Surgery update 2.0

So thank you to all who tuned into my first update. I have read your messages and trust me I can feel the love and support. It’s love and support that gets most surgery patients of any kind through.

Since my first update I have gone back to the doctor. He has found a few things. One they did the pathology and concluded there was no cancer. Can we say amen?! However what he did discover is that one I had a few fibroids that I wasn’t aware and never showed up on any ultrasound I have ever had. Another issue is that my uterus would hemorrhage every time I would have my cycle. So when I would have a period I would bleed out and internally as well.  So that would explain why I was having blood issues and couldn’t figure out after I had done all the lifestyle changes it was still messed up. 

These are issues that my Obgyn before him didn’t push and I being my own advocate didn’t until 2017 and I was determined to end all of these issues. So to my ladies or to the men who have special women in your lives push them to take their feminine health very seriously. This could be the wake up call. If something doesn’t add up as it didn’t when I changed, I refused to leave until we figured it out. That is how we came to my personal and medical choice to have a hysterectomy. I’m not saying run out and get it done but for someone who was in my health crisis and already had her tubes tied this is what was best for me. 

So he of course encouraged me to work out. I have no problem with that except it ain’t going down until I am no longer in pain to the touch. I am not doing the most during their healing time. He has encouraged me to walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes and that’s more doable than straight workouts. I am still managing pain. So one goal at a time. 

He has me on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  For me the choice was in the form of a patch. I absolutely hate taking pills. Plus with the patch it’s the lowest dose possible.  I like the idea of that. The second I put it on I could feel the medicine. Not like some time warp machine type of feel but like a slight rush of medicine.  My hopes is that it will stop my hot flashes and night sweats.


The pain has become more manageable in the last few days. I have switched over to full Motrin.  I am more comfortable with that as I do not like the way that Percocet makes me feel.  I am hoping to have less pain and begin to get back to my normal life. In the meantime I am enjoying my husband and kids make sure I am good. It’s almost like when I was pregnant except without the lifetime responsibility of a child in the end. 

I have driven since my doctor has allowed me to. It’s not something I want or will just do to do. Again my pain levels need to be better before I drive off into the sunset.

A few more things I am noticing:

1. I was about to schedule a pap when I thought wait, I don’t need to come back to see my doctor for a year. This will take getting used to because my yearly appointments are usually made in July.  

2. Mood swings are less right now.  I don’t feel that rush of emotions that takes place as my cycle would be normally about to start. Ladies you know right well what I mean.  I did cry when I dropped my frozen coffee but I think I would have done the same without the surgery. If you have had one from Dunkin you know how amazing they are. No I’m not cheating on Starbucks but there isn’t a close one around me like it was near my job.

3. I have a lot of sanitary pads that I will be giving away to family. I don’t need them and no need to have a bunch not being used. 

4. During this process my kids haven’t been able to be super close to me. The one affected the most is my 3 year old is struggling with the most. She is used to snuggling every night. She has asked me when this is over? If you remember in my birth story of my 3 year old, my son who was barely 2 at the time jumped on my belly when I had her. This was after my c-section. I was in the hospital and the now 3 year old was with her dad until I recovered. Once home she wouldn’t go to anyone including her dad. She is super close to me especially at night but to avoid another internal bleed we kept the kids at bay. 

5. It’s much harder to parent from the bed or from the chair.  I am used to doing it all and working full time. However my husband has had to step up. So now I can’t say a thing about what he is doing even though I want to. Right now my vote isn’t a veto but it is more silent. 

6. Sleep. I haven’t slept this much in a long time. My mom told me sleep was the best way to heal. I get up and get cleaned up and walk around but other than that I have yet to be up a full day. Sleep is my new bestie. I am getting okay with that. 


7. Phone calls-they have been limited to my family. I have texted more to my close friends. The reason is I’m not used to having free time to talk. Before all of this I wasn’t one to be on the line outside of my husband and mom.  Now I have time to be and everyone is doing their normal things and I’m okay with the lack of calls.

8. Hair I haven’t seen hair falling out and I pray I don’t. I have researched that some people’s hair thins out. If it should happen I’ll update but now it’s still curly and thick as it was when I went to have my surgery.

9. Stomach-ladies if you ever had a baby and remember leaving with that bulging baby belly that irritates you that is what I am working with. Again with several cuts on my upper belly, and all the work below that it is still tender and very bloated.  So ice packs and warm compresses have been helping.  So loose clothing works. Since I lost weight it’s been shorts and a tshirt type of life.  I’m not going places. Other than that I use my night gown shirts that my girlfriend sent me. No need to have anything touching me if I don’t have to.


10. I have lost about 5 pounds even with my extended swollen belly. So yay for that. The one thing my husband said the day after surgery is that I looked skinnier and my doctor said the same thing when I saw him the other day. So win for me! 

Let me continue to give a shout out to my husband for all he’s done. For all of the food runs and hand holding. Listen I have wanted to do more and he’s given me the side eye like you better lay there and no get up for stuff you don’t need. So I don’t. I’m grateful that he has gotten me just about whatever I have wanted and has ignored me when I say I don’t need medicine.  

The recovery time for this surgery is 2-8 weeks. So I will see how long it takes me. Every woman is different and how their bodies react is different. However for basic recovery that is the standard and it’s really around 6-8 weeks to be honest. The same as when you have a child. And to be totally healed like when you have kids can take more around a year to really know where you are.  We tend to rush back to life and most like me, work is calling and life doesn’t just sit and deactivate just because you have had surgery. 

One of the biggest pieces of advise I have gotten from women from different walks of life who have been through this is that you will immediately feel better but take the time to heal. Feeling better and being better takes time.  

Surgery update 

So today is Tuesday June 20, 2017 and it’s 4 days post hysterectomy surgery. How I am doing is mixed with a lot of emotions.

For one, I have gotten an infection from the surgery. Ugh. Like my mom would say anything that can happen would happen to me. It’s true. I had high fevers the day after the surgery. Now my surgery was done laparoscopic so I have several smaller cuts going across the upper part of my belly instead of one large cut on my belly. This is to be less invasive and because I have had 3 c-sections, gall bladder and an appendix removed. With all of these surgeries the goal was to go in without having to open me all the way up.

So first day post same day surgery I was a total mess. I went in super positive and laughing with every person who had contact with me.  By the time it was over, I felt like the step sister and I wasn’t as cheerful. I even forgot where I was and why I was there but I’m going to blame that on the power of anesthesia. Once my husband and I reunited I had to sit a lot longer to allow the effects of the anesthesia to get out of my system. Finally it’s time to go. I’m mad at this point because the pain has set in and I realize that I will have to walk.

I slept the whole ride home and into bed I went. Thankful for my husband who did everything to keep me comfortable. Day 2 was hard. I had to get out and after a full night of sleep off and on I was in pain and sore. But I managed.  Between my kids who were kept feet away from me and Snapchat I got through it.  I kept having high fevers since day 2 and by day 3 was put on antibiotics. 

Now to day 4 things are going a little smoother except for the fevers and on my left side is super red and sore which is letting me know the infection isn’t clearing up. I am allergic to penicillin so my choices are limited. I will be seeing the doctors in the morning and I want to avoid hospitalization but at this point if iv meds will work sign me up. 

Here are the things that have happened that some I was prepared and some I wasn’t:

1. Pain. I feel like it’s almost like my c-section minus the left side that is red that hurts the worst. I have switched from narcotics to extra strength Tylenol. Personally I like to wean myself down.  I hate the way they make me feel. As of today I did break down and take the stronger med just because the pain was intense. 

2. Bathroom-healing also means you have to move. Not moving will cause stiffness and more pain. As much as I want to install one of those wheelchairs to get me around the house I know I have to move. So although my bathroom is near my room I now have a hate/love relationship. Oh and not to be too TMI, going to the bathroom is like c-sections where it’s painful because of using your abdominal muscles. 

3. Hot flashes-they are not a myth. I had a full hysterectomy so with that my body was slammed into menopause. I have woken up in hot sweats almost nightly. Thankfully I have had my mini misting fan. It has been my saving grace. I have about 5 flashes a day during the day.  It’s an awful feeling. 

4.Mood Swings-I haven’t noticed any. I’ve been in too much pain to tap into my emotions to be honest. I’m hoping that stays the same. My doctor wants to put me on hormone replacement and I’m looking into holistic methods too.  Either way it would be nice to stay leveled out. 

5. Eating has been moderate. I’m still aware of my Weight Watchers plan. I did have Taco Bell but could barely get through all of it and I didn’t. I enjoyed it and left it at that. For me being so fresh into the plan has made my bad eating habits almost non existent. So I’m grateful for that.

6. Sleep, that’s all I do. I haven’t really gotten into my survival kit too much. The second I say that I am I just end up falling asleep. I got my new Essence magazine and all I have seen of it was the front cover. I’ll get there. I still have some time to heal.  
Overall the pain and fevers is the one thing I was aware could happen but now that I’m in it, I can’t wait for that to be in my past. Once I manage that I can get to the things that make me happy during this new change. I had a bad nightmare the first night home of a lot of guilty feelings I was feeling about no longer being able to have kids. Then I thought even in the dream about how my tubes were already tied and I woke up. I don’t know why that became an issue but talking to other women this is a part of the process!! 

Continue to say prayers and eventually I’ll get better. It hasn’t been a full week so I’m making great progress so far.

Weekly Recap: June 2, 2017

Happy national donut day!! I had one and I mean only one donut and couldn’t really eat much of anything else.  I forced myself to have a healthy lunch because that donut was definitely a lot of empty carbs.  Well I hope you all had a good week.  We are coming off a 4 day weekend some of us anyway from Memorial Day.  I hope you had a great holiday weekend.  We celebrated my daughter’s birthday and had a really good weekend.  No complaints.  So as far as this short week it has definitely been filled with a lot of ups and downs.  So let’s get into it.

Personal Highs/Personal Lows

This week I am going to put these two categories together.  There is a lot going on and I told you lovelies I would update you.  One we had a great time celebrating my now 8-year-old.  Time is flying when you’re having fun right?  We are also gearing up for my son’s preschool graduation. I know some people make a big deal that these types of graduations are pointless but it just gives the little people something to look forward to. I personally feel like celebrations are what makes life great.  Those who know me know I will make his day special.  That’s what I do.  I feel like life is about making memories that they can look back on.  It’s better than buying a bunch of material things.

Also this week I have been vigilant with my doctors to get me an answer.  I have been suffering with migraines for quite some time.  I am also anemic.  However with the new diet my doctor made sure I had all of the supplements that one would need and I increased all of the iron enriched foods so you would think I was good right?  Wrong.  I am not.  My doctors and I have decided that it was time to get a hysterectomy.  I know for some they get it done when they have fibroids.  I do not have them.  I am losing too much blood.  My blood volumes and levels are one step to more transfusions.  For some they would say, why not start a pill that would decrease your period. However the thing is that I have already done that.  I have been on pills off and on.  I got my tubes tied when I had my 3rd and last child.  I know some would say why put this out there?  One its MY BODY and my page.  Secondly being a woman going through women issues is not a place of shame and I refuse to hide like I did something wrong.  That is pure craziness.  Why would I keep it hush-hush when there are millions of women like me going through the same thing.

I am no wonder. I won’t be the first or the last.  Ladies my decision was about what was best for me.  I have to do what I need to do for ME.  Was my husband there? Absolutely.  I know my decision will have an affect temporarily on my home but I had to do what was best for me.  No need to lose this weight, do all of this work and still be underlying unhealthy.  That is sheer madness.  I know what I need to do and I know what can happen if I don’t.  I love me and I need to be here as well as I have little people who need to have a healthy mom.  So with that in mind in the next week that is what I will be doing.  Have I researched all of the options?  Absolutely. This has been an ongoing back and forth thing.  I am prepared for the steps after.  I do NOT claim to know it all. However I am fully aware that the steps towards self-love will help me through the down side of this procedure.  So with MY family’s support we will be fine.  I have learned to tune out some of the naysayers.  They will say don’t let them take nothing out. Meanwhile I can’t count on them to watch my kids when I am somewhere bleeding out.  I can’t slide them a bill when I am off of work and missing time off.  I can’t count on them to pick up a phone call to say how is it going.  You see that was a free nugget right?  I refuse to give folks who show you they are more concerned with their bottom line than mine make my health decisions.  Got to keep pushing towards what will work for me and the ones that have to live through all of this.

So with that in mind you may see an increase in blogs.  I will have more down time. Whenever I have downtime, I write and I read so be on the look out. I plan to blog the hell out of this situation.  Not to get sympathy. I am one strong cookie.  But to raise awareness.  My heart goes out to the women who are medically forced to make this decision and desire to have children and can’t.  I have 3 kids and already put in place the parimeters not to have more already.  There is no child birth loss for me.  So for the ladies with this loss, it is a loss.  I researched this and I find comfort in reading other blogs of women who have gone through this.  And with life we are all connected.  Keep me in prayer and stay logged on twitter (toitiemblog) and facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/toitimeladies/) as I will update.

News

  1. Kathy Griffin out here with a replica of Donald Trump being beheaded and it has set off this major storm on insensitivity.  I think for me and this is where MY opinion comes off.  It was a bit much.  However if the same ones were upset when the nooses was being shown with imagery of Obama was shown and not because he is Black alone but on the principle of right and wrong than okay.  If not than you just being extra.  What people don’t get is that your argument is more valid when it’s based on principle.  Meaning you would extend the same sympathy to another like you want it done for your favorite than you have merit.
  2. Ireland will have its first openly gay prime minister after Leo Varadkar was elected into the office.
  3. Withdraw of Paris climate agreement.
  4. Continuation of the Russian influence of the election.  Continue to stand by for breaking news of this ongoing legal battle.

So I pray you all enjoy your weekend.  There are some good movies. I saw Wonder Woman and as I thought without giving things away, I walked away feeling great about being a woman.  I may see it again if you’re looking for a quick should you go or not-there you go.  I am taking the kids to see Captain Underpants tonight.  Summer movies are really heating up.  I plan on some me time and I have to work.  So find an activity that you enjoy and make yourself feel like the beautiful gem that you are.

 

When Basics are Celebrated

Please do not get me wrong.  I think anyone doing anything positive is good news.  I love that people are attempting to move past the backward thinking that has seemed to take this world over.  However, can we just be real for about a few seconds?  When basic behavior is like the best thing since sliced bread than we have a problem.

You are in a dating situation the man of your dreams is wining and dining you and pulls your chair out, etc now you are like see my man loves me?  I don’t doubt he does.  In a world where men and no not all men are too busy getting caught up in the negative things, playing video games and no job, making babies with no responsibility this could seem like a breath of fresh air.  However the issue isn’t in the mere manners, it needs to be our own personal standards that have gone on a decline. Even when I dated the most thugs of boyfriends they pulled my chair out.  It was the way I carried myself that lead them to know from the gate that if they never pull a dime like myself they was going to step it ALL the up.  So opening up doors is normal for me during my dating processes. Opening doors was basic.  It wasn’t because I carried myself in a stuck up way, I didn’t I was laid back but my mere demeanor said hey buddy, this is going to be a classy outing. Now this didn’t always mean I was at 5 star restaurants all the time either.  I could go to a night of dancing in the hole in the wall but still be treated like I wasn’t living in the hole of the wall.  I set the standard!

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If you are married and your husband is super caring, we uplift them. We start labeling relationship goals right off the bat because a husband kissed their wife.  Okay I get there are sexless and boring marriages (all by choice) but a simple kiss even a romantic passionate one making relationship goals only means that there are a lot of married couples who do not enjoy the union they are in. Kisses are done simply at the altar or union as a seal of commitment.  So….yeah we have got to raise the standard.  I had a conversation with my own husband and we acknowledged the highs and lows of our relationship and how outside things and distractions are often celebrated when we lack the self-sufficiency to love on each other and ourselves in the way it should be.  A husband who simply comes home is celebrated as if he isn’t supposed to return home after his outside of the home obligations are done.  He is celebrated and the phrase, “well at least he’s not cheating” comes into play. Like is he supposed to be cheating?  I know cheating is big but let’s not give more respect to the cheater than the faithful?  We live in a messed up world.  The only way to make the world smaller is to learn to leave the outside world OUTSIDE. Spend more time making YOUR world what YOU want it to be.

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If you are married and have kids and your husband doesn’t lift the finger to assist you with the kids some of it on you because you won’t speak up and other reasons is because he doesn’t think he should, I hear well at least he’s in the home.  So many men are locked up or leave after they make the babies.  This is true.  However him being in the home still living like an absentee father is even more crazy.  You do know they exist.  They are simply bodies but they don’t do a thing but get the greatest father in the world book just because they stayed.  Um, if you have a baby and make a baby it is YOUR responsibility to be there, provide, and dare I say interact and assist in the raising of that child.  It is simply not okay to come in the home, say hi, watch tv and send the child to bed and think you have arrived in parenting.  NO you need to be a force in the home.  You need to be helping with whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy, loved and supported children.  Ladies, if you have a man who is simply there don’t expect it.  Also speak up and don’t berate him because he doesn’t do things like you do either.  It’s give and take once ALL parties pay their part.

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I believe in rewarding kids but kids are supposed to do good things if they are influenced in the right way.  For instance every time your child does something he/she will NOT always be rewarded.  Teaching integrity means that at some point they learn to do the right thing simply because it’s right and not because someone is watching them or will give them something.  This is why some kids feel a sense of entitlement because you love your little love muffin and use rewards for everything.  Reward systems are awesome.  It can be used to motivate but should not be in the place of all parenting techniques. These little angels grow up and think the world owes them something and you and I both know that really isn’t how it works.

Like I have always pushed, balance is key.  Never do more on one side over another. I know this whole not wanting to be “basic” is a thing but the reality is there are times when going back to the old landmark really does still work.  The standard you set in your life and how you work through it should still be set by a measurement.  If a person is worth your time they will know what your standard is.  That is why some people go ga ga over things like good sex.  Is sex supposed to be bad?  Yes there are some sexual partners that don’t always do it right off the bat and you have to set the standard even in that on what you will accept or not.  However some folks get one strong sexual partner and will throw caution to the wind over some wet sheets and weak knees.  It’s like having a stack of cards and as long as one suit is good, you don’t pay any attention to anything else.  Set the standard.  Know you are worth to be treated the way you want and make no excuse for it.  In time once your basic needs are met the other items will line up because you are looking through balanced eyes.

How to Get Past the Annoying Co-Worker

So we all have them right?  Unless you are in business for yourself you have to work.  I was always taught if you don’t work, you don’t eat.  There are no handouts.  Let me say even if you have landed your dream job, having others who you have to interact with can get annoying.  It doesn’t mean you have to be at your wit’s end.

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I am a firm believer in life not to allow any one person to get into my spirit so much that the sight of them makes my eyes squint.  Now that is not to say that it hasn’t happened. It’s getting warmer out and although you would think that moods would be jolly people are people. These tips I am giving are the ones I use and reuse all the time.

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  1. Don’t take your work home-give yourself about 5 minutes or so after you get off or after you speak to a friend or spouse about someone at the job and then let it go. The more energy you give a person even if they are not in your presence the more they irk you.  Speak it and then release it and them.
  2. Know your supervisor.  Sometimes knowing who you have to report will help the situation.  There is always that co-worker that thinks he/she is your boss.  Speak up. You are only going to get more frustrated if you don’t.  You can professionally let people know where they can get on or off without being overly out-of-pocket. Little reminders of the such goes a long way trust me.  You have to professionally back people off of you.
  3. Don’t Speak what you won’t do.  If you are a talker and all you want to do is complain say that.  However never put out in the atmosphere what you are going to do if you don’t plan to do it.  People waste energy telling folks off and then don’t back it up.  In an office setting there should be protocol in how you handle conflict. Deal with the issue and attempt to set aside the emotions of the situation.
  4. Be cordial-stop thinking that you have to be your co-workers friend.  This false set of foolishness leads to more issues that can be squashed.  If you and the co-worker don’t hang out outside of the office, stop allowing them to be on your social media networks and crossing the friendship line with you.
  5. You are in control of you.  Adults should be their own person.  Learn that in some situations hi and bye works.  You are there to do your job or work on your projects.  When you forget that at times you get caught up.
  6. Don’t get caught up in office banter.  In order to have less problems learn when to disengage.

There will be tines when the list doesn’t work.  Gasp.  Yes people are people.  Find it inside of you to stay in control.  The biggest one is to learn to speak up.  It’s usually the ones who hold everything in, and complain the most who have the worst interpersonal skills.  They haven’t learned to walk in their adulthood.  That alone will solve a lot of office issues.  Never stoop to the annoying co-workers level.  Remain in control.  There’s a good chance they have rubbed others the wrong way as well.  Never let them see you sweat.  Since most of us don’t have bail money on deck, don’t lose control at work.  Walk away especially from work place violence-no one wins.  Take walks.  Take a break.

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The Dirty Mirror

Well good morning.  We are all coming off from either a good Mother’s Day or one we would not rather talk about. It is evident in the posts I saw on social media. However let’s shift our gears a bit to relationships this morning.

You ever found yourself admiring another couple?  You love how they love on each other.  Love is supposed to be inspiring.  However inspiration is only a small part in life. I have found myself really admiring a couple to the point where you forget that people are human and just like you are working stuff out on your end they are too.  So here is the dilemma. How much can you take in for face value?  How much of what appears to come from someone or a relationship can we take as the real?  Up to this point I thought I had the whole premise of admiring from afar down pact but I found out that I may not.

So here I go my emotions all over the place in what I thought another couple was showing me.  So here’s today’s nugget, the grass is never greener on the other side.  Yes water your own but stop looking at the grass altogether.  I have to admit often times when you are looking at someone else, what others have, what you don’t have is because of your own insecurities.  How many times had I argued with my husband on what he doesn’t do when in reality I could do it myself.  Not on the level of I don’t need him but doing it for myself to show what I needed from him or anyone to be honest.  People treat you the way you treat you.  So during this new focus on myself I have changed that about me.  I am not looking at what someone can do for me.  I am not looking at other couple and picking at the parts that I like about them because their struggle to get to what I think I see may be flawed.  That is the lesson that I learned over the weekend.

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I have asked myself before I got married what I wanted.  However I never really explored the actual question past fantasy and whimsical things.  The things that I had set up in my head never went as planned.  Nothing has gone as planned.  I could use that as an out and say well it wasn’t meant to be and there is someone else for me.  The reality is no one knows if there is someone else out there for me.  I am not looking let’s be clear.  I am not taking applications.  I am simply noticing that if I treat my mate the way I want to be treated that if he doesn’t treat me in the same high regard than that alone will be what I will use to determine any changes in my marital status and not because he isn’t doing what another man is doing for his wife for me.  That other man can be showing the world all this love and literally could be going through hell behind the scenes.  Same with the woman.  I am learning to have my own expectations.  I am finding out what I do like and what I don’t like.  How about I am doing all this NOW.  This is something I encourage the ones that are not married to do while single.  This is dangerous to do while married but its better to do than to keep going and lying to yourself.  I am not suggesting that while I am doing this, I am finding that my husband is not measuring up. Right now he and I are fine. We are stronger actually than we have ever been and that speaks volumes.  This is about me.  However some other couples can go through this and find that they are no longer suitable.  Please single people figure this out before you get married.  This will save you some time.

What happens if I get to the end of this and find out that my husband and I don’t mesh, I don’t need to worry about that right now.  I believe we will be fine.  We will be fine because this is an important part of maturity. I would hate to have been such a nag, and prolong this out without knowing myself.  Relationships will change. I used to be upset at the thought but they are supposed to change.  I am not the same as I was when we got married almost 5 years ago and 3 children in.  I am different.  I am expected to change. The work gets harder in love.  Love and lovey dovey feelings aren’t the glue to hold it together. It’s about knowing yourself and working things out inwardly.  It requires faith to believe that love is meant to be.  It’s being okay and not falling apart just because it may not. I am not overly concerned about getting to the end so I can feel as if we are okay.  We are okay and that is all that matters.

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So for the other couples that are finding themselves in this wave, ride it out.  Through the ups and down you will find out that the person you looked starry-eyed at will be there and maybe they won’t.  If you are really doing the work on yourself you will find that if things do end it can be amicable and you can move on without carrying the weight of the what ifs.  You will know in your heart that you loved hard and did what you needed to do.  I am not scared in this process.  Oh and for those looking for cracks in my marriage, there are none. My husband and I talk about this more now than ever before.  I am not looking to get out, this is just how it needs to be.  Is it uncomfortable? In the beginning it was because I kept thinking the worst was going to happen. Not that we were or are going to divorce.  Divorce wasn’t the issue, being miserable in my own skin was. Not because I was unloved but because I needed to set my personal parameter on what respect, love, etc looked like for me.  I thought no one can go through this shift and survive it.  No one can began to question marriage and still be okay.  However life is what it is.  Questioning is not an issue, doing nothing and simply existing is the issue.  I needed to take charge of my love life and I am.  I have had moments where I wanted to talk to my friends about it but I choose not simply because there wasn’t any advice they can give me.  Even my married friends this wasn’t about getting everyone’s opinion. This was about my voice, my issues, handling this OUR way.

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For any couple in this shift, it’s okay. Every fear you have someone else has had.  For every question you ask, someone has asked those same questions.  You can love someone to infinity and beyond, but you have to be able to know you are giving that same love to yourself.  This will either propel your husband or wife to do the same or show you that they aren’t and never was.  Could I honestly say that my husband was doing all he can if I wasn’t?  No and there was the issue it started with me not him.  I don’t have all of the answers but I love that I have someone who sees the shift, embraces the shift, and we are doing our work together and although it seems as if it may being done separately it’s not.

Chicago the Wind Down

So I just had the most amazing time with my girls.  To say that I had fun would be an understatement.  If you are looking to come to Chicago but don’t like to eat or walk this is not the city for you.  There is so much to do and no time to do it all.  I really can’t stress the food enough.  I am glad I came now that I have gotten my weight under control.  The amount of food and good food we had was on overload.  I didn’t eat at an eatery I didn’t like.  The reception from Chicago natives was so warm and welcoming that I felt like I was in the South.

First of all let me send my most heart-felt condolences to the two victims of Chicago gang shooting that took place on Sunday.  I nor my girlfriends were in the area however we definitely kept watch of our surroundings. Let’s be clear, watching our surroundings had nothing to do with us being in Chicago but it was more of a common sense issue.  At no time regardless of where you live or visit should you let your guard down.  I also pray a speedy recovery to those 10 victims who were shot as well.  Chicago is not the mecca of violence as they have been described.  Violence happens everywhere.  However its important for the city of Chicago to come together because the violence definitely needs to stop.

I was the first of the girls to get into town.  I was able to check in without any issues.  If you are ever in the city please stay at the Kimpton Gray.  Is it pricey?  Yes, but if you want to have a relaxing stay with an upgraded flare they are the ones to provide it.  I was greeted with a mimosa.  Drinks are always a great way to start a girls trip.  The room itself was spacious, clean and very eye-catching.  Although I arrived at almost 11 am they allowed me to check in right away where I was able to catch a quick nap before the others arrived.  The staff was amazing throughout our stay.  The free happy hour daily was always a good plug too.  They treated us well.

Our first stop once most of us got situated was to the Broken English restaurant.  It was Cinco de Mayo on Friday so finding an authentic restaurant with good food and good margaritas was a must.  They didn’t disappoint.  It was a bit crowded but to be expected.  The drinks were strong and tasty.  We had a great time.  We did a lot of walking and ended up in Millennium Park.  However not before we discovered that we needed some chapstick due to the winds that Chicago is known for. The joke of the day is that we were able to share one of our girls chapstick aka the dickless chapstick as none of us had any near us or near our mouths before we came.  Hey who else can you talk junk with if not with your girls?!

We loved it at the Millennium Park.  The “bean” or the cloud as it is officially is called was my favorite.  I love the city’s architect.  The buildings were larger than life.  You could see the flare in each building.  I spent so much time looking up and admiring everything.  We decided to end our night with a late dinner at RPM Italian which is an Italian restaurant that is a collaboration that includes celebrity Bill and Giuliana Rancic.  The restaurant is beautiful.  I loved the food and the drinks. The portions were all you needed and it wasn’t over bearing at all.  We didn’t say anything at first that we were there celebrating mine and my girl Toi’s birthday.  The hospitality was great.  Once they did know it was our birthdays they brought us the most amazing gelato mini cones.  I did order orange sickle gelato.  Let me say it may have been my new favorite dessert. I have never had it at any other restaurant and it definitely is a memorable dessert to have again if I can.

The next day it was off to the Bongo Room for brunch.  Their drinks were amazing.  Yes I told you there was a lot of eating and drinking on this trip.  They had a little wait so we went to walk around and ran into a gem of a clothing store called Personal Priviledge (www.personalpriviledge.com) and if you are looking for trendy pieces but don’t want to spend a lot I would recommend them.  Ladies, they have ALL sizes from the small to the beautiful plus ladies too.  We were all pretty much walking out of the store with something.  I got 2 little items that I can’t wait to wear and have a little fun.  Oh did I mention they made each of us feel like we were the only ones in the store and of course the mango margaritas while shopping was a great touch.  Back to the Bongo room where the food was so good.  We took the L and the bus and headed over to the Navy Pier.  We took a ride on the ferris wheel and it overlooked the city. Did a little shopping as well as stopped at Margaritaville for some drinks before heading to happy hour at the hotel.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the South Water Kitchen.  I am telling you we looked up all of these places and read reviews.  Why go somewhere and know you may have bad food?  This was a mini vacation.  We weren’t about to cook a meal and we wanted good food and drinks and like I said Chicago’s DNA fit what we needed.  We walked, took the L, bus, Uber and Lyft.  The only form of transportation we didn’t take was the horse and carriage that we passed during our food tour.

Another stop was the Skydeck located at the Sears Tower.  So being up at literally the highest point in the city without a helicopter was such a treat.  The Skydeck was fun.  We had a great time and yes the ledge was everything you read and more.  We had a little time adjusting even the ones who don’t have height issues.  However we made it through and it made it some instant fun as we went to our Tastebuds walking food tour.  I was full by the end.  Our first stop was to Pizano’s for deep dish that Chicago is known for.  This location was the original location.  I am a fan of the deep dish cheese.  We had sausage too but the cheese had more of a kick to me.  They do have thin crust as well.  Apparently people don’t realize that Chicago makes a mean thin crust but they do.  Next stop was to More cupcakes (morecupcakes.com) where they have some of the best cupcakes I have had in a long time.  I am talking about flavors like bacon maple to everyone’s favorite red velvet.  Oh and I included the website because these beauties can be shipped all over the world.  They are worth it.

The next place was the Drake hotel where the ambiance is amazing.  The way that this hotel goes out of its way to excite your eyes with their floral designs is a game stopper.  They also have a beautiful tea room.  Oh let’s not mention their women’s bathroom was nominated for best bathroom and it’s not like any bathroom I have ever been in.  It was off to have one of the best hotdogs I have ever eaten.  My girl Cicely doesn’t even eat beef and was going to just try a bite but at first bite she said if I get sick it was worth it, it was one “damn good” hotdog.  By the way it was at Downtown Dogs that you can find it.  We ate the hotdog at Pippins Tavern.  The bartender was amazing.  I ordered a beer and then my girl Cicely bought me a shot.  However when the bartender found out it was my birthday he gave me a shot of Malort. Malort is what sets you apart from being a true Chicago native.  Apparently they give this to tourist to give them a “taste” of Chicago.  I was the only one who had it and it was awful.  I can take a shot but this was on another level.  I can’t begin to put into words how bad it tasted or smelled.  All I know is that I got through it.  The next stop was the Billy Goat.  This is a hamburger spot that was made famous by the owner, William Billy Goat Sianis.  He befriended a goat and was denied entry into Wrigley Field with the goat and he cursed the Cubs therefore the Billy Goat curse.  It was made further famous due to the SNL skit, “Cheezeborger, cheezeborger! You want a doublecheeze.”  Just a FYI, the cheeseburger themselves are thin so ordering a double is super necessary.  Next up, Fannie May which is chocolate heaven.  I was surrounded by so many different options it was hard to catch up.  Who doesn’t like chocolate though?  We even had a little to try to to take home so you know I was a happy camper.

Did I mention that I also had some of the famous Garrett’s popcorn.  I mean if I am being a little foodie here why not?! So all in all we hit the main attractions.  We ate well.  We drank and was responsible so no hangovers and no visits to the hospital.  We were on our grown women level of traveling and more importantly as friends we were able to reconnect, talk crap and help each other through some difficult conversations.  We brought up some old stuff to get clarification, reconfirmed some girl rules and celebrated me and Toi’s 15th anniversary of our 21st birthday.  So as this doesn’t end #toibration but it does make it a great highlight.  The party will not stop until May 10th.  I asked some of my friends and family to send me some things about me and I will include them in my annual birthday year recap.

My favorite part was just being there.  I left the husband and kids at home, didn’t have a wake up time, no alarm, no work, and I had the choice to share my food.  I love my family and life but getting away is something I plan on making more time for.  I am an amazing mother and wife but I will be even more amazing with a little down time and play time.

My recommendation is to come to Chicago ready to eat, enjoy the scenery and the arts and expect to be wowed.  I have said and will continue to say that connecting with your friends is a must and I for one have plans to do more of this year and in the years to come.