CategoryE-book

Cancer Saved My Life

C

I don’t remember what age I was when I lost my virginity. When it was taken. Without permission. I know it was during the time that my mind stayed on double dutch, skelly and hop skotch. We would play Red light, green light one two three in our carless driveway on East 54th in the heart of East Flatbush. There was dodge ball in the park at PS 268 and spin the bottle wherever we could find a place where the grown ups were not. I was about 9 or 10. Could have been younger but it is taking me forever just to write this so trying to figure out the exact age that he took something that belonged to me might drag these few words out even more. And all I want to do right now is get them out. The words that is. Words that I have never spoken or even told anyone. Ever. Cancer provided an opening. I had to lose the weight that I created. I had to shed the layers of who I was and was not. Cancer saved my life.

Everything seemed normal. Mom worked everyday and sometimes on Saturday. My brother and I were provided for. Mom bought her first piece of real estate in East Flatbush 3 bedroom/2 bath brick house with small front and large backyard. Aunties all lived in a close radius and monthly parties at Aunt Babs or Aunt Daisy’s house where rocksteady and reggae ruled the turntable and curry goat, manish water, cow foot was our norm. I found my own version of happiness in the little world I created. Recently my Mom told me that as a immigrant she had heard stories of things that happen to children in America and that authorities would take children from homes if they found them alone…so her friends who happen to be male would help out and keep an eye on my brother and I. But they mostly had their eyes on me. I was 4 or 5 when it started. It became as regular as going to school everyday. It was a part of my life growing up. One that I never talked about.

I imagined that all little girls had “Uncles” who liked to sit them on their laps, play touchy feely games with them and put their lips on and in places that had not yet matured. Then said uncle would give you/me some change and a few dollars so I could go out and play with my friends and buy candy. I imagined that all my friends had money and change because they got them the same way I did. Only we never spoke about it. It would be our little secret but I imagined that all little girls were going through this and were told not to tell anyone else the secret . That’s why none of us ever talked about it. Cause it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.

Touch Yourself

“So for a good little while I stopped touching my breast. My bredren would come over 3 to 4 times a week (faithfully) and massage them but I wouldn’t touch the one with the tumor. I avoided it as much as I could. It was hard as a rock.I felt like I was carrying a bowling ball on my chest. It hurt in multiple ways.

A burden. I considered it (my breast) NOT part of me but something that was attached to me. I did not want to interact with it. It scared me. Reminded me how sick I was everyday.

I didn’t realize that THIS was one of the greatest forms of NOT LOVING YOURSELF.”

In Da Club

 “So I’m on the way to the club with my daughter. Well kinda. She is suppose to meet her friends there but they’re not coming until later so she asks me to come and make sure she gets in okay and then (presumably) leave. (She is home from college for the holidays and her friends were raving about the “Broke and Boujee” parties at the Five Spot).I mean what daughter wants their mother in the club with them. Right? So there’s is a long line at the door. The doorman says “I’m checking IDs only, 18 to get in and 21 to drink”. “Okay” I say,awkwardly looking for my ID and glancing around to see if anyone notices my grown ass self bout to go into this teenage club with a bunch of 18 to 21 year olds. LOL. Of course I can’t find my ID for a second. I’m holding up the line and feeling a little paro. I’m thinking to myself…”I bet they all wondering who holding up the line”. I imagine one of the many teenagers who are in line saying to themselves, “somebody’s mama” and laughing to themselves like they the only ones that know what they saying.

So now we are literally one step from being in the club. And my daughter, after spotting a number of good looking eye candy says to me “oh u don’t need to come inside”. I laugh to myself and just imagine for as brief a moment as possible how horrified I would be if my Mama came up in the club with me. But at this point I am too damn curious. We right at the door and it looks like it’s on and popping up inside. I look at her with eyes that communicate, “too late baby…I ain’t going no where but inside this club.”

So we get inside. I am thinking its 10 dollars. And the girl at the door says 1 dolla. I say “what” titling closer to her ears making it oh so obvious that I don’t know the routine and she yells “one dollar”. Okay. So I must be really out of the loop. 1 dollar. OMG.

So I walk in. Feeling good that my daughter hasn’t abandoned me (at least not yet). You know how we would do back in the day…and act like….”Oh I’m not with them”. You know… standing a comfortable distance from Mama. Well maybe that was just me. But not my daughter Kenya. She trooping by my side. Got me feeling good that my baby girl, on the threshold of twenty is still trooping with Mama.

So we walk through the club headed for the right spot to claim as our own. And me desperate to make some contact with a few heads my age. I see a few. “Whew” I lament to myself. I knew it was some OGs up in this place. LOL We grab a seat near the stage. With full view of everything. The placed is packed with wall to wall of our future. I’m still a little paranoid. I see heads nodding at me; waving periodically; smiling. Got me wondering if they thinking…”that’s somebody mama, I better say hi.” I imagine it’s like seeing your teacher at the club. Maybe I’m just paranoid. Wondering why. Afterall, I am somebody’s Mama. Proud of it too!

As a marketer. I’m thinking. Damn. Who is promoting this event tonight. The club is packed wall to wall with the prime trendsetters and tastemakers of this generation. The latest clothes, baseball caps galore, fly sneakers all on display. Basically crunk. I’m thinking about these two new female rockers that I signed to my management company. What a perfect audience for them.

When we first came in the music was basically that retro sounding stuff that is suddenly popular. Go figure. Common, MJB, Kanye all at more beats per minute than I am use to.

Anyway, talk about young Black and Fabulous. Fly brothers and sisters galore. When I tell u the place is crunk. I’m feeling good. Flying beneath the radar. Then “Uh oh.” Here comes the roving photographer. I’m not sure if I’m more concerned about him taking a photo of me and someone seeing it and thinking that I hang out with teenagers at the club on weekends or if I was worried that he would pass me by embarrassed about taking a photo of someone who looked like his 11th grade language arts teacher. He stopped right in front of me. “Damn”, i utter underneath my breath. I quickly ask my daughter Kenya to come in the photo with me. At least folks will say, “she was there with her daughter.”

Then the music changes from retro pop to atlanta crunk.Most of the songs playing, I’ve worked on the videos in my other incarnation as one of top location scouts in Atlanta. Everyone from Dem Franchize Boyz, To Luda to Young Jeezy, to Lil Wayne (I know he not from Atlanta) to T.I.

It all kinda sounds the same… with a nice beat.

Just when I am thinking the worst of the artistic offering of this generation in the south specifically I remember a lecture the great historian Dr. Asa Hilliard did where he referred to a dissertation by a young writer and PHD candidate in which she compared crunk to spirituals both musically (the syncopation, the call and response) and spiritually (the chants, the praises, the letting go) So I sit up and take better notice; watching the crowd, listening more attentively, feeling the spirit. Its damn near holy ghost temperature in here. Wall to wall. A spiritual movement. One that us adults will completely miss with our judgemental- non-listening- pre occupied with life selves.

I’m getting lost in the service.

So my daughter is standing on the chair next to me. Observing. Bobbing her head, dancing. I’m feeling good that she feeling good and ain’t shy about completely expressing herself amongst her peers while I’m at the club WITH her. I’m spending my time typing these thoughts on the blackberry hoping to go unnoticed as someones mama trying to get crunk with the teenagers. So I decide to stand on the chair next to my daughter Kenya. I start bobbing and busting a little move and I am immediately stopped by her. “Mama” she says sounding and looking visibly annoyed, “U can’t do that”. “ Huh” I say. I mean we done made it this far. I’m in the club. She dancing and cutting up doing the booty dance right next to me. We dun crossed all the barriers. “So what is it now” my eyes respond minus the words. “you can stand on the chair but you can’t dance mama.”…”Please” she adds at the end of a momentary pause. I’m okay with that. Again all I gotta do to put things in perspective is to imagine how horrified I would be if my mom were in the club with me MUCH LESS shaking her groove thing to the music that moved my generation. OMG. Just the thought. So I respect her wishes, conserve my bounce and just bob ever so slightly hoping that that will be okay.

Ok. So I’m on the chair. Typing away. The spirit is moving the crowd and that same spirit is moving my fingers to type this blog note to you’all. I type a few words and the next thing I know I look around and my daughter is gone. Poof. Like magic gone. So I’m like damn. “That must of been her plan all along”, “to get ghost”, “ Lose her mama in the club”. That’s my rich paranoia at play again. My head is practically doing a 360 looking for her. But all I can see is the heads of literally hundreds of teens. Damn. Rather than go looking like a mad woman. I stand there on the chair trying to adjust my eyes to survey headtops for any that might match my little Kenya’s. When I turn to look around again I sight her on stage getting the digits of one of the promoters. She probably thinking about throwing a party like this in DC at Howard University where she is a sophmore. And here I was thinking she ducking me. Our eyes meet and she looks at me with a knowing stare that says, “I’m taking care of some business mama…waving her I PHONE for further confirmation.

Imagine me being worried that she was trying to dip. I feel a little silly. Afterall she ain’t me at that age. I forget that some times.

When she returns she says “Mama, I’m going outside for a minute its hot in here.” “I’ll come with you” I say without skipping one beat. “That’s okay Mama, I’ll be right back” I hear her utter faintly as I look at the back of her head. I wonder to myself how I’ve managed since she been off at college…With my paro self.

 A few minutes later she returns. What a relief. I know she tired of me asking her. “Who’s that playing.” “what song is this”, “what song was that”. I just feel the need to know who these artists are that are making this wall to wall crowd of energy move uncontrollably in complete cooperation and obedience to the spirit. I know she getting tired of me asking. Before she went to college. I prided myself in at least being familiar with everything she listened to. I didn’t let anything slip by. I needed to know what she was thinking, what she listened to, what moved her and why. I must admit since she went off the school. I kinda fell off little bit in terms of keeping up with all the music. 

My “My President is Black” comes on. The whole room is one high school chorus. Couple fists in the air.

I continue to obey the rules. No dancing. I get away with slight head bobbing. I can’t help it. DJ in touch with the crowd and visa versa. They feeling each other. I’m feeling the whole experience…in da club.

 

That Night…Almost

T

written by @Shantiom

I remember that night … that day well. I was on my way back from Mobile, AL, about an hour and thirty minutes from Atlanta when I got the call. It was Karen. When I asked her how she was doing, although she responded with her characteristic chuckle, I could hear in her voice all was not well. She exclaimed that she was in pain, and from the sound of her voice it was the panic inducing kind. She was afraid to go to the E.R. because of her breast. The worry was that the medical personnel would take one look at her breast, and her medical history and begin an interrogation. I told her that I could help, if she could just hold on.

I’d never intervened in a healing crisis that was quite so extreme but I gathered my wit and my tool bag and headed her way as soon as I touched home. When I arrived, she was doing her best to keep it together, but was wrestling with the kind of pain (all of it localized in her right breast) that makes a person alternate deliriously between pacing, rocking and any position that will provide comfort in between. In this moment, I struggle to remember all that I had grabbed in a hurry to take with me … my blood pressure cuff definitely … some frankincense oil … olive oil … magnesium oil … some other stuff again I don’t remember. She had a couple of different pain killers around that she was afraid to take but I knew they were necessary. Somehow I knew that this kind of pain crisis could take somebody out. We had to be strategic though. I took her blood pressure to make sure that it was stable before she took anything. She had one pain med that was prescribed routinely, and another as needed. We started off with the routine dose, and used the “as needed” medication for the breakthrough pain. I had her lie back in her recliner, and tried to make her as comfortable as possible. We put on some meditative music and I began to do foot reflexology on her, using the magnesium oil to relax her, frankincense for the pain and to address the cancer, coupled with olive oil as the carrier. That terrifying moment in time gave visual meaning to the verse “weeping may endure for a night … “.

While what she was going through reminded me of labor, it was worse than anything that I had ever seen at any birth that I had attended. All I could think of was getting her through the night. There were a few moments when fear tried to take hold of me. What if it was too much for me to handle? What if we ended up having to go to the emergency room anyway? I was watching a woman who I had never seen in any other way than dignified and with her shit together, writhe and cry in crippling agony. We continued with the medication regimen and the Reflexology throughout the night. Karen drifted between moans, in and out of consciousness, until she finally became still enough for me to release her feet without her noticing. I actually hovered over her for a minute to make sure she was breathing, and when convinced that she was, backed away slowly sinking into the lounge across from her.

I was tired but I dared not indulge in any rest other than a deep relaxation. There would be no sleep for me until this night was over. Karen awoke with the sunrise, grateful but extremely bewildered. She kept asking with tears in her eyes, “what happened to me?”; distraught from being unable to remember the details of the treacherous night before. I tried my best to explain what I had witnessed but what mattered most was that we had crossed over. We both wrestled with death that night, and lived to tell about it.”

Dickie

I learned what a dickie was from him. It looked like a turtle neck but when he took off his jacket it was just the neck part and what looked like a baby bib. I found it odd. No sleeves. No nothing. Like something you would put on your Barbie or Ken doll. Not something a man would actually wear. But he did. He was well dressed and always smelled like how I imagined the men in suits on soap operas would smell. Or maybe the Old Spice commercial. But it was always strong. Real strong. I wanted to hold my nose sometimes when he got close. But I didn’t.

I sat in the same chair the only chair in the room. My mother’s room. The only other place to sit was the bed. It is from this chair that he would undress me. Slowly. First he took off my blouse. I lifted my hands like most children do when someone is assisting them with their blouse or dress. Then he unbuttomed and unzipped my pants. I didn’t stand up though. He knelt on the floor and slowly took off my pants with what seemed like care. He wiggled and slid them off. Such precision. He never checked the time. He knew what time Mama would be home. He was her boyfriend though I never remember him being introduced to me by that title. (And we never called him “Uncle” like the others. Just Andy. ) And he had already send my brother out to play so time was ll he seemed to have. Except that one time my brother came back earlier than expected. That’s for another story.

In the meantime my mind was elsewhere. I wanted to play hop skotch with my friends up the block,jump double dutch with the extra clothes line that my friend had. (we used clothes line for rope). I stayed in my world of happiness and hop skotch as I sat there and waited for this now regular ritual to be over so I could go play. I found a comfortable space in my mind to wonder in. He would always let me go out and play afterwards.

Last was my panties. I sat there totally naked. He then sat me on the bed. Sometimes he would carry me or just gently lead me to the middle of the bed where I sat. He moved slow and well paced. Never rushing. Clearly he had a well designed plan in his mind. He would such the tiny little nipples I had. Then he would part my legs. I would automatically resist. He would softly Ask me to open up and say he would never hurt me. He would rub his middle finger around my vagina after dipping it Vaseline. Sometimes he would kneel and peak in as he rubbed. He seemed satisfied. He would begin the ritual of removing his clothes. First his leather belt then his creased pin stripe pants. He would lay them delicately on the ironing board. He wore bikini type underwear. Then he would remove his button up shirt. That’s when I saw the dickie. It seemed weird. He removed the dickie and folded up the way I see the Chinese people fold their clothes at the chinese laundry.”

Cambodia

New Installment – Through The Stages

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Sometimes you just need a reminder. A reminder of where you were and where you are. A reminder of what you have been through to remind you of how far you have actually come. Reminders often tell truths that we have long since forgotten. Sometimes we (me, I) just need a little reminder.

I’ve been looking and in need of reminders of late. Memories without judgement. Just needing to remember. My last two monthly labs (blood tests) have showed an increase in my cancer markers. My subsequent PET Scan reflected same. So yeah. I need some reminders. I looked back in my writing notes to find the thoughts that I most needed to be reminded of. Like you, I have a lot on my plate and I got tired of waiting to be cured before I embark on any new chapter.

Nope. Not doing that. Doing all I can now. I got all kinds of reminders of what I came through and what I can do. I share some of them here. This first peace was not written by me but my friend Shanti Moore. She saved my life one night just a few months ago. I asked her to write it because I couldn’t remember what exactly happened that night. I needed to remember.

 

Aswan, Abu Simble, Cairo, Egypt

A

I ended up in Egypt because my Course in Miracles Study group has study and initiation/ascension journeys to Egypt up to 3X/year. I said yes way before I knew if I could really go because I know that saying yes to anything begins the process of making it a reality.

 

I have gained so much in a few short days but let me say that all my travels, all my healing journeys, all my prayers, all the work of my ancestors have led me to this place today on the eve of the full moon with the full realization that I have everything I need within to move through this lifetime full, complete and healthy.

I believe that with every fiber of my body.

 

All week while in Egypt “Man In The Mirror” has been ringing in my head and I finally came to the realization that I have been looking outside of myself for what has been inside of me all of the time. I could not get here however unless and until I had gone through the previous journeys. There are no skipping steps in this journey of life. None. You can’t truly know health unless you have truly known sickness. You can’t truly be well unless you know what an unhealthy lifestyle and body looks and feels like. And now that I am clear on that I am even more confident than ever in the work that I will do on and for myself.

 

I am not saying that I won’t ever go to the doctor or that I won’t go to my pet scan next month. What I AM saying is that this journey is full and completely my own and I am in charge. I make all the decision. These decisions will no longer be made out of fear, scarcity or the horrible feeling that death is at my door.

 

Truth be told I was actually a little fearful to come to Egypt. I told very few people I was coming. Something kept whispering lightly and gently that you “may not come back”. “You may get sick over there.”…you know the read. And so I got a reading from my God Mother who practices Ifa, arrested those fears and made an initiation trek to Africa with no daily itinerary, no hotel information. Basically nothing. Just faith. I was not disappointed.

 

I am no longer going to be writing about cancer. That is not my story. This will be the last chapter where cancer is the focus. I promised 7 chapters and have delivered them but I will continue to write monthly as the thoughts and ideas come to me.

 

I am not longer afraid. What I am I created. If I want to change it. I change it. The lump in my breast is just that…a lump in my breast. I will not give it any more power over my life.

 

I am winning.

It’s a well known fact (I think) that what we talk and think about expands. I will talk less and less about cancer as I grow, engage with and immerse myself in the things I really want to talk about and do because what we think about we manifest. The life we are living now is a manifestation of our thoughts over time. This is a fact. Have you ever found that when you think of someone all of a sudden they call or something happens to remind you that their spirit is near. Or for instance you may be thinking about getting a new car and the next day you see this car everywhere. While these may not be the best examples you get my drift.

I am not interested in my life being framed and surrounded by discussions around cancer. Yes I must deal with the reality of things but I am no longer approaching this welcomed challenge from a vantage point of fear and lack and hopelessness and death. Done with that. And yes I did use the word welcomed. Finding out recently that the tumor is growing secured my renewed way of thinking and approach to this dis-ease. Woke me TF up as I was and still AM in a space of getting better and healing no matter what the “reports” say.

I am not living in a fantasy world here but what I am doing is learning to believe in myself, my intuition and my power. Yes we all possess this intuition and this power. The question is do we use it? Do we tap into to it or do we give it away simply by not making use of it.

What happens to this power and if don’t use it. Does it dissipate. Does it morph into powerlessness? Does it make us weak in the sight of others who possess and use their power? Do we begin to blow in the wind grabbing on to any branch or leaf that gives us some semblance of security? Fake security.

I know I went off the deep end a little trying to make a point that I am not even sure has been made.

The bottom line is I certainly feel better. So there is that. And I’m still scared. Lonely in this journey and unsure where it will lead but I am also confident in my power. We can have both.

Now back to the thing that I don’t want to talk about here is an overview. I was initially diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer in 2014 at Grady hospital. I remember that day clearly. It was the culmination of week after week of mammograms, biopsies, appointments, etc. I had gotten to know the oncology nurses pretty well. I had become a regular in the Grady oncology waiting room that was always packed (wall to wall packed) with patients mostly women, mostly black mostly 30 – 50 years old.

On the day I was scheduled to get my results the nurse took by vitals and then I was left in the room for what seemed like 2 hours. It was actually about 1.5 hours. WTH right. The doctor came in and barely looked at me. I already knew anyway. Somehow we know.

She sat at the computer in the room and inputed some info and turned halfway towards me and said that I had breast cancer. The world stopped a little.

In my subsequent appointments with the Oncology department I found out that my specific kind of breast cancer was triple positive which meant that it was estrogen receptor positive. I had several meetings with the oncologist who advised that I begin chemo immediately to reduce the size of the tumor, then schedule a mastectomy. I declined. I debated quietly and alone for a couple months. I told a handful of people but I knew but this decision would be mine and mine alone.

After contemplation and inner resistance I scheduled a mastectomy for January 2018. I went to Jamaica for my annual pilgrimage for Christmas and when I returned I completed my pre –opt, layed out my pre opt materials next to my bed and on the morning of my scheduled mastectomy…something told me NOT to go. I questioned this and had long conversational thoughts in my head and the end of the conversation resulted in the same premonition: don’t go. I listened. I didn’t go. I never showed up for my mastectomy. What happened after that is still a little unbelievable but also a confirmation that I made the right decision. No one from Grady, not a nurse, doctor, social worker…anybody from then until now ever called me to find out why I did not show up for my mastectomy. No one.

At the time I didn’t know what to think but now I know that I made the best decision. The other piece of information I received that helped to cement my decision not to show was a clear message from spirit “that I would surely die”. I listened.

I didn’t know what to do next. Spirit led me to begin researching, joined online groups, bought books and began to tackle this little problem on my own. I found out about B17 and bloodroot tonic and strains and dosages of THC and CBD and began creating my own approach and protocol.What I didn’t realize is that the cancer was spreading and even with my best efforts I eventually arrived at Stage IV in the fall of 2018. I was in Jamaica for the Jamaica Music Conference. While I had learned to tolerate high levels of pain over the months since January…the pain was getting increasingly worse. And nearly unbearable. So I cut my trip short in Jamaica and immediately went to Emory where I was admitted to Palliative Care. Everything I had known and heard about palliative care up until this time was that was the section that dealth with death and dying. For instance hospice is under palliative care. I could see by the look on the doctors and nurse’s face that things were dire.

To my benefit the head of palliative care a soft spoken, gentle Black doctor counseled me on my options. I had not been to the doctor since January and chemo and radiation was not longer an option. That was my decision. She took one look at my breast did some preliminary test and advised that my daughter come home immediately. She did everything to make sure I was comfortable. I guess this is what they do when they think you are out of here. I appreciate her for this.

She also helped me to get any and all services that I needed immediately including pain killers, all kinds of meds, etc. Her goal was to get me out of pain and provide comfort.

It was from her that I also found out that in their observation there is no cure for Stage IV breast cancer. The goal is make you comfortable as you transition. I guess.

It was at this time that I was assigned a new oncologist who having read my records knew that I was opposed to chemo and radiation. She assigned me a nutritionist, monitored by labs, liver, blood cells etc and proposed hormone therapy pills which would reduce the estrogen in my body as this particular kind of cancer feeds on estrogen.

I increased my use of natural supplements (I discuss them in an earlier installment) sometimes changing and increasing or decreasing based on my intuition. I also worked hard on my faith which was enriched and fortified by the community who surrounded me. I was at my worst walking around with a tumor the size of a grapefruit, pains all over my body, inability to keep down food, house a mess, life a mess, taking Oxycodone and other hard drugs…but I never gave up on myself.

A major turning point in my health journey came on March 16th. Fahamu Pecou a longtime friend and client along with award winning poet Jon Goode surprised me with Flowers, a community outpouring of love and healing. I thought I was going to have dinner with Fahamu and instead walked into the venue with a procession of people lined up facing each other each with a flower and as I walked down the aisle I was able to receive a flower and feel and give the love at the same time. THIS was a changing point in my health journey. It gave me enough feet to stand on. It fueled my insides, renewed my spirit and filled me and the room wth love as artists, poets, speakers shared the love that night.

Not long thereafter coupled with some ritual work from my God Mother in Ifa my tumor began to shrink. I think I took some things for granted and was not as strict with my diet, exercise, supplemental regime, etc.

In June the tumor began to grow again.

Rather than get depressed I saw this an opportunity to become even more disciplined, do some introspection and insure that I was doing only thing things that I loved. No matter what. It was also a reminder to use the power of IFA in my day to day.

When Does June End

W

I have been silently watching and waiting for the month of June to end.  Be over. I had no idea how I would feel once it was over.  Would I feel victorious or would I feel like I have failed. Would I be disappointed or would the only disappointment be that I shared too much of my intentions on social media for this month and ended up not achieving them. It would be one of my busiest months ever.  I would test my resolve, my stamina and my health in every way.

Now that it is July.  And June is history. I feel a little numb.  Probably because I slept for two days. Straight.

First was the Cancer | STD Hackathon. I ‘ve never participated in a Hackathon.  But I always wanted to.  I knew I wanted to build something that might over time make a difference in some way. “A hackathon is a design sprint-like event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, and others, often including subject matter experts, collaborate intensively on software projects.” Wikipedia.   

The goal of a hackathon is to create usable software, website or app. We entered. We worked around the clock from Friday to Sunday with a few hours sleep in between and came in second place with the “My Breast Cancer Story” website. Check. 

The following week I participated in my second Breathwork workshop with Dr. Ma’at Lewis.  Spirit Centered Transpersonal Breathwork.  It is a practice under skilled facilitation that combines breathing and rhythmic music to inspire expanded states of consciousness that promote the development of self-knowledge, natural inner healing, and integration of spiritual consciousness.   Participants receive introduction to breath practices from African-centered and transpersonal perspectives and engage in experiential breath meditation to support their spiritual transformation. The first time I participated it was revealed to me during this process what my next steps would have to be if I intended to be healed.  My dance with fear also came up during this process and I was able to actually pinpoint where and how fear enters my body.  This second session was not as intense in its revelation but it allowed me to clearly see how breathwork works and why it was necessary for my healing.

At the end of the month (with a whole lot of client work in between..daily in fact) was the commitment I made to run my first 5K.  Not sure what was on my mind when I told my trainer friend I would do it but yes seemed like the right answer when she asked me.  My only job in preparation was to jog at least 30 minutes per day.  And if my RA was acting up then walk.  I failed hugely in this regard and began to get some anxiety before the run. Why did I commit to this.  How in the hell was me with my RA going to run a 5K.  IMG_0042

Well now THAT is history. I did it. I ran the entire time.  Wasn’t quite sure if I would do the walk/run thing.  And then I slept for 2 days.  And I planning and preparing for my next 5K coming up soon.

While all this life was happening I also found out that my cancer marker numbers have increased.  This is after months of watching it come down from the high hundred to the low hundreds.  Was a little devastated for a minute.  But I am back on my routine.  Focused on staying a live.  You can read more about all of this in my most recent chapter of Through The Stages.  You can get it here: www.throughthestages.com.

Next.

N

 

 

 

 

Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam

H

Next came Vietnam where my daughter lived at the time. I had heard about all kinds of medicine from scorpion juice to snake venom. I went with an open mind but I was not going to try any kind of miracle cure. I found a naturopathic doctor who was actually Chinese but living in Vietnam. She introduced me Apricot Seeds and B17. You can reach more (here) about this banned substance and Big Pharma’s mission to destroy its usage because it works. It has been a staple ever since in my cancer treatment. She also created about six months of an herbal treatment for me to use when I returned to the States. Unlike Vietnam I was expected to pay up front. The magic here was the information the gathering of it and becoming less fearful of my circumstances.

 

While there I visited the temples almost daily. I made incense offerings wherever I went and somewhere in my travels I heard about the cupping lady. Having already experienced cupping in Madagascar I was determined to find her wherever she was in Vietnam. Below is my facebook post about that experience. I was determined to find her. No one knew her name or exactly where she was located. Much like my mission in South Africa but not nearly as intense I went searching. I ended up finding her in an alleyway behind a market on the other side of town from where my daughter lived.


I heard about her. She is legend. She is a cupping master…passed down for generations. She sits like this all day. Found her in an alleyway in Saigon, Vietnam. Couldn’t get an address so I wandered around until I found her. Heaven.

Costs 1 US dollar. Gave her everything I had. This too is love. 

For Him That Moves Me In More Ways Than I Have Words For

F

His words.

Sometimes music.

Sometimes therapy.

Sometime both.

Sometimes healing.

Sometimes hurting.

Sometimes both.

Sometimes flawed. Sometimes not.

Sometimes living.

Sometimes dying.

Sometimes both.

——-Thank you Kiese.

To Kenya On Father’s Day

T

Your daddy gave me the most precious most beautiful most delicate most ambitious gift in the world. You.

Your daddy was kind and patient and loving and like the rest of us he was flawed.

Flawed in a way that gave him courage

Flawed in the way that drove his ambition and desire to do better by all his children.

His flaws were his fuel.

He didn’t hide them (like your Mommy) in fact he had a way of stuttering through them when we would talk. He owned them.

And by owning them he’s teaching me from the ancestral world to own mine and to stand with my imperfectness always with a desire to do better and to be better.

Your daddy loved you.

You were born on July 23. You were born on His Imperial Majesty’s birthday and and as a Nyah Binghi Rastaman your Daddy held his shoulders extra high. Proud.

I often wonder what goes through your mind on Father’s Day.

Just know that daddy is holding you on this day and every day as you show the world the greatness that lies within you.

So don’t feel lonely on this day.

Don’t feel alone.

Your life is the fulfillment of all he ever desired.

Madagascar

M

I spent my first couple days in Madagascar alone. My daughter had to take a last minute trip to Kenya so she made arrangements for one of her Madagasy friends to take me to see a couple local healers. The first was a little petite lady whose appearance was elderly but her body moved with the precision of her younger days. Her house was one room: bedroom, kitchen, living room, den and the doctors office. The waiting area was outside and reminded me of an old time awning covered school house with long benches and not much else. She had about 10 people of assorted conditions in this area, most seem to have broken bones. I watch one man walk in and five minutes later I hear a loud scream that shook me inside. A few minutes later he walks out — no limp. I saw patient after patient come in one way and leave another. I walk in with my daughters friend to translate. Inside there is no medicine. No gauze. No special anything. Just a bottle of oil and apparently very strong hands to break the bones in order to knit them back together the correct way. I am a little scared and want it to be made clear to her that I have no broken bones. At this moment tho my ankles ache from R.A. and my breast lump is causing discomfort but I am grateful that I haven’t broken anything.

She applied her oil, massaged my legs and ankles and sent me on my way. While my ankle felt better I didn’t see any groundbreaking results but that was simply for one reason. My mind and my belief and my ego wouldn’t let me. But this was still a necessary stop on my journey.

My next stop was an herbalist about 30 minutes outside of town. This man was known to treat cancer and many other serious diseases. I heard testimonies from patients as I awaited for his return on the veranda of a cozy little country side home office. He was one of the first to introduce me to healing magnets and the science of cupping of which I would continue with in the dark alleyways of Vietnam. He spoke a little English but did some work on me using magnets and also fire cupping. He then gathered about 6 months worth of herbs and a special created he created to rub on my breast and ankles.

He served me for at least two hours. I became curious as to what my bill would be especially with the herbs and cream. He seemed puzzled. His response was “you pay me when you are healed.” Through the translator he said “why would you pay a doctor if you are not healed from the ailment you went to him for.”

I will just leave this right here. I do plan on making good on my promise