Going natural is all the rave and no, I’m not talking about my hair this time. (I’ll give you a few days before I drop that post on you.) I’m talking about household cleaning products, saying ‘No’ to processed food and removing any additional chemicals from your life. So one day while visiting with my best friend Google to research a medical concern (I know I know), I stumbled upon an interesting article about fibroids. It began to discuss the ways in which Western women handle that time of the month and the harms associated with the products we’ve come to rely on. I started to think about my own health and wanted to investigate the land of organic feminine products.

Well, where should one start to look when trying to make a very important decision such as this?  Google! I was amazed by the options. Then Google called YouTube and I started watching reviews. Armed with so many opinions and TMI, I made a plan to try a few to select what was best for me. Now, I was headed to Target.  I mean really, is there any other place that makes you feel good about spending your money even though you didn’t need any of the items you purchased, NO! There were a few options on the shelves and I decided to try the Honest brand first.

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I couldn’t really notice a difference between these and my old Tampax Pearls.  What was I suppose to be looking for? So, I just started to observe more closely and take notes. The first thing was the price. Eighteen (18) tampons in a box almost the same size as a softball and costs 2x the national brand for the same amount.  At $6.99, you could have 34 tampons from the P&G company. The writing was on my receipt, “if you want a healthy lifestyle, you have to pay more for it.”  Not to be discouraged, I took it in stride and decided to use these in between depleting my current stock – which wasn’t much but I’m not big on throwing away money. The next thing I noticed was the absorbency. It seemed like I was going through so many more of these. Super didn’t feel like super to me.  That’s all I’m going to say about that without being too graphic. I appreciated the smaller packaging and fun colors. It just fit in my pocket and I felt secure in the protection it would offer me if I was too far from my desk or home. I noticed I wasn’t getting the headaches associated with this 3 to 4-day process. Then again that could’ve been in my head but hey I didn’t have no damn headaches. During this trial period (no pun intended), I decided to not use them when I was going to be home, running really quick errands or overnight. This would call for me to go back to purchasing pads. I have a few in my closet from a previous event and decided to use those before I bought more. Honest had a selection of thin organic cotton pads but the absorbency of the tampons scared me from going further with this company. It was time to try something else.  Back to Target we go!

Cora was up next.  The sleek packaging made me feel like a grown woman.  It’s not candy, its a tampon and I don’t have to be ashamed. Image result for cora tamponsThey were $6.99 as well for 18.  What I noticed from the beginning was the comfort. These felt better to me. The headaches were non-existent still during the day and the absorbency was on point. A few times, I headed to the office restroom with urgency, only to find out everything was still okay. What a relief!  In conjunction with this brand, I was trying out L. panty liners because Cora doesn’t have them.  That kinda disappointed me because I wanted to use products from the same brand. This made me want to give Honest a second chance but I had already made my final decision on them. I noticed the tampons for this brand as well but I was set on using the Image result for l linersones in my cart. So, I left them right there on the shelf.  In this decreet bag, were 100 liners for $6.49. There was value all over this purchase.  At most, you use 12 a cycle.  This is almost a yearly supply. BINGO! The liners are very comfortable and come in a plain white packaging. Something else I noticed (only while typing this post) the larger bag features smaller bagged quantities inside. Which is perfect if you’re a mom and you’re purchasing for a household or sharing with others. Something that should be noted about all the products I tested, none featured perfumes or any type of fragrance. In addition, it seemed as if the waste had changed color. Then again it could be because I’m becoming an old lady but I’ll take that up in a few years. LOL! I started doing more research on the Cora and L. brands. What I discovered was amazing – they have customizable subscriptions which can be delivered to your home and they’re giving back by donating supplies to young women around the world. These were my kinds of companies.  This was very clever and with all this new information – I signed up for a subscription. Can you guess with which company?

That was probably a no-brainer. Let me tell you how this company won me over. It was all the black packaging. This was something I had never experienced.  It was chic, adult and classy. Then they displayed all the storage options I would get. There’s a storage box for under the sink, on the vanity or nightstand. I was even thinking you could leave that in a powder room for guests. There’s the clutch, which you can store up to four tampons in and carry it with you. No, digging to the bottom of your purse looking for a tampons or them all falling out if you spill the contents of your bag on the floor. It carries really well and I leave it right on my desk to pick up and go when the time comes.  And if that wasn’t enough, they threw in six (6) stowaways. This thing rolls like a lipstick, lol. Perfect for a clutch, with one tampon inside you’re good to out for a few hours. Just don’t try to do 9-5 with a stowaway. They’re meant for sharing with others but I had to keep a few for myself. 🙂

If you’re interested in trying organic feminine products, use code marleaz9682 @ www.cora.life

 

 

Scared. Unsure. And insecure ideas crossed my mind on a daily basis.  Needless to say, I didn’t feel like myself.  The woman I knew only a few years ago was gone.  Only coming out in sporadic intervals within a week.  How was I going to get back to me? Where had Marti gone and why had she abandoned me? Along with everything else going on – this had become a necessary emergency.

There were days when I would be on top of the world. Life was good on the outside.  But something on the inside wasn’t quite right.  I was experiencing drastic mood swings, my patience was none existent, tears appeared from some foreign origin and I was basically staying in the house.  This certainly wasn’t in my character.  I was attempting to talk through this with friends. But when you’re a strong person, I’m sure you can understand how difficult this can be especially when everyone is counting on you to be their ray of sunshine, silver lining, and positivity.  So, that release that I was looking for I wasn’t getting.  I tried some of my regular coping methods and those only proved to help for a moment.  I tried ‘going into myself’ (this normally helps me recharge and recalibrate), writing my thoughts down and focusing on the big events of The Kid’s senior year of high school. But you probably guessed it – none of those worked either.  I had to get out of this funk. Strength

After some serious deliberation, I decided to contact a therapist for help.  My health was the main reason I sought out professional help considering the events of 2016.  Now, I’m sure you know/heard/read about the stigma of seeking mental health services in the Black community. “We don’t need professional help, that’s for white people, it’s a waste of money or pray about it.” These are some of the reasons they give for not getting help. Well, this was my response – I’m part caucasian with a little extra cash whose prayed about this and seeking professional help.  I was tired of feeling this way and I had to do something about it and Castlight was there to assist me.

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You can imagine the way I rejoiced during this scene from Insecure.

After finding the perfect fit for me (and that was determined by the tone of her voice when I spoke with her over the phone), I made an appointment.  Was I scared? Simple answer – Yes. As I walked into her office I noticed, there was no stereotypical chaise to help me relax and bare my soul, a few pieces of art to catch the eye and 2 red leather chairs positioned across from each other. Taking a seat was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.  In the first session, we identified several areas within my being that I had never acknowledged or even knew about. At the end of the session, she gave a “prescription.”  This wasn’t medicine in the literal sense.  These were the things I needed to do before I saw her again to get my ideas and thoughts lined up to assist with my healing/treatment.  Before I walked out the door we scheduled my next appointment.

With every passing interaction, I could feel myself getting better.  It was beyond psychological.  I was rediscovering myself all over again.  They say “7 is the number of completion” and the last time I went looking for me was exactly 7 years ago.  I was in mourning.  A bereavement period for the younger Marti. The stoic, idgaf, social introvert, let’s have a good time, solo travel, football mom Marti.  Changes were happening all around me and I had to accept my place in all of it.  My kid was an adult to a point and I was anxious about his next steps.  There was a lot of movement going on at work.  I felt stuck due to aging parents.  I’m technically being given a 2nd wind.  My relationships weren’t the same. I needed to find and do the things a more mature Marti wanted to do.  And due to me not wanting to hurt any feelings, be viewed as selfish or revert back to the person I was 7 years ago, I was mentally fighting everything.  My worth was being re-evaluated.  New Marti needed me to love her as much as I loved the one from days gone.

I started to slow down and process/unpack things more carefully.  What I didn’t realize was I wasn’t letting go of everything.  Some traits, behaviors, and ideas would remain while others faded and that’s okay.  I was still in here I just had to embrace the new me in all its entirety. Honestly, I have noticed a change in myself since the therapy began. I’m not afraid of my thoughts and sharing them (even if that means I need to finesse the delivery.)

I went back and forth about posting this but I said: “wth this is my life.” Maybe my journey will help someone seek out the help they feel they need. Within this post, you will find a few links with additional information. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

It was a nice August 16th and I actually wore a dress to work. I was fighting a headache for about 3 hours.  While joking with some co-workers, I realized I was unable to communicate in my normal fashion. Ut oh, this thing is happening again. I sat polarized for a few moments waiting for it to pass.  It didn’t and I packed my things up to go home.  As I walked through the door, my son knew something was wrong with me.  I was in complete denial. After 7 hours, 3 phone calls, my sister, and mom visiting, 2 hours of reading aloud, my son decided to drive me to the hospital.

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As I walked from the parking lot to the receiving desk, I cried. What was wrong with me? He had to speak for me because at the time – the words would not form as articulately as I desired them to. They rushed me to the back.  No real information had been given and I was extremely agitated when they told me I would have to stay. I let the kid know he could go home, no sense in us both being uncomfortable in this overcrowded Detroit hospital ER. In addition, I let the doctor know the only way I was going to stay was if they gave me something to go to sleep. Whatever it was that they gave me I didn’t wake up until someone was trying to take off my pants. (It was good but I ain’t had NOTHING that would make me NOT realize my pants are being removed.) I was in my own room. Oh shit! I need to let somebody know where I am. True to form my phones needed life support. Mission: Text as many critical communicators as fast as possible.

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Yeah, you read it right! They believed I had a small stroke. Not a TIA again.  An actual, fuck yo life up stroke. What was my 36-year-old ass doing in here being diagnosed with this? Something called an ulceration of my carotid artery. Causing me to experience some speech impairment. My son had contacted my family. Some of my FB family reached out to me that were actually working in the hospital and in communication with me through our group message. I had reached out to the Mister on my way home the previous day and he found out they were keeping me later on. I felt a lot better but I really just wanted to get out of there.

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I took so many tests my head began spinning and every day I thought would be the day I’d be going home. Home wasn’t on the agenda until Friday. While I lay in that uncomfortable hospital bed with these foam boots on my legs, I analyzed my life. I never planned on leaving my son alone without a sibling.  He was 17 and depending on only himself.  I thank God I had grocery shopped over the weekend. He would stay late into the night then go to practice and come see me afterward. My room buzzed in the evening hours with visitors. It was nice but I wanted to go. When they began talking about me leaving, I perked up.  When she brought me the discharge papers, I was dressed. The nurse wanted to wait for a wheelchair, I opted to walk out.  The smell of the fresh air was welcoming. The taste was fulfilling and walking through my front door brought immediate satisfaction.


The main side effect I experienced from this was -slight aphasia. In my eyes, this was right up there with losing the function of one of my limbs. I know it may sound a little vain but communication is one of my strongest attributes.  As I sat alone in complete silence, I would speak aloud – searching for the right word and annunciation. Each day I became more frustrated and withdrawn because I wasn’t 100%. No matter how much better others said I was, there was no I could accept it.aphasia

The doctor had referred me to speech therapy but I was waiting for them to reach out to me with an appointment date. In the meantime, through my Googling, I learned that continuous communication would help my chances of strengthening/curing my ailment. I didn’t want people to hear me like this but I knew I had A LOT to be thankful for considering what I had been through.

Saturday was my 1st full day out, I got dressed and went to get my nails done. Once I returned home, I received a call from the security desk with a delivery. The kind people from my job sent me a welcome home present. I could just eat up all the kindness I was feeling, no LITERALLY. This was just what the doctor ordered. I needed to do better with my eating habits and fruit never hurt anyone. A few family members came over to share in the get well greeting.img_1601

I wanted to get back to work. I needed to feel normal again. After a few long conversations with a good friend, it was decided that I would work from home for a few days then return. Monday morning, I slid into the office picked up a few things I needed and was whisked outside to prevent me from taking on any additional assignments. While at home, I realized I needed this time. My body was still tired from the uncomfortable hospital and early morning test. It felt good to be of some assistance to my team again. They all instructed me to take as much time as I needed. They knew more than I did because I hadn’t thought about the 99 follow-up visits. They all stopped by to check on me and wish me well. This was appreciated but I didn’t wanna feel like an invalid. Moreover, being back at work has certainly assisted with overcoming the slight aphasia I was diagnosed with my the doctor.

Mission: Take pills as instructed. I hate taking medication because I believe the body it so sophisticatedly independent – it doesn’t need any help getting better. Not so this time, I was ordered to take what I would consider to be a fist full of meds.

Taking this medicine was almost as frustrating as the aphasia. I had alarms everywhere. The pills were on the dining room table and I felt like shit if I forgot to take them. Then one day while out on a Sunday afternoon to get some air, he asks “Mom, what happened to your legs?” I’m completely oblivious.  I look down and around and-

The bruising caused by the Plavix and aspirin combination was too much and I fell into a depression. I struggled with if I had bumped myself by accident, should I look into getting some of those foam boots I wore in the hospital or stopping the meds. Which one do you think won? If you guessed stopping the meds, you’re absolutely right.  My vanity was taking control of me. I reached out to my doctor and she gave me the green light to stop taking the Lipitor. I continued to take the Plavix and the bruising continued.  It wasn’t until I went back to for my stroke follow-up that I was instructed to continue the Lipitor and aspirin to stabilize the cholesterol. It was during this visit,  I was referred to psychology. Check out the reason he thought I might need it. Ya think!?img_3019

I never used this and by this time I had been to the speech therapist. She was very comforting and gave me some good information on what I could do for continued strengthening of my vocabulary and communication skills. By this time, I was experiencing sporadic episodes of “not being able to find the right word.” I had to get better.

 

 

Mission: Look for alternative ways to stay alive. I’m sure many of you can guess this hasn’t been easy on my family. I’m so young and we have a history of stroke in our family. More than that, we have a long life expectancy. I mean my mother is 70 still cruising around doing her own thing. One night The Kid walks in after football practice and says, “I can’t go away to college and you’re sick.” No truer words have been spoken by a mother, ‘I’m going to be fine. You go on and live your life.’  This put me on a task like nothing else had already done. I have to stay healthy. Not only for me but mainly to keep this stress off of him. The main concern of the doctor is controlling the cholesterol. I can do that! I MUST do this.

Here’s what I have learned in my short recovery:

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These are the signs of stroke. I have to table my fear of the hospital and bills. If they could put all my medical info at the dentist office, I’d be alright.  🙂  I need to be open with those around me if I should have such an episode in the future.  Time is the most important thing. (If you pay attention to the first image in this post. You’ll see I’m extremely blessed to even be typing this right now.) There are NO signs of severe stenosis and no apparent reason to consider the surgical removal of the ulceration. I have a be a little more patient with myself and keep my phone charged (ain’t no telling where I may need to go). I like the way it was explained to me. “A stroke is like and accident on the freeway. There will be traffic while they are trying to clear it up and traffic begins to move as if nothing had happened. The wait is determined by the size of the wreckage.” I just had a small fender bender and I have to be more careful to prevent a pile-up. This happened to me to force me into a lifestyle change. I need to eat healthier – bottom line. My cholesterol isn’t bad but I need to get back to the gym to assist with this, as well. Most importantly, I made the decision to NOT have any siblings for my son and by God, he will not be alone until the creator is satisfied my purpose has been completed.

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I promised you all that I would be back with any update on my health concerns.  I’m still feeling fine.  I haven’t had any additional episodes.  The quest for answers continues but I’m being more optimistic about the outcome.  However, something else has come up but we’ll get into those details as the post goes forward.

So, I finally received an appointment to see the doctor for a follow up visit after making several trips up to the office to present the discharge papers.  After informing her about my specific episode, she gave me her thoughts on the idea of me having experienced a TIA.  According to Dr. Poleck, this was a reaction to the medication I was prescribed the month prior.  This was given to me to increase my appetite because once again, I wasn’t eating properly.  While taking the meds (pictured below), I wasn’t feeling the greatest.  This news from my doctor was a serious relief.  I didn’t like feeling something was going on with me that I could not explain.  The doctor ordered, I continue with the exams suggested through the ER doctor to insure everything was okay.  I’ll follow up with her after I have completed my MRI this upcoming Friday.


While dealing with Thing 1, Thing 2 arrives to give me more grief.  Never in my life has my monthly cycle been irregular.  So by the 5th day, I was concerned.  On day 8, I was frustrated and on the 11th day I was scared and in major pain.  A quick ride back to my local emergency room was in order.  This was a bit of a nuisance to me because I just received the $2,000 bill for the last visit.  Moreover, I had to go and get answers to what was going on with my body. A bag of sodium chloride, intravenous pain medications, pelvic ultrasounds and vaginal examine later, I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors.  News to me because I was under the knowledge that I only had one.more-on-fibroids

Talk about a blow to my optimism.  They began talking about removal and other treatment that I couldn’t start because I was still under care for the TIA.  I wanted this all to be over as quickly as possible. (And my best friend Google was not helping me with all the information and images.)  Now, I have another set of follow up instructions and doctor referrals.  A new script for pain medicine was given but I’m completely afraid of those types of pills.  Due to a lightweight dependency on post delivery pharmaceuticals.  I didn’t take them but I was ready for this to be over.  Fourteen days after the beginning, it was over and I was anxious about what was next to come in my life.

A friend of mine referred me to an OB/GYN that I should visit to discuss what we’re going to do about Thing 2.  I’ll have that appointment next Monday.  This certainly wasn’t the way I planned to start the new year but it’s my reality.  As I get ready to celebrate my birthday, I’m thankful for the new found knowledge I have regarding my health.

~ If you are having any medical concerns or do not feel like something is right, please seek medical attention immediately. ~

Keep smiling because I haven’t stopped even on my hardest day. 🙂

 

My goals in life include staying healthy body, mind and spirit.  I attempt to make it to the gym 3x a week.  My current eating patterns can be better.  Lord knows I try to keep my spirit filled with faith and positivity.  However, with everything I do my health ended up on the countdown again his year.

The year started off strong.  The distance of the gym from my home kept causing me grief due to the drive and traffic.  I was eating properly and appeared to be maintaining my new 132 pound body well.  It felt good to be at my heaviest weight in my life but not too different from what I’m accustomed.  My mother even had the nerve to say I was “getting wide.” Say WHAT?  I was feeling great and I’m sure it was okay with the Mista because he notices everything but never said a word. 35

After the issues discussed in the previous post started, I completely turned in to myself and really didn’t give any notice to my health.  From the outside I was fine.  However, I knew the real deal.  Over the course of 3 months I lost 9 lbs.  It was gradual and I was noticing the difference by how my clothes fit me.  I began to hide in dresses and skirts.  The stress had become too much and I wasn’t eating, sleeping or exercising as I had only a short while ago.  This is the side effect of stress for me.  I knew what I needed to do.

I’d like to believe I’m as healthy as a horse.  No smoking, illegal drugs, sleep and proper nutrition have strengthened this idea in my mind.  Then I reached out to my doctor for a visit to see if something else was going on internally.  Of course, this was my thought before I owned up to the stress I was suppressing.  I informed you that I was diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency.  My concern about my weight wasn’t ignored but they tried to talk me out of wanting my additional pounds back because I was at a healthy weight of 125.  I had gained a few lbs back but it wasn’t enough for me.  They tried a new formula for my appetite pill but it didn’t work because I was still skipping out on meals.  Something had to change.  A prescription for something to take orally was given but it just made me sick to the stomach and I stopped taking it.  This was something I would have to manage on my own.

In December, I experienced a strange occurrence for the third time in my life within one month – a TIA.  I didn’t know what it was but at the advice of co-workers, I went to the emergency room to get more info.  They kept telling me I was too young for this to happen to me and kept asking me if I was stressing.  My lips repeated no but my mind’s wheels were spinning to find out the root of my condition.  After several exams, I was discharged and given orders to follow up with my primary care physician and the hospital neurology team.  This was a pretty big blow to my confidence and once again I went into myself in fear of disappointment.  I set my appointment and have been doing an ugly dance with my doctor’s office to be seen by the doctor.  They have no idea this will be the last time I visit their office.  I’m in search for a new PCP.

Over the last couple weeks, I have been working to rid myself of the stress and stop worrying about things that are completely out of my control.  I have not had another episode.  I know all of the areas I need to correct so I can get back into my best possible shape and health.  This includes but may not be limited to sticking with my gym schedule/changing gyms, doing meal prep to secure I eat as needed and begin to communicate my feeling more frequently than holding it inside.  I will come back to you after my appointments to give you an update on my status.

Meanwhile, I feel great.

 

 

 

I’ve always been a thin girl. I’m not going to be fat, ever. Let’s get that straight. Whitney is not going to be fat, ever. Okay? ~ Whitney Houston

I certainly can understand what the late great was talking about! Thin- always with a pretty smile. Until my doctor told me I was underweight and things had to change. When I introduced myself to you in 2012, I was in the best shape of my life. CURVY! Being the decedent of thin relatives being the thick girl was never an option for me. After overcoming my low self-esteem because I wasn’t built like other females in my community. My face became the source of my strength and after many days of affirming myself that I was beautiful. I wore it very well and NOT from a shallow place. I felt like sharing this portion of my life with you as I looked around at the universal pressure to be fit, perfect and attractive. Most of the people I know are fighting to reduce pounds, get healthy and feel better about themselves. What could this possibly have to do with me? Well over the past couple months, I foolishly loss 12 lbs and have slid right back into the slim chick I once was! I don’t like it!

You’re probably thinking how can you lose 12 pounds by mistake! I’ll tell you how! All my life I’ve been able to just get up and go off adrenalin. I never required breakfast. So in a minor state of frustration & uncertainty I failed to eat properly. I was only eating enough to say I had ate and within a few short weeks the weight I had managed to maintain was gone. I could feel it when I moved, I saw it in the mirror and noticed it in my ill fitting clothes. Now I know some people are going to say I wish I had those problems. We’re all different. However please don’t ridicule me for my decision to be healthy.

Now because I’ve always been conscious of being in shape. I’m kind of a gym rat. I love working out but I had to realize I have to cut it out for a while to gain my proper eating habits back. No I do NOT have an eating disorder. Sometimes I allow things to overwhelm me and I just want to sleep. There was a period in November where for 2 weeks I had no appetite. This is not in my character. I love to eat, cook & eat your food if you have enough.

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Here is a before and after picture of me and you can noticeably see the difference. I embraced it all! The picture on the left is from 2010 and I was 106 lbs. Right side of the frame was from my birthday when you all met me at a cool 130 lbs. I felt the best I ever have at this point after the initial shock of not being able to wear clothes I’ve had for years and paying attention to my body. I loved the skin I was in.

Over the next couple months I’m going to work on getting my happy body back! According to this app, Cal Counter, I downloaded onto my phone I have to eat a total of 3123 calories a day to reach my goal weight by mid-May. I’m currently looking for gainer diets to assist me. I’m underweight from where I felt the healthiest. I asked my family why they never told me I looked bad they ensured me they never looked at me that way. It’s not only those with a little extra meat that are concerned with their weights. Some of us are building our best bodies too. But we usually get overlooked because people tend to think we’re the lucky ones! We have health & fitness goals just as the rest of society does. Aren’t we entitled to be the best we possibly can be? I ask for your support because this is another part of my HAPPINESS journey.