Note to self… the next time I write Part One for a blog post, I need to post part two the same day [Some of you made it very clear that you did not plan to wait too long for part two.] Nonetheless, thank you for all my readers who reached out to me right after reading part one. What really touches my heart were the many…. many conversations that came out of it, covering topics from breast cancer, women’s health and the care women receive from health professionals, to taking time to focus on your energy and your faith. The number one aim of this platform is to provide opportunities for people to move past fear and society’s ridiculous demands, so that they can feel inspired and motivated to live uncaged lives. That aim may sometimes require me to share personal parts of who I am, thus revealing real scars and humbling moments. It makes no sense to me when we hide behind the idea of perfection when we can help others.
Day Six: I am in love with my blanket and couch. I should be working on finishing my next book, especially after missing the initial deadline. I should also be working on the multiple projects that I already have to do, but my couch is now my new best friend and so is my blanket. [I am not superwoman, though we may be related. Some days a girl needs a comfy couch and blanket as a calm space.] My inner Wakandan warrior tells me that I should be doing something productive, so I grab the remote and turn on YouTube. I may not feel like getting up and physically working on stuff, but I am not going to just do nothing. Thus, Day Six becomes my unofficial research day. I literally spend the whole day learning new business concepts and, at the end of the day, I feel comfortable in implementing some new techniques to my projects. I believe that we should always be learning, implementing and sharing, and my present situation was not going to prevent me from following that mindset. Armed with my blanket, a notepad and a pen, I kept my mind and spirit doing what it is meant to do….create!
You may be thinking that I am crazy right now and that I should be focusing on the fact that there are two foreign lumps in my breast. I am sure this isn’t the first time—and it won’t be the last—you will ever think that I am crazy. But then again… what I do think is crazy is me trying to play God. I know that there are somethings I can do, and some things I can’t do. I know there are some more things I can do through prayer and even more things I can do through prayer and work. At the end of it all, I am not God. God is God. He does not need me to do his job and let’s be truthful, I am in no way equipped to even attempt to try. By Day Six I had already said my prayers (had a few conversations with God) and I knew no matter the outcome that it was going to be either good, great or good up [I love that Jamaican phrase].
Day Seven: Time to put on my big girl panties. Tomorrow is Biopsy day and I need to sort some stuff out. From the research I have done and based on the preparatory phone call from the breast clinic [I told you they treated me with respect and love and made sure that I was mentally and emotionally ready—I love good customer care], I was to expect some level of soreness after the procedure. With that in mind, I moved up laundry day and started cleaning up to make sure the house was in order. I also used the time to hang out with my kids and just relax.
Mid-cleaning, my mind began to develop new projects. Yeah… I know… weird timing, right?! But my mind does what it wants, when it wants to. I started to reach out to a few people to run some ideas by them, with the intent of initially developing something for my daughters and their friends. By the end of the day, I realized that it was going to be bigger than just my little girls and I would need to develop it even further. You see how the universe works? When you think outside of yourself and your problems, it tends to show you so many different ways that you can be used to inspire and help others.
Day Eight: Biopsy Day, Time to put the Breasts on the table. I slept really well the night before, and if I didn’t have a procedure scheduled, I would have stayed in my bed longer. My appointment was scheduled for 8:30am, and I think we got there around 8:15. To my male readers, one thing I did notice—and the nurses noticed as well—was the fact that my husband was one of the only men who accompanied their women to get procedures done. I am not trying to tell you how to live your life [well, maybe I am], but when your wife, sister, mother, best friends, etc. say that they have a biopsy scheduled… show up! A lot of women have to face these times alone, and a lot of them do this because they don’t feel that you will show up or that you think it is unimportant. For the women in your life… show up, be there, be present and play the role of whatever she may need you to be at that time. I am blessed to have someone with a sick sense of humor, who is willing to put up with me sending funny pictures of myself while I’m waiting to jump up on the table or let me take pictures of their socks while we wait…. It’s the little things that matter and I appreciate good socks.
I head into the room, again greeted by some very warm and professional nurses, technicians and doctors. Everything is explained to me just to make sure I understand all that is happening. They take the time out to explain the sound I will hear from the core needle biopsy instrument. Now this here… I have not researched who invented it, but it must have been made by a man, because no woman is going to want a trigger sounding thing to go off near her breast! We would have found some way to make that thing silent or even a simple humming sound. This thing sounded like we were in an action movie [I may be a little dramatic here, but you get the picture, there was a loud gun-like sound]. All in all, I think that the actual procedure took maybe fifteen minutes—I am not sure, since I spent most of the time chitchatting with the doctor and technician while they did their medical thing. We joked a little about the trigger sound but mostly chatted about the Caribbean and upcoming festivals. [I’m sorry, but I will take any opportunity to promote St. Kitts and the Caribbean region as a whole.] After the quick and pain-free biopsy was completed, I was taken to do another mammogram to make sure that the implanted marker was in the right spot [I told you they were professional]. And before you grab your own breast and freak out… don’t worry, I didn’t feel a thing, my breast was fully numb. Within minutes, I received another quick talk on what to expect, the turnaround time for my results, possible swelling/soreness, and meds for pain. Then I was padded up with an icepack to assist with aforementioned swelling/soreness. It was that simple! I think I may have finished the whole thing within an hour and was back under my blanket by 10:30 am.
I’m not going to sit here and act all fairy-like and say that I didn’t have any soreness. I did have to use the icepack a bit on the Biopsy day and I did take two rounds of painkillers—Tylenol that day. I think the most discomfort came that night. However, it was way less than I expected, and I would say the discomfort was far less painful than any previous migraine, but more than menstrual cramps. I spent the rest of the day resting and icing, feeling at peace with having done the procedure and at peace that whatever the result, it was going to be good, great or good up [love that slang].
Disclaimer: When I say that the result was going to be ‘good, great or good up’ this is my mindset behind it… If the result came back indicating no cancer—that would absolutely be ‘good up’/awesome/great, and I would use it as an opportunity to encourage others to get their health checked, while inspiring women to live outside of fear. If the result came back with cancer but possibly an early stage—I was good with removing the breast, doing what I needed to do, and proceeding with living my life (more or less like I would with a good up result). If the result came back and said cancer at a dangerous or terminal stage….it would definitely suck. My bucket list is real. There are things I want to do and experiences I would like to have, which includes being with my kids when they are grown and laughing after them when their kids annoy them or their kids recreate the experiences they constantly give to me. I am really looking forward to those days, especially the inborn savage sarcasm that my daughters have inherited from me. Nonetheless, I was not going to focus on the end, but I was going to focus on what I was willing to do with whatever time I would have [days/weeks/months/years] and still try to encourage and inspire others. You may think that this is not a possible or realistic mindset, and I am okay with you thinking that [kind of]. I understand that everyone is different. But I am comfortable enough in my relationship with God, and I know that he is in control. My purpose on this earth and my destiny is really to do what he wants me to do. When that purpose is complete, I will be going up to him to sit back over some lemonade and talk about things on earth that make no sense to me …like bridges, spiders, calories, cellulite
Day 9: My Breast are a little Sore but still standing still. I’ve decided to get out of bed and cook. Being a foodie, I have a strong relationship with food and I show love with and through food. I also want to start working on my projects again and began thinking of some other stuff I want to do with my daughters and how to get them more involved. I spend most of the morning checking up on emails, friends and then tell my breast that it will have to be uncomfortable tomorrow because I need to cook something. By midafternoon, I move away from my projects and start my cooking… then the phone rings. Now, the doctor had already told me to expect the results within a week and I was okay with that [as I said it was either going to be one of the three levels of good no matter what]. I pick up the phone, balancing the pot spoon in the other, by the third ring, as I am literally sautéing my garlic for my spinach and had two other pots going.
You know when someone calls you and you can feel their good energy through the phone? Yes… it was one of those moments. Her voice was as calm and easy as a Sunday morning. After confirming that it was me, she told me that my results were in and that she wanted to let me know before the end of the day, so I wouldn’t spend the weekend worrying [Again, that human empathy factor. I can’t say it enough—it’s the way you treat people that make a big difference]. That beautiful lady told me ever so calmly that my results were good… there was no cancer and they would schedule a follow-up mammogram in six months. Then she wished me a happy weekend. At this point, I think my breasts may have stopped standing still and did their own little dance. I thanked God for the great news and I continued cooking my dish, all while dancing and singing “Your Spirit” out loud like I was Tasha Cobbs [in my mind I can sing]. You see… my story isn’t over yet and neither is yours!
****I do not have a magic mirror, so I can’t tell you what the future holds, but I do know that we are each given a life; a life that should be lived and lived with purpose. Go after your dreams, take care of your health, love with all your heart, and be the person you were meant to be……We are all created to live uncaged lives!****