Good Reports: My Hysterectomy Update

So I’ve blogged about having a full hysterectomy last year. Although it might be quite private for some, this was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me to push my life in the right direction.

I’ve been super honest about the journey. I’ve talked about how I started to attempt to lose weight and then hit a wall. I found that I was getting a lot of the areas of my health in line and then bam I was sick, having horrible headaches, and my cycle was so off it made no sense.

After losing so much blood and my blood being so low and at the point of having a second dose of iron infusions, I decided to have a complete work up. I went to two specialists who worked together and came up with the plan and because of them and always God my life has improved tremendously. My hematologist walked me to my OBGYN specialist in person and we all sat down together and came up with a plan. They were hands on and made sure I didn’t feel stuck.

Yesterday I went to the doctors and was told that everything looked great. I had lost the weight and more, my body had healed, and that I was the model patient. I also had a note from the nurses who said I was a joy and made them laugh even though I was in so much pain. To be honest that had to be more pain medication induced than anything. I also was told that I would still need to come back to have my exam done but that I didn’t need to send off anything to a lab since go figure there is no uterus. Such a great turn from last year when I was at my wit’s end, sleeping all the time, etc.

Sleep Patterns

So let me tell you real of what I had to get used to while I healed. There are a lot of women who have had and will have a hysterectomy for various reasons. I personally had already had my tubes tied before the surgery and yet I felt a weird sense of lost after the surgery. I had various dreams of babies quite often and if you add that my body’s clock was off, the insomnia took over the first few weeks. I was sleeping like a baby. No not let men do (some) when a new baby comes home, the kind where day is night and night is day type of sleep. I didn’t regulate my sleep pattern until well over 2 months and I had been back to work by then. It may have been well into 3 months after the surgery.

Sex

Please like I’ve said if you’re coming to read this part to hear about my bedroom secrets let me stop you now! Sex does change after surgery. Some women experience dryness that makes sex super painful. Some have no drive. A lot of that depends on the healing process. Let me also note if your doctor hasn’t cleared you don’t try it. That means do NOT have any form of sex or place anything in your vaginal area. If you do you will regret it. Get a new hobby as you heal. Make your partner wait a minute too. It’s either that or find yourself back in the hospital or injured! It ain’t worth it! Sex was the last thing on my mind during healing. I was trying to master things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and pain management! I had zero issues waiting. However my paranoia did creep in once I was cleared. I did have to find a good rhythm and relax. I was scared that there would be a lot of pain. My husband and I waited 1-2 more weeks after I was cleared.

Hair Growth/Hair Falling Out

My hair didn’t fall out. That is a blessing. I honestly thought it would since I had braids AND when I was postpartum with my kids my hair was falling out in clumps. I figured hey this surgery is sending me into menopause surely my hair is going to hit the floor! It did not!! However I found hair in other unwanted areas. It has leveled out and I personally think it had a lot to do with me being on hormone replacement therapy patches for a while. I got off of that soon after the hair discovery subsided and also it caused me to have heart palpitations. I thought there’s no way I’m going to look like a Chia Pet and feel like I’m having a heart attack too!

Weight Gain

After I had lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery I was paranoid that I would look pregnant as I recovered. I had a plan! I ate what I wanted for the first few weeks and by few I really mean 2! Uber Eats got all my money after my husband went back to work. Standing to prep food or cook was team too much! However I could use my strength to track those deliveries answer make my way to the door. After that food fun was over I stuck to the portion size and types of food for the remainder of the time since working out was out of the question.

Do I still get hot flashes? Yes. I think they honestly started back up in the last month. I had several months where it didn’t happen at all. I do think with the start of the new job and adjusting is contributing to the increase of the flashes. I am confident I will level out soon!

Overall I would do it again. I had 3 c-section with my 3 kids and I felt like I was prepared for the surgery and knew what to expect. Thankfully due to a little prep I had everything ready after I came home too. Shout out to Dr. M for all that he has done. I’m glad of the support of my family and friends during the journey. Now I’m just glad to be able to live a true healthy life! I’m glad that unlike many women who find themselves having to have a hysterectomy that I have my 3 kids. Not every women will experience childbirth and I’m grateful. Again I encourage all to be on top of their health. If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right then speak up. I don’t even want to think would could have been had I not put myself first!

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Monday; New Challenge

So it’s a start of a new week and now a new month. Now that Easter is over which also means Lent is over, I want to propose a new challenge. The challenge is to stop negative self talk.

This means no more I’m fat, I can’t, etc! No more I’m not enough! Yes we ALL have something about us that we do not like. If you’re working on it or not we are going to push to stop the negative back talk. So trust me it’s going to be hard. But what I want you to notice isn’t just how much you are doing it but also how you feel after you eliminate it from your vocabulary.

If you have power in your tongue to either speak life or death then you can change how you view yourself, speak up or down to yourself, and how your negative talk influences your life. So I’m not suggesting that it will be easy especially if you find that you talk negatively often. Do not become frustrated as you realize it may be more than then you had anticipated. Don’t get frustrated and if you do don’t stop the challenge! Let’s complete the rest of April to get through it and make the necessary steps to live a healthier lifestyle.

What you don’t realize how bad it is to down yourself but get mad at others who do it to you. You must stop this cycle. Let me give you some examples:

This was taken from brunokone

It’s the negative self talk that we don’t reach our fullest potential. We hinder our blessings and our mental progress and sometimes our day-to-day progress.

So I challenge you to recognize this negativity to replace it with positive. You can do this as a mental challenge or you can write it down so you can go back later and reference the experience. Either way, let’s take charge and control in how we treat ourselves, speak to ourselves, and how we love on ourselves.

Women’s History Month: Jasmine D.

Jasmine Drake is 32 years old. from Philadelphia, Pa, but she currently resides in California. She made the move to California with Ty (her hubby) about 4 years ago. Jasmine and Ty have been together for almost 17 years. She is an elementary school teacher. She is a Sagittarius. She loves sunflowers and French fries.

Sometimes we place so much pressure on ourselves that it makes it hard to pull oneself from that heavy load.  What would you tell your younger self?

I would tell myself to see the beauty in my flaws. I would tell myself to love myself. I grew up with very low self-esteem and I just wish that I could tell my younger self to not be so focused on my physical appearance as compared to social norms and to really truly see the beauty in myself inside and out. 
There isn’t a woman who hasn’t made many mistakes in life, love or career.  We are always striving to find a balance in the things that we are, where we want to be, and we constantly beat ourselves over where we think we should be.  What are the lessons you have learned thus far?
I have learned that happiness is all that matters in love, life and career. What makes one person happy doesn’t necessarily make another person so happy, so we all have to first find what makes us happy and then build up from there. If it doesn’t make me happy then it’s not for me. If something doesn’t make me smile, then it’s not for me.
My Nana used to tell me that, life is what you make it. If you want something in life to change you have to make the change. The only thing that can hold you back is yourself. I choose happiness in life so I fill it up with things that make ME happy. Ty brings me happiness and creates the loving and caring environment for my happiness to grow, bloom and rejuvenate. I was so lucky to meet Ty at such a young age and for my first love to be my only love. We have ups, downs and all around, but at the start and finish of everyday we choose each other. I went to college the first time to get a job that I will make good money. I later learned that just working a job that pays good was counterproductive to my overall goal of being happy and that my work itself should make me happy, so I changed that and became the teacher that my kindergarten aged self always wanted to be. 
I have also learned that there is a lesson is every mistake. It took me a while to get where I am today. I don’t regret what I have been through to get me here, because it has all helped guide me to the woman I am today. I still make mistakes and I am still learning and getting better from them. 
That’s truly beautiful. It often takes folks years before they learn to be happy in their career and what they do verses only chasing the money.  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years I see myself reaching new levels of happiness in my life. As I grow some things that used to make me happy, don’t have the same effect and vice verse. I want to be more in tune with myself, I want to make memories and inside jokes with Ty, I want to make more time for family and friends, I want to create new streams of revenue, explore the world, and become a mom.  
What is on my heart that I look forward to just “crushing” in the future is motherhood. My new focus in life is beginning a family. After the loss of our first baby during pregnancy, recovery was the focus. Recovery not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It was one of the toughest things I have had to go through in life. 
I always wanted to be a mom, but was very cautious about when to begin that journey in my life. I just wanted to make sure that I was fully prepared for parenthood and that we would be ready for the life long responsibilities that would come. My mother did it by herself and made a way and sometimes made it look easy, but she also struggled and I just wanted to improve on that with my family. When we said that we were ready, it was almost to easy- we got pregnant that month. We were looking forward to welcoming our baby girl to the world, but we lost her at 20 weeks and it was devastating to say the least. The physical pain was brief compared to the emotional pain that will seemingly always linger on. 
We are still working to start our family and becoming parents. When the time is right it will happen and we will “crush” it for sure!
Again this is why I dislike for people to put pressure on someone else who is either not a mom or desires to be a mom.  Sometimes people mean well but be careful on how you address women.  Let them go through their processes without the added pressure.  Jasmine from Toitime we are so sorry for you and your family and your daughter.  I pray continued peace as you continue to process that pain.
What are your accomplishments to date?
I don’t give myself enough credit for my accomplishments. Getting my masters degree was quite an accomplishment for me, because I proved to myself that not only can do it, I was awesome at it and graduated with a 3.97 GPA. Some other accomplishments I am proud of, learning to forgive the right people, learning to let go of toxic relationships, learning to speak up for myself, learning to let my light shine, overcoming depression, learning to be more vulnerable and open and learning to put myself first, just to name a few. 
What I liked about your accomplishments were the fact that you chose to highlight the accomplishments that will overall make you a better person.  I am grateful for any accomplishment but the ones that go past, education, past status are the ones that will pull you out on a dark day. The ones that will keep you grounded.
How do you feel about the #metoo movement?
I feel encouraged by the Me Too movement and how it has empowered people to speak up and expose those who have violated their human rights. I think that it is wonderful that the Me Too movement is challenging “social norms” and helping those effected to stand up and be seen and heard after being silenced for so long. I think that the Me Too movement is going to create a lot of change for the better for women’s rights in the future.
One thing that I do not like is how the Me Too movement can be taken advantage of and used for personal gain or notoriety. I have heard the stories of all the celebrities who have been guilty of abusing their power to mistreat women and I am glad that they are being held accountable for their actions. I just do not like a few of the stories that I have heard of women just trying to get fame or notoriety from using the Me Too movement to get in the spotlight.
How do you practice self-love?
I can be really hard on myself and sometimes I only see my flaws, so I have to remind myself to practice good habits of self-love. I practice self-love, by being gentle with myself and treating myself with care. Self love for me can be making healthier meal choices, treating myself to something I’ve been wanting, reading a book, exercising, indulging when I want to have a dessert, distancing myself from negativity, etc. Anything that can help me enjoy life, make me smile and be a better me is self love and I try to practice that in someway everyday.

So we ended this month-long celebration with a bang.  Jasmine thank you for being vulnerable and stepping out of your comfort zone. I speak continued blessings as you educate our young people and that every goal that you have for yourself, your relationship and for your future!

jasmine

Weekly Recap: Friday March 16, 2018

So happy Friday and Pre. St. Patrick’s like a St. Patrick’s Day eve to you all.  I hope that you are doing well and have a relaxing weekend ahead of you.  Let’s talk about what has been going on.

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Thank you a thousand times over for every woman who has volunteered to be interviewed for Women History Month.  If you have missed a few, try your best to read them.  These women range from all over the spectrum in life and career.  So be sure to check it out.  We have a few more yet to do so don’t think we are done celebrating because we are not.

Spring is near!

Spring is around the corner and I literally can’t wait. I am still waiting for the weather to align but that will come in time.  I hope you are getting Spring ready.  Here are a few quick tips on activities you can do to signal a new season:

Spring cleaning-it is a thing.  This is when you wash them window seals, clean curtains, clean ovens, etc.  Just do a detailed cleaning of your home and your closet. Yes your closet.  Its time to take the blacks and greys out of your wardrobe and open your life to some color. Trust me it does wonder especially if you have been dealing with the Winter blues.  Maybe even switch up your make up and nail colors too!

Also those clothes you find you can’t wear, donate them! If you’re going to keep one or two outfits just in case you get to that smaller size fine but don’t keep them all! Donate!

Get scheduled: I can’t say this enough, get your appointments on the calendar and get out and get your health together.  You should be making appointments to have your whole body checked. Have you noticed your meds aren’t right? Get them evaluated as well. Encourage others around you to do the same.

Get moving-for all of those who couldn’t get in the gym during the Winter, Spring brings the opportunity to take it outside. Get you some old fashion jump rope etc and get active.  Your body and mind will thank you. Also get outside even if you sit outside for 10-15 minutes it does wonders for your mental state!

Blog love

So this week a blog that I’ve done for Greenide has been posted. I’m super proud of this article and if you have missed it, read it here Greenide I talk about some weight loss tips that encourages you to keep moving towards your goals!

Personal Goals

I am still training for the Broad Street Run and getting stronger by the day! This is a 10 mile run and a far cry from the 5k I did last year! My goal is not to be the last one and to complete it! Also I have a solo trip coming up next month! I will blog it upon my return and give you the black out dates for when I will be on a little few days break!

Enjoy your weekend! Find something you enjoy! It doesn’t have to be super big! Fill your cup!

Another Health is Wealth Moment by S. L. Efua Joe

As we prepare for another storm let’s consider a few things. One power has been knocked out for a lot of those in the north as the storms have hit. With that in mind a lot of frozen food have been wasted in the process.

Today is national frozen food day! Let’s take another perspective in how our health and frozen food and how it came into existence over the years:

Women’s Month, Year of the Woman: Erica M!

This Year the theme is the Year of the Woman.  This is not a theme that I made up but is the theme of Woman’s Month all around the world.  We have celebrity women who are speaking up and this is so awesome to have.  Now I feel like I need to give the voice of the everyday woman.  The single mother trying to make ends meet, the married woman trying to balance it all, the career woman trying to make it up the ladder without having to drop her panties along the way, and all of the women in between. Women are beautiful and strong beings.  Like Beyoncé says, we have the kids and get back to business.  Women can do it all, have it all, and this year and beyond are looking out for the next generation so our daughters and granddaughters don’t have to say #METOO!
In addition to that we have to showcase regular women because we have a voice and power too.  We are women who have been married, some divorce, some single, some moms who are all making their marks in this world.  They are giving back to their communities, keeping families together, raising families with and sometimes on their own, completing college, making their and other people around them better.
Erica M.is the oldest of 3 siblings, a single mom of two daughters ages 16 and 13, raising their 19-year-old sister which she considers her my own (oh yes the headaches :).  She currently works for a financial institution going on 23 years and attends college a few months shy of earning her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in hospitality. Erica is a social bean and loves to spend time with family, friends and herself. Yes she enjoys time with herself including scheduling days off to do some of the things she enjoys.
Some times as we get wiser we often think back on the times of our younger days.  We wonder what lessons could we go back and tell our younger selves.  I asked Erica what her lesson would be to a young Erica back in her day:
I would tell my younger self not to rush through life, marriage and family. All these things will come in perfect timing. Enjoy your childhood go play in the park instead of worrying why your parents are fighting. Enjoy being a teenager and do teenager things like hang out with your friends, focus in school and don’t worry about adult things and in your young adult years explore and venture out don’t worry about putting your life on hold for others. 
Being a mom myself I often ask myself during times when I am with them what lessons I want them to get.  My daughters are young so of course I try to keep it in perspective but I asked Erica what she wanted her daughters to know in life, love and career.
Life – It flies by very quickly and has many stages so take hold of the present and worry about tomorrow when it gets here.
Love – Don’t rush, force or look for it because it can lead to failure. Love is natural and will happen when you least expect it. 
Career – Let your heart and passion lead you to career of choice not money. Go hard to be the best in that field regardless of what it is.  
So what has Erica accomplished so far:
  • Purchased her home at the age of 19
  • When back to school during a separation with my then husband
  • Bouncing back from having to file for bankruptcy
  • Having the means to support my daughters alone
  • Working for the same company for 23 years and I am only 40 years old
  • Instilling in my daughters the meaning of faith
  • Working my way up to a Co-lead for a team at church
  • Stayed focused on my weight loss. About a little over a year ago I was a size 24 (extremely tight) and now I am wearing a 18 -20.
First of all congrats on all of your accomplishments Erica! Let me just add from this list, there was failure. You have had to made bad credit decisions to have to file for bankruptcy but…..she now owns a home.  She now can financially support her girls on her own. Did you catch that?  Sometimes we fail but if we KEEP on going, we will come out of top.  So if you are a woman who is struggling with any failed relationship, bad credit or anything that you DEEM negative, the only way it stays that way is if you allow it.  Kudos to you Erica!!
 Even with all of the great accomplishments that Erica has already done, I wanted to know where she sees herself in 5 years:
This is always a difficult question to answer because our vision changes over time but as of right now. I want to see myself in 5 years living for me and not others, in a position of choice with work and not must, and enjoying life with my girls, family, friends and maybe with a new-found love.
Now the #METOO movement is something that didn’t start on the internet.  It started from women getting tired of being sexually abused, harassed or assaulted.  The Internet made it easier for women to band together.  Women have been seen as accessories in times past.  This is why often times they are not believed or if they are to be believed they are seen as the one who agitated their aggressor.  I do NOT want myself or other women and God help me, my daughters to have to say METOO!
I asked Erica what the #METOO movement meant to her:
 The Me Too movement is a great organization that helps those that were or are being sexually assault or harassed. They provide support, ways to speak up and remind you that you are not alone. Finally and hopefully people can start feeling more comfortable in speaking up because they are not alone. I plan on using this movement to reassure my daughters that if they are ever made to feel uncomfortable to please speak up. It is not their fault of someone else’s actions.  
Finally I wanted to know about what the future holds for Erica:
Things that are on my heart that I look forward to crushing is
  • Continue losing weight and getting fit for myself. There are things that I want to do but have weight restrictions. I don’t want to be restricted of nothing I want to do.
  • Work on my bucket list which would lead to enjoying my life
  • Be in a position in my career were there is still passion and have it not be just work
  • Utilizing my event planning skills to plan family trips as family time is so important to me
 Anyone who has been reading my blogs knows I am a huge pusher of self-care.  I want everyone especially my ladies to work from a full cup instead of this notion that they must work until there’s no working in them left.  To keep giving from empty cups and stop caring of what others think about them taking time for themselves.  So Erica, what do you do for self-care:
  • I read a lot of inspirational books such as a Woman’s daily prayer, Too blessed to be stressed, and a moment for your soul. There are many days that I feel down and out, wondering why me, or when will my prince charming come. These books remind me of my purpose now and to remain focus on today.
  • I have a journal that I am writing to my future self. In the book I write things that I want to do but afraid to do, mistakes I did today that may affect tomorrow or areas that I want to change that will benefit the future me, Honestly it helps me stay focus on doing things for me today because I don’t want to let down the future me.
  • I try to exercise daily and make conscious decisions when eating because the more weight I lose the more I feel good about myself.

Thank you to Erica for pushing through when life knocked you down many times, raising your daughters with respect and love, and making sure that while you are there for others that you keep yourself your priority.  Good luck on your continued blessed journey!

 

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Everything isn’t What it Seems

I want to highlight a few things.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again, things on social media can look grande and be filled with so much smoke screen.  Yes that is how life rolls.  However keep in mind that everyone tries to put their best foot forward.  This is why the age of filters is so amazing. You get to hide behind real life scars and traumas.

The pic used in this blog if I uncovered it was great.  We were having the best ice-cream at one of my favorite spots.  Everyone is all smiling and seemingly happy.  We look like the model family. If I told you that I could still feel the pain of that day, would you believe me?  That was a hard day.  It was a few years ago and we were set to go to the African-American museum.  We were ready to go and our plans got diverted.  Why they got diverted I won’t speak on but I will speak to the nuggets that can be learned from that picture.

In it you see my husband all smiles.  He was under extreme amounts of stress trying to do the best he can.  I was depressed and I believe if I had gone back to work it was short-lived due to the fact that my youngest was nursing and wouldn’t take to a bottle and I had to take her to work with me.  That worked for a while until it was time to put her in daycare and then I had to stop working again because again she wouldn’t take to anyone but me and still no bottle, no cup, just me.

Here is what I know now AFTER that storm of life and what I wish someone had told me:

Dear Toi,

You are stressed out but a lot of your stress is coming from within.  You haven’t quite found your space, your voice, or what you want.  Maybe its the feelings of not quite making your mark in this world. Maybe its the time that you had to take off due to taking care of your kids and the guilt that you feel losing the independence of a working woman. You are fighting those around you but reality is the fight is in you. Use that negative energy not to worry about what others will think, but to know what you want.  Should you leave your husband because it was so rocky?  No! Leaving isn’t the answer. The answer isn’t in your husband. He will never make you happy.  Happy wife, happy life is a bunch of bologna.  You have to be a happy person, and work from that happiness.  You will have many more moments when you are ready to throw the towel in. Don’t stay for the sake of the kids.  They can’t heal you.  How about you deal with some of the let downs you face.  Get out and get a hobby.  Get out and get some fresh air.  Know that as a mom you are at your best when you take some time to practice self-care.  The kids will thrive better with you even if you had to walk alone.  Take a mental time out. Take a deep breath.  Do your hair, get dressed, put on a little make up because its going to be okay.  You don’t have to look a mess while you figure out your messed up life.  Your life is blessed you just have to use this time to rebuild.  Don’t worry down the line you figure it out. Down the line you don’t have to wait for your husband to go with you all the time.  If you like it go do it on your own. It doesn’t make you less married to do a few things on your own.  He isn’t and never was your source for everything stop giving him that power.  He didn’t ask for it. He was attracted to your hustle and your ability to keep it moving.  He saw that hunger in you, you got this!

Sincerely a stronger Toi

Lesson one: Happiness is YOUR job.  Not of your spouse or anything that you own.  Happy people don’t have it all they just know how to keep moving and make the best of their situations.

Lesson two: self-care is a daily thing. It is not okay to have meltdowns if you’re not going to use the meltdowns to get better. What have you done today that made you feel amazing? You should be doing all you can to make it feel like its your birthday everyday.  No one will celebrate you like you.

Lesson three: Marriage is beautiful when you put in work and your spouse does the same.  When that stops the marriage will have a pit stop.  You aren’t responsible for him/her you can only do what you want him/her to do.  Don’t say that because you have done one thing, this is in ALL areas.  No one can receive as much love and listening as you claim you give and treat that person badly.  Remember they need from you what THEY need not what you THINK THEY NEED!

Lesson four: dress up everyday. I don’t mean you have to be in heels, but if you want to knock the sloppy look, you have to get up and get dress and be present. Every time you zone out and don’t care you look it.  Don’t be mad at another woman who shows up and shows out. You both were supposed to.  Don’t say you don’t have the time or money. Admit you didn’t take the time! You can look fierce on any budget.  You can look fierce in pajamas if you want to.

Lesson five: get the hell out.  You can not live your best life cooped up in the house.  Get you a few dollars and go to a bookstore and have a ball, find some Groupons and live! Do more action than talking.  No one cares that you talk about a dream, the doers are finding ways to make the dreams a reality.

Lesson six: for my moms, there is no such thing as a perfect mom.  You don’t have to mirror everything you were taught.  You are in control of what you want motherhood to be.  Even if you grew up in the worst conditions, the dreams you wanted your childhood to be can be made with your own kids.  Be solid for yourself and them not perfect. Dance around the kitchen while making dinner. Make folding into a game.  Be there for your kids and most importantly be there for yourself! They are watching you!

Lesson seven: be okay to lose.  Take a chance on life and yourself. If you fail it won’t be in not making the mark, it will be in not taking the chance to make the mark.