26 June 2008
I am ready, willing, able to love; it's just so damn elusive
I apologized to someone I was once involved with for the hurt/pain I caused them during our relationship.
I admitted that while I'm a good person, back then I was in an effed up place and my being in the relationship wasn't good for either of us
Ex agreed and it feels like a weights been lifted
I have struggled all week at work because my professional ambition is currently low
I secretly enjoy being to "assimilate" because white people treat me as if I'm "less black" and then they say what they really feel without thinking about it
I then use that knowledge to insult them in the most pleasant and articualte way for their ignorance
I recalled something that I used to do and it made me sad because it showed how I used to allow myself to be used
I thought about telling the person whom was a part of this "thing" I did, but I doubt that it's a good idea
I wanna cuss someone out for hurting my friend, but I know I can't so I'm encouraging him to end their friendship
I considered (soley to myself) what it would be like to intentionally treat someone bad...I could never exact it though
I want to do something random, impulsive, and borderline reckless really badly
I've often wondered what getting a "Happy Ending" after a massage would be like (massuese would have to be male of course)
I have this one ex that I'm really curious to know where/how he is...not for sexual reasons, but just because
In my head, I have a son named Carl Anthony because lil lady stated she wished she had a little brother to spoil and that's the only way she'll get one
I'm hoping for parole from current stink on Writer's Block because I really need to get my stuff published, but I have myself to blame for it not being done already
I know many of my family secrets and I really want to blurt some of them out cause I'm tired of it all
25 June 2008
Got up at 3:00 am to be showered, dressed, and out the door by 3:30. Fortunately, the airport is about 15-20 minutes from my house, so the rush was minimal. Arrived at the airport only to see that TSA hadn't opened the security gate and didn't until about 4:10am, which kind of ticked me off because I could have arrived about 4:30am instead of 3:45am. Checked in and waited at the gate for the overpriced cafe to open. I was red-eyed and hungry and grabbed a bagel and coffee before my flight. Plane boarded @ 5:45am and we were taking off @ 6:00am instead of 6:15am as scheduled. I was knocked out no sooner I sat down.
Arrived in Fort Lauderdale @ 8:20am, called Zay and sent the necessary txts to let folk know I was safe on the first leg of my trip. Zay and I sat and chilled for a while until he had to go back to work and I waited for my next flight.
I called my ride in Jamaica (hereon referred to as JA) to let him know I was boarding and what time he needed to be at the airport. I boarded, ate another snack (altitude makes me hungry), and was again asleep for the hour-twenty minute flight. Upon landing, I sent the "I'm safe" txts, did the customs dance, got my luggage, and cleared the last customs checkpoint. I grabbed another snack and a drink and did the "I'm okay, I have a ride" dance with the taxi drivers all anxious to get another fare for the day.
My ride arrived late, got promptly fussed at and then I was off. Pix of the view leaving the airport...
Yes, there's a Harley Davidson store in Jamaica. (though I'm yet to see a Harley there...lol) In fact, there's two; this one and one in the airport.
Arrived at Dad's, ate, showered, and hung out on the veranda for a while. My stepmum has prepared fried fish for me because she knows I need my food after flying and ate a some until it was time for dinner. The rest of the day was spent relaxing and talking. There was a heavy rain that evening, which played a huge role in my falling asleep early and enjoying a restful night.
Went to a wedding, which I really didn't want to go to, but protocol dictated. The wedding started an hour and ten minutes late, which infuriated both dad and I as we're very punctual people and there was no excuse for a 2:00pm wedding starting that late. It had rained, but the limo was stopping directly in front of the church steps and the bride would be covered in order to come into the church, so it's not like she'd have gotten drenched or anything. *sheesh!*
After the ceremony, we were off to the reception and of course that too would now start late due to the late ceremony and the wedding pix needing to be taken. The food was cold by the time it was served and I'd already plotted my escape in the event dad/stepmum weren't ready to leave. My dad had been tasked to bless the wedding cake and at luck would have it, my ride arrived just as he'd finished his little speech. I broke camp and headed back to the house.
Negril Hills Golf Club...site of the reception
Dad, Me and Stepmum (she's da bess!)
I showered and changed into comfy clothes and my friend and I chilled on the veranda listening to my iPod until the rents got home.
23 June 2008
Here's a humorous thing...
O the powerful women in my life - Keep the faith!!!Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders & says..."Oh shoot...she's awake!!"
Let us see ourselves, not through the filters fo a sick society, but from a place connected to teh rhythm of nature that vvalues everything about being a woman and a Black woman, the first woman on Earth...excerpt from All About Love, by Susan L. Taylor.
I'm about to start reading this book and from what I've glanced out in parusing the book, I highly recommend it to others. Let's all strive to live in the true spirit of love and be a part of a global community of faith, peace, and understanding.
Have a truly blessed day.
19 June 2008
My messy room...It has it's own patio and a bathroom off it.
I'll share some of the pix and talk about my trip more next post.
12 June 2008
I'm going to be away after today until next Thursday, so I wanted to leave you with something light hearted. Here's a list of things that I'm cheerful and ever so grateful about...
being woken this morning and knowing that God is all around me
my daughter and the cute things she says in the txt messages she sends me
that my sister is coming from London on the 25th to spend almost a month with me
the amazing largess afforded me thus making my time away possible. so much love for that
Zay because he's such a great big brother and a inspiration. we all need a Zay in our lives
my being cancer free and for being a health advocate
that in spite of my scars (literal), i'm still a beautiful, vibrant, and desirable woman
(still working on this one...lol)
for paying it forward
for being whole and no longer fractured...that's big for me
for loving myself enough to not see being single/celibate as a bad thing
that one day my king will come in search of his missing rib
for knowing that in spite of the bullshit and drama, there is still good and good people in the world
for the 25 year friendship i've had with my first bf in spite of the craziness we've been through
knowing that my blog has helped others
for the blogs that have helped, amused, entertained, and even angered me
for being a child of God; loving life; and trying to find the positive in any negative situation
11 June 2008
After coming home, I had to do light exercises to maintain strength in my right arm and to avoid tightness and other complications that could arise. I saw the reconstructive surgeon on Labor Day even though his practice was closed for the holiday. Yes, he actually went into the office just for me. There aren't too many doctors like him left. Anyhoo, he too the bandages off and changed the dressing and viewed the drain. It was at that point when I saw my breast for the first time. It was a little scary and I was immediately self-conscious about my appearance. He explained that a small amount of saline was in the implant to initiate the inflation and I would undergo inflation about every two weeks or however my body tolerated it. The skin had to completely heal as I had some external abrasions due to the scraping of the breast tissue, which over the next couple of weeks increased my self-consciousness and I found myself wearing button downs quite often.
When it was time for the first inflation, it hurt like heck. The tightness in my chest and the strain on my skin was quite unexpected. I took some ibruprophen to alleviate my discomfort and decided I would take one before each inflation just in case. Over the course of the expansion process, I found myself trying to get used to this hard foreign object that was residing in my chest, which wasn't an easy thing to do. It was hard to get comfortable in bed or while driving, so I used small pillows to cushion myself. I had a total of 3 inflations until the tissue expander reached the size it needed to be and then I was in wait mode.
The doctor had to be sure that my skin was ready for me to undergo the next surgery to remove the expander and put an implant in. In the interim, I saw the breast surgeon for an exam and get his feelings on which implant I should chose. I initially was going for saline, but after talking to him and a woman who had saline, they both recommended silicone. With their endorsement, my mind was made up and I'd done all the reading necessary when trying to decide which of the two to use and I felt comfortble with the combined decision.
Fast forward to January 11th, 2008...
Mum came up again for me to have my next surgery and again stayed at the hospital with me. My recover from anethesia was easy this go around and I felt much better a lot sooner. My unaffected breast was lifted after the implant was placed in the affected breast to provided symetry and better asthetics. I wanted a small implant in the unaffected breast, but the doctor wanted to wait for another chest x-ray and mamo before he felt comfortable doing it just in case there was a problem. I went home the next day and was out of work for 4 weeks. The first go around I was out for almost 8 weeks. I felt pretty good, but still had to take it easy, which I did.
I went through all of my post-op appointments and was back into the swing of things.
In March, 2008, I saw the breast surgeon again as well as the oncologist. Another chest x-ray and mamo was ordered and it was later determined that I was completely clean and could now schedule my final surgery to have the small implant put into my unaffected breast to finalize the reconstruction and symetry.
In May, 2008, I underwent the final surgery and took a week off work to recuperate. It should have been at least two, but I didn't want to go through the disability paperwork drama and I had enough comp time to be out for a week without having to use leave. The pain was actually more than I expected it to be and found myself wondering how women increase their breast sizes because they can. My procedure wasn't for vanity and on a couple of occasions, I wondered if I should have done it. Of course, I know I needed to, but shit, that pain is something.
So, here I am now almost a year to the date of my diagnosis, stronger emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I feel empowered for being so proactive in how I had to get through it all. Trust me when I tell you that I had some pretty shitty days. I allowed myself to feel whatever I was feeling and then I moved on. I refused to allow myself to wallow in misery or pity. Some very good things came out of it and I'm happy for those blessings.
The moral of this story is to listen to your body; I can't stress that enough. Had I not listened to my uterus acting a fool and continued popping pain pills, it would have been October before I saw my GYN because that's when I would have been due for my annual. Had I not listened and also had a doctor who took advantage of the time he had to examine me, my diagnosis and treatment options could have been a lot different.
I hope my story serves a means to encourage all of my female readers to ignore the discomfort of a mamogram and get it done as you're required. In fact, get all of your tests done! My male readers, please encourage the women in your lives to take care of themselves and get to the doctor when they need to. It's a known fact that women in committed relationships are often the second to know when lump is discovered.
Men, you aren't off the hook here. I implore each of you to get your health checked; know your familiy's medical history; where necessary and able, please ask; and don't ignore your body when it's doing something odd. Ask questions and do your research if you're unsure of what you're being tested for and do not settle for inadequate care.
Thank you all for reading my story, for sharing your heartfelt/heartwarming prayers and good wishes with me, and most of all for seeing me as a resource and testimony for why it's so important to be healthwise.
10 June 2008
So, by now you know that I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2007. You know that it was (obviously) quite a shock, but a blow that I had to endure and fight through. You should be up to date, but if you're not, please refer back to the previous posts on this Health Wealth series.
Now for more of the story...
I’ve had surgery before, but nothing compared to this. Knowing that a part of my body would be essentially amputated and reconstructed was very scary. I was surrounded by my mum, my manager from work, who’s a role model, friend, and mentor rolled into one, lil lady, and bestie while I waited for the nurses to do their pre-surgery intake stuff. Once that was all taken care of, my mum and manager prayed over me and I was wheeled down to the OR.
Hours later, I woke up in agony, and wondered when the pain meds would actually work. Lil lady was snuck into the recovery room to see me and I stayed awake long enough to see her beautiful face and she was taken away. I really didn’t want her seeing me like that anyway as she already had a hard enough time accepting or dealing with what I was going through. I was finally taken to my room where a few close friends came to see me. I was pretty put of it and let the nurses and mum take care of me. I didn’t do well with the anesthesia and it wasn’t until almost 2:00am that I started to feel some relief. Mum stayed the night in the hospital with me to ensure that I was well taken care of; I was!
The next morning, the breast surgeon came to see me and explained that he was able to perform the surgery with the absolute best outcome and I was thrilled; that being my nipple was still in tact, which was something he couldn’t determine until the surgery was in progress. The reconstructive surgeon came in later and told me he was able to successfully begin the reconstruction; happiness continued. The pain was horrible, but I was alive and with favorable results.
Now, I’m sure there are those of you unfamiliar with breast surgeries, so I’ll explain the procedure I had done as it was not a typical mastectomy.
I received what’s called a Skin Sparing Mastectomy. This form of mastectomy is performed a few different ways, but this is how mine was done because my cancer was in two locations in my breast.
1. The underneath of my breast was cut open and lifted up.
2. The breast muscle was removed along with the breast tissue.
3. All of my breast skin and nipple remained in tact. (A typical mastectomy removes the breast skin and the nipple. Other Skin Sparing Mastectomies remove the nipple and the cancerous tissue).
4. A tissue expander was then placed under the skin with a small amount of saline to begin the process to expand the skin and make room for an implant later on.
5. A drain (typical procedure) was placed into my chest wall to remove excess fluid.
6. A bandage was wrapped around my chest to as a protective aid for the incision, the drain, and the expander.
Although I’m not in favor of “drive-thru” mastectomies (one day hospital stays), I was released from the hospital the day after my surgery because I was fearful of hospital-borne infections and I figured I’d be more comfortable at home.
As required and necessary, lymph nodes are removed and I was fortunate that only one of mine was removed the day of surgery and it was later determined to be within good margins; meaning the cancer was contained and my need for chemo and radiation was not necessary. Praise God!
I went home and began the process of healing and reconstruction.
09 June 2008
A week or so later, I went to the reconstructive surgeon; whom came highly recommended by the breast surgeon to discuss his role in my surgical process. I took my sis with me for this appt for moral support and also to listen and get a feel for the doctor just as my bestie did with the breast surgeon. I felt completely at ease with the doctor, his staff, and how he explained his role in my surgical process. I had no chose, but to have a mastectomy, and I chose to have reconstruction begin the same day, so I’d be undergoing two procedures on the same day. I left his office feeling educated, but still anxious. I just wanted to get the damn mess done.
Some back story…It took me two days to tell my mother about my diagnosis because I needed time to digest it all and at the time we were barely even speaking. I called my aunt in London first and told her and then I called my mum. She didn’t take it very well, but after regaining her composure, she told me she’d be there for me and would travel from Florida to be there for my surgery. That was the first step in our healing our differences. God is good! *smile* I told only those closest to me as I’m not one for being the center of attention and I didn’t want to be bombarded with questions etc. I just wanted to deal with it in my own way. I was surrounded by love, prayers, and support. There were some days where I was okay to function and other days where all I could do was cry and deal with the conflicted emotions I felt. I was happy that it was diagnosed and treatable, but at the same time I was confused and even a little angry.
Nurse Leslie from the radiology office had given me some information on Gilda’s Club, which is a support group for people living with or have had cancer. I had called when she told me to even though she strongly recommended I should, but on one of my bad days, I called and it was one of the best things I could have done. I went through the intake process and decided that Gilda’s would be beneficial in helping me deal with the diagnosis and be a place where I could learn, heal, and grow.
During one of the special events geared toward breast cancer, I received some information from a reconstructive/cosmetic surgeon from Thomas Jefferson Hospital in PA that would change the outcome of my surgery and give me a better surgical option in terms of my mastectomy and reconstruction. This information was shared with my breast and reconstructive surgeons and they mutually agreed that I was a good candidate for it and could receive that particular surgery. I was ecstatic and felt extremely empowered that I took a proactive and aggressive stand in how I would be treated medically/surgically.
Fast forward to August 29 (2007) and that was the date the first of my three surgeries.
Thanks for your continued support and interest; more next time.
05 June 2008
It's June 25th (2007) and I have an appointment to get my right breast biopsied due to the mass that was visible on the mamo and the ultrasound. I went alone and waited patiently for my name to be called. The nurses are very friendly and explain the process to me. Dr. Peggy comes in and goes over what she'll be doing and why. I nod in acceptance and proceed to undergo the biopsy. Several pieces of tissue is removed from the mass on the side of my breast and is placed in a dish, which'll be sent to the pathologist. Having the smaller mass biopsied was optional, but Dr. Peggy advised getting it biopsied too; so I agreed. Typically, I have an extremely high pain threshold, but when the machine was pressed down against the first incision, I immediately wept and nurse Leslie was right there rubbing my back and comforting me. She asked if anyone was coming for me and I said that I'd driven myself. She felt really bad for my discomfort and for the fact I was there alone.
Upon completing the biopsy, Dr. Peggy explained that the tissue samples would be sent out and when the results came back, they'd call and I'd have to come back in for the results be they positive or negative. I asked if they could simply tell me over the phone, but they said, that's not their policy and a face to face is how it would happen. I managed to go back to work (ice pack in bra) and make it through almost the rest of the day.
Fast forward now two days later to June 27th....
I'm at work doing my daily tasks and I get a call from nurse Leslie telliong me my results were in and I needed to come in the next day. Knowing that I wouldn't get the results over the phone, I agreed to come in on my lunch break. I had no sooner hung up the phone and my GYN called to tell me he had my pathology results in and they were positive. He does not believe in witholding test results as he feels it heightens the anxiety. He explained the results to me and said, "once you get over the shock of this call, get on the internet and do your research." He gave me the name of the breast surgeon he wanted me to see and told me to call and make an appointment to see him
Surprisingly I didn't cry at first; that happened when I called my bestie and told her. I calmed back down and went to see a friend from my former work group who'd had colon cancer the year before and told her. She immediately teared up and she held me close to her. We got ourselves together and she called her oncologist to get me an appointment. I some how managed to make it through the rest of the day and on the ride home from work, I had to come to terms with the news that I'd just been diagnosed with breast cancer!
More next time...
04 June 2008
Last year, in late May, my uterus was acting a little too stank for my liking and popping 800mgs of Rx ibuprophen like M&Ms was no longer beneficial or a good idea; so I called my GYN for an appointment. He moved practices, but he is the most fantastic doctor ever and I knew making the haul to his new office would be worth it to me. He didn't have my old chart, but recalled my last visit without missing a beat and proceeded to examine me and make some suggestions on how to deal with the issue. Seeing as I was there, he considered that my annual (though it wasn't due until October) and suggested I get a baseline mamogram seeing as I was turning 40 in the fall. I did as he ordered and schedule the mamo.
June 8th, I got my breasts pressed and unusually conformed into the machine and went on about my business. A few days later, I received a call saying I'd need to come back because they saw something that didn't seem right.
June 15th, I returned and went through the procedure again and they again saw what was on the first one. The next thing I know is I'm being scooted into a room to get an ultrasound of my right breast. The radiologist was not comfortable in making a determination and scheduled me for a biopsy.
That's where the "fun" began....stay tuned for updates...
03 June 2008
my twin niece/nephew greeting me with hugs and kisses. my niece calls me mom-mom and it's so cute...i'm their godmummy, so it's especially endearing.
my godson whom i haven't seen in a week and will get to babysit him on Sat.
lil lady when she's being lovey-dovey with me
having friends who know when to step in and put me back on track
songs with truly great lyrics
getting to see my dad for Father's Day
the R&R i'll get while im in Jamaica
God's blessings being exacted in my life
holding on instead of giving up
the love, support, and ear of my big sister
being treated like a princess
last Friday night
being both a survivor and an overcomer
for writing this...
Teetering to the edge
Contemplating the fall
Encouraged by a leap of faith
I learned to spread my wings
knowing that i mean something to someone
the unexpected card i received "just because"
the renewal of an old friendship
welcoming change with open arms
being 40 and looking 28
for simply and just being me