Archive | May 2016

A Community of Souls

 

Communicating thoughts and ideas are wonderfully enriching effects of writing. I’ve connected with some marvelous people through this medium. Writers are part of a community. A sense that we are connected in our desire to share our emotions, and observations. When we compose with honesty, it can touch the hearts and minds of others who need to know that they are not alone.

Communing through blogging with a fellow breast cancer survivor brought to the forefront of my mind that we all belong to the community of souls.

Love, sadness, fear and joy. All are human. All common bonds we share. 

write2

 

Advertisements

The Absolutely Perfect Day!

godthankyou

My Birthday/Chemo Over Party was absolutely incredible! Words can’t express my heartfelt feelings of appreciation and jubilation. The blessing of sharing this day with my fabulous family and friends was a dream come true! I’d been planning this celebration in my head for months, and my bestie Carmen and her husband, Ron opened up their hearts and beautiful home to make the day complete. I thank you and love you forever!

friendship2

I moved away from my family, friends, and hometown of Detroit years ago so I don’t get to share in the day to day moments. When I decided to throw this bash it was very important for me to go home to commemorate the remarkable accomplishments of my colon and breast cancer journey. I am living proof of the power of prayer and the miracle of God. As we traveled back to Charlotte my husband noted that there was a light and expression of happiness on my face that lit up the entire room. 

I’m still grinning, rejoicing and reveling in God’s blessings, grace, and favor!

Wow! What an amazing feeling.

family3

Celebrate Good Times!

celebrate

The day is fast approaching and I am super excited about my upcoming Birthday and Chemo Over Party next Saturday! Gathering with family and friends is such a tremendous blessing.

This past year has truly been a world wind. Last May at this time I was preparing to celebrate my birthday with my buddies, the Minions and my very favorite wizard, Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Florida. It was the perfect way to enjoy and commemorate my 60th birthday. After all, I’m just a big kid at heart.

Then, only 2 months later, wham! A diagnosis of not one but two unrelated cancers – Colon and Breast. Was not expecting that, but my philosophy was to not assume what would happen throughout the process but trust in God, do my medical research and engage in the fight to survive.

image

With the support of friends, family, and the medical community, I was able to not only survive but thrive in what I call my “second chance” at life. Facing this challenge helped me realize the importance of living in the moment and loving out loud. So, I want to tell everyone how much I love them and appreciate the uplifting support I’ve been given. Thank you so very much!

As Dinah Washington once sang, “What a Difference a Day Makes…” I see this celebration as an accomplish not only for myself but for cancer survivors everywhere. So let’s celebrate good times!

Happy Birthday, “Little” Stevie Wonder! 🎉

Happy Birthday To You!

Stevland Hardaway Morris (born Stevland Hardaway Judkins; May 13, 1950)

Stevie Wonder wrote “Happy Birthday” in 1981 dedicating it to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday. Wonder was instrumental in the movement to designate Dr. King’s birthday as a national holiday and the song was a fitting tribute. 

Stevie Wonder is one of the most prolific singer/songwriters in the music business. He has recorded more than 30 U.S. top ten hits and received 25 Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist. He has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists. In 2013, Billboard magazine released a list of the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 55th anniversary, with Wonder at number six.

motown

Growing up in Motown, my memories of Stevie go all the way back to when he was “little Stevie Wonder” and the song “Fingertips” Part 1 and 2. I felt so proud he was from my city and listened to and gleefully soaked up all his brilliance!

In 1963 at the Regal Theater in Chicago, his 20-minute performance of “Fingertips” as part of the Motown Revue was recorded and released in May 1963 as the album Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius. “Fingertips”, was also released that month and became a major hit.

Stevie’s always been able to tap into emotions and address not only relationship but political and civil rights issues of the day. In his hit from the album, “Songs in the Key of Life”, “I Wish” he brought back loving, youthful memories of growing up in Detroit. “I wish those days would come back once more…cause I love ’em so!” There wasn’t a “let’s skip over this song” on the entire album.

Known by his stage name Stevie Wonder, he has garnered a decades-long career as a musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he became one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performers of the late 20th century. Wonder signed with Motown’s Tamla label at the age of 11 and has continued to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth due to retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach .

steviewonderlittle

Stevie Wonder’s classic 1970s albums were very influential in the music world: the 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide said they “pioneered stylistic approaches that helped to determine the shape of pop music for the next decade”; Rolling Stone‘s 2003 list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time included four of the five albums, with three in the top 90

In 2009, Wonder was presented with the Gershwin Prize by President Obama.

steviewonderBarack_Obama_presents with_Gershwin_Award_crop

Let’s all wish Stevie a big Happy Birthday!

steviewonderHappy_Birthday_Single_7-

Rise – A Relay For Life 👣💜

IMG_1965

Here we are, sharing the walk for those of us who’ve survived and those in remembrance. 

I continue to testify that my cancer journey has been simply amazing! Meeting the bravest and most determined people in spite of and because of our quest for hope and a second chance at life. The Cancer Survivor Dinner and the Relay For Life fundraiser have been a heartwarming introduction to the cancer community.

I was a newbie at Relay For Life but met and celebrated with survivors with varying years of being cancer free. I’ve written about the sense of kinship throughout my journey with doctors, nurses, and technicians and now I can add more fellow cancer patients, volunteers, and caregivers to my inner circle.

cancersurvivorhope

The Relay For Life is all about celebrating our lives and successes while also honoring those who’ve lost the fight. We walked, talked, played games and some even broke out with the Whip and the Nae Nae! 😄

Whip and Nae Nae!

The conclusion of the night featured a sunset lighting of the Luminaries Ceremony. We decorated and left messages of love on each, a beautiful tribute to survivors and lost loved ones. Afterwards, attendees were invited to speak on why they Relay For Life.  The words were moving and emotional. I was feeling too much and didn’t testify, but my husband spoke eloquently and even attributed the quote “never give up, never surrender” from the film Galaxy Quest to me.

A wonderful friend recently dedicated “Rise” by Andra Day to me and this empowering message sums up exactly my sentiments and the determination of cancer survivors everywhere.

◊◊◊◊◊◊

cancer survivor quote

Hope and Gratitude 💖

May 4, 2016

Last night I attended my first Cancer Survivor Dinner. I wasn’t sure what to expect but felt thrilled about connecting with others who’ve been affected by cancer as either a patient or a caregiver.

When my husband and I arrived, we were greeted by smiling and welcoming faces. I was given a “goodie bag” (which I always love!) filled with my survivor tee-shirt for the Relay for Life Event happening on Friday, May 6th an assortment of other purple colored items like an umbrella, a survivor pin, water bottle and other treasures.🎁 The American Cancer Society/Cancer Action Network signature color is purple. (which felt like providence – Prince)

 

There was a very positive vibe in the room as others arrived and filled in the decorated tables. I snagged a seat at a table that was right up front. (just like back in school:) I didn’t want to miss a thing. My tablemates all introduced themselves and it felt warm sharing this moment with those who’ve gone through their own cancer journey and could understand the significance of the fight, the hope, and the survival. Like in the Infusion (chemotherapy) Suite,  there was an instant bond.

cancercolonsurvivor

The theme of the dinner and mission of CAN – Cancer Action Network is Hope. Never give up. We can do this! I’m all about hope and determination, which I write about. My nature tends to be outgoing so I loved all the other positive and upbeat personalities. As we broke bread we talked about if this was our first time at this event and how it’s grown over the past 3 years.

I also found out that the Cancer Center that took care of me didn’t exist 8 years ago. Listening to the guest speaker, who’s an oncologist with Novant Health (the medical group that organized the Cancer Center), I counted my blessings realizing I was able to take advantage of the union of various doctors – oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, etc, and the nurse navigator, Pat! My nurse navigator “angel”.  This consolidation of medical professionals proves that when we work together as a team we can accomplish so much more!

My Nurse Navigator “Angel” Pat and me!

I’m so grateful for the Huntersville community, my Nurse Navigator – Pat, Novant Health, and the American Cancer Society for enriching my cancer experience with their tremendous support and encouragement!