, 19 tweets, 6 min read
I haven’t talked about my #breastcancer journey much on the twitters but since it’s #breastcancerawareness month, let’s do this.

Warning: Don’t follow me on the basis of this thread w/o checking the profile. I’m liberal AF & I mainly tweet about racism & sexism.
I was 1st diagnosed w #breastcancer in Jul 2014. Went thru dbl mastectomy, chemo, & reconstruction. Was rediagnosed w a local recurrence in Oct 2018.
The 1st dx was hard but not unexpected. My mom was dx 20yrs earlier w a more advanced #breastcancer. For 20 yrs I’d tell drs that and they’d look at me like I had an expiration date stamped on my forehead.
BTW my mom’s still thriving & in ministry herself, despite a stage 4 dx in 1994.
Somehow from my 20s I knew I’d one day get the diagnosis. But I also “knew” it wouldn’t kill me. That’s why that 1st dx was painful yet not surprising.
The 2d diagnosis though? That was terrifying. I’d made so many changes, felt like I was getting healthier physically, mentally, & spiritually than I’d been in years. But it was like that sh*t was really trying to kill me.
Incidentally, freedom to curse was the gift of my 1st #breastcancer diagnosis. I was a verbal prude before then, but there are some things that need cursing. Cancer, white supremacy, heterosexism, & Dolt 45 are among them.

I told y’all not to follow me.
My 1st diagnosis came one week after my book “Too Heavy a Yoke” was released. I’d been a #StrongBlackWoman in recovery for a long time so I was not trying to be the stoic #breastcancer patient. I allowed myself to feel all the things. I asked for help & received it when offered.
I’m a 1st gen college student whose family relied on friends & relatives to let us stay w them during my high school & college years. Overachieving has been my modus operandi. But during that 1st diagnosis I stepped back.
When the 2nd diagnosis came, I realized that my people pleasing & #Enneagram1 tendencies had put me right back into overachievement mode immediately after I finished that 1st round of treatment.
Not only did I go back to a full-time teaching load within 4wks of my final chemo, I took on a lot of “extra” responsibilities. Some of that was institutional pressure (tried to resist but wasn’t always successful). But some was me volunteering for stuff.
I drafted a whole ass book - and a damned good one - between cancer diagnoses and between sabbaticals. I coordinated a conference, developed curricula for multiple certificates/degrees, and piloted teaching innovations.
I thought I’d learned to say no. But truthfully I was still the virtually homeless kid in an abusive household who was trying to prove I belonged in the advanced classes at a new school where racist white teachers acted like my academic history was a fluke.
As a perpetual outsider, I have a very sneaky version of imposter syndrome. And in the church & academy, there’s lots of credential checking. I’ve been working extra hard to prove myself worthy of being a theologian and of still being a psychologist.
Hold up. Let me put that theodicy question to rest. I don’t believe God gave me #breastcancer so I could learn from it. Cancer just is. But I have a Jacob spirit and I’m gonna wrestle with every obstacle that comes my way until I find a blessing.
Diagnosis 2 was a major #WTunholyF moment. I’d been meditating, exercising, changing eating patterns. And still it came. Granted, a lot of #cancer is beyond our control. We live in a pro-cancer world, surrounded by environmental toxins. But I gotta wrestle a blessing out of this.
The blessing for me has been having a 2nd chance to re-evaluate, to realize I do a lot of living for other people’s approval, and to make the decision to say f*ck that unholy sh*t. Because I am holy. I am good. My creator said so.
So now my hard work goes to embracing an #anticancer lifestyle: spending quality time w family & friends, eating right for my body, meditating, maintaining good rhythms of sleep & activity, laughing a lot, and putting my work energy twd the stuff I love.
And I do all that knowing that all it takes is a single #breastcancer cell to have escaped treatment. It may still be there. It may come back. It may in fact kill me eventually. But I’m going to fight it everyday. And I’m going to enjoy myself while doing it.

Me right now 👇🏾
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