Menopause Woes

As many of you know, I had a full hysterectomy.  With that surgery it sent my body into menopause.   For the most part it has been bearable.  It has been 4 months since the surgery and I feel like I am just getting my body back.

So let me take some time to answer some questions that some readers have asked me regarding menopause:

  1. How long did the pain take to manage-I would say surgery wise that took about 3 weeks to heal.  This is the initial pain that anyone who has had any uterus surgery goes through.  It took about an additional 5 weeks to be able to move about without the pain being agitated during the healing process.
  2. Hot Flashes, are they controlled-I have to say I think not.  I even with the hormone therapy replacement the flashes occur several times a week.  It is annoying since before surgery I was a really cold person.  The flashes can be overwhelming.  I find myself stripping clothes off as soon as I get home.  When I am at work, I immediately need my fan or I am in the bathroom with cold water compresses.  However I will take it over bleeding every month.
  3. Sex after the fact was extremely hard in the beginning.  I waited a little longer than I was cleared.  It was painful and different.  I think now I am doing a lot better and feel like my drive hasn’t changed from before surgery, but to say it was just so freely a great experience after surgery would be lie.  Some women experience pan, dryness, and lose their desire to even have sex altogether.  Every woman is different.  Do not compare yourself to how you are reacting to another woman.
  4. Swelly belly-this is when no matter what you do, your body has told you how much you are doing is too much.  You still at times look like a woman who has had a fresh baby.  It’s annoying to say the least.  I have come to terms that this is apart of the process.  On days where my belly is normal, I celebrate with a great outfit.
  5. Mood Swings-they do exist but in my case I feel like its less than when I had a bunch of unruly hormones guiding me.  I think the combination of self-care and the even dose of hormones through the hormone replacement therapy patch which gives me a low dose over time has helped.  I have been better off emotionally.

Do I regret the surgery?

Absolutely not.  I am 100% on board with my decision.  For one physically I feel so much better.  I do not have to be on guard about if a period is going to come or not. I do not have to carry unnecessary clothes in case of an accident.  The lack of bleeding every month has decreased my previous diagnosis of anemia.  I will get my final results by end of the month, but the test I had a few months ago was already looking great.  I had already had my tubes tied before surgery so having more kids wasn’t in the cards.  My husband supported that decision and to be honest it was the most selfish giving decision I could give myself.  Shout out to the women who have had or will have the surgery or go through menopause naturally and unfortunately can’t or won’t experience motherhood.  I do not take that gift of motherhood lightly.  I do however love the fact that my sister in love is about to give me my baby fix this upcoming Spring.

I did what was best for my body.  I do not regret it for a second even with the worst flash, or tiredness or even the feeling of being overwhelmed comes over me and sometimes at the same time, I find myself taking a deep breath and thanking God that I am on the path of healing.

To other menopausal women both young and old who may be reading this thinking how much of a negative experience you may be going through, or think I may be going through, remember that every woman experiences this change in different ways. I could have healed faster than another, doesn’t make me normal and you weird.  What works for me may not work for you.  I would say that if you are going through menopause I would applaud you to find out what self-care looks like for you both before, during and especially afterwards.  Self care will refocus your thoughts as your body changes.  It’s like going through the awkward teenage phase all over again.  For some the changes in body odor, lost of hair or increase of hair, change in libido, lack of a period, or feeling like your body is experiencing a death from lack of having children even if children was never on your radar are all real experiences. How you navigate through will depend on you.  Do not allow anyone to push what you should do.  Always trust yourself and talk to your doctors.

One last thing is that going through menopause has made me realize that I can’t take my body for granted.  This is why I try to be mindful of if I am doing the things that I need to keep my body at the best shape of my life.

Menopause is a phase of life that women go through regardless if it’s naturally or surgically induced know my fellow women I am with you and I understand.

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Her Own Empire

So I was watching Starz’s Survivors Remorse and on the show Missy Vaughn played by Teyonah Parris and Reggie Vaughn played by RonReaco Lee are married.  It came out after Reggie was playing cards and lost $123,000 with “big wigs,” that Missy’s father had him sign a prenuptial agreement since Missy comes from money before they were wedded. Now the issue was the signing as well as the fact that as a married woman she didn’t work. Her claim is she keeps the house together aka a stay at home wife.  By the way they have no kids.  The father once he sat down with Missy and explained that the reason he made Reggie sign a prenuptial agreement is so that if the marriage failed, her husband wouldn’t be able to take her money and leave her high and dry.  Her mother interjected that she needed to work too.

So the issues that stirred:

  1. Prenuptial agreements.  Are they a thing to get if you have money or property?Some would argue that you are setting your marriage for failure.  Some would say it is in everyone’s best interest to get one.  Marriage is a partnership and apart of the partnership includes money.  Love is beautiful however being broke is ugly.  We need to talk about the importance of being financially sound before marriage.
  2. Stay at home wife-contributions and withdraws of said money-I was a stay at home wife for many years.  For me it was the best solution to paying high daycare fees.  It was more cost-effective to be at home.
    1. The Pros:
      1. Get to be the COO of your home.  You are the one that organizes and get the home together
      2. You if you have kids don’t have to wonder what your kids are doing cause you are the ones doing it for them
      3. You save money in the long run
    2. The Cons:
      1. Not having your own money comes with the challenges of having to depend on your husband to give you money or allowances. This works for some and not for others.  It depends on the husband that you have to be honest.  Most men talk a good equality talk on the surface but you have to get to the real nitty and gritty if that man means it.  Sorry to say most do not but they pretend to.  You have to be able to talk about it and be clear on what that looks like.  Does the wife still get to get out and do things women like to do such as keeping herself up, shop, or get a coffee if she wants?  If so what does the budget look like.
      2. Not having adult interactions because you are in the home most of the time.

Now let me put this is terms where my life fit in it and what I got from this.  Money in our home has always been an issue. I am going to be transparent because I KNOW for a fact that a lot of women go through this.  I love things.  I like the ability of being able to get the things that I like or want.  The drawback to this when I was a stay at home mom is that my husband rarely said no.  However what he had to do in the background to make sure that every time I swiped was part of the conversation that I didn’t want to have to have. I got to the point of not having of my own and having to rely on him.  This is a dangerous place for most women including myself.

Who puts it back if its gone?

The ability to do for myself is a beautiful thing. I know some women do not care, but for me I do. I am striving to be the type of women that if my husband does it is a bonus and not out of need.  The reason is my husband plain and simple is not the husband from the 1950s who takes shoveling out money on the chin.  That doesn’t mean he has an issue giving me the things I need and some of the things I want.  However there has been times when in conversation he would say it.  In the beginning I would read messages he would text on his phone. AKA get into his phone and find negative messages about what I was doing on all fronts of the relationship not just money by the way.  These are the things they don’t tell you about marriage or relationship especially ones that have only one partner being the only bread-winner or the main bread-winner.  If you have one that is constantly spending and not putting it back-who puts the money back?  The working husband and sometimes the working wife since men stay at home too.  If the husband or wife is stressed trying to figure it all out than the issue isn’t in the spending its in balancing.  I think both partners should be honest about that.  However ladies I know I have heard it and if you’re not careful go back to doing whatever at no respect for his hustle too.  The man may want to do more but if he stressed trying to put it back all the time maybe that’s the issue in your spending and not just in him giving or not giving.

Image result for money

Now back to Reggie and Missy I could relate to the shock when Missy mom told her to get a job.  It’s the life of Riley when you can swipe and kick off to wonderland until you realize your mate doesn’t respect the fact that you have him working harder than ever to put the money back you keep using.  I know, it would be east to blame the man until you take your emotions out of it and come to reality that at the end of the day, money is made not wished upon.  She had the look of disgust when it came to the fact that she needs to work and secure her own so her father or her husband couldn’t make any issues with money. I am realizing more and more and maybe it’s because of my personal dealings that there really is no real we.  To be honest, he that makes the gold makes the rules.  Its frustrating but it matters on who you are with to be honest. And regardless of who you are marrying to recognize the financial state that your family is in.  Red bottoms when you are saving may not be in the cards. Asking for them and getting but not caring if that man has to work extra hours or cut back in another area to get them is an issue.

Get your hustle on too

I would encourage every woman to know the financial dealings of your home.  You should know the ins and outs of what accounts are in effect.  Know the numbers, know where the important documents are in the home.  Please use one of your gifts to make your own money even if your money isn’t as long as your husband.  Every now and again say no to your husband’s swipe.  This means that you will have to have something of your own to swipe with.  I know this world would tell us that we are women hear us roar, that’s cute too but roar with some dollars it’s one of the ways to keep respect in the finances of your marriage.  To those who do not have that issue, kudos to you.  For the rest of the world, always securing your own bag is best.  Trust and believe these men will respect you more when you can do a few things independent of you.  Even the ones who claim they are here for your personal growth lie constantly so get your coins all the way up.

The big issue is to ask questions and be transparent with your spouse about money. This goes for both parties not when and after your completely frustrated.  Money was always scary to me and I never wanted to take the time to get the full picture. I do not want to paint my husband into a tyrant that by no means is the reason of this blog.  It’s to highlight an area that causes more divorce in the country within marriage. Not having a conversation and having expectations that don’t match with reality.  Men you must have a conversation and be honest too.  Ladies we have to be willing to listen without emotion.  Most husbands want to see their wife happy they just don’t want to die killing themselves to get you to that point. Come to the table with something or find ways to always reinvent the wheel to bring things to the table, coupon to cut corners.  Then when you cut the corners don’t spend that too, save.  Help the household not just you or your bottom line. Also shout out to my dad who before marriage ALWAYS then and NOW drills the importance of having your own.  He would never want me to be totally dependent on my husband.  It has zero to do with my husband controlling me it has to do with being free to make decisions on my own and being totally depenedent is and will never be healthy.  Shout out to my husband who has behind the scenes has helped me be financially debt free, and to make sure that I am empowered to have my own.  He doesn’t stop me but encourages me to be my own woman.  Some can’t say that. Work out the dealings of your home and if you feel like things aren’t being heard on any side, than I would suggest getting someone who will not take sides to be a mediator.  As much as people think the issue of money is no big thing, it is a huge part of living with another person and working things out.

Also know that things will NEVER make you happy. Get your spirit together as well. Sometimes the desire to excessive spending could reveal something on the inside that you are dealing with that shopping bags can’t fill.

The Scare Of My Life, Brought Me Life

So I’m finally home after having one of the best times of my life yesterday. I’m catching up and reading my Essence magazine (the August edition with Idris Elba) and reading the stories of women who suffered strokes and all I can say is but God.

It’s making me super grateful. I remember having the migraine of my life while pregnant with my youngest child. I also remember the flood of emotions after being told I had a blood clot in my brain. I’m super grateful for that migraine because it’s the one thing that alerted doctors that something wasn’t right. I’m grateful that I was spared from having a stroke. Had I not had that migraine I can’t imagine what my family and I would have had to endure. I am super happy that although the road from the blood clot wasn’t an easy one how much worst it could be.  The doctors are amazed at how I didn’t stroke out and let me say I am grateful.

It’s the one thing that I think of when I don’t want to work out and eat the right things. My health is my wealth. I can’t do for myself or my family if I’m not at my best. To be at my best I have to invest in my overall health from the inside out.

I indulge but for the most part I am super cautious of what I eat or drink. I do not want to do anything that may cause large issues later. Ladies and gentlemen, please take your health seriously. I never really paid any attention to it until that day and even after that I slipped until I was weighed almost 3 years later weighing 190 pounds. I got on that scale at work of all places and secretly cried in the bathroom. I thought what type of sorcery was I on to eat myself to this point? I blamed breastfeeding. Yes when you first start out and are pumping I lost all of my baby weight in the first two weeks. Even my husband was shocked. Slowly but surely I needed more calorie intake but I took that to be more of the unhealthy choices and soon after I stopped nursing I had this 190 pounds of foolishness to carry. 

That is why after that reality check I couldn’t see the weight like that anymore. Not being able to wear the clothes I wanted was a push too. No one feels good wearing clothes you have to wear. However I took the responsibility that it was on me to fix.  Even if I didn’t have a goal of what my weight was to be, I couldn’t wear any more plus size clothes. I’m not knocking a plus size woman but my issue was from pure laziness and it wasn’t my size. It was the size that I accepted by not putting effort in my life.  There was other areas in my life where I didn’t put effort either. So in December before the New Year hit I set out to change what I looked like and how I felt. Even with the recovery of my hysterectomy I have maintained my weight without working out. I will step back into my work outs this week and I’m super excited. 

My overall effort in my inside is showing on my outside. I feel a new glow up in my life. It’s not just the clothes I can finally wear but it’s the fact that every single day I wake up and do the things that make me happy and whole.  Please don’t let a medial scare take you out of here or bring you to death’s door.  You can make the change today! 

Beach Day aka Peace

So yesterday I had my annual beach day. What a great time. It was everything I needed and more. I went to Belmar Beach in Jersey. It’s super nice and not too crowded.

Let’s talk about the things that was different from last year. One I didn’t get to the beach until like noon. That is like beach no no. Normally I like to get there by 9 so I can get settled before the swarm of people come. Getting there at noon meant no umbrellas was available to rent. So I settled with the beach chair. Another issue with getting there later than normal is parking. I was super far and it felt like I parked in Philly and walked to the beach. None the less I got snuggled into my spot and got to my me day.  I sat there super proud yet again. 2 years in a row and I didn’t let even my surgery stop me from having this time to renew.

I let those who I needed to know I was safe and the first agenda, a nap. I don’t know if it was that yesterday was national nap day but I got one. Armed with my beach hat to shield me from the sun I got some good sleep. There actually was a breeze and clouds so it wasn’t at all bad weather wise. However after my nap the sun came and stayed so I ended up having some awesome fries and a smoothie from Cruz Bay Cafe. These fries was so good. I was determined not to eat anything too heavy especially with the heat.

After that I read a book, got in the water, stayed off of social media for the most part and wrote in my journal in between some great snacking.  As my time came to a close I decided to walk the board walk. During that time I met a young woman who was traveling solo. We ended up having an acai bowl at Playa Bowls. If you ever had a bowl from there you know just how good they are for you and to you.  We talked about everything. She’s in the middle of a divorce and having to figure her new life out. I just encouraged her to find out who she is now. What she wants from her new relationship with her soon to be ex husband and how to keep her wits about her. She said she doesn’t have a lot of friends and I explained to her how I felt during my move to Philly. I encouraged her to get out and get into some new activities.

I also did a LOT of people watching. I saw a guy who was on clear house arrest but he was out splashing around. My thought is he must have a window of time to be out but he was definitely out there enjoying himself. I have to say that’s a first that I’ve seen someone on house arrest out at the beach but hey he’s minding his business so I simply observed and kept it moving.

The best part is always that it’s my time. I don’t take any of my family with me since the kids are unpredictable with the beach and my husband hates sand between his toes. It’s a win for me to indulge in the peace of watching the waves, hearing the sound of the water, enjoying the sand in my toes and literally getting quiet. I love this time. It’s all mine. Not to mention I had some great snacks that I didn’t have to share with little hands. That’s always a plus.

I got some clarity and I can’t wait to implement them. I got some fresh ideas for the blog and some series to do as well.  So be on the look out for them as I release them in the coming months.

As always I encourage everyone to take some time out for themselves. Nothing like peace that is priceless. No excuse to making sure that you are the priority. I look forward to getting ready to go back to work soon. I think anyway. But until then I will be focusing on my next appointments, and crossing off my summer wish list.  I’m more determined to get things done even if that means going solo.

4 Weeks Almost Half Way There!

I finally have my date set to go back to work. Yay! I don’t even know how I’ll feel going back. All this time to recover and get my body and mind together I feel like I’m on a forever vacation. None the less I must return and at the end of the month literally I’ll be back to business as usual.

So until that day I will recover, enjoy my time off and continue on my way. One of the things I am liking but not liking are the little things that are coming out during this time. One is just my adjustment to the people around me. My hormones are leveling out. I have such a ways to go but I am noticing that I am able to jump back into some things quicker.

When I was in Wildwood I had to take a break from the crowd and gather my thoughts. A large part of that had to do with physical pain as I was able to relax and get it together. Then this weekend opened my eyes to a few things. I’m learning that I can’t control much and to be okay when things fall apart. Not to be so quick to fix things. To let a few things take its time. I am a worrier by nature. If I feel like my world isn’t in it’s place that fear makes me get more involved. The issue with that is I usually make things worst. So right now I am learning to enjoy the peace in the midst of confusion.

I remember growing up and my parents trying to teach me that lesson. I am quick witted and usually my mouth is sharp. Although that’s an excellent trait to have when needed it can back fire. At this point I’m learning to be vulnerable and be at peace. If for whatever reason things don’t line up it wasn’t supposed to. I don’t need to keep everything or everyone around me okay. 

So it’s the little lessons that are the best when I open myself to learn. There will be many more lessons I’m sure of it. But when you aren’t in the normal flow of life and you have no choice to slow down you get it. Like my mom would say your bulb comes on. And trust me I don’t like it but it’s necessary.

So as I go into week 5 I have some loose ends to fix. For instance I have some stuff with my job to get in line and all I can say is somebody lift your sister in prayer. I am definitely the type to have my paperwork in order and I found that I’m not dealing with the same belief system. I’ll blog about it once it’s taken care of. I also have quite a  number of appointments yet to attend to. I’m going back to work on week 6 but reality is it won’t be 100% until week 8.  I contemplated taking the entire 8 weeks off but I’ll be okay to go back to work at week 6. 

I also have to get some things situated on the home life. My goal is to have a few things done ahead of time to make my work transition a little easier. I will do a soft attempt to get back into a soft work out. Yes you read that right. This week I’ll do longer walks and see how I do weaning off of ibuprofen. I will also do some test runs during the time I would be at work. That way I can see how I may hold with no nap. Yes I said naps. I love and know I will miss my naps when I go back to work. Trust me if you had the ability to take a nap here and there you would be on it. So here’s to another week of the hot flashes. And hoping that the tiredness and irritability goes down as well.

So here’s to stepping into week 5!! Have a great week!! I hope you are enjoying your Summer. I still will be doing my beach day. Either this week or next before I go back to work. A day by myself to regroup and align myself for the rest of the summer and prepare some goals for the Fall!! I like to think of it as a personal retreat if you will.

Thank you all who prayed or thought of my family and I as we celebrated my mother in law’s birthday this past weekend. Continue to lift up our family in prayer and thoughts especially my husband. 

Jayz 4:44

So you know you heard about it. The new anticipated album of Jayz has hit and so have all of the reviews. So I’m not about to analyze every song and their meaning. However let’s get to the grit of what all the hoopla is about. 

Did Jayz cheat on Beyoncé?

He said he did. He was clear in his lyrics. I know some has speculated that both of them used a made up situation to make money and exploit but let’s just be real, what man is going to out himself and bring his kids in the middle of it? He mentions his daughter Blue and all of that to sell records? I didn’t get the whole let’s make money vibe from the album at all. 

I felt like it was a man who couldn’t deny that he had been cheating on Beyoncé and especially after the infamous Lemonade that Bey spilled. Now let’s be clear Beyoncé isn’t the first woman to be cheated on nor will she be the last. The premise is that with Beyoncé how could anyone do this?! Simple, no matter who you are, life happens.  Money and power doesn’t excuse life from coming at you. If anything it makes life that much more complicated.

So is Jayz the best man in the world or the worst? I say no. Just because he came clean in his music I’m quite sure he had a lot of redemption behind the scenes. Now I am not judging Bey but let’s be clear her reasons to stay were of her own. She can’t change what Jayz did. His cheating regardless of his reasons are all his own. A woman staying past many miscarriages and cheating is a lot. Her being Queen Bey will never as a woman put what happened under a light eye. No woman wants to be cheated on. We don’t ask for it. We don’t. However when a woman stays that says more about her. I know I’m a Beyoncé fan, but truth is truth. 

So yes it promoted me after hearing 4:44 to re-listen to Lemonade once again. I heard the pain in her voice. I heard it the first time and said without knowing that this album wasn’t simply about her mother’s divorce. So let’s talk about marriage. I’m not about to drag Beyoncé on what she should have done in HER marriage. It’s hers. Marriage is never perfect.  I don’t have one and we are coming up to 5 years next month. My parents have been married over 20 years and don’t have one either. What someone puts up with in their marriage is up to them. It can be talked about and judged but until you walk in a person’s shoes than you will never get it. What I pray is that Beyoncé and Jayz are doing what works for them and their now 3 kids. 

The least that we can do is listen to two people tell their truth in song. If they sell records and they have and will that’s what artist do. I don’t think it makes what they are saying any less truth because of it. Artist of all types pour their souls into their artistry. So just sip, gather the tea, resip some more and than the biggest part, work on your own life. Jayz brought up investing, keeping wealth in your family and taking care of home. Apply all of that. It’s not as if the universe, your mom, blogs, and just about everywhere hasn’t been pushing that message. It’s the reason we got more go fund me accounts for funerals than life insurance. We got more fake ballers than millionaires. The reason we take more stances in what Bey and Jayz are doing than our own lives. Learn to watch while still doing. Did you kiss your own mate? Or did you walk out the house with bitterness and neglected to kiss your own love but you knew the exact moment the Carter’s kissed and paparazzi got the shot? They are married and married folks kiss-no big thing right?! See I love to watch others too but I try with the best intentions to build in my own house more.  

So yes he cheated. She stayed. She lost a few babies along the way. It’s their journey together. Work on yours. If you are or have been cheated on what did you do? What are you doing in your relationships to be more open? Do you have your financial house in order single or married? How’s your credit? What debt will you leave behind? Did you drink water today? Did you work out? Did you? Sip and do. 

Ask Toi: Can you leave your mate for a medical problem?

Yes you can leave for any reason. By mate, I assume you mean husband or wife. Traditional vows says in sickness and in health. That is a large undertaking. This leads to so many different levels of what sickness means. It could be impairment too. So here’s my thing on sickness, yes you are to be there no matter what. However I’m not going to lie and act as if I haven’t thought about what happens when your mate has a condition that they can fix or get help with but refuses?! Does the same rules apply? Yes and no. You shouldn’t off the bat pack your bags but dealing with selfishness especially when whatever illnesses puts stops and halts in the family structure is not cool. Communicate. Offer suggestions. Put in some effort. If you should leave on those premises than be sure you can say that you did ALL you can. Hollywood marriages don’t seem to apply the ALL clause. Marriage is work and it’s not for everyone. However you are one but the power you have over someone else stops at the tip of your nose. You can’t make anyone do what they don’t want to do. 

Put some thoughts into what you’re asking me and spend some time with why you feel like it’s time to possibly leave. Subtract any anger and get to the real issue. Could it be that it has more than just a possible fixable health concerns? Try to find the reason you got together in the first place. Is whatever is going on non negotiable? Can you live with your decision? You alone will have to take on the brunt of whatever decision you make. This isn’t just about what is ethical or just. This is about your willingness or your partner’s willingness to work together. Don’t just throw away a marriage due to being overwhelmed. If this sickness isn’t something that is curable or something controllable, is there a support group for it? If you have others going throigh the same thing than maybe just maybe it could be an outlet that can give you the feul you may need to continue loving and making things work.