Our New Norm: COVID19

Illustration by Rayven Dears

Good Day people. Happy Sunday to you all. It’s been a minute since I’ve written anything. You would think with all this free time that I’ve had because of covid19 I would’ve been writing my happy little heart away. For me, when I became overwhelmed or consumed with to many thoughts or emotion. I usually stop in my tracks. Almost paralyzing me. In most cases I just need quiet time to processes what’s going on, so for weeks I had nothing.

Most of you know that I’m battling breast cancer. In March, the week before the majority of the country went on lockdown I had breast surgery and a axillary lymph node dissection.

The day of the shutdown I had an appointment to get my drainage tubes removed. Once I walked into the surgeons office his staff wouldn’t let me anywhere near them and they were canceling appointments left and right. At that point I’m thinking is it that serious. Once I became aware that this virus has the potential to kill you fast and people with compromised immune systems are even more at risk I started to panic. After my surgery I had other follow-up appointments that were being canceled because of covid. I was in limbo.

During my surgery I found out that my cancer was still there and that I needed to have radiation treatments 5 days a week for 7 weeks. I was also informed that I would need to go back on chemo. I was devastated! It was like a kick in the stomach to hear those words. I had set in my head that I was almost to the finish line. Then to be told that I have to go back to the hardest part of my treatment was all to much. I was angry! Honestly, I wanted to tear some shit up. I had to once again pull some strength from somewhere to prepare myself for this.

Coming to terms with the fact I have to continue this fight a little while longer wasn’t easy. Now I have to be more careful because of covid19. To see the world in such a state is unsettling. Most of us have never experienced anything like this ever. To see so many people losing their lives is incredibly sad and hard to process but when you have a illness such as mine you’re extra sensitive to the world and what’s going on around you. It weighs on you heavily. You’re listening to people debate about where the virus came from, whose at fault and if it’s even real. You watch people as they complain about being home and not being able to get their hair done, nails done or go to their favorite restaurant. To see people actually fighting about these minute things is insane to me. Although I have a number of questions about how our leaders handled the situation or what they know and when they knew it. All I can really I think about is fighting for my life.

As I stated before I go to radiation therapy 5 days a week. I have to get theses treatments to save my life but going outside could literally kill me. Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation strips your body of everything good and bad. Your immune system is at its weakest state. Almost like a baby. I have to do all that I can to protect myself.

I look at the images and videos on the news of people being reckless going to parties, beaches and protest not thinking about how their actions could have an affect on another persons life. To hear people speak about grey hair roots and about the economy over human life is asinine and evil. The numbers of deaths because of covid aren’t just numbers these are human lives. People who have families. They mean something to somebody somewhere.

Covid is everywhere. You can’t escape it. It’s on the news, it’s on social media, commercials just everywhere. It has completely changed our lives. It’s disheartening to see people say “fuck it” and do reckless selfish things. What is asymptomatic for you could kill me or most importantly a person close to you. Do what you can to stop the spread not add to the devastation. STAY THE FUCK HOME!

Rebirth

It feels like it never ends. Being beaten down trying to catch a win. I’ve always been relentless in my stance, always moving forward with my plans. These plans often have me on the sacrificing end. Never on the forefront, always holding scraps. It’s with these pieces I piece together what I can. Letting others walk away with the richness they took from my hands. I just stand and I watch. It’s not that I don’t see. I just sometimes refuse to accept reality. As these words flow from my heart I know that this self harming has to stop. The day has come where nothing will ever be the same because I now answer to a new name. Call I will not come, reach and I won’t be there. On this day I declare, I will put me first. I will choose me like god chose to make heaven and earth.

Pregame

Your hands on my butter pecan skin. An open invitation, you’re always invited in. As I elevate myself on your wooden seat. Palms on your chest feeling your heartbeat. Rotation of my hips and our lips meet I’ve been waiting for your kiss and licks all week. Aggressive tugs and pulls, Ive never been to a rodeo but I’m a pro at riding a bull. I think I’ll lay on these satin sheets, if you’re tired take a break and eat. Feast like you never have before, you know I’m daddy’s little H….. I’m coming down down down and my legs start to shake. Next time don’t make me wait.

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.