Two years ago, life as I knew it came to a standstill, and I experienced a fear that today I still can’t verbalize. Although this wasn’t the first time I had encountered fear, it had never halted my living until that moment. December 11, 2017, was the day I met my crisis. This was the day my hematologist/oncologist diagnosed me with multiple myeloma (blood cancer).
Like most, my memory has failed me on a few occasions, but I remember every word, every moment and every feeling that I experienced that day and the days following the diagnosis. I remember mourning for my children, my parents and everyone that loved me because I was convinced, I was dying. Never mind the fact that we are all dying, I had cancer and it was over for me. I honestly wasn’t able to conjure one positive thought for at least a week and even then, fear consumed me.
“In every crisis there is a message. Crises are nature’s way of forcing change–breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can take their place.” — Susan L. Taylor
I told my kids our theme for this chapter of life was all faith, no fear but girl, I was scared as hell. I felt myself slipping. I felt powerless to the depression and anxiety I was experiencing. I felt defeated and I was wearing the mask because as a strong woman, I needed to be a strong woman. All the words of encouragement I used to empower other women were lost on me, I wasn’t okay with not being okay. I couldn’t process this being my reality, I was afraid to even speak this truth because I thought, if I spoke it the universe would grasp it and begin to alter my existence even more.
I recognized and became connected to my purpose at the age of 10-years-old when my uncle began molesting me. At that young age, while attempting to process that trauma, I understood that I had a greater responsibility to women and girls. This understanding is the reason I have never been afraid to speak and share my truth. However, I couldn’t bring myself to share this because this chapter displayed weakness and offer no resolve and there was no way I could speak life about a situation that only offered death. That was until God showed up and showed out as he had so many times before.
Consumed by fear, I wasn’t living or sleeping but I was praying for direction because my faith was all I had other than fear. Then it happened, around 2am on New Year’s Eve I began to understand, that like being molested and abused, this cancer diagnosis was another chapter in my book of life that would empower and feed the souls of women/girls. I also begin to understand that with or without cancer, I was going to die at some point and that it was damn near a slap in God’s face to waste my time merely existing when I knew that my purpose required more. So yeah, I wrote my truth, I removed the mask and I decided to live life more abundantly.
That one act of obedience and faith was the first step to being cancer-free. Not cured but free of the fear that cancer had induced. Free to shine light everywhere cancer had cast clouds. Over time, although the fear of cancer wasn’t completely banished, it was less crippling, and I begin to live again. I recently heard Lauren London recite a poem written by Nipsey Hussle’s sister, Samantha Smith that verbalized perfectly how I overcame the fear of cancer.
“WE DANCE IN THE RAIN UNTIL THE FEAR IS DRAINED”–Samantha Smith
Listen, sis, every crisis isn’t intended to kill you. Some crisis is intended to change you and that is just what cancer did for me. Today, I live more abundantly because my faith revealed the truth; I am great than anyone or anything that attempts to destroy me. I have something now that trumps temporary emotions like fear and happiness. Today I have joy and peace despite having cancer because I decided to live instead of being imprisoned by cancer. Even on days that fear and anxiety are present, they are not strong enough to diminish my joy or interrupt my peace. This is why I say with total confidence, I have cancer but cancer doesn’t have me!