I know you have heard the saying that in “everyone’s life a little rain must fall” and while I know common sense tells me that everyday cannot be all sunshine and roses; this past weekend made me want to try to fly away to Never land and never return. It started when my feet hit the floor and my left leg decided that it had a bone to pick with me! I mean my goodness when I told it to go forward it decided that it would BUT not without a painful protest!
And if that wasn’t bad enough my BACK decided that it was feeling left out so it wanted to make it’s voice heard as well. To make matter’s worse, I had an important event to attend where I was one of the featured speaker’s but little did I know that my body was not going to be my friend this day and the rest of the weekend. Oh, and did I mention that my bowel’s wanted a part of the action as well? You guess it I needed to become very mindful of where the bathrooms were located so I could get to it quickly! Talk about the “perfect storm” of whatever physically can go wrong with your body at one given time is not a MYTH!
So between the battle of my left leg and my back my tommy jumped in and started rumbling and bubbling and sending dire messages to a lower part of my body that a munity needed to occur. In other words I was a HEALTH MESS! this weekend and it took all I had not to throw in the towel and just stay home and wallow in self pity, pain and other such things.
I WANTED MY SUNSHINE! I just wanted to feel well and if I could have found a four leaf clover or wishing well I would have poured all my heart and soul into it to beg it to make me feel better from now on! But of course coming back down to earth you know that our lives do not operate this way; we have good days and bad days and sometime in-between one’s. I guess what I am trying to say that as of TODAY I feel pretty good and when I look back on this past weekend I am still so thankful to Jesus that I am still sucking air! Am I still in pain? Yes, but not as bad as over the weekend and if there was a teaching moment to be had it was for me to learn to lean on God and let Him help me when man or myself cannot.
Hopefully I brought a little sunshine to whomever will read this blog I pray that you have MORE sunshine than rain but that you make it through whatever comes your way.
I had often wondered what is my purpose in life? I mean when I started out I had some idea what I wanted to be and where I wanted to go but as time progressed all of that changed in “Ephesians 2:10 states” For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Sounds pretty clear cut doesn’t it? So why do I find myself at 60 still asking the question what was I born to do in this life? In Psalm 139:16 states “You saw me before I was born, Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” And while I love this passage I still do not get it! I mean all that I have experienced and gone through was planned for me to do so? I can see why other’s would just tell you to Trust Jesus and let Him guide you to your purpose even if you have to go through bad stuff and good stuff I guess in a way it does shape who you will become in this life.
And when I really think deep about it I guess it is true for when I used to a poetry venue at Kijiji’s Coffee House on Jefferson St. years ago I never dreamed that it would prepare me in some way to speak on cervical cancer as a survivor and not be afraid to speak in public in fact I enjoy being on stage and thinking that I am helping people by telling my story of survival. I guess that we as human’s try too hard to control our life and where it will go when we really should ” Let go and let God” take the wheel.
It seems like the atmosphere of the world today is becoming increasingly hostile and fear filled. No where you go seems safe anymore no matter how the media tries to say that it is. In fact it seems like we are caught in a loop of violence and unrest from one end of the world to the other. Whole countries are fighting and the poor citizen’s are caught in the middle! Where will it end? Only God knows, my advice is to keep prayed up and try to have a little peace in your world and continue to pray for our sister’s and brother’s across the waters.
When I first was given this book I was first struck by the beautiful black and white picture of a very lovely African American woman, that seemed to be in the prime of her life. As I opened the book and started to read I discovered that I would be crying through most of it. My heart still hurts today for this little known woman that has contributed so much to our health in so many wondrous and miraculous ways; even as she and her family was treated in the most disrespectful and horrific way. This is the story of the HELA CELLS written by Rebecca Sklott I dare you to try and keep a dry eye when you read:
About The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.
Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, this New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.
One of my duties I feel as a cancer survivor is to go out into the community and share my story with as many people as possible.
I did this very thing, last night in a place that for some is filled with hopelessness and despair even as it also saves women and their children from a cold night on the street. What was this place? It was the Women’s Mission and when I first walked in I was filled with such empathy and compassion for these women.
And once I began to tell my story and as I looked out into the audience into the faces of the women, I saw fear, shame, hopelessness and tears! But I also saw hope began to grow and smiles began to appear as they heard the message that they were “not alone” and there was help for them.
I even received a letter from one of the women that wanted to convey how my testimony gave her hope and courage to go on even though she was homeless and jobless. I kept that note to always remind me why I do what I do. It is not about me but it is about the many hurting women out in the community that often times do not have a clue where to turn or whom to ask for help.
Our fight is far from being over and as long as there is disease and un-equality in the health care system we must stand up and say that ” WE CARE!”
I know you have heard this saying from time to time. But, it takes on a whole new meaning when you or a loved one is faced with cancer. The Lemons can seem to be a lot more sour! It is at these times that we need our three F’s ( Faith, Family and Friends).
Faith, to continue to remind us that there is something bigger than our Cancer. Family to be there with us on this challenging journey. Friends that stick by you and your family letting them know that they are not alone. And do not forget a lot of friends are like family so do not be sad if your family does not stand with you!
And for those in the faith, it should go without saying God has your back. So when Cancer comes knocking at your door. Tell IT you are not buying!
Wishing you a Happy and healthy New Year!
Holiday’s while they fun, joyous and filled with love for some it is just the opposite especially those with a cancer diagnoses. Even with family around it can be awkward for the simple reason that a lot of people do not know what to say to someone that has cancer most of the time. And the person that has cancer can still be reeling from just trying to deal day to day with the reality they have this illness!
My advice in this situation would be to just continue to be supportive and loving. And if you can try to learn as much as you can about the type of cancer that they are battling. For you must hear me when I tell you this it is a BATTLE! For that individual that is going through this. Even they do not fully understand why it happened to them and a lot are wishing that they could turn back the clock and never have to hear those terrible words YOU HAVE CANCER!
But I am also here to say that you are not alone, there are resource’s you can reach out to. One that comes to mind is Gilda’s Club which is in most major cities and was founded by Gilda Radner a well known comedian from Saturday Night Live and her husband Gene Wilder whom formed this club to help all cancer patient’s and show them that they are not alone and there is someone that can help them through this journey. Also the hospital that you are being treated at may have a social worker that help direct you to other resources and support groups even within the hospital that will form a protective bubble around you if needed.
Being a cancer survivor myself my first holiday’s were bitter sweet, while I was very happy to be alive, I still was struggling with a little anger about getting the illness in the first place. But now I am just happy to celebrate the holiday’s with my loved one’s and hope that my story will bring hope and ease of mind to those that are on this cancer journey around the holiday’s.
God Bless You All
In all of the outreach events that I do I always try to keep it real, and encouraging. I always have in my talks a reminder that cancer does not care, we as a people get so busy not only with our day to day activities, career’s, family and friends; that we tend to get loss when it comes to our own health care. I remind people that no matter how busy you are, what your economic status is, if you are a wife, mother, sister or friend CANCER DOES NOT CARE! And yes, this seems heartless but true, and in fact it works in favor for this illness. The busier that we are then the less likely we are to take time out to go to the doctor even when we feel something is wrong. If we are taking care of a sick loved one or an a child or aging parent, we actually will feel guilty if we think that we have the right to see about ourselves. Sadly, even some friends and family will even tell you that you are just being selfish; which is one of the most ridiculous comments to say to anyone! In my mind THEY are the one’s being selfish for if they do not understand that for you to continue to take care of that other person or thing then you must make sure you are in as best health condition as you can possibly be. I went to a cancer event when I was asked to speak along with another speaker and she brought up something very powerful for us to think about when it comes to should we feel guilty about taking care of other’s. It was called the ” 5 year plan” and in this plan she just asked a simple question of where do you see yourself at that time? And then she went on to answer the question saying that unless you take care of your health you will NOT be in the picture in 5 years. THINK ABOUT IT
When I go out to community event’s to speak, the one thing that get’s attention is that I am a survivor of the cancer that I talk about. A lot of people want to ask personal question’s about how I felt as I was going through my treatment. I am glad to tell them but I also let them know that every person and their reaction can be different from my experience. It does not seem to matter much, for the bottom line is that they want to be ASSURED, that they can survive this journey!