John & Chaunice (Summer of 94)

It was summer time and I was so happy that we would be able to spend more time together since school was out. John and I decided to meet at his house. That’s when he informed me that he would be leaving the country with his aunt and Levi. Initially when he said it I said okay, it’s no big deal but when he said he would be traveling to Singapore I almost died. I cried out Singapore! How will I see you and speak to you? He said that he would be leaving in two weeks. I was so sad at that point. He did everything to try to cheer me up. So much for our summer.

The summer of 94 was starting to be a dozy. My boyfriend was off seeing the world while I was stuck in Maryland being board out of my mind. I hung out with Shameka and Andreka though. We would hang out at the mall, we went to the movies, but our thing was skating. We loved to go to Wheel-A-While skating rink on Saturday’s from 7 to 10. We always wore matching outfits. Our favorite outfit was our tie die shirts with our nicknames on the back, jeans with rips and rainbow colored tights underneath so that they pick a booed through. We all owned our own custom pair of skates. Mine where neon pink and white with a neon pink pom pom on top. We all knew how to skate well. We would tear shit up when “The Big Payback” by James Brown came on. We knew all eyes were on us. All the guys loved “the skate girls.” After skating was over everyone would stand around huddled up in the parking lot talking. A couple of guys spotted us and came over to try to hold conversation with Shameka, Andreka, and I. I was particularly irritated because I didn’t want to talk to any boys and the two of them were always down to talk to boys. They always blamed me for running the boys off because I was “mean”. The fact is, I wasn’t mean. I was sad. I missed my boyfriend. It had been three weeks since I had heard his voice. It was killing me and I had almost two months before I would hear his voice again.

The summer was winding down. I was getting prepared to go high school. I was attending Suitplesant High School in Suitplesant MD. I was accepted into their performing arts program as a vocal major. I was so excited. I only had a few more days until John was to return home. I couldn’t wait to tell him the news. I was still unable to have boys call my house so we came up with a plan for him to call Shameka and she would in turn call me on three way. When that call came though and I heard him say “hey babe”. I almost jumped out of my skin. I was so excited. Needless to say, he and I agreed that I would come over that weekend so Shameka and I started out scheming with our parents that day.

Saturday came and I was elated. As soon as John and I laid eyes on each other we ran to each other. We huged and kissed like nobody was watch, but Levi and Shameks was standing right there. They just looked at us and said okay then. We walked back to John’s house so fast so that we could be alone. We sat and watched television with Shameka and Levi for all of fifteen minute then John and I went to his room to make out. It was so intense like nothing I ever experienced before. I missed him so much. After we made out we just laid there. I had my head pressed on his chest listening to his heartbeat. It became my comfort. He had his arms wrapped around me so tightly we could’ve melted into each other. It was a feeling I’d never felt before. A feeling that I knew I never wanted to leave. It was at that moment I knew I had been bitten by the love bug. I lifted my head off Johns chest and looked at him and said “I love you.” He looked me right back in my eyes and said “I love you.” We smiled at each other then I laid my head back on his chest.

That Beautiful Chair

When I saw you in that consignment shop I knew I had to stop. Your shiny gold trim is honestly what caught my eye.

Woodwork so detailed and smooth to the touch. Your velvet mahogany plush and button back was an added plus.

Sitting on you was like heaven. Soft like clouds but firm enough you hold up my heaviness.

As I sank further and further into the depths of your seat. I soon found myself fast asleep.

Awaken by a hand, a voice saying ma’am, I jumped up looked at the chair and left it right there. I don’t need nothing that made me forget that I was on my way to something important but I allowed myself become distracted.

Chemo’s Done Now What

On January 15th 2020 I finish my last round of chemo. I’m so happy that, that phase is over and done with. The thing is I’ve been to my oncologist three days last week ( starting January 21) due to a low white blood cell count and low hemoglobin (iron) levels. This is certainly not what I had in mind when I walked out of my last chemo treatment. I was ready to celebrate, well after my last stint of being ill from the treatment itself. The nurse practitioner told me before I left on the 23rd that she wants me to come back next week to check my levels again and for hydration. I’m sure my face said it all because I was definitely thinking, lady I don’t wanna see you or this place everyday.

On January 29th I will see the breast surgeon regarding my upcoming surgery. I have a lot of anxiety over what he may tell me. Up until this point I wouldn’t even allow myself to think about this part. I had to compartmentalize this process so that I didn’t overwhelm myself. Well, as we move closer to that day I can feel myself getting anxious. Just the unknown is what’s driving me batty.

When I was diagnosed with cancer the breast surgeon was the one that gave me the diagnosis. He told me he was hopeful that he wouldn’t have to remove my breast but he couldn’t guarantee anything until the end of my treatment. Well, here we are. The one thing I didn’t want to think about or discuss is here. My therapist has asked me several times what if you have to have your breast removed. I would tell her I’m not thinking about that yet. One step at a time. Even as I try not to think about it, it’s on my mind subconsciously. I’ve had nightmares not just about the surgery but the cancer in general.

I have always been a busty girl. I would often get frustrated when I was younger because I could never go braless or wear those cute little tops without a tacky looking bra or adhesive. This often made me despise them. When I started dating, I would often wear a shell underneath anything with a plunging neckline because it was where men eyes would go first. It drove me crazy. One day I spoke to my aunt about how irritated my jugs made me. She said “girl people pay big bucks for what you naturally have.” I thought to myself she’s right. The idea of possibly not having one of my biggest physical features I’ve attached to women-hood makes me sad. Makes me wish I’d appreciated them more. Hell I even wish I’d dressed a little sexier because I’m more on the conservative side. What if my honey can’t handle having a woman without breast? These are real thoughts.

Before anyone reading this says why are you thinking like this when you’re not sure what will happen. I’m very positive and you have to be in this kind of situation, but I’m realistic as well and I have to be prepared to hear whatever he has to say be it what I want to hear or not. This cancer ordeal is trippy I tell you. At the end of the day I know that God is in control of this situation. We’re pretty much BFF’s at this point. I’ve never prayed so much in my entire life. I think I say gajillion mini prayers throughout my day….lol

I’m just one of many people going through this. I have my good days and not so good days. We’re humans doing the best we can with the hand we’ve been dealt. Sending whoever’s reading this peace and love always.

Candles

Blushing Amber makes my breathing in remember when we would sit and listen to our cosmic blend. A melody so smooth that it cause our spirits to move. A dance that moved mountains and brought down rain that washed away our pain. A drift like the ocean, you rode my wave no matter how far out I’ve gone. A love that goes deeper than the ocean floor. Transcending over things that were meant to break a bond that will never die just like energy continuing forever and that’s how long it will be you and me.

The Beginning (John & Chaunice)

It all started at Robert Hooks Middle school. I remember it like it was yesterday. I sat in Ms. William’s seventh grade class nervous as ever. I didn’t think I would make friends right away but boy oh boy was I wrong. The girl sitting next to me was happy and friendly as ever. Her name was Andreka Maples. Andreka was one of the sweetest girls and ended up being one of my best friends. My parents were kind of strict and church goers so they were happy to learn that my new friend and her family were also church goers. Andreka and I did everything together. She would spend the night at my house and I would stay at hers. Andreka had a little more freedom than I did. We shared a love of music. The problem was I was unable to listen to secular music at my house, but at Andreka’s house we could. I’ll never forget when Doggy Style by Snoop Dog came out. Andreka had the CD and we would listen to it every day. We knew every word. Looking back on it, it certainly wasn’t a CD we should’ve been listening to at that age. We were all of twelve. There was also Tevin Campbell’s CD I’m Ready. I remember singing the CD title track over and over again.

One day Andreka invited me to her church for bible study and I happily agreed to attend. While there, the minister announced that they would be having a teen retreat on the third Friday of that month. It would be a lock in from six pm until six am. The retreat would consist of meeting at the church for prayer then we would go skating and bowling. I immediately go home to ask my parents if I could attend. My parents call Andreka’s parents to get the full details before they would agree.

The day of the retreat comes and I’m sick. In fact I had been sick all week. I put on my best “I feel better act” so that my parents would still allow me to attend. I would’ve done anything to get out of that house. The truth is I felt awful. Andreka’s mom picks me up and we headed over to their church. Once we get there they held prayer. During prayer the minister says if you would like to be saved squeeze the hand of the person next to you. Now this isn’t my church so I only know Andreka. The person that was standing next to me was a boy I had never met. This boy yells out “this girl just squeezed my hand” I was horrified. Not because of what he said I did but because everyone looked at me. I hated to be the center of attention. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to disappear. I rolled my eyes at the boy and yanked my hand away from him.

Chemotherapy

So here I am. I’m halfway through my chemo treatments. My doctors scheduled me for eight rounds of chemotherapy and I’ve completed four. The first four rounds were rough, which my doctor verbally prepared me for but nothing could’ve prepared me for the side effects.

The side effects, both mental and physical are a lot. Okay, lets start with the physical part. Most people are aware that you will lose your hair, which I did but what you don’t know is that your skin gets dry and changes colors. Also, my nail beds turned black my hands darken, and my tough has the ugliest black spots on it. It feels like every week there’s something new. Just today I looked at my legs and saw bruises on them with knots underneath. Oh and lets not forget the nausea the headaches from hell and lack of appetite.

The mental part of dealing with anything is very important. Cancer will push you somewhere mentally that will drain everything in you. When I first found out I had cancer, my honey grabbed my hand and reassured me we would get through it. I looked at him and said I wanted to deal with this head on. Well baby I think I had a meltdown at least once a week since then. There have been days I’ve just laid in bed and not because I was sick. I was just mentally drained, tired of being sick and tired. The amount of anxiety you get the closer you get to treatment day is to much. I literally get nauseated every time I walk to the threshold of that treatment room. Therapy has been a key factor to me handling this in a healthy way. I’m going to be honest, the woman has made her coin dealing with me…..LOL

I’m so happy to be at this point in my treatment. I’m not done yet and I have a few other steps to make before I’ll officially kick cancer ass but I’m super proud of myself. If anyone that’s reading this is dealing with cancer or any kind of ailment. Remember it’s okay to not be okay. Feel those feelings and move on so that you can fight another day. Please be kind to yourself. Peace and love always.