Sunday, January 25, 2015

2014 in Review - Part 2 Cruise Edition

January started off rough!!! But February was so much brighter! February 1st the doctor informed me the mass was non cancerous.

STOP!!!! TIME FOR A PRAISE BREAK!!! My prayers were answered. I prayed and God showed up. During most of that experience, I believed the results were going to come back negative for cancer. However, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't admit that fear crept in from time to time. I am grateful my village was in place ready to assist me if I had to go on that journey.

With the good news, I was ready for February. My cousin moved to Atlanta from Cali. I was and am so glad she is here. She arrived a few days before our family cruise. My family knows how to have a good time. A few of my friends went with us a few years ago. One my favorite people and bloggers, LadyLee posted about her adventures here. This time, a few of my sister's coworkers went. They too had a ball.

This was a week long cruise. We made port stops in Cozumel, Mahogany Bay, Belize, and Cayman Islands. This is the first time I had been on a family cruise in a few years because of my teacher schedule. My family likes to go off season and I only have 1 break (in Feb) that works. We had a ball! I tell you my family have a bunch of comedians!!! It was never a dull moment.

These are shots from our stay at the Ritz before we headed to the ship. This was a huge contrast to the snow we had in Atlanta and Cleveland a few days before. We could not wait to get to warmer weather!

Below are some pictures from the Captain's Dinner
Me and my crazy brother Reggie

My 1st little sister, Tenia and me
Me and Auntie Linda

Every time we stepped off the boat it was an adventure! 

Auntie Mel best friend and Auntie Mel

Auntie Linda's friends 

My sisters' friends

Hell's Post Office - Yes I have been to Hell!

When was the last time you saw a pay phone?

Watching the dolphins

Sister infinity tats

Yeah, she killed that fish! 

We had all these gadgets to catch pictures. I am still waiting for the ones on this device. 

I really needed some shades! 

Sister love

Daddy's girl

Our Tour Guide - He has 5 children and wants to have 20 total...Say what now?

Mahogany Bay

My brother and sister - they had their own photo shoot

They knew a Delta was on the ship

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Reaction and Reflection

The last post was my first one in ages. Initially, I did not intend to write about my mammogram experience. Since I was doing my year in review, it was impossible for me not to write about it. It was the major thing going on in my life that month other than supporting my loved ones who were dealing with death. I really didn't know what to expect from other people. 

Within the first hour, I received messages from two friends. One of them is literally going through it right now. She got her results yesterday afternoon. It felt good to be able to encourage her and share information I received. At that moment, I thought about my Delta niece who has beat osteosarcoma. One of the many profound things she said "This cancer is not about me. God is allowing this to happen to me for someone else." That is how I felt (minus actually having cancer). God allowed me to have that experience to be able to help someone else. 

With me revealing a year later to the world, I heard "I can't believe you didn't tell me!" and "I didn't know you went through that!" I know and I am perfectly fine with it. Like I said in the previous post, I didn't want to worry anyone unless I had to do it. One of my mottos is pray for the best, but prepare for the worst. And that was what I did with this situation. I told key people I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God would see me through regardless of the results. I needed people to stand and agree with me that this was something I would be able to share with others. My Bible Study group checked on me during that time as well as my sorors and mom. I was well covered. And for that I can not express in words my gratitude. 

Looking back to January 2014, I realize it was seeds being planted and other seeds being watered. I was reminded of my compassionate circle that includes my boss/soror/friend, other sorors, my family, church family, and other close friends. I am a firm believer we are responsible for our environment. I made a conscious decision years ago to surround myself with positive, compassionate, empathic people. People with a servant's heart. And for that I am grateful as well. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 in Review - Part 1

There are 2 days left in this year. I think this is a great time to look back at my 2014. I will create another post on the lessons I learned or was reinforced.


January started the year off rough. Every week there was at least one of my friends losing someone close to them including one of my sorors losing her daughter in a car accident. I just remembering praying for the death to stop. Logically I knew it had to end, but emotionally I was READY for it to end. Literally, I started praying that death in all forms (natural, marriages, relationships) would cease.

That same month I was dealing with my own personal health issue. I had a mammogram at the end of 2013. A mass was discovered and more tests were required to see if it was cancerous. Initially, I was fine, but as the days stretched out, I started to have doubt creep into my mind. I tried to keep busy and not focus on it. I never told Man-Child because I didn't want him to worry unnecessarily, especially since he was away at college.

The hardest part was all the confirmation appointments. Once the mass was originally found, they wanted me to get another mammogram with an ultrasound. Once those results came back confirming the mammogram, I needed to make another appointment with a surgeon for a confirmation ultrasound. Once I met with the surgeon he confirmed the results of the 1st ultrasound with another one, then you guess it....another appointment. This appointment was to perform a biopsy. Here is what he used on me.

This ordeal lasted about 6 weeks since I got the first bit of news the week before Christmas and couldn't get the next appointment until after the New Year. Initially, I only told my mother. As time passed, I told a few more people. One of the people I told was my good friend LadyLee. The same day I was told to contact a breast surgeon, she blogged about her experience with a abnormal mammogram. It took her over 6 months to share her story. I know it was God who orchestrated that posting. LadyLee had been debating on when she was going to write about it. She literally posted it less than an before I checked her blog that day. I hadn't been to it in over a week. God made sure it was there right when I needed it. 

I called her immediately. She was more than happy to share with me her experience in more detailed including her doctor and how he answered all of her million questions. (Lee is a trained chemist. As a scientist, she had many questions.) I asked for his name. Now, I already said this was orchestrated this experience. Her doctor was one of three names/facilities I was given. Based on her experience, I called and scheduled my appointment. 

During this month, I did tell a few of my sorors who are more like family to me. They fussed at me for confiding in them sooner, but I felt we were dealing with enough stress with burying another soror's daughter and another soror's daughter was having surgery to remove her cancerous cells from her knee. Therefore, I didn't want to add any additional stress to them. They fussed but understood. They offered to go to my remaining appointments, but I hate to be a burden on anyone. I told them I was good. After the last ultrasound, I treated myself to lunch. 

All of a sudden, I burst into tears. I didn't do the ugly cry, but the tears were flowing as I sat at the table. All I wanted to do was cancel my order, get in my car, and cry my heart out. All of a sudden, it hit me that I could possibly have breast cancer. I tried to enjoy my lunch but I couldn't. When I made it back to my car, I sat there and prayed to God that I would not have breast cancer. However, I would fight it with everything in me if it was the case. I was quickly reminded of those close to me who kicked cancer's a$$. If that was my fate, then I would too! I called Scooby who is a two time cancer survivor. She gave me some encouraging words and offered to go with me to my biopsy. I told her LadyLee had already agreed to go. She replied, "Don't be surprise if she is sitting in the waiting room." Our conversation put me at ease and reminded me that even though I don't have biological family here. I do have a family here that will be there for me. The love and support I received from my friends are invaluable. I continue to be grateful for them. 

There were two more appointments left. The next one was the actual biopsy. That is when a needle with a syringe is placed inside the mass and pull/drain part of it out. Then it is sent off to determine if the mass is cancerous. In the middle off all of these appointments was the Snowstorm 2014! The city was shut down for a few days. This caused a delay for my results. Even though it was only another business day, it felt like eternity. Another friend, SoulSinger, accompanied me for the results. Headed there, I felt at peace. I knew that whatever the results were, I would be alright. I was covered. 


I was so thankful for it. I immediately called my mom and the handful of people who knew about my ordeal. That was the best news to start the month of February! 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Blog or not to Blog....that is the Question

It seems like I have not blogged in forever. But why? There are several reasons.

I don't make the time.
I think there isn't enough time.
I don't know what to write about
I don't think it would be long enough

With all of these reasons excuses. I just decided to just start typing. I plan to commit to blogging again. I won't make any promises on how often or how long. I am just going to do better than what I have been doing. Why have a blog if you are not bloggin?!

For the few readers still checking in, what would you like for me to blog about?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Random Thoughts....AGAIN

It seems like I can't create post unless it random thoughts. So here goes!!

  1. Ummm the 1st sentence in this post is a random thought. LOL!
  2. This year has been filled with death. I do mean in the natural kind.  I knew at least one person who died each week for the first 6 weeks. Now it seems like it is picking up again. In the last month 3 people have died from some form of cancer or another. 
  3. We really need to take better care of ourselves and our love ones. Present company included. I am starting a boot camp on Monday to kick start my healthy living lifestyle change. I refuse to have to take medicine when I can prevent it from happening. I am glad I have some accountability partners. 
  4. I really really really need to create my vision board. I have been so busy helping others with theirs that I still don't have mine done.
  5. 3 weeks. That is all I have off this summer if I skip a week of training scheduled this month before school starts back at the end of the month. I really need a true vacation! 
  6. My barber is not really getting what I want as a hair cut. I am going to give him 1 more time to get it right. Its still cute but 
  7. There are so many trips I want to take next year with different groups. I need another full time job just to afford all of them. There is cruise with my bible study group, a Vegas trip with my line sisters, an all inclusive trip with my TC peeps, Essence with my bible study group and a trip with the Man-Child. 
  8.  My small circle of friends push me pass my comfort zone. I am grateful for them. The things we come up with and the multiple conversations going on at the same time are insane sometimes. Its funny because we are able to follow them all.
  9. Authentic friendships are the best.
  10. I am still chewing on the message my pastor gave on Wednesday. I was convicted. His question was "are you touching and agreeing with someone for something that is good or bad?" He gave the example of you dapping up your friend and saying there are no good women out here. And you are responding with "ain't that the truth" or something else similar to it. Why do we do that?
  11. Man-Child is growing and changing. Our relationship is too. We both have some more adapting to do where that is concern. 
  12. I have to find other streams of income. I have a few things in mind. I just need to get focus and make it happen. Details coming soon.
  13. I had a conversation with some ladies about reinforcing positive images and messages to our youngsters. There are many children who do not hear "You are smart." or "You are beautiful" often or even at all. Today we agreed to start "You are beautiful" campaign. You can join too. Tell those around you how beautiful, smart, handsome, resourceful, thoughtful...insert any other positive adjective word. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Five Friday Thoughts

I stole this idea from LadyLee. I have been wanting to blog but really didn't know what to post and did not want to take a lot of time to do it. So here we go with 5 random thoughts on this Friday.

1. I am really getting the entrepreneur bug. I have a couple of businesses in my mind. I started working on the major one, Each One Reach One College Tour. I have partnered with another teacher. We will have our first tour in October. I am so excited!!!!! We have to exposed our children to more than just their high school and neighborhood. There is a whole world out there and they need to start seeing it!!!

2. I am so looking forward to Summer Break!! I know many people think teachers have it made with our schedules. Let me enlighten you. Even though students have 8-10 weeks off during the summer, many teachers don't. Looking at my calendar, I have 3 weeks off this summer. 3 WEEKS. Many teachers work summer school/summer camps, have workshops to attend or even classes to sharpen their skills.

3. My students are in the midst of their end of the year testing. This is the first year I have been nervous about their/my results. It seems like the desire to learn and grow are not there. It breaks my heart because I know how hard it is going to be for them if they don't change. I wish they could see it.

4. A little over a month ago, I changed my Facebook cover to big changes ahead.

Well, I noticed I have not worked on those changes. Its a new month. I need to get to working on them. I will start today! If I wait until tomorrow, Monday, next week, next month, next year, etc, it will never get done. There are so many areas I plan to change. I just need to prioritize and make it happen one by one. Some areas will impact the others. 

5. Man-Child will be home from college in less than two weeks. Every time he came home for a weekend or break, I was able to see so much growth in him. I can't wait to see/hear his take on his first year in college. Freedom, schedules, campus life, college courses, earning and managing money. There is so much to talk about! Here is a picture from a weekend visit in October. 

That was fun! It didn't take me too long to do it. Maybe I will blog again soon! LOL!!!

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