Accompany Me On My Cancer Journey!

I can see clearly now the rain is gone

I can see all obstacles in my way

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright (bright)

Bright (bright) sunshiny day…

I Can See Clearly Now ~ Johnny Nash

It’s been 9 years since I was diagnosed with cancer and as I’ve previously discussed I have the lasting effects of chemotherapy in the form of neuropathy to contend with. I’m going to applaud myself here because despite how things look on the outside, the struggle is very much real.

I manage well enough throughout the day, but when it comes to winding down that’s when I really feel it. The varying sensations and temperature control can be a lot, but imagine my surprise when another symptom decided to pop up and say hello!

I discovered it one morning when I got out of bed and nearly fell on my ass. Thankhfully I managed to fall back on the bed. It was as if my feet were still asleep, then there was a rush of sensations as the blood flowed back to them. They were back to their normal form after a minute or so, but it has now become a regular morning occurrence. I then found myself doing a mental tally of my battered and aging body and added it to an ever growing list.😩

I can’t tell you how much I miss the BC* me at times. Adaptations have been made for certain missing elements – but right now, in this moment, I miss the way I used to be albeit knowing there’s not a lot I can do about it.

That’s not to say I don’t love who I am now because I really do – excess baggage all round ‘n’ all! What I lack physically has been more than balanced out by my mental, emotional and spiritual growth. I’m wise enough to know I can have my moments and still stay on track. It’s all a part of the journey and dependent on how long you want to stay in it for. 

For someone who writes the most I really do need to be listening to me more!😂 The other night is a good example. I found myself doing something to keep ‘the’ peace, and it wasn’t until I was actually doing it that I realised my mistake. I shouldn’t have preoccupied the ‘the’ and focused on the peace. Whose peace was I keeping? ‘cause it damn sure wasn’t mine…

My usual Thursday night blog routine was disturbed by feeling absolutely shattered. You know them ones where you can feel it in your bones. The yawns are coming thick and fast bringing watery eyes and more exhaustion? Yep!, c’est moi!…but then a comment was made (but not made) and I found myself not so tired and more upset and frustrated.

I ended up having a word with myself, and once more awoke the next day with clarity and the ability to address it and let it go. There are times when you will do things to keep ‘the’ peace which is perfectly okay within reason, but if it’s at the risk of fucking with your own then always prioritise you. I should have done just that instead of working myself up and wearing myself out over a comment, and it’s fully on me. #BoundaryCheck

This week marked 3 years since the death of Chadwick Boseman, and of all of the celebrity passings I feel his the most; mainly down to it being the same type of cancer, our similar ages and of course ethnicity. To me and I’m sure many others of the Black community, he will be seen as the warrior he depicted and his legacy as an actor will live on as all legends should.

I feel blessed beyond measure to still be here. Regardless of how exhausted I may get and how many different circumstances come my way, I’m still afforded the pleasure to rise and get over it. I may not be able to leave a legacy as big and far reaching as King Chadwick but I will continue to leave my little legacy for future generations in my written word and podcasts.**

I love life and I love writing, and you should do more of what you love. Cancer gave me many lessons but the most predominant one is just when you think shit is at its worst you can still find beauty in the madness, and it can be the tiniest of things that has a profound impact on you. Hold on to those things and feelings – ‘tis a bumpy ride to be sure and all forms of cushioning are welcome.

Not everyone will understand your methods, but mate, if it gets you through do you! What’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander so don’t be put off by others thoughts and opinions – when they start paying your bills or carrying your weight they can talk up.

I’ve ventured down many avenues to find where I am now and realise I was just peeling back the layers to expose my true core and nature. Now I see me and if my being human, open and honest helps even one of my future generations (or anyone in the present) to address beginning to heal their trauma in any way, I’m good with that.

R.I.P Mama Thompson and all those who have lost their lives this week.

*BC – Before Cancer. It was a whole other life but the same essence remains. #NuDawnBible

**They’re coming!😅 The tests keep testing and I continue to do the work, and it’s most definitely fodder for another day!

I Can C Clearly Now, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

Before I get into the nitty gritty of what has been happening in my life over the last few years, let me address something else.

I’ve touched upon humanity previously, and you’d have to be blind not to notice that there is something seriously lacking with a lot of people around the world – way too many. I could run down a whole list but I actually don’t have the energy for it, I’m sure you’ve come across enough yourself to get the gist.

One thing that goes hand in hand with humanity is care. We all need it or have needed it. At the very least someone got you from a dependent baby to fending for yourself, no matter what age the care stopped. Be it a parent, family member, foster carer or wolves (I’m beginning to think it’s a possibility), someone raised you.

I believe without doubt that both nature and nurture have an impact on the person you are, but as an adult there are some choices you have to make regardless of what you’ve gone through, like how do I pay my bills? How can I make my moolah?

If you’re lucky enough to have a job you love, way to go! Right now I’m in the process of trying to do so…kinda. To be honest I need a little breathing space first, but naturally I’m thinking about which way to go next.

I’m creating my NuDawn Bible and it has its dating system. BC – Before Cancer, and AD – After Damage.

The BC me was a full time working mum, fit and so I thought, relatively healthy. I loved to shake a leg and could be on my feet all night with hardly any griping. I loved MONDAY’S (Tanya Brooks-Carty’s workout regime), and I could wear heels and run around to my hearts content should I feel the need. My mum had had a heart attack some years before and since then I’d taken care of her and her needs too. Life could always be better, but overall I was good.

The AD me had to face the fact that times had changed. Naturally I’d prefer it if my feet didn’t hurt all the time and I didn’t need to use a stick to help me, but at least I still have the ability to walk. I’ll take that and own it! “I’m an African warrior, rolling with my stick in my hand!” The alternative would be me bussin’ my ass on the floor when I lose balance so I’d rather not if you please.

AD me means that the running and jumping around I used to do without thinking twice is no longer a joy and in fact a pain in the ass, but I’ve learnt and I’m still learning how to deal with it. I’ve said it before but you really don’t realise how often you’re on your feet until it’s sending you constant reminders with and without every step.

But I suck it up because it is what it is and where would bitching get me?, which in turn causes certain people to watch you with side eye and wonder if it’s really as bad as it seems. ‘People’ will always be questioning, but that’s not for me to worry about. I have jack shit to prove to anyone.* #WhoFeelsItKnowsIt

So I now find myself wondering what sort of job the ‘nu’ me should do considering my limitations. I swore to myself when I went back to work it would be doing something I enjoyed, and to not dread waking each morning already counting the hours until I was back at home. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done, especially when bills have to be paid!

I know a few people, but not enough, who actually love their job. I can’t say the same for any job I’ve had to date, not wholeheartedly anyway, apart from my “job” as a mother and my last one – which I wouldn’t necessarily call a ‘job’ as such. That’s not to say it was an easy experience, as anyone who has worked as a carer can testify to, but the person in question was my mum, so it was undoubtedly a bit easier for me as there was that love and personal attachment.

I’ve been told by several people that I should consider becoming a carer as I am so good with taking care of my mum. I get where they’re coming from. I’ve made a few friends at the home my mum is now staying in. It wasn’t hard to be fair. I’m there near enough every day and I’m quite comfortable chatting to the Golden Oldies, which is all they want really. In turn I’ve met some right characters! I swear they give me the most jokes.

That’s the easy upside, but then you’ve got the other side too. Literally the shitty side. I don’t have an issue dealing with my mums personal care and toilet issues because she’s my mum, but I’m honest enough with myself to be unsure about if I’d be able to handle anybody else’s. I think it’s essential to give a job like that serious thought.

I’ll never forget my time spent in hospital when I was ill, but one (of many!) incident in particular really got to me and is a good example of what I mean. My haters and those of you who think a lot of shit comes out of my mouth will appreciate this!

Two days after my op I was still as rough as arseholes. I was attached to a monitor and drip whilst being weaned off of morphine. I was still nil by mouth and in pain after having a third of my bowel removed and my stomach held closed with staples. I recall feeling really nauseous, then before I knew it I was throwing up. It didn’t take long for me to notice there was something not right with this picture.

Due to the op, my waste product had only one way of vacating my body. I was literally throwing shit up. You can only imagine my distress! The situation and pain was already bad enough and this was the cherry on the cake…or so I thought then. With every heave my stomach was on fire and as it took me by surprise there was no vessel for me to throw up in. I couldn’t stop, and in no time at all I was covered in putrid puke. #TheStruggleWasReal

The curtain was around my bed so I couldn’t be seen by anyone and could not call out. I managed to grab the call button to try and get someone to help me. It seemed like an age had gone by but in reality I’m sure it was only a minute or so that had passed before Nurse Fucking Ratched pulled back the curtain. She stood there, exhaled deeply and rolled her eyes with a look of disgust and disdain that I’ll never forget.

By this point the heaving had receded and she came over and told me to take my gown off. Because of the way I had been hooked up to the machinery it was a task I couldn’t do by myself which I pointed out, so she huffed and donned on gloves to scornfully help me out of my filthy gown and bed and onto a chair. She then disappeared and returned with a bowl of water and fresh gown and told me to clean myself off whilst she stripped the bed.

She was the most stone cold, heartless bitch I’d ever come across. Not once did she give an ounce of sympathy and had zero fucks to give about how I felt. All she knew was that she had to deal with clearing shit up.

Now up until this point I was on full on Warrior Woman mode. I had fought to get to a point where I was taken seriously, and I knew I had some hard work ahead to do, but I was due the results of my biopsy that day and had already known it was more than likely cancer. I was just happy to know that at last I had some kind of answer after months of fuckery and pain.

Then along comes nursey with her own special kinda medicine – a truth serum of sorts, and throws my issues clean in my face, quietly but oh-so-loudly pointing out that I am, in fact, no warrior. I can’t even manage to take off my gown, I’m weak, pissing in a bag and throwing up shit.

I admit to feeling a tad sorry for myself. I had a huge lump in my throat and could feel the tears coming but still managed to hold it down.

I climbed back into bed and she hooked me back up and left. A couple of minutes later the surgeon, his companions and Nurse Ratched came over to discuss what was happening. Apparently it wasn’t an uncommon occurrence under these circumstances and they would be putting a tube in to help clear out my stomach as it was more than likely that I would start throwing up again soon. All I heard was tube and stomach!

I’m one of those people who have a bad gag reflex. I can do my thang, but I ain’t no Dawnie Deepthroat! (sorry to burst your bubble!). Seriously though, it’s on if the toothbrush goes too far back let alone owt else!, so hearing talk about them feeding a tube through my nostril down the back of my throat and into my stomach filled me with complete and utter dread – then I clocked Ratched and had a vision of her doing the job and the dam burst.

Thankfully she was called away but by this time I was a hot mess. They said they would give me some time to calm down but we’d have to get it done soon. A little while later another nurse came along for attempts one and two. It was horrendous. I’ll allow you the finer details but it involved a whole load of retching, snot and tears. Then along came my angel in disguise.

For the life of me I can’t remember his name, but he was from the Philippines and one of the most caring souls you could ever hope to meet. He was the one who was with me when the surgeons told me what they’d discovered when I came round from my op, and he was amazed at how well I had received the news. I think he now recognised a woman at breaking point!

He knew it would be a 2 man task and enlisted the help of his colleague, who he assured me was a pro at doing this procedure, and it would be over in no time if I listened to what they asked me to do. He said he’d be right next to me holding my hand and giving me sips of water to help with the job.

They worked as a double act, cracking jokes to calm me down and then talked and walked me through it; me swallowing the sips of water to help ease the tube down with each gulp once it had reached the back of my throat, and then it was over, with only one heave in between.

They praised me on a job well done, which sounds really stupid, but they realised what a scary time it was for me and did their utmost to make sure I was comfortable.

I only wish others would take the time out and consider if the job they are doing is the right one for them. Despite me not finding my dream job yet, I made sure that the jobs that I did do were done to the best of my ability.

When you decide to do a job that involves taking care of a person it usually means that they are vulnerable and not in a position to help themselves, so you should at the very least try to be empathetic to whatever their plight may be especially as it’s something you chose to do.

I’ve experienced the good and bad side of the caring coin. I know the job is hard and a mostly unrewarding one, but you should really have some level of compassion and caring when you’re dealing with people at their weakest or lowest in particular. I said in particular because really it’s something that we should all have a touch of regardless.

I know that since my trip around the Topics of Cancer I have a lot more empathy for others plights. I can relate on a level that I truly understand folk can go through shit you can’t even relate to, but we can all relate to being treated respectfully.

R.I.P Nipsey Hussle and all those who have lost their lives recently.

*Apart from the government! 😑…yet another story for another day! KMT!

Handle With Care, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

No apologies, this week I’m talking real shit! – like, literally. I’m quite sure that the majority of you have no idea that April is Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.

To be fair before my diagnosis I didn’t have a clue about it either, it’s not like it’s one of the more talked about diseases, but the reality is we all eat and we all poo so it could get you too!

One of the memories that Facebook shared with me this week was of the day I said goodbye to my locks – add to that my annual CT scan on Friday to check that things are still ok (🤞🏾) and there was only one subject I wanted to write about.

The most important reason why I wanted to talk about it is because if you listen to the statistics only you’ll be fooled into believing that you are safe if you’re below the age of 60. People are campaigning to lower the age of screening in England to 50 but that, for me, is still too high an age.

I was diagnosed at 39 after months of misdiagnosis and I’m lucky to be here, so would like to share my tale with you in the hope it may help someone else in the future. It’s not the nicest subject I grant you, and if you aren’t interested in the finer details you may want to stop now, but there really is no sugarcoating shit!

For me the first sign was a slight pain in my right side in January 2014 – kinda like a stitch. Nothing too major and not enough to warrant too much concern, but it would come and go at random times and when I wasn’t necessarily exerting myself.

It stayed the same for about a week, and then I realised it was less random and more constant. Now, I wasn’t the most ‘regular’ person to start with so wasn’t surprised when a few days had passed without me going for a poo, but when I did eventually go I noticed that there was a little blood and mucus when I wiped, (yes I look, and you should too!) That added with the pain I was straight off to the doctors sharpish. I was thankfully aware of the signs so didn’t think twice, in spite of my age.

I was seen at my surgery by a lovely lady who reassured me it was probably nothing but stood by protocol and referred me within 2 weeks to have a sigmoidoscopy. This is a procedure where they examine your large intestine through your rectum (Yeh, nice I know, but bear with me) and which, in my case, picked up nothing more than a couple of internal haemorrhoids which they put the blood and mucus down to.

That however, didn’t explain the pain which, during those weeks, had intensified further and painkillers couldn’t touch it. I went back to my doctor who agreed there was definitely something wrong but was unsure as to what it was and said she would try to arrange for me to have a CT scan for as soon as possible.

By the time of my first visit to A&E (pre scan), I was hardly eating and the pain was wiping me out. They checked me over, told me it sounded like IBS and gave me Buscopan and Co-codamol which did nothing.

I went back to the doctors and urged her to chase up my appointment, and a week later I had it done. I was working at the time but found myself having to take days off where I just honestly couldn’t function and all I wanted to do was sleep, but there was no reprieve in that either.

At this point the pain was coming in constant waves like contractions – I was in full on labour without the joy of a baby at the end of it! My second trip to A&E had me leaving with more of the same pills and this time a possible diagnosis of Chrohn’s disease or endometriosis. Marvellous!

A week later there were still no results and I was a hot mess. I took myself to A&E again to be told the same thing and that I’d have to wait for my scan results. That last trip was on Friday 16th May. On the Saturday I was unable to eat or drink anything and called an ambulance out.

I was assessed by the paramedics and told there was nothing they could do but prescribe me stronger pain meds until I could see my GP and get my results. They arranged for an out of hours doctor to give me Tramadol and it numbed the pain slightly but nowhere near enough. I dozed for most of Sunday and on Monday morning the real fun began!

Without exaggeration, I was fucked! The pain, no food and little water had knocked me for six, to the point of me being unable to catch my breath. My fiancé called an ambulance and I was taken to A&E where I was given morphine which was soon to become my bff!

Morphina, as she is now known, performed the miracle I had been looking for for 5 months – she freed me from my shackles of pain and it was thee best feeling on Earth!

I was severely dehydrated so they hooked me up to fluids and a few hours later I could actually remember what it felt like to be human again. It was bliss! – then they came with the fuckery.

Apparently, now I looked a little more perky, they were happy to send me home to wait for the results of my scan. Naturally I was a tad perplexed by their decision and told them so in no uncertain terms. There was no way in Hell I was leaving that place after a taste of the sweet relief Morphina had given me. NOT👏🏾A👏🏾CHANCE!👏🏾

I told them I’d waited weeks for the results and there was no way I’d be leaving there without a fight – call who the fuck you want, I AIN’T LEAVING! I’m guessing the mad glint in my eye was enough to let them know I was for real and they admitted me.

Surprise, surprise the next day I got my CT scan results which showed nothing but slight swelling around my appendix, but they knew my appendix wasn’t the problem as the pain had gone on for too long. There were signs from my bloods that something was amiss so they sent me down for an ultrasound where the brilliant radiographer proved she knew her stuff.

She said that my bowel looked twisted and suggested the surgeon have a look laparoscopically. I was warned that as it’s the bowel depending on what they find I might need a stoma bag but hopefully it would be straightforward. On Wednesday 21st May – exactly 6 months before my 40th birthday – I went down for surgery.

When I awoke I was told that they’d had a look laparoscopically and it was a bigger job than they’d expected, resulting in being operated on for 5 and a half hours to remove a third of my bowel.

They’d found “something” they wanted to check out so were sending it off for biopsy. Ever the realist, I asked the surgeon there and then to give me the real talk and asked him if it was cancer. He said he couldn’t confirm it without the results but he was more than sure it was. To be honest I was just relieved to know that they FINALLY had an answer.

It took just over 5 months to get me to diagnosis. By the time they’d operated on me my tumour was 6 inches by 3 inches, had spread from my bowel to my lymph nodes and was just about to make out with my liver.

They said had I gone home when they wanted to discharge me by the time they saw me again I would have been Stage 4. I questioned how my CT scan didn’t show anything at all and was told that upon taking a second look they could see it. Obviously I wasn’t too thrilled to hear that and I am now adamant they triple check my results – once bitten and all that.

They assured me had things not gone the way they did, the next step would have been a colonoscopy, which would have shown what the deal was as my cancer was in the large bowel which the sigmoidoscopy wouldn’t have picked up.

Quite frankly, that was little comfort considering the length of time it took to get my results let alone them missing a big, fat juicy tumour!

I’m not knocking the NHS as a whole, they do a great job and I’m thankful for them potentially saving my life, but a lot of areas could be improved which will be discussed at a later date! For now without sounding too preachy, I want to tell you to please listen to your body.

No one knows you like you. If you have an issue, no matter how embarrassing you may feel it is, if you truly value and appreciate life you will get it checked out – end of! It could be a minor, but it could also be something major so worth a once over at least. If you feel you are not being heard and they are fobbing you off persevere, shout louder, get second and third opinions if need be.

Look after yourself from the inside out and watch what you’re putting in your body. By all means indulge but moderation is the key.

I’m two years into my 5 year check up and awaiting the results from Friday. Who knows what will unfold but I’m keeping the positive vibe alive for as long as I can – I’ve got a lot more living to do yet!

Syria you’re still forever in my thoughts. Hoping there’s an end to the madness soon.

R.I.P to all those who have lost their lives this week.

Be Safe Rather Than Sorry!, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

Perhaps the only blessings that being diagnosed with cancer and the days following has given me are clarity and appreciation. My appreciation for life has given me more clarity and focus on the things that make life worth living.

Every minute is magical and it can take less time than that for something truly life changing to happen – be it good or bad, so make the time count with the good stuff. When the bad comes around you’ll have those days to look back on, and when the amazingly good comes around it’s an added bonus to the joy you were already having.

It’s really not about money, so no eye rolling and ‘I wish I could afford to’ talk! It comes from the simplest of things – a walk, a talk, a kiss, a hug, even a likkle rub-a-dub! A girly night where you reign supreme as the Black Jack Queen👑 – anything!

Good stuff comes in all sizes and a lot of it can be had for free. Unfortunately the same can be said of the bad stuff too, and this is when clarity comes into play.

Given time most of us can see the light. It’s made more effortless when you’ve actually experienced a significant life change; a bit like Scrooge being shown the error of his ways.

Our sense of decency and conscience should kick in, but again I suppose it depends on where you set your levels (Can You Feel The Beat?), but if some people got a taste of what they put others through would they be so eager to behave in the same way?

If they had a brush with death would they be so quick to wish it upon others? I like to think not, but we’re all wired differently, and for some it doesn’t matter the circumstance they will remain the same. That’s when the real challenge is on.

When it boils down to the nitty gritty and you know there are no other options but one; there is no fight or flight – it’s fight and fight harder because it’s for the greater good (and we’re all about the good!), that’s always worth putting in time for.

It ain’t easy – far, far from it, and obviously it’s easier if you’re part of a pack; but a lone wolf can change the game and David beat Goliath so there’s hope for us all!

I think mine is enhanced by being a Black Scorpio woman – by stereotype alone that’s a heady mix in itself without the added vision cancer brings. I don’t tick all of the stereotypical boxes by far, but some are marked in permanent ink.

I’m not afraid to talk up, possibly a little too much some would say, but I’d rather be heard than stay quiet, especially if it’s something worth fighting for, and I can differentiate between what should be given time and energy and what shouldn’t.

Yes, I can be fiery, emotional and passionate – what can I say, I’m only human, and it’s caused because I love, I care and I truly appreciate life. Understand I’m beyond wanting to willingly spend my time around toxic people, so if I do happen to find myself mixed up with those such types, believe it’s for the most precious of reasons.

Naturally my health is a factor. I’ve been given a gift that comes with conditions, one of those being to avoid stress, and although it may not look like it I am trying and promise to try harder!

I know my genuine friends and family are concerned and I heed their call. I have my annual check up in a few months time and I’m praying things are still ok, I’ve got a lot to look forward to!

In the meantime I will continue to make the good times count and keep fighting for who and what I believe in, even if it means fighting a human form of cancer in the process. #RealTalk.

R.I.P to all those who have lost their lives this week.

Fight The Good Fight, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

There’s only one subject I could think of to write about as it’s STAND UP TO CANCER day. I doubt there are many people who haven’t been effected by it in one way or another and will undoubtedly be digging deep whilst being entertained by a whole host of comedians and celebrities knowing that they’ve done their bit to help.

I understand the want to eradicate this terrible disease and myself donated to Cancer Research for nearly 20 years – then I actually got cancer, and after feeling the effects of chemotherapy it led me question exactly what kind of research it is that they are doing.

After having a phone call with an advisor I advised them that they would not be receiving another penny from me. I’m not suggesting you to do the same, but I do want to make you aware of how they really roll and think hard about who you give your money to.

After months of agony and misdiagnosis an emergency exploratory operation discovered the cause of my pain and that’s when the real joy started! Looking back, once the cancer was removed and I’d had time to heal I actually felt good; a little weaker but the best I’d felt in a very long time.

I had one of the best holidays of my life in the Caribbean with the sun, sea, surroundings, good food and my peeps being the best medicine I could have asked for. I cut short my holiday to come home and start 8 months of chemotherapy and I only wish I’d known what lay ahead! Hindsight’s as big a bitch as cancer!

Cancer Research UK is the culmination of two of Britains leading cancer researchers joining together. One was the Imperial Cancer Research Fund who I first started donating to back in the 90’s.

They were the first to be founded in 1902 with the intention of providing funds to help research and find a cure. Chemotherapy came about in the 1940’s after it was found that being exposed to mustard gas significantly reduced white blood cell counts – so obviously after testing it on mice they were good to go on to human test subjects.

They found it targeted the cancer cells yet it also destroyed healthy cells but considering this was their biggest cancer breakthrough to date it was a keeper!

Now as far as the pharmaceutical companies were concerned they’d hit the jackpot! Not only could they develop a drug to help fight one thing, it has the ability to cause multiple side effects that you need more drugs to counteract. KERCHINGGGG!!!

I knew enough about chemotherapy to know it wasn’t going to be pleasant but knowing about things and feeling them are completely different.

You’re given a long ass list and booklets etc of the possible side effects and despite knowing what could happen it doesn’t compare to death – which is the picture they paint you – so you prepare yourself and crack on.

I’m not exactly sure when it was I decided to question what was being done about researching a more natural treatment.

Maybe it was somewhere between the severe diarrhoea, vomiting, neuropathy, lack of taste, lack of energy, fear of catching a cold, low blood count and blood transfusions, tiredness, hair falling out, fucked up skin…or it could have been when I was sat down on the Eden Ward watching a nurse wearing a protective apron and gloves giving me medication going directly into my body that she wasn’t even allowed to touch with her bare hands!

When I called Cancer Research to ask them what developments had been made on finding a less harsh and more natural alternative he told me they were looking into things but not enough research has been done yet. I kid you not!

I told him about what I’d heard about cannabis oil and was told that I shouldn’t use anything that wasn’t regulated and that there’s not enough known about it to know how well it works or what the side effects will be.


So your research only goes as far as looking into chemotherapy and nothing else? You’ve been raking in cash since 1902 and yet with all the billions you’ve had in that time, in 2014 (which it was then) you are no closer to finding something that doesn’t destroy you whilst fixing you? – and it is only a fix, not a cure.

The research companies originally had good intentions. They used to be about helping the victims of cancer, now they’re about themselves and the pharmaceutical companies making money – END OF STORY!

When I went on to their site I found this little gem under their section on cannabinoids and cancer:

“Virtually all the scientific research investigating whether cannabinoids can treat cancer has been done using cancer cells grown in the lab or animal models. It’s important to be cautious when extrapolating these results to real live patients, who tend to be a lot more complex than a Petri dish or a mouse.”

Can we please just take the time out to comprehend what they are saying.

They are telling us that they’ve done the research but are cautious about testing it out on humans as we’re more complex, yet they have no issues with administering and working on more drugs they know for definite are toxic to humans and cause damage and death. And nobody is questioning this?

Another article said they were discussing making a synthetic form of THC. Why do you need to make a synthetic form when the real deal can be naturally sourced in abundance? Why? BECAUSE IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, HONEY!

Yes, I’m in remission now but I’m not fully out of the woods for another three and a half years. A lot of people would argue it’s the chemo that saved me but I beg to differ, my operation saved me without a doubt – I’m not willing to give that credit to chemotherapy, sorry, not sorry!

They’ll shock you with their adverts stating 1-2 will get cancer and they are endlessly working to fix this with a little help from us. You need to question how, in this day and age, the stats are so high if they’ve been working so tirelessly.

They know the effects chemotherapy has on the body and that hasn’t changed in decades so why not look into something that’s not going to cause more pain and discomfort to someone who has suffered enough?

As the one in two I would have loved to have been given an alternative. I would gladly have been the test case because I’ve felt the side effects of their fix and I can’t see a plant based alternative doing me more damage than what their official remedy did! #JustSaying.

If you don’t believe me go online and look for yourself. Check out the dodgy deaths and “accidents ” of holistic practitioners who are seen to be proving too popular with the masses.

Realise that Cancer Research and the pharmaceutical companies don’t want us to know we could grow a cure of our own that works just as well as chemotherapy, without the debilitating side effects, because where would that leave them?


Ask them why after nearly 75 years chemotherapy is still the only option they want to treat us with.

If you want to support cancer patients support Macmillan as they really are there for the patients and their families, I bear witness to this. They were a Godsend and continue to help me now and I will be forever grateful to them for that. I only wish I’d given them my money for nearly 20 years.

R.I.P to my neighbour and all those who have lost their lives this week.

Survivors Story, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

I’m touching on another side effect which again ties in neatly to something in the news this week. It’s all about my crowning glory! I was born with a hairstyle similar to Mr T whilst my twin brother had a full on ‘fro! Thankfully it picked up but it wasn’t the easiest to manage.

I had the standard black girl corn rows and if I was lucky, on special occasions the hot comb came out and I’d pray I’d get away without a singed ear or forehead as I inhaled the aroma of Blue Magic and burning hair – ahhhh, the good old days!

My mum wouldn’t allow me to ‘put na damn chemical’ in my hair so as I got older extensions were the next best thing. All the while I was praying for the day I could get a hit of the creamy crack!

For me it was the miracle I was looking for. It was about being able to run a comb through my hair without flinching and looking more Mary. J than Macy Gray! I was half asleep then but I’ve been awake for a while now.👀

I stopped relaxing my hair 17 years ago when I first fell pregnant and never looked back. (It’s actually quite easy to not miss the burns, scabs and breakage!) I’m not a vain person at all, but I believe I look better with hair and definitely feel more comfortable with it.

I’d toyed with the idea of growing locs for a while and then finally decided I was going to do it. The transition wasn’t the easiest but I knew it would be worth it, and it was! It was a labour of love. They were my babies, I loved them, nurtured them as I did my girls and watched them grow then finally, FINALLY I truly understood the beauty to be found in my natural hair.

I understood what it was my mum was trying to preserve, and I’m trying my damnedest to instil it in my girls too. Our hair is amazing and versatile and there are so many ways to go with it naturally.

I know many are not comfortable with that and I get it – it took me a while too, so I still hold out hope for some of you; yet I also understand there are the diehard weavers and creamy-crackheads (No lye!) Your choice is your choice and I respect that, it is YOUR head after all.

Chemotherapy didn’t leave me much of a choice with what to do with my hair. I was fortunate enough not to lose all of it, but it thinned so much that my locks started falling out so I decided to cut them off, partly to save me the heartache of watching them drop off and partly so I didn’t end up looking like Predator!

Now I know for some this is no big deal; it’s only hair, it’ll grow back, you can rock it short or wrap it up – it’s all good!, but for many women like myself it is a big deal when it’s not something you’d ever planned.

Thankfully, underneath the crochet braids it is slowly growing back and I hope to have a strong enough base in the future to grow my babies back again. For now I’m just appreciating every ‘nap’ that comes around because I know how strong and mighty it could grow.

As I said before, it’s our own personal choice what we do with our hair, and even though I would love my sisters to embrace their naturalness we are entitled to do with it what we please. It’s amazing though that you still find some people losing their jobs because they choose to wear an Afro or have locs as they are seen as ‘unprofessional’ and not quite European enough.

Until hair has the ability to go out and earn money itself, you’ll get what you get! Thankfully no one ever questioned my hair at work as they would have been told all about themselves in no uncertain terms – like I’m gonna tell these “sisters” who had the audacity to take it upon themselves to air their opinion and disrespect two beautiful, amazingly talented OLYMPIANS.

With all that’s happening to us in the world right now we should be building each other up, not tearing each other down yet, time after time some of us just can’t help ourselves.

We need as many positive role models we can get and these ladies are doing us proud, yet you would rather focus on the “model” aspect and bitch about their hair instead of delighting in the fact they are repping us hard!

Your decision to flick your Brazilian weave or straighten out your edges is your business. It’s your choice to submit to the “good hair” mentality from back in the day – more power to you, but I beg you please, keep your small minded, shallow, petty, trifling comments to yourself. Who the Hell are you to diss a sister, especially for keeping it real?

Unless you can offer some professional evidence on how slicking down their hair can aerodynamically improve their performance STFU! In fact, take a fucking seat and rest your fingers Keyboard Queens, because these Real Queens have already left your arses fast asleep at the starting line, and are literally ahead of you by leaps and bounds – ‘edges’ and all! #JustSaying.

Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles I salute you my sistas✊🏾Brush their shit off like chalk dust and keep on winning!

R.I.P to the many innocent lives taken this week.

Congratulations to all the athletes out there doing their countries proud.

Hair Today-Gone Tomorrow, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

So this week I’d like to touch on another side effect I experienced that also ties in nicely with a subject that really bugs the Hell out me!

Not long after starting chemo one of the more noticeable side effects was the change in my complexion. Let’s get things straight from the get go: I LOVE BEING BLACK! I have never had an issue with my complexion at all, as I have no issue with any other complexion – we all bleed the same! I’m the shade I was made and it ain’t gon’ change!!….until it did.

I got darker all over, most noticeably the palms of my hands, soles of my feet, fingernails, toenails and most predominately my face. I’d bump into people and they’d ask if I’d just got back off of holiday (yes white folk – we do tan!!) and I’d explain that I’m on an 8 month cruise round the Topics of Cancer!

I’m not going to say it didn’t phase me at all; it did, when I looked in the mirror I didn’t see me looking back. I can’t even really explain it but it was like looking at a stranger (one whose eyebrows blended in with her face) and I can honestly say it’s the ONLY time I’d ever wished I could change my complexion; not because lighter is better but because it was what I was used to seeing for 39 years!

There was no holiday glow about it trust me! Thankfully I’ve never been too hung up on that type of thing so I didn’t let it phase me for too long. I figured it is what it is and I’m still me despite the packaging.

That’s not to say that I don’t understand those who experience the same kind of thing wanting to cosmetically alter their appearance so they feel more comfortable in their skin, it’s just not for me (make up never has been), and my understanding only goes so far!

I get applying a little foundation etc to even out a skin tone for whatever reason, but things have gotten waaaayyy out of hand and a whole lot deeper with a lot of people, especially in the Black community, and men and women alike!

Too many of us still have not woken up and are still clinging on to the lie told many moons ago that to be seen as worthy you have to be white or at least light. I’ve watched documentaries in Jamaica and Africa on people bleaching and their reasons as to why and it breaks my heart and gets me vex at the same time. #RealTalk.

Chatting fuckery about when you’re darker skinned you look dirty and nobody wants you, but when you bleach you look fresher and more attractive….well… has the same effect on my toilet so I suppose you could be right, but I’d prefer not to try it thanks!

Seriously though, how is this even a thing in 2016, that they are still so confused they will damage their health to try to impress? Impress who exactly? You’re only kidding yourself and whilst you’re trying to lighten your skin the people you admire are trying to darken theirs! Tomfoolery at its highest!

The torture they put themselves through to look like the living frigging dead is unbelievable. Chemical burns and skin as thin as tissue paper that doesn’t heal if you get cut…lovely!! Not to mention your tarantula looking hands….beautiful!!👀

In my opinion I can say with all honesty that not one of them looked better for it….NOT ONE!, and I very much doubt it bought them whatever it was that they thought they’d get.

The thing that upsets me the most is they’re brainwashing their children with the same sorry thinking so there’ll be another generation of the walking dead coming soon if we don’t wake them up! #JustSaying.

I love every shade that we produce; from high yellow to jet black, and no matter what shade I am, there’s not one person who will convince me I’m a lesser person because of it.

Since stopping chemotherapy my colour is changing back, even though my face is not fully back to how I used to look, I can now see my eyebrows so it’s all good! And even if it is to remain a darker shade it ain’t a thing – the darker the berry, the sweeter the juice!

R.I.P Darlene Horton, Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi and all those who have lost their lives this week.

Love The Skin You’re In, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife

For those of you who are unaware I was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel cancer 2 years ago. At the time I didn’t go public until I was told I was in remission last year – that’s to say ‘social media public’ – my nearest and dearest were aware, but I’m not really the type who likes to air my business too much (though you will get a few exclusives here), and if I’d have ‘checked in’ every time I was in hospital you’d have been bored within a month!

As you can imagine I have many tales to tell about my “journey” and I’ll touch on everything eventually but today I’d like to talk about one of the many ‘lovely’ side effects I got through having chemotherapy. It’s called Neuropathy, which is nerve damage AND IT’S A BITCH!!

I suppose I only have myself to blame as I chose to have chemo, but when you’re put in a life or death situation you’re gonna hold on to any lifeline on offer, and when it’s the experts telling you, you’re gonna listen. I only wished I’d done more research into it before making the choice because if I had I would never have poisoned my body and looked for a more natural alternative instead of being sold on statistics. Should I ever have to make that decision again it’d be a whole other story!

Don’t get me wrong, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I was determined to fight it to be here for my girls. I knew there was a chance I could get a few side effects on the list so when they started it wasn’t a shock. I had neuropathy in my hands and feet but was told it usually subsides once chemo stops. Usually….

Unfortunately for me it got so bad they had to stop the drip form of chemotherapy for the last month, but after seven months the damage had already been done. Thankfully my hands are ok unless it’s really cold but my feet got it big time!

On the outside I look fine and I’ve always taken good care of my feet so they look ok and you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m all good. I’ve bumped into a few people and they’ve commented on my walk being ‘leisurely’ or how I’m ‘strolling along’, and had to explain that it’s not by choice! I’d give anything to be able to fast walk my ass through Slough high street believe me!

Let me try to describe to you exactly what it feels like in a way you can understand. Imagine that you went shopping all day and dancing all night, then ran the London marathon and danced all around Notting Hill carnival, then walked 500 miles and then you walked 500 hundred more……ok slight exaggeration, but you know when your feet are proper mashed down; throbbing and bunin’ you? – it’s that one there but with the added pleasure of extra super sensitivity! (hear me when I say a bed sheet has bought tears to my eyes!)

It’s chilblains, pins and needles and sunburn rolled into one. My feet are either on fire or frozen with the occasional happy medium of numbness and because of this I’ve had to go up shoe sizes and can only wear flat shoes, the most comfortable being Ugg type boots. Driving is easier than walking but even that’s causing me problems pushing down on the pedals. Oh, and did I forget to mention the fact that it fucks up your balance? So if you see me swaying occasionally I’m not high (👀) I’m just trying not to fall on my face. This is my life, all day, everyday! #IWokeUpLikeThis.

There is no cure but there are pain relief tablets I can take to ease the pain. Erm…no thank you. It’s not even about soldiering it out or playing a martyr, it’s about self preservation and paranoia! I’ve first hand experience of what damage drugs can do to the body; I friggin’ feel it in every step, yet they would have me pop more pills on a daily basis for what? To take a little pressure off and the chance to fuck myself up, get addicted and rely on more drugs to deal with that too? I’ll pass thanks. Yet because I choose to do so my disability is being questioned by the powers that be. It’s like If you don’t want prescription drugs you don’t need any help, naturally!!

I’m not writing this for sympathy, but I am writing it to draw attention to the many invisible disabilities that are out there, because until I got one, I would probably look at someone like me driving into a disabled space and wonder what the deal is.

Not every person is fleecing the system for ‘cushy parking’ or what they can get. I’ve seen the looks and heard the comments about me sitting when I’ve got flat shoes on yet matey’s bunions are trying to bruck out of her stilettos so her need for the seat is greater! I’ve seen the judgey side eyes of old folk and pregnant women and the more blatant ones watching me in my face and assuming shit, even questioning my badge when it’s fully on display, and to you all I’d like to say FUCK YOU!

The struggle is real bitches! I’d love to see some of you handle this shit! It takes a lot to keep smiling and carry on when you’re constantly in pain but I suck it up and think I do a good job at keeping the whinging to a minimum, because really and truly I’d have every right to be a miserable cow! #JustSaying….

But for me, peace, love and positivity is the key……and a few natural herbs!

R.I.P to all that have lost their lives this week.

Don’t Judge A Book By The Cover, Stay Blessed & #CelebrateLife