My IVF Journey: Fertility Window

We were hurting. I was hurting and probably caused a lot of the pain. I didn’t want to discuss the failure of our first IVF attempt. I was embarrassed. Something must have been wrong on my end. Why couldn’t the eggs latch onto my uterine lining?

I felt alone and frustrated. Feelings of inadequacy constantly flooded my mind. I threw myself into work. I was travelling a lot. Meetings. It was good. The anniversary dinner was a starting point towards talking and acting like a couple. But, a couple of days later I was given the news that no woman in her prime wants to hear. Especially at the age of 32.

I was having my annual check-up and my ob/gyn wanted me to get up and have a talk. She explained that my fertility window was limiting. I had to make a choice if I wanted to have children. My fibroids had returned and I didn’t have as much time as I thought I would to have children. I thought I had more time than 5 months since my first failed attempt at IVF. I told her that we had tried IVF and that it had failed. She asked where did we go for treatment. I told her. She said she knew the practice.

“Who is your doctor?” she asked. “Dr. S” I replied. “I know him” she said. “He’s a great doctor. What did he say?” she inquired. “He told me to try it again. He said that he knows he can get me pregnant” I sighed. I didn’t want to be having this conversation again. Not with someone else. It didn’t work. I get it. I wasn’t meant to have children.

I had begun to accept that fact. “Well, if he said he can do it then he can do it. You should try it again” she said. Just like that. Final. I listened and stuttered “We’re in a bad place. We’ve been married 5 years and I don’t know if we’ll make it.” She listened. “Okay, just know that you can’t wait forever.” I shook my head in understanding and got dressed.

I had never felt so alone.

I headed to the car. On the drive home I kept replaying her conversation in my mind. I never wanted children so why the hell was this stressing me out? Was it our marriage holding on by a thread or was it the fact that at that moment, I knew that I wanted to be a mother?

That was it.

I wanted to be a mother. If not with my husband, then someone else. I wanted a baby. I was going to have a baby. I wasn’t going to stay in this perpetual middle zone relationship wondering if he or I should pull the plug on it. Someone needed to make a decision and it needed to happen now. Definitely before my fertility window closed. No more excuses. It was time to woman up!

-To be continued-

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

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Black Women vs. White Women

Why do they always seem to put us up against one another? Why is it that it’s always in the news that black men prefer white women or that black women have bad attitudes? Why is it that society can’t seem to find us beautiful?

If it’s not one thing, it’s another, but this is no pity piece. I don’t need your sympathy or coaxing to tell me that I’m beautiful. Hell, I know I am! My confidence and self-esteem are not defined by society nor shattered by their comments. I love me. The skin I’m in and the woman that I am.

My issue is when people want to pit us against one another. Can’t we all just get along? I mean seriously. I have some cool white girlfriends that I call my sisters and hell I’m sure that they think I’m a cool black girlfriend. Race doesn’t divide us. Our genders unite us. We are about the success of women.

So, you’re probably asking what’s got me fit to be tied? It’s this constantly circulated stereotype that asks the question why do black men prefer white women? Last week one of the bloggers I follow, Sunny over at Grown Folk Talk Radio, posted the Instagram page of a Washington Redskins player who asked the question of why do black athletes marry white women?

I’m sure it was written to get everyone in an uproar. I mean what isn’t done on social media for likes or comments? But, one “athlete” in particular posted this foolishness:

Was I hot? Absolutely. The whole response is meant to divide us. To play one race of women against another is pathetic and I’m so tired of that foolishness. Let’s be clear…love who the hell you want too. I don’t care. But, what I won’t do is allow my race and gender to be disrespected in any way. I have to set the record straight.

Here’s the thing…that question is asked to divide instead of unite us. People can’t help who they love. Color is not blind. Love is. You choose to fall in love. Love is amazing, but if you are choosing to love people that are not in your race then I wonder do you truly know what the meaning of love is? Self-love is the first step to recognizing and accepting love.

Now, my issue is the fact that this gentleman’s argument was flawed. Here’s why…

  • Most of the sisters were raised in broken homes.  What statistics back that up when it is a whole lot of women choosing not to marry but have children? You are sitting there trying to refer to us as your sisters while throwing shade? That is whack? If sisters are growing up in broken homes, where is the man who could fix that? I mean if your argument is that a man leads, why is he not leading the family?
  • They don’t have the proper guidance on how to treat a man. Umm, what is the proper guidance? Is there a class? Where are boys taught how to treat a woman? What are the ways in which we are supposed to treat you? This my friend is call for action instead of trying to destroy us. Teach at the Boys and Girls club or get involved with local community organizations to teach children how to communicate effectively.
  • A white woman knows her position and accepts her role. Are you kidding me? I know many white women who are alpha females and married to great men that lead the family, but they are not docile women cowering in the corner. Where are you meeting these women? Does your girlfriend know that you think of her in those terms?
  • Black women think that it is 50/50. If I went to college and grad school like you why would I want anything less than 50/50? Does that mean that we are splitting the finances down the middle? No. It means that I will be an equal contributor to our family’s future. That is what it means. Is that bad? Nope.  But, on the flip side that doesn’t mean that I will support a man trying to be a rapper in his 40’s. You are not bringing your all to the table sir. Relationships evolve and people set their own rules, but to dismiss someone’s belief is close minded.
  • Black women are stubborn, close minded and always want to argue. Umm, where are you meeting these women? See, you can always find some stubborn and close minded people that want to argue regardless of race or gender. This is not something you can put on all black women.
  • Black women are not coachable. What? Are you a therapist? Because I will tell you that I’ve always said black people (not just black women) need three things: Jesus, wine and therapy. We need help. It is not just black women. How can a man coach a woman if he secretly hates them? That is what the real issue is.

This whole argument spoke of ways to divide us and I for one am tired of it. These small minded individuals are petty and obviously unhappy with their lives that they feel the need to speak such foolishness. Last time I checked it took two people to make a relationship and/or marriage work.

In the interest of self disclosure…my dad walked out on us when I was 9. The oldest of 3 kids. He didn’t financially contribute to our upbringing. Nor was he physically present in our lives….EVER. Where the hell is the outrage for the men who just don’t care and don’t give a f*ck about the kids they leave behind? Would you expect a woman who didn’t have a father who wasn’t a man not to have any issues? Anyone would. Yet, I’m the problem. Not the man that left?

So, no my momma wasn’t teaching me how to be a dutiful wife and know my place. She was out there busting her butt working 3 jobs to provide for us because the man she married didn’t think his children were worth it. All while making $16,000 a year. Do you know how hard that is? There were no talks of how you should treat a man. We had food security issues.  That was more concerning.

The key to relationships regardless of race is communication. We all need to learn how to talk to each other in our relationships. If you’re dating someone and they do something you don’t like, talk to them. Give them an opportunity to correct their behavior. If they don’t, move on. But, stop trying to blame black women for the ills of black men or stop trying to divide black women and white women. We all have battles to fight.

P.S. The supposed “athlete” is really not a professional football player.  I hope that all women know what kind of foolish and deceitful man this person is.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

The Musings of A Diabetic – Part 2

I called Mr. C. in frustration and shame. How the hell could I get diabetes? I’m 41. There is no family history of it. He calmly stated “It’s going to be fine. You can beat this. You should take the medication and keep working out. We’ll find out what you can and can’t eat.” I sighed. I knew it wasn’t going to be that easy.

Life never is.

But, he was optimistic. He was supportive. He was encouraging me. He wasn’t going to let me suffer a defeatist attitude and proclaim the end of my demise. He was going to be there pushing me to the limits to not give up.

I accepted it. I needed it. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in my desire to LIVE. To live for my Munch. I had too much work to do.

I started increasing my steps. Stretching. Watching what I’m eating. Everything was scrutinized. Reduced my alcohol intake by 95%. I was going to fight this.

I tested my blood, took the pill and continued my workouts. Chicken. I eat a lot of chicken and lean protein. I have water all the time. With every meal. No thank you to wine. No thank you to dessert.

The doctor said that my numbers have to be less than 100. It was at the 121 range. More water. More research.

Then last week I needed a caffeine boost. I wanted a soda. I went to the vending machine. The choices were few. I wanted a soda. I hadn’t had one in months. I needed some caffeine. Ugh! They only had Pepsi products. I’m a die-hard Coca-Cola drinker. So, I settled on a Dr. Pepper. They didn’t have diet but I needed a Dr. Pepper.

I took it back to my office and drank a little less than a third. The need was satisfied. I was feeling satiated by the caffeine. I put the top back on the bottle and continued about my day.

The rest of the day was normal. I went to work out, ate a healthy chicken salad and drank water. Took my shower and went to bed.

The next morning I awoke and took my blood sugar before I left the house. It said 161.

I was devastated. This was the highest it had ever been. I couldn’t understand what did it.

I packed my lunch of chicken breasts and beans, water, strawberries, watermelon and water. I grabbed a couple of Greek yogurts and headed to work. Stressed as heck. Not sure what the hell was going on in my body I started to freak out.

I called Mr. C and he instantly knew something was wrong. I told him my levels and how I didn’t do anything differently so I didn’t know what the issue was. He told me to relax and that we would get this under control.

He reminded me that I didn’t become diabetic overnight so it would take time for me to figure out what I can and can’t eat. He said, “It’s only been a month. We’ll figure it out.” Hmm, I like that. We’ll figure it out.

He calmed me down. I started to feel a little better until I got to work. When I went to put my lunch in the kitchen I saw this sign:

I had an Aha moment! I know knew what sparked my elevated sugar. That damn soda. I had no idea how many grams of sugar were in that Dr. Pepper. It has 64 grams of sugar. Women are supposed to have no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar daily. That damn soda was triple the amount of my supposed daily sugar intake.

Worst part? I didn’t even drink it all. That little taste of soda elevated my blood sugar. After feeling better about what I learned I began to research ways to lower my blood sugar and monitor sugar in every little thing.
Mr. C sent me some great articles including this one about 12 Powerfoods to Beat Diabetes and I went to the grocery store that evening. I purchased some apples, citrus fruits, cinnamon (to sprinkle on everything), steaks, spinach, and apple cider vinegar. I’m trying everything.

I grilled some steaks that evening and packed a lunch of a grilled steak, spinach greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, sprinkled with cinnamon and a little bit of a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I packed my fruits and bottled water. I was going to live.

I took my blood sugar the next day and it was 142. Higher than normal but it was coming down. I don’t know if it was the 2 tablespoons of vinegar that I digested an hour before I ate or not, but I’m going to keep digesting the vinegar, sprinkling ½ teaspoon of cinnamon on my meals daily and eating leaner and healthier food.

Now, if I could just find a quinoa recipe that I can cook (easy) and doesn’t taste like crap, I’ll be in business.

The Musings of A Diabetic – Part 1

“I have the sugar”. Those were the words I uttered last month when I found out that I am now in the diabetic range. My A1C was 7. I was officially diagnosed as Type 2 diabetic. I sighed. I was feeling overwhelmed.

I met with my doctor to go over my numbers. He was angry because I hadn’t repeated my labs or seen him since August of last year when the numbers indicated that I was pre-diabetic. He wanted to know why I hadn’t bothered to see him or return his calls. He was acting like I stood him up or something.

I guess in reality I did. I had been so busy and pre-occupied with life that I put my health on the back burner. Yes, I still worked out. Yes, I still kept losing weight and increasing my water intake. But, my life was in a tailspin last year. I couldn’t focus on me. I had to focus on everyone else.

My son got shigella. My daddy got diagnosed with cancer. My son was having emotional issues. I was going through a horrific time with my ex. I got a kidney infection and ended up in the hospital. My car got hit by a U-haul truck while it was parked. I thought I had breast cancer.

There it was.  A lot of the load that I was carrying had weighed me down. My health became minor. I had to work. I had to pay the bills. I had to take care of my son. I had to get a grip on reality. I was having a nervous breakdown and I couldn’t have one because there wasn’t any time to have one. Who would take care of my Munch if I did?

He listened. I said, “I need you to understand the plight and burden of being a mother. A black mother. We carry the weight of the world on our shoulder and we often neglect our health.” He said, “Okay, well now you can’t neglect your health. It’s serious.” I felt defeated as I responded, “I know.”

We spoke about my weight loss. He was happy. He sees the scale going down. We talked about my work out routines. My activity levels. My stress levels. My eating habits. There it was. My eating habits. I mostly ate healthy but I didn’t know that my love of carbs was killing me. Oh, how I love pasta, rice and sauce. I dreamed of pasta and warm breads. They comforted me.

They were slowly killing me. “I don’t want medication. My mom says that I could become dependent on medication and she doesn’t want me to take it. She wants me to reverse it. She’s a chemist you know.” He sat there and slowly responded “Nothing against your mom but you need the medication. I don’t want your pancreas to have to work so hard to get that sugar out of your body. The medication helps to get rid of the sugar. I wouldn’t recommend it unless I thought you needed it.”

“I know” I muttered.

“No one changes their eating habits overnight. It takes time. This medication will start to work while you continue to try and make better choices.”

“I know” I replied with tears streaming down my face.

“Look, since you’re against it I will start off on a low dosage one pill daily, although I would normally recommend two pills a day. I want you to test your blood sugar every other day and I want you to continue to work out and change your food choices. Keep a journal of what you eat so you can see the things that make your sugar levels rise. We will retest in 3 months. We will see what’s going on.”

I agreed.

The nurse came in and showed me how to test my sugar. Simple finger prick. Once every other day.

I could do that.

I left the office feeling defeated.

A Tired Black Woman

Dear Black Man,

I’m tired of you and everyone in America trying to tell me what beauty is. I am beautiful. Because I am one of God’s greatest creations. My beauty is not defined in how I choose to wear my hair or the clothes on my back. My beauty is both spiritual and physical. You don’t have to recognize it. You don’t have to appreciate it. You don’t have to even accept it. But, you know what I need you to do?

Stop trying to tell me that I’m not beautiful because I choose to perm my hair or color it. Stop trying to tear me down and say that I can’t accept criticism. Cause you know what? I can. I do. Every single day. When I go to work to take care of the children that I have to raise on my own while you live your life. You know the children that I carried for 9 months. The children who have your eyes or my lips? Those children.

Those children that are being gunned down in the streets or on the playground. Those children that are being unfairly or harshly disciplined in their schools. Those children that are being shuffled into Special Education because they are too active in the classroom. I’m working to raise them.

To try and teach them self-love and how to interact with law enforcement. How to be respectful of all adults. Of how they should notify me if there is a problem with a teacher or another student. Of how to stand up for what they believe in but not too much to draw attention that they become a target.

I have to go to work everyday in corporate America after waking up alone and getting our children fed and off to school. I work my butt off at a job that doesn’t pay me what I’m worth but I don’t complain. I look at graduate school programs during my lunch break, send emails to the teacher about our children’s grades or schedule doctor’s appointments.

Oh look, it’s been 3 years since I had my last physical, mammogram or PAP smear. No worries though. My personal health is not important right now. The kids are up on their shots, I am running for PTSA President and I am able to send our son to sleep away camp for a couple of weeks this summer. Wait, let me schedule our daughter’s hair appointment, pick up the dry cleaning and get home to do dinner and homework.

I’m exhausted. It doesn’t matter though. I still have to review homework. Clean the kitchen, put the kids to bed and log on to my computer and check work emails. I have to prove my worth, by showing my boss that I am always thinking about work. I am after all…superwoman. I’m supposed to be both invincible and invaluable.

Later that night when I finally drag myself into bed, I will cry myself to sleep because you aren’t there to hear my tears. I will pray that God will heal your heart and spirit against me. Because I am not your enemy. I also pray that God doesn’t harden my heart to you dear black man. Because if he does, what do you think will become of our children’s future?

Signed,

A Tired Black Woman

 

Father’s Daughter

This is a piece that I wrote in December of last year

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I am my father’s daughter were the words that ruminated in my mind as I boarded my plane home from Tennessee last night. I smiled. I felt the peace settle into my spirit and realized that I am truly happy. Happy to know my father.

I shared my story earlier this year about how my father was an absentee father and how I learned to forgive him. I did forgive him. We started to build that bridge and get closer. I thought we had all the time in the world until he asked me to call him. It was early October.

I did call him. “I have cancer daughter” were the words that he uttered. I broke out in tears. The sobs of a child in mourning were muffled as I covered my mouth and closed my office door. “What” I stammered. “I have cancer baby” he replied. I went numb. He talked about seeing the doctor and his acceptance.

My dad had accepted that it was okay to not want to do treatment. I’ve lived a long life he says. “Dad, you’re 60, that’s not long” I muttered. However, he seemed okay with that. He was tired he told me. He wanted to die. I wanted more time. I wanted memories. How could I make up for the last 31 years missed if he was checking out? How could we get to a place of peace?

I realized a critical point in my life. I had to try. I had to truly forgive and get back to knowing this man. That’s all I could do. I cried. I left work in tears because I couldn’t bear the thought of the man that I was publicly admitting that I loved to not be here anymore. Time was slipping. Time was invaluable. Time was what I wanted. More time. I booked my flight home to Tennessee the following month and began about the task of making sure that I could create some memories.

Memories were just what I created over Thanksgiving. I spent days with my dad and family. Laughing, crying, eating and just visiting him. He spent many days in a melancholy mood obsessing over the past. He was remorseful when he talked about seeing me in 2004 and how he ignored me. He let the tears roll down his face as he said, “I’m so sorry baby”. I smiled and with tears in my eyes I said, “I know daddy. I forgive you. The same God that has granted me grace and mercy all these years has given me the gift of forgiveness.”

I learned so much about my dad and my dad’s family during my brief visit that I am in awe that it took this long. This long for me to know my dad. To know his family. To know his life. To hear him openly talk about his other children with other women. There are at least eight of us. I am the first born girl. The oldest girl he says with pride.

I don’t know if I’m happy that there are so many children that I don’t know, but what I do know is that I will no longer hold on to the past. I will no longer hold him hostage to the pain in my heart because time with him is of the essence. The time we spend is more valuable than holding on to the pain. In this space between peace and forgiveness is a grown woman who openly proclaims that I am my father’s daughter.

I have his eyes. I have his stubborn nature. I have his laugh. I am his. He is mine and even though our time is not known, I promise to spend every minute loving and appreciating this man for who is now.

© Tikeetha Thomas

Raising Our Girls

I’m a product of a broken home. A single parent home. My mother raised me. She did it alone. My dad wasn’t there. Not mentally. Not physically. Not spiritually. Not financially. So, my mom worked three jobs to provide a roof over our heads, clothes on our back and food in the house.

She worked. She worked hard. While working those three jobs she went to school. She was still working to earn her bachelor’s degree while I was in school. She earned it when I was in college. She now has her doctorate in education. She’s pretty determined huh?

My mom taught me that life is about survival. There is no shame in starting over. You will do what you need to do  to provide for your children. You have no choice. You have no option. You’re a girl who will become a woman and you have to be strong.

Even when you don’t want to.

Being raised in a single parent home as a young girl I saw that determination and knew that nothing less would be expected of me. But, that singular focus to raise a strong black woman did something to me when it comes to my relationships with men. It blurred them. It gave me a false understanding of roles in relationships.

What do you mean T?

I didn’t see a man as needing to be a provider because a man wasn’t providing for me in any way. I was going to be able to provide for me and any children I had because that is what women are supposed to do. Step up at all costs.

I did. I went to school. I studied hard. I got married. I resisted having children until I could financially afford to care of them on my own. I struggled to maintain an outside appearance of a united front. A picture perfect couple. We weren’t.

I was emasculating him in some ways. Not letting him know that he was needed. Making him feel as though he was just a piece on my board game because I could buy the game, play by myself and replace any broken pieces. Dang.

That was kinda harsh. I owned it. I had so many standards for men that you had to have all the things on my list or you would be dismissed. But, what I wanted truly was not on that list. I needed emotional support. I needed a man who valued my need to communicate and support me emotionally.

I needed to know that someone had my back. But, I never told anyone. Not any boyfriend I ever had. Not my ex-husband. I was afraid of being vulnerable. Superwomen were indestructible. We could never show vulnerability.

youre-a-diamond-dear-they-cant-break-you-quote-1