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.

Any of US Could be Kenneka?

Unless you live under a rock you have heard the story of Kenneka Jenkins, the young lady who was found in a freezer in the Crowne Plaza hotel in Chicago.  This story has had twitter and social media in a frenzy.  She left with a group of friends to attend a party and never came home.  Follow any of the hashtags to follow the story.  Regardless of the distorted facts one fact remained is that she had some extremely horrible “friends” and that she was being brought there to be raped.

Now I have seen the memes floating about how her death and rape has sparked the whole be careful of your friends movement but it makes it seem as if the rapist and murdered of Kenneka deserves a pass?  My thoughts are on what planet?  Just because people are using this story to remind others about their choice of friends that doesn’t mean that the rapists and murder whomever they may be are fine.  The way the information is spilling, the rapists and murders can be her friends.  Everyone in that hotel room should be charged.  Hands down.  I will not dispute that.  It’s not a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Everyone who live streamed it, turned the music to muffle Kenneka’s cries, participated, set it up, and carried it out should be charged.  AND you should STILL watch your friends.

I placed myself in the place of a mother.  I am a mother in real life.  I have two daughters. My oldest child is very lovable and already possesses the thoughts that her friends are great.  However as her mother teaching her right from wrong I am the voice until she has a voice on whom is not for her.  Yes, even at 8 I have had to call out a few of the mean girls.  My daughter goes to private school which means for the most part her classes are small and most of the kids in her class have already been together since Kindergarten.  They hang together in and out of the classroom. If you think that I as a mother am not in her ear telling her, pointing out, and calling out her fake friends you are sadly mistaken.  We ALL have had to deal with those who we thought was real and found it wasn’t remotely true.

I was asked this week have I ever had to deal with fake friends and the answer is HELL YES.  My eyes were opened AFTER something went down.  Whether that was hearing of stories being said tabout me, being left at a party, etc, it has happened.  Or the times I have had a circle of friends who were really friends because we had one mutual friend involved and heard some crap about me that I didn’t tell the group.  These are the very recipes for fake friends.  I do not think Kenneka realized that until her unfortunate death.  I said on my SnapChat and I will say it again, its not just the teenagers we need to worry about it’s the young girls that are my oldest daughters age that already show mean girl attributes.  It’s the grown women who keep stuff going well into their 40s and up. This mean girl mentality can begin at any age.  It doesn’t discriminate so while others are pointing their fingers at Kenneka, remember to re-evaluate your own circle.

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Listen cutting off friends is hard.  It hurts.  It makes your circle smaller.  Here are a few things to watch for:

  1. The “leader” that likes to control off the cards aka the information that is given to the group.  My rule of thumb is that just because we share a mutual friend don’t bring me no news about someone I don’t pick up the phone and call myself.  Do you know how many people talk that let’s pray for her crap and ain’t been in church a month of Sundays.  Stop believing the that’s my sis crap. That same sis is the same one when you get on hard times will give your information to people who don’t even know you.  Rule of thumb even in a group setting, let others tell their own business.  Stop giving in the name of friendship other’s information unless you have permission.
  2. When one or more lie about inviting another but talk about how that one don’t come.  I had that happen recently.  I found out that after all this talking about one “friend” went down the girl wasn’t even invited but the “leader” told everyone they were and then talked bad about them for not coming.  IF they will do it to one they will do it to all
  3. Be still sometimes.  We go to things without asking the right questions.  If you feel something isn’t right, trust what you say and have your own mind.

These are the lessons that even at 8 I have had to share with my daughter.  These will NOT solve fake friends problems but it will open eyes.  We believe anything.  Just because you know someone for a long time don’t always mean they have your best interest in heart. Also to my men you play a HUGE part in some of this.  For the men who use women as bait, stop.  Start having conversations with your son and other young men about respect. Too many women trying to protect each other but not having men stand and rally behind them to do the same.  Sorry your fragile egos can’t take a no but remember at some point, this could have been your daughter, mother, cousin, etc. Keneeka is all of us and I have the deepest sympathy for that mother and family.  I pray that the ones who did this, will come forward and take responsibility soon.  R.I.P Kenneka Jenkins!!

Ask Toi: I got questions….

So because I haven’t been doing a good job in answering questions that come in publicly so today is an Ask Toi drop.  I am answering a series of questions publicly that I have already answered readers privately.  Looks like some of you had some personal ones for me too, that’s fine.  If you have a question remember you can ask it at toitimeblog@gmail.com

  1. Have you ever gotten into a fight with a woman over your husband? No and yes. When I was in undergraduate school I have gotten into some verbal tussles even though I knew basically my husband aka boyfriend at the time was the one who had gotten me into the situation in the first place.  There was a girl on campus who he tried to talk to in the very early stages of our situationship at the time.  We were not an item but my thing is I didn’t take too kindly to him pushing up on the girl and the girl and I lived in the same dorm.  I didn’t verbally attack her, she was pretty and I definitely saw what he saw.  However I let the both know at the same time in front of others that I wouldn’t be the one playing a back and forth game.  He must have agreed because as far as I knew it stopped that day.  Another time on campus he took a number from a woman and the woman knew we were dating.  I blamed him for that and let him have it.  However my friends and I still call her a little nick name and I let her know that I wasn’t the one for the undercutting.  Since then its been little petty things prior to marriage.  At this point in my life, we have known each other too long, I ain’t fighting.  I’ll go Lemonade and he will “lose his wife.”
  2. Have you ever lost a job and if so how did you handle it?  I was only laid off on one job when I had my daughter.  They laid off about 40 others at the same time.  It was hard.  My oldest daughter had asthma and I had to be off a lot to take care of her.  I believe in my entire heart that is why they allowed me to be in the number to be let go.  However it was the best thing in the way to happen to me.  I got engaged a week before, I was able to take care of my daughter full-time, and it pushed the move to Philly that helped to shape me into a better version of myself today.  Now back to how I handled it, at first I was pissed.  Technically I could have gotten an attorney.  I just completed my paperwork to protect me from the very thing they were doing but at the time I had too much on my plate and didn’t feel like going back and forth.
  3. What should I do if I feel like I am burned out from my job? First you need to do some soul-searching.  Are you burned out due to the fact that you shouldn’t be there any longer? Sometimes we stay in places we shouldn’t and then wonder why we are burned out.  You may have stayed longer than you need to be.  It may be time to find a new career path or a new job.  Anytime you are in a parking lot crying or willing yourself to a place you are in the wrong place.  You may just need to take a few days off.  Even if you can’t go anywhere, a staycation is what you need to get your spirits together.  Over working yourself is never a good thing.  So make sure you place breaks and stops in your work and home balance.
  4. If your man hasn’t proposed should you stay?  This is something that ONLY you can determine.  You have to balance what makes sense.  If you have only been together for a few months, marriage shouldn’t be in your horizon so soon.  I truly believe staying with a person through at least all of the seasonal changes is ideal.  You need to get a sense of how that person deals when they are angry, upset, hurt, or feel betrayed as a few examples.  These things still look like Power Puff Girl cartoons in the early stages when men are still in the impress you stage.  So get to know a person.  I am not one for giving an ultimatum.  I think as a woman you need to give yourself one.  If you say that you have been with this man long enough and you have stayed through the tears and fears and he just won’t put a ring on it, make a date in your mind and stick to it.  Do NOT share this date with anyone but yourself. You don’t need your friends in your ear telling you a bunch of stuff they WON’T do if they were in your shoes. You don’t need a please don’t leave me ring either. It should be genuine.  I had a date in my mind and my now husband never got to it. We have been married for 5 years.  If you can’t keep a promise to yourself on a date and stick to it, telling him won’t change that either.  That is why the ultimatum to yourself is more important.  If you tell him the date you will leave if he don’t do, you will regret it because you will always wonder if he did it for you to stay or not.
  5. If sex is a deal breaker how can you tell a man this without hurting his ego?  You can’t.  Sorry but not sorry a man and his sex is a package deal.  For some men its there one go to.  So to tell a man who the sex isn’t good and he’s not pleasing you will not go over well.  I am not saying that many people haven’t had this talk and it worked out, I am saying is that they will be bruised.  IF they love you they will try to step it up.  However when you say that sex is a deal breaker this means to me that you have had the talk and no matter what is being said it’s not working in the bedroom and now you are ready to leave and find the one where sex is amazing with.  Be careful and make sure that is what you want.  Sex is important.  I don’t buy into the whole sex is secondary bit especially in a committed relationship or marriage.  When you speak of staying with one person and not cheating than sex should be satisfying and it should be for both partners.  I have dated a man in the PAST where sex wasn’t even close to be satisfying.  I left.  It was a personal decision for me and I was fine with making it.  I was honest and I tried to make it work after I had “the talk” but it didn’t work.  I was crystal clear in letting that man know that if I stayed knowing the sex wasn’t working I would cheat and I felt it more honorable to leave than to stay.  He may not have liked it or agreed with me but again it should be satisifying for both.

Sunday Message: Bouncing Back

Good Sunday morning to you. I hope that you are doing well and have had a chance to have a great weekend thus far. Today I want to talk about bouncing back. In order to bounce back from something you have to go through something. This would include all of the things you feel you have failed, the things you feel you haven’t or won’t accomplish, and the times you have felt the most defeated. There is hope in what you are going through. The message of what you will learn may not reveal itself in the beginning but if you continue to walk and push it will reveal itself. 

Looking back at what you have done or should have done can cripple you.  Over thinking what your life should look like can be empowering only if you keep actively pushing towards your goals. Often times if you’re looking back even for a second you can allow your mind to get stuck and then it takes time to bounce back. 

The trick of bouncing back is to move ahead and knowing that if you move ahead over time you will see the goodness or the positivity in what once had you in your feelings or being in the “dumps.” Life happens to all of us. I have been in low places a lot of times. I didn’t always have an answer. There were times I cried. I actually am not a huge crier but when life smacks you crying may be a form of release that is necessary. There has been times when I felt like I was walking blindly. I have felt like I would die or just end up in my most miserable state. 

What can you do until you bounce back? 

1. Work on what you can fix. 

We spend too much time worrying about what we can’t change that we stay stagnate on what we can. Life is going to happen around you and will not stop because you need a minute. Take a deep breath and make things happen. 

2. Stay Centered 

This may mean working out physically, not stopping plans you have made, not calling off work because you don’t feel emotionally well, staying around positive filled people, or keeping your health a priority. 

3. Don’t quit 

It’s like the days of undergraduate when I told you I got my first F on an exam. I called my mom dying in my mind, ugly crying and feeling ready to pack my stuff and leave. I would have missed out on the great education and great relationships over one defeated moment. Grant it yes I was a straight A student, but my little perfectionist self needed that blow. That blow taught me I was in the big leagues. It taught me little girl this isn’t easy straight, let’s work and balance your social life. I had to fail to succeed. 

Bouncing back will happen naturally when you stop letting the feel of failing gripe you. You can be human and fall apart for 24 hours but after that is over it’s time to wash your face physically, mentally, and emotionally and see what you can do to prevent this and then get up.  If you don’t get up and let it overtake you, what you failed in is no longer the issue it’s the giving in that is the problem. 

So whatever it is whether it’s the feeling of never finding love, not being in a job that serves you or your passion, a marriage or relationship on the brink of no return, or stepping on the scale and seeing it go up and not down, you can and will bounce back. 
Happy Sunday today even if your Sunday looks emotionally cloudy!!  Make the best of your day! 

5 Lessons: Happy 5th Anniversary 

So today is the day. Do you know what today is? It’s our anniversary. Yes finally we have made it to year 5 and whew God is merciful because we almost didn’t get here. Marriage is hard work. People make it like a fairy tale where you are just so super in love and everything works out. Well I can’t speak for everyone else’s marriage but that isn’t how it works.

Let me break down the years. Our first year we already had our oldest daughter and son. I personally went through the worst post-partum of my life. Between the arguments and threatening to take the kids every other second the first year wasn’t a good year. I thought that since we had known each other forever and a day and was friends first that we wouldn’t be hit with the normal first year drama. I was hella wrong. It was so bad we even went to counseling after 3 months and it was then when I was ready to roll. The dreaded “divorce” came up and we were both ready to end it. Looking at the one that I loved and feeling defeated was humiliating even if a large people had no idea we were at a brink.

I could blame it on the new baby, living with his mom, being a stay at home Mom, and moving to a new city with no support system in place.  The reality is I put forth no effort even though if I could go back to my journal entries I was just angry, tired, and unfulfilled. The reality is that although I loved my husband I wasn’t ready to be a wife in the fullest extent. We had too much going on at one time but I knew when I took my vows that I wanted to be the best wife. What is a good wife? I had no clue no more than he did on what made a good husband.

Years 2-5 were up and down. I remember that the drama from year one spilled into year 2 for sure. I wasn’t sure if going to counseling where I felt like it was on me to suck it up and deal with it all had taken its toll. Our counselor was great. I’m not painting it all bad let me be clear that the Lord knows the many days we went without talking, not on the same page, or was plain sick of each other.

What turned it all around for me personally was at year 3, we had been on the down side of our marriage and Marques looked at me, grabbed my face and asked me was I in or out? He said we can’t threaten to divorce or even attempt it because had we gone down that road again we would be done and not turning back. He said he wanted us to get it together. No more hitting below the belt. No more talking disrespectfully. No more yelling and definitely no arguing in front of the kids. No more planning on leaving or taking the kids. No more craziness from either one of us.

Here are the 5 lessons I learned so far:

1. Happy Wife, happy life isn’t true: I think we as women use that phrase to our advantage sometimes to get what we want. However the key is having a wife who is happy in her own skin. You can’t make a miserable, hurting or unfulfilled person happy. I choose now after the smoke has cleared to get and keep my life grounded and not make it about my relationship alone.
2. I’m not always right.
3. Quietness is good at times.
4. Having my own activities, friends etc is key. Being one doesn’t mean that we have to be joined at the hips. Balancing being a whole woman is key before I can give to my husband or my kids.
5. To laugh-I was too serious trying to be perfect that I became the wife that I never wanted to be.

Marques’ Lessons learned:

1. Communication is important

2. Give respect to get respect

3. Better to listen than to speak

4. Don’t jump to conclusions

5. Don’t harp on things that don’t matter

Marriage life isn’t perfect. However we both are better at balancing. He does the things that make him solid and I do the same. We both don’t put pressure on each other to be who we aren’t. We are learning to accept each other’s flaws.  We have gotten super solid as a team. Since year 3 we made it clear to those around us that we are a real team. No nonsense will be accepted and we don’t give others front row seats to play us against one another. We shut the door. If you see us we work more behind the scenes without having to be open to listen to all advice from everyone without listening to each other for what we need. I respect all marriage but we no longer mirror our marriage in compassion to what works for another couple.  We are different and what works for another couple doesn’t work for us and vice versa.

Relationships goals are what we set between us during pillow talk and not just cute pictures to display a falsehood of love and admiration. We are our own relationship goals!!

So happy anniversary to us, Mr. and Mrs. Storr!!

5 years of Marriage: Day #1 Dating woes 1999 Style

I want to introduce this week’s guest for the blog and that is none other than my husband Marques. We are going to take you back to the first times, the good times, the bad times and the intense times as we celebrate one whole hand of marriage.

Dating is a beautiful thing. It lets you know if you have what it takes to make it. We definitely know what that’s like. Dating in 1999 and then separating and coming back together with a child in tow, getting engaged, second baby on the way, moving in together with his mom, getting married, having a 3rd baby, moving out and the big D (divorce) all in the middle, no wonder we made it. It’s no secret to love. It’s hard work and for us, unconventional. We have bruises and scars but we pressing.

How did we meet?

In August 1999 Marques was coming out of the Shields Building, at Pennsylvania State University and I was going into the building.  We were introduced by our mentor at the time and I was with my roommate who happened to have the same name. Marques made a joke about our names and made me laugh.  Laughter was probably one of my first memories of him. Marques was witty and definitely caught my eye physically.

Marques: She was cute. Well a little more than cute and we were introduced by our mentor. I went home and called my best friend and told him that I would look her name up on campus.  I knew I would see her on campus since we were in the same scholarship program.  I told her at some point that she was going to be my main chick.

Latoi: I was clear that there would be no main anything. I was either one and only or nothing.

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First Date

We went out parents weekend. It’s a big time on campus where parents came and see the progress that their kids were making.

Latoi: Now let me back up to how the date was being prepared.  My parents and I had an interesting day. My cousin was in a fraternity so we stopped by their apartment and my dad about had an entire dad attack. I had the shortest mini dress on so I can understand why my dad wasn’t feeling the attention he saw me getting. Being a PK aka a preacher’s kid doesn’t allow for you to have your own identity. I asked my mom to do my hair. She did. She thought she was doing my hair so I could be “right” on campus but I was trying to get right for Marques.

Now here’s where it gets tricky and especially since we met in 1999 dates seem to fuse themselves together. I say our first date was the movies he says it was Red Lobster.  The one thing we agree on is he was late. Wasn’t no Bey biscuit situation going on at that time either.

Marques: I was late since I had been with my mom earlier and time went over. I borrowed my moms car and came to get her but I admit I was late. Another thing we agree on is that we were both nervous. We were good friends and did the whole talking on the phone for hours at a time. There was definitely a comfortable feeling but since we met within the scholarship program only our closest few friends knew we were going on a date.

Official 

We became official in January but not without our share of drama or I should say mine (Toi). I felt at the time I was under pressure from myself to maintain this picture of a perfect child that often times when asked by my parents I would lie about dating Marques. I lied so much about the relationship that it spiraled out of control and I was caught between lying on the intensity of our relationship or being transparent and I choose to hide.

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I didn’t think the relationship was able to survive it but it did and in January we were officially a couple. It wasn’t peaches and cream but we made it through. It was the first of many trials that would touch our relationship.

First Year of Dating

Marques: In the first year of dating it was the perfect honeymoon. It was the most fun that I had. We did everything together. Latoi was the perfect blend to my life until she chose her family over me.  I was hurt, disappointed and upset.

Latoi: Our first year of dating was intense. It was the first adult relationship I had. He was my first in all aspects and that dynamic alone and trying to figure out my first years away became problematic. I learned early on that if Marques and I was going to work I had to let my guard down of who I was and fuse that to who I had become and be okay with the fall out either way.

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Redemption 

Marques: Latoi called me and apologized. I was willing to talk and work it out.  Latoi invited me to come down and spend time with her family and we attended several churches. Although it wasn’t about the services, it was more of going public and setting the tone that we wanted to go the distance.

Latoi: I really didn’t want him to attend church with me on the basis of it making things better.  I was changing and knew how my church family was and knew that he could have preached in those churches and it still would have been a thing. Everything at the time was about appearances and not being real. I learned not to let other’s opinions change who I had chosen to love. From then on I enjoyed my relationship and let us have our own issues without everyone’s hand in it.

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Even thinking about the first years of dating, it would be a piece of cake compared to our first year of marriage….

My Last Week of Home Recovery

So it’s here my last week of being home. Yay!! Insert my sarcastic face because all good things have to come to an end. As I start this week I am a little sad already but anxious to get back into my regular life.


I feel like it’s the end of the Summer and it’s obviously is not. So that’s a good thing. This week I started my week by resting.  I had the best low key Saturday I’ve had in a long time. I followed up that Saturday with the best sleep, tv watching, do not disturb day on Sunday. I caught the 90 day fiancé series and spent time with my laptop and blog prepping. It was a good day. 


My goals as I go into this last week will be laundry because duh I have a family of 5 so there’s always laundry to do. Also meal prepping, crafting new decorations for my office, visiting my parents, going to the movies, nail salon and visiting a new coffee shop that isn’t Starbucks. All of these activities are super relaxing for me. 

Oh and the dreaded word I’ve been avoiding, work out. Ugh!! So I started this week with some cardio but nothing too crazy.  Just enough to get my body going and keep me on my toes but no hard core work out has or will take place for just a little while.  I’ll work up to that but I’m coming for it as soon as I can.


So now let’s swing it until Monday. I had to visit my cardiologist. Why we’ll I’ve noticed since the surgery that I am having pain when I take deep breaths as well as often sharp intermediate pain with exertion. None of this is normal for me. So my cardiology doctor informed me that I need to do another 2 tests to determine if the pain in my chest is due to my anemia which means not enough blood is getting to my heart or if it has to deal with another blood clot that I may have gotten with having surgery and having a blood clots. I will know more this week. 

Overall I’m feeling better and can’t wait to get back into my normal active lifestyle.