Life After Hysterectomy & New Experiences In Belize

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5 Things To Be Thankful For Today: Including 8 Weeks Post Surgery, Making Meaningful Connections & A Life Changing Out Of Country Experience Hiking In Lamanai, Belize | Shaunda Necole

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Carnival Cruise Line sponsored my shore excursion in Belize. 

All opinions are my own.


What is life like after hysterectomy?

I can hardly believe that it’s been eight weeks since my tumultuous hysterectomy surgery!

Eight weeks pre-hysterectomy, I was one of a group of nine bloggers and media professionals invited by Carnival Cruise Line on a PR and bloggers mastermind retreat.

With no other competing travel obligations on my calendar, I excitedly accepted the invitation!

I said yes, and then a few weeks post-surgery I thought about backing out when I didn’t feel so well.

Hindsight is 20/20, and I’m so thankful that I said yes to this probably once in a lifetime experience!

Once in a lifetime, because it was the perfect combination of nine strangers, four destinations and one cruise ship.

A mastermind experience and the perfect retreat for recovery, both physically and mentally, after major abdominal surgery.


Tour of the Mayan Temples | Shaunda Necole
The first Mayan Temple we visited in Lamanai, Belize.



Cupshe cropped bathing suit top  |  SheIn similar biker shorts  |  Similar Nike sneakers  |  Similar Steve Madden fanny pack  |  Free People earrings  |  Julie Vos bracelet  |  Similar Etsy ring  |  Free People sunglasses  |  Similar gold bangle bracelets  |


What to wear on a cruise? Julie Vos cuff bracelet | Shaunda Necole-
At the port of Belize headed to our Lamanai Mayan Ruins excursion tour.


Carnival Vista Western Caribbean Cruise - Belize | Shaunda Necole
Sailing away from Carnival Cruise Ship Vista to the port of Belize.


Beautiful rainbow welcome to Belize | Shaunda Necole
A beautiful rainbow welcomes us to Belize!


At the port of Belize | Shaunda Necole


Welcome to Lamanai - Belize shore excursion | Shaunda Necole




Lamanai, Belize peninsula pier | Shaunda Necole


Belize island waters | Shaunda Necole


Carnival Cruise Ship Crew in Lamanai, Belize- | Shaunda Necole
Welcome to the jungle! Six of us from our mastermind retreat entering the tropical forest of Lamanai, Belize.


Hiking the Mayan Ruins - Belize | Shaunda Necole
Photo- Jenna Sparks Photography | Me beginning my transformation: walking into the woods and coming out taller than the trees!


Hysterectomy Recovery What No One Tells You


5 things I’m thankful for today, post-hysterectomy recovery and post-cruise ship crew— making meaningful connections and forming new partnerships for growth personally and in biz

1. “I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.” —Henry David Thoreau

Saying yes to this opportunity has been one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself!

My journey to wellness involved new people and new experiences.

Without knowing it at the time, I gave myself permission to embark on a remarkable recovery. Starting with a beacon of light— my hope. Something to look forward to and to get well for.


Give and take Escoba - Belize | Shaunda Necole
The give and take tree provides material to make brooms. Sweep out the old to make room for the new!


Welcome To Lamanai, Belize & Mayan Temples | Shaunda Necole
Black orchid is the official flower of Belize.


All Spice Plant in Belize | Shaunda Necole
All spice grows here!


2. “You and I are more than friends. We’re like a really small gang.” —anonymous

Social media put me on the map, but relationships grew my business.

This cruise retreat experience is evidence of relationships being the fastest way to grow in business. Part of our exclusive invitation onboard came with the expectation to give a presentation about our individual niche in the digital space. 

More than just a business trip, I left with eight new friends! We’ve named our group “Cruise Ship Crew.” We still keep in touch (some of us have mailed pen-pal letters with gifts) and we’re posting and tagging each other on a regular on social media. 

I couldn’t have imagined that there would be such a strong bond formed amongst the group as a whole (not cliques and not pairs). For these relationships, I will be forever grateful. We were meant to be.


Lamanai Trees in Belize | Shaunda Necole


Tropical Forest Trees in Lamanai, Belize


Hiking the Mayan Ruins In Belize | Shaunda Necole


Nike Just Do It - Hiking In Belize | Shaunda Necole


3. “Your newness brings a lot more obvious flaws.” —Steve Harvey

I may have mastered my presentation on what I already know— that relationships are the common thread to tie our business.

But what I didn’t know is what I didn’t know! 

I learned so much from each mastermind presentation, especially about my blog and things that I was doing all wrong! I took away actionable advice, along with new ways to grow and monetize my site.

My brand reach, exposure and level of influence have already increased after implementation of what I learned from our seven-day group mastermind.

It’s a good sign you’re in the right place when you’re not the smartest person in the room!

My new group of colleagues turned friends have inspired me with what I learned from them. I’m exploring more out of state opportunities, I’ve infused new automation apps into my business and I’ve joined new online communities, aka tribes!


Carnival cruise shore excursion - Tropical Forest, Belize | Shaunda Necole


Mayan Temple face - Lamanai, Belize | Shaunda Necole
The first of the Lamanai Mayan Ruins Temples on our hike.


4. “Liberation is forever breaking the bonds that confine you to a single location.” —Timothy Ferris

I’m thankful for the liberation I gave myself to keep on keeping on. Birthing new experiences after my major hysterectomy surgery.

Even when I felt uncomfortable and out of place in my own skin, I faced the fear and went anyway!

My surgery recovery was like trying to reclaim my body. I’m thankful I didn’t let those few weeks of uncertainty stunt my growth physically or mentally. I got up and gout out (literally, out of the country)!


Mayan Ruins Temple - Lamanai, Belize | Shaunda Necole


I took a walk in the forest and came out taller than the trees. In Belize | Shaunda Necole
On the climb up the temple, overlooking Lamanai.


Take a fanny pack on your Carnival shore excursion in Belize
Me after our climb to the top of this temple!




5. “Motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing— that’s why we recommend it daily.” —Zig Ziglar

In seven days, I visited four new places I’d never been before— one state and three countries. This whirlwind of a trip re-inspired me to continue in movement and motivation. Especially by participating in activities that take me out of my comfort zone.

In no way do I mean that I’ll go sky diving tomorrow when I know that I don’t like the feeling of free-falling! Baby steps.

Growth doesn’t have to be a sprint.

It’s OK for it to be a marathon. 


Tropical Palms in Belize Tropical Forest Lamanai | Shaunda Necole
We saw and could hear a howler monkey in the trees!


8 things I did in Belize that were entirely out of my comfort zone

1. In Belize, I wore a cropped-top that showed part of my stomach and part of my back (not what I’d usually wear— but it was hot in the jungle). I was completely comfortable and not self-conscious. I didn’t even resort to putting on my cover-up I’d packed in my bag for “just in case.”

2. Me, the germaphobe, took an hour bus ride in a foreign country on a public bus— and I enjoyed every minute of the ride! In fact, on the way back I comfortably fell asleep.

3. With limited research, I chose this hiking shore excursion that I would have never picked had I not been with my group— or honestly, if I’d read more about it. I’m so glad I did pick this one, though! It solidified my new friendships via new experiences together. 

4. I took a half an hour ride on a small speed boat to get to Lamanai— and Lamanai means submerged crocodile!


Mayan Jaguar Temple - Lamanai Belize | Shaunda Necole
Mayan Jaguar Temple; the last temple on our tour.


5. Did I already share that Belize and Lamanai are home to the largest jaguar preserve? Yep! And I was there.

6. I hiked the grounds of the Mayan Ruins. I even climbed the temple to the top– above tree level! Yes, I almost turned around (more than once), but my friends cheered me on!

Oh, and I’ve never hiked before my time in Belize!


Beautiful Places To Photograph In Belize
Photo- Jenna Sparks Photography | Lamanai, Belize


Carnival Vista sunset balcony pictures | Shaunda Necole
Back onboard Carnival Vista leaving Belize.



Similar Lilly Pulitzer dress  |  Lilly Pulitzer shawl/scarf  |  Jessica Simpson clear wedge shoes  |  Julie Vos bracelet  |  Amazon similar earrings  |




Is life better after a hysterectomy?

Yes, indeed! Having a hysterectomy is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

I was so much freer! Free from pain and free from a monthly cycle to slow me down. It was easier to enjoy every moment and continue with my post-surgery regimens.

7. Because it was so hot off-shore during our Caribbean cruise, it was easy to continue in my new personal regimen of drinking at least 64 oz. of water each day.

8. It’s also kind of a big deal, and worth acknowledging that I did all of this six weeks post-surgery, in another country that I traveled to on a flight alone to meet nine people, of whom I’d only ever met one!

In summary—

“Just do it and correct the course along the way.” —Tim Ferris


PLEASE NOTE: The information in this post should not be construed as providing specific medical advice, but rather to offer you information through the lens of my personal experience. It’s not intended to provide an alternative to professional treatment or replace a physician’s services.


For more life after hysterectomy stories, check out these posts:

 How To Thrive After Hysterectomy Surgery

Womens Health Services: Life After A Hysterectomy

Life After Hysterectomy Surgery For Young Women



My Experience Hiking In Lamanai, Belize | Shaunda Necole



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