic with big smiles ANI_Oct_Litaand onto the summer powwow trail. first stop was Cherokee North Carolina. And from there we zig-zagged back and forth across the country in our big black truck, traveling over twenty five thousand miles. As the summer went on, my dancing skills were returning. I was feeling my old form as a traditional dancer and more natural each week. My dresses each weigh about 30 pounds. Before I left the hospital after the liver transplant, the doctors told me that the complete recovery and feeling like my old self would take a long time. Ifound that to be true. As my dancing skills and strength was improving, I notice and could feel sensations across my stomach as the nerves and in that area of my body where the incision was made, began to tingle and itch as they were waking up and becoming sensitive. This was a strange feeling, but I was very pleased to have it happening. Each weekend I was registered as a contest dancer. I danced hard. And as a very competitive dancer, I was a bit disappointed with the results of the contest at the end of the powwows, as seldom was my name called as a winner. Before I took ill in 2008, I was a pretty good dancer, and was placing in the competition nearly every weekend. One of the personal highlights of the summer of 2013 for me happened in Minnesota at the Shokapee powwow, when Madelyn goodwill (traditional dancer)told me that her friend had video recorded our contest and after they had seen the video, agreed that Dr. Lita (me) was back and looking like her champion dancing self. I was elated! But the times have changed and I have to admit that I had to look at the many other reasons for dancing. I enjoy my style of dance. I am very grateful to the generous gift of life provided to me by the donor of my liver. So I celebrate that great gift each time I step into the dance arena. And most of all I am dancing, because I can!
In between the powwow weekends My family & I were also able to take in our second passion. That being the concert music scene. We took in several shows by some of our most favorite groups. I believe that a lot of my continued recovery is based upon the feelings I receive from the dancing and the drums at powwows, the music I enjoy and the continued prayers and ceremonies on my behalf. We are now back in Albuquerque, and settling into home life, which offers another world of enjoyment for me. Just a few days ago, for the first time in five years, I was able to take a long bike ride with Derek. We traveled on our bikes for about a ten mile journey through the nature park (The Bosque) along the Rio Grande River, which passes through Albuquerque. I have also enjoyed again the beautiful and colorful balloons which float over our house during the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. I am also very happy to be back home with our fantastic Maine Coon Cat, Spooky. Spooky is my certified companion animal.
Throughout the fall, winter and spring seasons I will continue my recovery by focusing on my exercise conditioning, and diet while the three of us must once again turn our focus to the production of the greatest show in Indian Country, The 2014 Gathering of Nations Pow Wow. I hope to see everyone who may read my blog and so many others in 2014 at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow.