I Could Have Been Her. [Trauma While Black]

Every day on my way to work I come to a familiar (and awkward) intersection; finding myself face to face with the woman of “what could have been”.

Let me explain.

I work in a small town and often see faces of people from yearbooks past and find out what most I graduated with don’t – what happened to __________?! Back in college, one of my high school acquaintances and I became closer and began hanging out with each other more. This meant meeting each other’s families and knowing parents and cousins on a first name basis. I distinctly remember one special cousin in particular who would come up to the college to hang out in our rooms some weekends. Cousin and my friend were more like sisters really! She was still in high school (about 3 years younger than us) and I remember her being so entranced by the college life. She was tall, skinny and was a really pretty girl overall. She would LOVE getting into some of everything, asking a million questions and sticking her nose into everyone’s business. To her college was another world.

Well, as college progressed, my friend and I eventually went our separate ways and adventured into young adult life. This also meant we didn’t see each other’s families like we once did – including Cousin.

Fast forward 11 or 12 years, and notice a strange woman aimlessly wandering up and down the street not far from where I work. It’s common to see kids skipping school or people saving gas by walking, but I quickly noticed that this woman was different. Not wanting to be rude, I’d try to sneak a glance at her face, but it seemed every time I passed her on the way to work she’d be walking IN my direction, so I’d have to turn all the way around to see her face. One day, I decided to just throw caution to the wind and look around. What I saw broke my heart.

It was Cousin.

She had transformed into someone virtually unrecognizable. Her hair had been shaved. She’d picked up at least a good extra 80 pounds and she had the distinctive stare of someone who had suffered mental trauma. Growing up in and out of hospitals and meeting countless of my mother’s special education students, I have developed a knack for recognizing when something is “not all there” with someone. Cousin had that stare. Since then, I’ve studied her as I drive to work. I’ve even waved a time or two to no avail. Her blank stare and babbling otherworldly chatter leads me to speculate – what happened? What happened to transform this giddy, lively girl into a woman who may not even know where she is most times?

Did she have an accident where she sustained a brain injury that left her incapacitated? Did she have a surgery that went wrong? Did she experience a traumatic experience that triggered the onset of mental illness? Is she under a spiritual attack?!

Looking at her each week puts me into a reflective state of “she could have been me”. She could have been any one of us really. Think about your own life for a few minutes.

Have you experienced a heartbreak or trauma that could have made you “lose your mind”?

Were you ever involved in an accident or event where you could have suffered a brain injury?

Have you ever felt the weight of your problems plunge you in a spiritual darkness, constantly hovering over you?

The truth is YOU and I escaped those things. Cousin, unfortunately, didn’t.

Take time today to really check on your friends, families, and classmates. Offer them an encouraging word if you notice on social media (or in passing) that they are struggling with something. Encourage them to seek professional and spiritual help. Let them know that there is NOTHING wrong with investing in a therapist and spiritual counselor. There is still mass stigma in the black community regarding seeking professional help for trauma.  It’s one thing to not be able to afford it, it’s another to simply dismiss the benefit of it.

As long as I see Cousin, I will continue to thank God that while I could have been her, I am not her! I will continue praying for her…her family…that they get the answers and help they seek. I don’t truly know what had happened to her, but I pray whatever it is, she stays safe, that she doesn’t hurt anyone else and that we all count our blessings!

— Joc

 

ps. Here are some helpful recources for you if you want more information specifically catered for African Americans!

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/african-american

  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/culturally-speaking/201111/why-african-americans-avoid-psychotherapy

  3. https://www.therapyforblackgirls.com/

  4. http://bridgehavencounseling.org/counseling/profile-of-omar-king/

 

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Chad Loves Michelle: Depression, Anxiety & Love

This morning while getting ready for work, I watched Good Morning America and was able to catch the end of Michelle Williams’ and fiance Chad Johnson’s interview with Robin Roberts.
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In the little part that I saw, Michelle spoke on battling depression and revealed that around the time she and Chad were getting deep into their relationship, she checked herself into a hospital for treatment. When Chad came to visit her, she told him “I understand if you leave. I can go to bed at night knowing [it was because] you were praying for a wife, but not a depressed wife.” She had already mentally prepared herself to battle her depression without him but he stayed.
That stuck with me.
If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that 2 1/2 years ago I was attacked with burnout/anxiety and started having issues traveling distances that I normally wouldn’t think twice about. You will also know that it was TOTALLY out of the blue! AND that means you know that at that time my burnout occurred, I had literally JUST started dating my now ex-boyfriend. It couldn’t have come at a worse time.
So here I was trying to balance a new (somewhat long distance) relationship, ever mounting responsibilities at work, family issues, a photography business, and on top of all of that — anxiety. Prior to that, I had never really dealt with it before aside from stress and it caught me off guard. I was just used to that stress where you can drink a Ginger Ale, take a nap, and wake up fine! What honestly frustrated me about this whole fear thing was the fact that I couldn’t seem to shake it overnight.
FACT….most everything I’d been confronted with in my life (up to then) was always something I could snap out of or shake off. Not this time.
Going from fearlessly traveling ANYWHERE in the world to freaking out by simply sitting in a car is DRAINING, CONFUSING, EMBARRASSING…. you add a new boyfriend in the mix. DISASTER. One of the reasons my ex started dating me in the first place was for my sense of adventure. Huge problem Houston.
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While my ex and I had some really good moments, I truly believe (now and even back then) that anxiety was primarily responsible for our breakup. Sure we had a ton of other differences and probably would have broken up anyway (lol) BUT may have stayed a little longer if anxiety and panic attacks didn’t tag along as the third wheel.
When we broke up I couldn’t blame my ex for not wanting to deal with a woman battling anxiety but deep down I was hoping he would or could somehow help see me through it. It changed who I was. I clung to my family a little tighter, I was a little less adventurous, every trip to visit him wiped out every bit of spunk I had. It was mindblowing for ME to deal with and I was PERSONALLY frustrated BEYOND end. I felt weak, I felt punkish, I felt crazy; basically, all of the above. I didn’t want to be a girlfriend or wife fighting anxiety — I’d never experienced it before in life and was mad at myself for not being able to just ‘snap out’ of it; after all, that was how I usually rolled.
Watching that GMA interview this morning and seeing how Chad truly loves Michelle gave me hope.
“The relationship just seemed to be slipping out of my hands,” Chad said in the interview. “I could see [her] spiraling, but I had no idea that it was depression.”
Seeing how Chad and men like LaGuardia Cross have made the choice to help their women conquer their mental struggles gives me hope that there are people who can handle it.
Let me say this, I have NO intention of allowing anxiety to stress me like it once did forever. I plan to live FREE from this! Since the winter of 2016 – spring of 2017, I began seeking out mental and spiritual help, beginning with a therapist. While I am better than what I was 2 years ago I’m not at 100%. However, what I have learned through this experience so far is that some obstacles don’t fall away overnight. Some do. Some people wake up the next day and the fear is gone. Some have to work to achieve that. It’s a matter of focusing on God in the midst of everyday stresses and taking things day by day. Not worrying about the future but focusing on the victory in today. I am not alone and there are others who sympathize AND empathize with my journey.
I AM MAKING THIS CLEAR RIGHT NOW — I am not trashing (nor trying to trash) my ex because he didn’t have the capacity to deal with my monster at that time; I couldn’t honestly say that I wouldn’t have felt the same way THEN if I were him either! I learned a lot of valuable lessons and gained new insight during the time we dated. I AM, however, expressing the thankfulness I have for supportive friends and family because I now know that everyone doesn’t have the patience/will to interact with someone battling with PTSD or anxiety.
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I know God did not give me a spirit of fear but has given me His Spirit of love, power, and a sound mind…some days it’s just a little tougher to grasp that truth.

I have thoroughly been encouraged today. Michelle and Chad reminded me that all I can do is take each life one step at a time and that I shouldn’t allow myself to fall victim to discouragement whenever I have a bad day. Their words reminded me that this too shall pass. They reminded me that I should be thankful for the blessings of those in my tribe while graciously accepting the exit of those who choose not to be part of it. All in all, I’m good! I am graced for this.
Peace and blessings,
Joc

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Cosby,Trump, Kavanaugh, and Rape Culture

The first time I was sexually violated was when I was around 6 years old.

 

Growing up my parents made SURE I knew where people SHOULD NOT touch me and what was inappropriate. I always thought this type of conversation went on in EVERY household and that I was instantly immune from the negative emotions and repercussions that came along with “being touched down there”. BOY OH BOY was I wrong.

Hearing and reading the various reactions to the Bill Cosby verdict this week have me reflecting on my experience with sexual abuse and misconduct. While I was never violated by a family member or neighbor, my first sexually inappropriate encounter was at the hands of my 7-year-old classmate. I remember how confused, scared, helpless I felt as he and his friends circled mine that day on the playground. I remember being shoved down to the ground as he got on top of me. I remember squirming as he simulated sex all while trying his best to put his hands down my panties. Thankfully I was able to get away before he could succeed. I remember running back to school, dirty from being held down in the gravel and being scolded by my teacher for getting back to class late.

When you are sexually violated (whether you experience some actual sex or not) it messes with you. You ask yourself a million questions and try to make sense of what happened — even as a child. Did you say something to make them mad? Did you do something wrong? Did you in any way make yourself open to this act and make the violator think it was okay?!

You don’t automatically process “oh I should tell someone”. You try to figure things out in your mind and decide how you are going to move forward.

This is what makes me annoyed and upset with people who have made negative remarks about the accusers of Bill Cosby and even Brett Kavanaugh. TRUTH: some women and men who cry rape cry falsely. TRUTH: most of them are telling the truth.

I remember going home that night and having a debate with myself — to tell someone or not to tell? I felt nasty and too embarrassed to tell my parents outright, so I was happy when my babysitter Sabrina Thompson asked me that night how my day was as she was helping me get ready for bed. My nerves were on 10,000 when I finally hinted that something was wrong. If you know Sabrina, you know she doesn’t take mess and is unapologetically bold. I’m so thankful for her persistence that night because I told her what happened and how “a boy jumped on top of me.” I still remember her face — now that I’m an adult I know why it was fixed the way it was — she was ready to jump into action; but she probably recognized that I was honestly afraid and was able to reel herself back in and calmly explain why what happened to me was wrong….. why she needs to tell my parents. At the time she was in 9th or 10th grade by the way.

CAN YOU SAY MATURE!!?!?

Even though she convinced me she wouldn’t tell my parents, she eventually did and I’m so glad. Later that week they sat me down and talked with me about what happened and answered questions I had. Because they knew the truth, they were able to truly put me at ease and I was able to continue my childhood with few lingering effects.

Like the Bill Cosby victims, all victims of sexual trauma aren’t blessed enough to have a ‘Sabrina’ to step in when fear has stifled our own courage.  Even though I was unfortunately sexually assaulted again later in life, I KNOW without a shadow of a doubt that I would be one messed up chick if I hadn’t had Sabrina’s help the first time in speaking out. If she would have not told my parents and allowed me to stay silent, I would have stayed in the bad headspace I was in and probably try to deal with the trauma myself. A child’s mind isn’t set up for that. No one is really.

While I can honestly admit, that first assault still has had some negative effects on my life, my life is richer and healthier than it could have been all because I was able to tell the truth and have a compassionate ear to listen.

Like you, I plan to keep an eye on what happens with each of these #MeToo and assault cases and take note of comments like Donald Trump’s . I know that the world has a long way to go and things are not going to get better overnight. It’s up to us to really HEAR one another and support one another instead of immediately resorting to jokes and harsh criticisms — you never know what victim you may be pushing into hiding.

 

  • Joc

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The Lesson I Learned From A Butterfly

A butterfly is a multifaceted creature. The way it’s born, the way it blossoms into adulthood, and the way it floats on into its last phase of life is all one transient mystery. Dozens of people I know adopt butterflies as a symbol a loved one’s spiritual presence. “OH did you see that butterfly just then?! They must be watching us!” The butterfly is swift yet peaceful all at once.
oThis past Saturday I walked into a hospice facility with my grandmother. My parents and I took her to the coast to visit her best friend in LIFE who was nearing death. Upon entering the main hall, we were greeted by butterflies. Not just one either! The entire wing was flooded with butterfly accents. I immediately took notice but was too caught up in my own selfishness to recognize what these butterflies were trying to teach me. You see, due to some personal conflicts, I haven’t been able to get down to the beach area in YEARS and had already decided that I was going to make my way down to the shore after this ‘quick’ little visit with Grandma. While I was spiritually praying for my grandmother’s strength and her best friends’ family, I was also anxiously checking the clock, becoming more disappointed as the seconds slipped into the next hour.
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As my mother and I sat comforting my grandmother, my dad quickly whisked out of the room and into the main hallway. Saturday was also the birthday of his late baby brother who died in January of this year. As I peered out the doorway, contemplating if I should run out and hug my dad or give him some space, I noticed a gigantic wire butterfly hanging on the wall above him. It was then that I began listening to what the butterfly was trying to teach me all along. It was then that I completely threw out my beach plans and began to totally focus on supporting the one person that needed my support the most — my grandmother. My selfish ambitions of taking a dip in the sea melted away and the power of love filled up every space of my consciousness.
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Fast forward to yesterday morning. My mom preached at her childhood church for their homecoming celebration and even though we had grandma’s best friend in our hearts, we were happy and able to enjoy ourselves. Things were blissful up until the announcement was made at the end of service that my grandma’s friend had died just minutes prior. My grandmother WEPT. She just wept.
As service ended, and as everyone got up, laughing and chatting (as church folk normally do) I sat there beside my grandmother and consoled her. She let the full weight of herself rest on my shoulder. As people were trying to have small talk, TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS to her pain, the lesson of the butterfly came back to mind.
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The butterfly with its complexities is one of the most beautiful creatures you will ever see. It doesn’t make much noise, but with the flutter of its wings — its presence is still felt. While its lifespan isn’t terribly long, it gracefully transitions wherever God takes it. Like the butterfly, my grandmother’s friend went quietly to the place where God was taking her and left a lasting impact by way of the precious moments my grandma was able to spend with her prior to her death. If we wouldn’t have been in town THIS weekend and if we would have gone to the beach and said “we’ll just see Mrs.Eloise tomorrow”, my grandmother wouldn’t have had time with her real-life butterfly before she transitioned.
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Lesson completed. What was the lesson: that like the butterfly, humans are transitory creatures wonderfully made by God yet awfully complexed.  We swiftly transition from birth to adolescence to adulthood and the afterlife almost as mysteriously as we came to be. Compared to eternity, our lives aren’t long at all so each peaceful moment of love should be cherished. Sure there is nothing wrong with wanting to do things for ourselves at times, but when compared to basking in creating memories of love — there is no comparison.
God has humbled me once again and left me in awe of His sovereignty and majesty. This weekend was not ‘luck’. These were not some random series of events selected by the ‘universe’. El Elyon, The Most High God divinely orchestrated each detail of our trip down to the date we chose to visit because He KNEW my grandmother needed that last day with her best buddy; and THROUGH this weekend, He has allowed me to grow once more by teaching me a lesson in love with a simple butterfly.
Be blessed and love more ya”ll,
– Joc

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30 Going on Forever

Turning 30 changed my life.

For the better.

For the first time ever, I am truly experiencing the freedom of adulthood – and it’s at times, unnerving.

In between a fresh start and a familiar end.

In between responsible bills and whimsical immaturity.

Turning 30 has unlocked a new dimension of health consciousness, relational consciousness, and self-discovery.

 

At this moment, I am the healthiest I’ve been in a LONG while. When I say that, I don’t mean everything is perfect, but I am more aware of my body – what goes in it and what comes out. It’s my desire to feed myself with things that are spiritually, emotionally, and physically good for me, while intentionally denying any and everything that is not.

I cook more at home. I spend more time with God. I spend more time with FAMILY. I am more open to failure, knowing that failure is an event, not a person. I’ve learned to reject the lies of finding the [perfect] man and being the [perfect] wife and [perfect] mother; choosing instead to embrace the future God has for me – which will in itself be perfectly tailored!

I’ve learned that it’s okay to say ‘no’. Just ‘no’ with no explanation needed; because not doing so can lead to wasted time and much pain. I’ve come to realize that it is not my obligation to entertain relationships (romantic or platonic) I truly have no interest in maintaining for the sake of “not hurting any feelings”. It’s okay for a friend to be a friend — nothing more, nothing less. It’s okay if I don’t “gel” with someone naturally — there are billions of people in this world and we are all perfectly different. I know that at times, God will separate us from people or situations that we would otherwise be too stubborn to separate ourselves from.

I know that as a creative soul, there will be a slump or two over time; but with God as my North Star and my great support system – that too shall pass.

I now know that I don’t have to wait to become a mother to love like one. There are so many little ones that I love and pray for with all of my heart and that’s just awesome.

Turning 30 has reminded me to –

— start that business!

— go on that date!

— hit the road!

— take that day off!

— sing that song!

I am so thankful for all that has transpired in my life (horrible and great) thus far. I am truly looking forward to growing in God for the next 70 + years and experiencing the great blessings in store!

— Joc

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Final Verdict on My Recent Anti-Fibroid Diet

This past weekend I let you in on my exhilarating experience in changing my diet to knock out the painful symptoms of fibroids and menstrual cycles while having them.

Day 4 – For breakfast, I found that saltine crackers are working well, so I stick with a few of those. It’s a Saturday so my day is filled with running errands, taxing family members around town and editing more photos from the wedding I photographed the week prior. Thank God I was able to finish off the last bit of salmon leftover from earlier in the week. I was able to pop it in the microwave and go! I felt like I was drinking more tea than water over the past few days, so I opted to drink water instead.  In between running errands, I had some time to reflect on how amazing I felt compared to how I felt a mere three weeks ago. UNBELIEVABLE! For dinner, I wanted to try something different so I decided to get about a pound of lean ground turkey (93% lean), brown rice, and make a Thai curry bowl using the leftover pineapple I had in the fridge. I was a little nervous because I’ve learned that bad fats exacerbates pain and nausea from fibroids but I decided to jump off the food ledge anyway and it paid off BIG TIME! While I finished up more work around town, I had a sweet potato baking in the oven and after sprinkling some plain cinnamon and a dash of kosher salt gobbled it up like it was a piece of cake!

 

Day 5 – Yesterday was the fifth day of my diet and it had the potential to be the most challenging yet. Up to this day, I had “max control” over prepping my food, but Sundays are usually the days where I not only eat two meals a day (before and after church), but I usually eat out with my family to bond. Of course, it felt like I was swatting down offers to try ‘this fried food’ and ‘that buttery roll’, but I made it through! I ordered the baked salmon with grilled mixed veggies and asked the waitress to leave off the lemon butter sauce (which no doubt would’ve tasted SO good!!! Uggghh) I also opted for a plain baked sweet potato with cinnamon instead of my beloved Caesar salad (the rich, creamy dressing is a no-no when it comes to cramps).  When I heard my grandma ask for brown sugar my heart lit up! After a quick Google search, I found that BROWN sugar does not complicate cramps like processed white sugar does. I IMMEDIATELY flagged down the waitress and asked her to add a small side-cup of brown sugar to my order. MAN OH MAN was I a happy camper! Not only was the salmon ON POINT (not as good as mine though.lol) but the brown sugar was the sweetness I’d been craving ALL DOGGONE WEEK! I didn’t even care that everyone else was drinking sweet tea and I had ice water.

 

So now I have neared the end of my little ‘experiment’ and I must say I am in PURE AWE of how God can heal us through FOOD of all things! This week has been the first in a little over 2 years that I have not experienced nausea and cramps during ‘lady week’ and if I will bare the honest truth to you all — I almost cried last night from the joy of it all. There is nothing like experiencing the warmth of the sun after battling through a cloudy, violent storm. So many dots are connecting in terms of behaviors, symptoms, and happenings. While I would’ve preferred not to have experienced the pain at all, I am grateful for what I’ve learned in spite of it and here are my main takeaways:

#1 FOOD… CAN… HEAL! Saying that humans complicate things is a gross understatement. We do it in the worst way and in every way! God is God. Elohim. The Creator of this whole kit-n-kaboodle we call a universe. He created us and knows what is good for our bodies — which is why He created certain foods with certain properties. While I enjoy the convenience of many processed foods and the speed in which I can have them on my table and the length of time they can be preserved in my panty — I now know without a shadow of a doubt, that it is not worth trading organic healing food properties for convenience. Will I drop EVERYTHING and start a farm tomorrow, never to eat at ChickFilA again? Probably not. But I will keep striving to steadily chance my lifestyle so I can make choices that keep my body happy and healthy.

#2 Being mindful of what you consume during your menstrual cycle can make or break your experience. As previously mentioned, the discomfort I experienced this past week was virtually nonexistent. By carefully choosing foods and drinks that were not only healthy but fibroid fighters, I traded in a bedridden week of sickness and gut-punching pain for a fancy-free week of effective productivity.

#3 Fibroids are the worst, but they don’t have to be. When I was diagnosed with having fibroids, I didn’t really know what to think or how to feel. I just knew I didn’t want them. I can honestly say that this week I felt shift internally and won’t be surprised if, after more time walking in this healthier lifestyle, my fibroids shrink away into oblivion. I have a few doctors appointments coming up so we will see how I’m doing! I know women who have had fibroids simply starve themselves off and never had to deal with them. I know women who have opted to have surgery instead. Either way, I am hopeful that fibroids won’t interfere or ruin my life. As long as I focus on living the best life God has for me, and praying for His guidance when it comes to making the wisest choices for ME — I will be alright. I will be BETTER than alright!

As I petitioned before, please keep me in your prayers as I continue to better myself and share the journey with you!

— Joc

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How I Knocked Out Fibroids in 3 Days by Changing What I Ate!

Before you read any further, let me stop you there.

When you first read the title of this post, many of you had no clue what fibroids are, let alone that I had them. Yep, surprise (sarcastic ‘woo-hoo’). The dictionary defines a fibroid as “a benign tumor of muscular and fibrous tissues, typically developing in the wall of the uterus.” I define it as “the come-to-Jesus experience that makes you realize you need God to help you make it from day to day”.

My experience with and eventual diagnosis of fibroids has been a long one and VERY trying one. Ever since “I became a woman” back in middle school, I have always experienced excruciating cramps; they run on my mom’s side of the family. It used to get so bad sometimes that I would have to fake a bathroom break or check out of school just so I can ball up in a corner, hold my aching stomach and cry. BUT I always told myself I was a warrior so I would just take the occasional pain reliever and deal with it. When I turned 28 alladat jump up about six decibels! The pain became almost unbearable at times — but again, being the warrior that I was, I chopped it up to getting older and moved on.

Then, shortly after I began dating my ex boyfriend I began noticing a different symptom. EXTREME fatigue. I thought it was because I was overworking my body juggling a full time job, my photography business, and a new budding dating life so I shrugged it off. Then about 6 months later yet ANOTHER symptom reared its ugly head — nausea. All my life I have NEVER had issues with feeling sick on my stomach unless I was dehydrated, had a bad cold virus, or ate something bad. But ohhhhh buddy, now it was making more surprise visits than a probation officer on Friday! Whenever it was “that time of the month” I began spending less time in the office and more time cleaning up the bathroom. Any stench, any whiff of the slightest polarizing smell would send my poor stomach churning and feet a’running! After my breakup with my ex, I figured life would be better since I would have more time to devote to getting my health back on track; so I fully expected my energy to return and my work-life balance to perk up. 

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My body determined THAT was a lie.

After countless comments on how I was “too young” to be THIS tired, I decided to ask my doctor about it and he said I was surprisingly borderline anemic. 

COME AGAIN MISSURE DOCTOR?! He suggested I begin taking iron supplements and overnight my energy returned. Problem solved right? Not quite. After about 5 – 6 months, my fatigue returned and my “lady week” symptoms intensified to the point where I was missing work. The pain and nausea was SO bad that I could barely stand or walk at times. Somebody say “BUT GOD”!

Long story short, I finally mentioned it to my gynecologist and after a few tests, it was determined I had tiny (but pesky) fibroids that were wreaking havoc on my life. That was about 4 months ago and after MUCH trial and error, I have FINALLY found a system that has not only decreased my pain, but has virtually wiped out the nausea; and I believe I am finally showing those fibroids who’s boss! giphy (50)

I began by researching ways to get rid of fibroid/menstrual symptoms. [If you know me personally, you know home girl here is going to do what she needs to do to find out how to get an answer!] Since I am currently transitioning into a Mediterranean Lifestyle, I wanted the most natural approach possible and there it was, God’s plan [cue Drake] — FOOD! It was like I hit the Jackpot at Harrah’s on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. God knew we’d have certain ailments and gave each earthen thing a purpose. I tried various methods for almost 2 months and this past week has proven to be the golden week!

HERE’S HOW IT’S GOING SO FAR……

DAY 1 – In my personal experience, the first day of my cycle typically proves to be one of the most challenging days pain-wise so I began this diet change by starting my day with a small pack (7) of saltine crackers and some Canada Dry ginger ale (it’s the only brand that uses real ginger). For lunch, outside smells lingering in my office had me a little nervous so I decided to eat another small pack (7) of saltines with a large tumbler glass of cold water. For dinner, we had family dinner at an aunt’s house who THANKFULLY prepared baked fish (seasoned only with salt, pepper, and crushed garlic) and made a simple salad (lettuce, tomato, onion). I drank the rest of my Canada Dry along with a small bottle of green tea w/mint.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Ginger, peppermint and cold water are KEY weapons when fighting nausea. So to all my black folk who grew up like me, being told to drink ginger ale to cure whatever ailed you, our moms were on to something back then! Also meats like pork or fried foods are a NO NO because they make menstrual cramps 10xs worse (personal experience). 20180420_184525.jpg

DAY 2 – I woke feeling a faint inkling of pain (on a scale of 1-10 it was a 0.5) so I decided chow down on a small bowl of pineapple for breakfast. I had a chance to stop by the grocery store after work the day before, so for lunch I feasted on the spoils of a homemade spinach-arugula salad. All I did was wash some of the greens and make my own dressing out of lemon juice, olive oil, kosher salt, and coarse black pepper. I topped my salad with some shreds of Parmesan cheese. Oh, I had green tea w/mint to drink. For dinner I had to think fast and picked out a couple of pieces of wild caught salmon. Since I had to meet a client-friend at her house for a project, I needed something fast, but still in line with keeping my annoying symptoms away. Within 30 minutes dinner was ready: foil broiled garlic herb salmon with fresh cooked pole beans (cooked in stock and seasoned with herbs). I drank green tea w/mint as well as water but still craved something sweet! (sidebar, ladies ain’t it crazy how the very thing that will cause us the most pain, we want?!). Since refined and processed sugars exacerbate fibroid/menstrual pain, I treated myself to 2 mini squares of Ghirardelli 82% Midnight Reverie Dark Chocolate. 20180419_182149.jpg

IMPORTANT NOTE: Again, I piled on the green, cruciferous vegetables like spinach and arugula because they help replenish important vitamins that help diminish period woes and replace some of the iron that you often lose due to the fibroids. Again, processed, meats that are high in bad fat can cause inflammation which makesm fibroids WORSE, so I decided to stay with a lean meat like salmon which has healthy Omega-3 fats. Now I know you’re wondering about the chocolate. Dark chocolate over 70% has little to no sugar at all which ACTUALLY makes it healthy for you — in moderation of course. It contains magnesium which works wonders when you’re looking to drive away those debilitating cramps!

DAY 3 – By this point, I’ve prayed daily for God to do His work (specifically in this matter) and He has continued to do just that! Since the pineapple almost tenderized the roof of my mouth to a pulp earlier in the week (look up bromelain) I decided to nurse it with about 4 saltine crackers and some green tea w/mint. For lunch I warmed up some leftover salmon and pole beans from the night before. The apocalyptic spring weather has had my nose a little haywire, so for dinner I opted to pick up some pozole from my favorite Mexican restaurant and fix a spinach-arugula salad w/ homemade lemon dressing. I was still hungry so I took a small trunk of broccoli and ate the florets to top me off! I washed it down with some cold water. For dessert I ate 2 mini squares of Ghirardelli 72% Intense Twilight Dark Chocolate. 20180420_183017

For those who don’t know, my second love language is Spanish! I love many things from Spanish culture (se amo la cultura espanola!) and food is a MAJOR part of it. Pozole is a soup made numerous ways, but the version I ate was made of chile guajillo broth, radishes, cabbage, hominy, and shredded chicken that was prepared on the stove-top grill. This was a light, healthy way to tame those worrisome fibroids and that hateful pain and nausea. Radishes combined with the arugula help to tame the estrogen feeding the fire inside my uterus. 20180420_184303.jpg

At this point in my journey, I am convinced (and equally shocked) that we can heal ourselves of so much by just changing our habits and what we put in our body.  I gathered most of my research from Livestrong.com, Dr. Oz, and a few other sources which you can easily Google. Three days into ‘lady week’ last month, I was home from work sprawled out on my floor crying, desperately trying to grab on to that Holy Hem of Jesus’ garment to heal me. But this month, I know I feel like a new woman! I KNOW God to be a healer and have EXPERIENCED first hand His miracles; I am thankful that He thought enough of us to give us just what we need naturally. I plan to continue this “fibroid diet” and want to know if any of you other ladies out there have found comfort in switching up your diet when it’s your time of the month. I plan to hit the gym and walk for at least 15 – 20 minutes tomorrow to stay active and if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I journey towards healing from the thorns that are fibroids.

For more information on fibroids, symptoms, and what foods to eat/not eat, check here!

Bless up ya’ll and don’t forget to let me hear from you!

-Joc

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