Goodbye 2022…and HELLO 2023!

I’M BACK!!! I took a much-needed break in 2022 from blogging regularly, and I really missed it. Though I continued to journal and post some of Megsie’s Musings here and there, I missed this creative process. Thank you to those who took the time to read past posts. 

I can’t believe it is 2023! I’ve been pondering a lot about my life and all the last year’s ups and downs. I often thought I would spontaneously combust from the intense emotions, stress, fear, disappointments, grief, and anger I felt daily. Then out of nowhere, these little miracles, opportunities, and joyous moments would occur and push me back up to do what I needed to do. 

I saw a TikTok by @voiceboxesq last night that truly hit home and made me feel heard. 

  • As a Black woman, I AM TIRED.
  • As a breast cancer survivor, I AM TIRED.
  • As a caregiver, I AM TIRED.

  • As a single woman dealing with chronic pain, I AM TIRED.
  • As a professional working in way too many white spaces, I AM TIRED.
  • As an American citizen, I AM TIRED.

  • TIRED of being everyone’s strength.
  • TIRED of not having room to fully express myself.
  • TIRED of always having to center whiteness.

  • TIRED of the daily trauma for existing in my skin.
  • TIRED of mass shootings of innocent children, Black and LGBTQIA+.
  • TIRED of not feeling safe due to trigger-happy racist police and vigilantes.

I spent most of 2022 working daily on my mental and emotional health. My cutie therapist (my lovely nickname for him) challenged my automatic negative thoughts, which forced me (in a positive way) to determine if those reactive thoughts were rooted in fact or just emotion. He kept me above ground when I felt myself falling into a pit of despair. More importantly, I never had to filter my words. He always validated my feelings and then talked them through with me. 

Amid the stress, anger, and trauma, I incorporated some FUN. Though I wish it were more constant, I had to start somewhere. So, I began to date Atlanta and go to events, restaurants, and places I had always wanted to go to and new ones that some local friends introduced me to. I have no problem going to places by myself. I constantly remain aware of my surroundings. 

I posted a few fun videos with friends and myself on my social media, so go check them out. When I was putting these snapshots together, I realized I did way more than I thought, and my smiles were genuine. 

I FILLED MY CREATIVE CUP by doing the following:

  • I recorded my professional voiceover demo in a studio with my coach in my ear (she was in NY), and the sound engineer was with me. 
  • I took theatre classes at the Alliance Theatre and overcame my fear of chemo brain ruining my ability to memorize and perform scenes. 
  • I met some cancer friends in person at some conferences, and my hair accessories did not disappoint.
  • I was an Extra on a movie set that will be released next year around Christmas.
  • I had fantastic patient advocacy opportunities to be on multiple podcasts and panels.
  • I was featured in Cancer Today full article and CURE magazine’s full article.

It can feel strange and unsettling to have fun and be joyful when many things feel out of control. After all, our democracy is still in peril. There continue to be senseless deaths of people, especially Black people, LGBTQIA+ people, and innocent children, by assault weapons that have no business being legal; plus, the injustice and cruel GOP political stunts and lack of accountability by those in positions of power.

My top priorities for 2023 are the following:

  1. Continue practicing the coping skills I’ve learned through therapy to find joy in a cruel country. The essence of me is zany and joyful.
  2. Put forth an honest effort to NOT eat my stress and sad emotions away and begin taking care of this defective yet still going post-cancer and chronically pained body.
  3. Not allowing imposter syndrome and fear to paralyze me from pursuing dreams of performing, whether on stage, in front of a camera, or behind a microphone. 

Thank all of you for continuing to read my blog and watch my videos, for encouraging and compassionate words, and for amplifying my voice. I read every comment (positive or negative) and every social media post, and I see every retweet or repost.

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie

It has been a littler over three weeks since I had the nerve ablation procedure in my lower back. The pain isn’t completely gone but there is tremendous back pain relief. Now the back pain has moved backstage and my fibromyalgia has taken center stage again. This continues to be unmanaged because my body is intolerant of the current medications to help treat fibromyalgia. The radiating burning through my body, especially in my arms and upper back, is terribly painful. The fatigue and headaches at least 3x a week is tough to muddle through as the pace of life doesn’t slow down.

It’s painful and discouraging living in a post-cancer body that continues to hit barrier after barrier due to medication changes, multiple surgeries, surgical menopause, and chronic pain. This week’s Megsie’s Musings is about being fat shamed and spiraling mentally.

My cutie therapist is trying to keep me from completely unraveling. I’ve had both white and Black people compare me to Stacey Abrams and Lizzo. Now, these women are BRILLIANT and TALENTED. That’s not what these people said. There comparison was a direct hit to my weight.

It was fat shaming.

It was hurtful.

It pushed me down a rabbit hole of negative thinking about my post-cancer body.

Take a listen to my musings and remember to be kind and stop fat shaming people.

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie

Being Fat Shamed Hurts

Invisible Illness Combo with A Side of Wheelchair

It’s tough having an invisible illness while looking relatively young. That old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is so true. I don’t look like someone who would have a permanent handicap sign. I don’t look like someone who sometimes needs a cane to walk from the car to the store. I most certainly don’t like someone who needs wheelchair assistance at the airport.

Well, for the first time in my life, I requested wheelchair assistance for my flight to and from NYC last week. I didn’t want to admit that I needed help. I knew I would get looks. I also knew I would possibly not be believed. So, when the older guy came over to the ticket counter with the wheelchair, he completely overlooks me and asks the ticket agent who requested the wheelchair. I had even gestured that it’s me, but he asked the ticket agent again who requested it. He was beyond rude. If it hadn’t been 5am I would’ve immediately complained but didn’t want to expend any of my precious little energy going nuclear on this guy.

All was made better when I arrived at LaGuardia airport and had the nicest woman waiting for me with the wheelchair as soon as I walked; okay, slightly hobbled, off the plane. I had told her about my unpleasant experience at the Atlanta airport and she told me to not worry now because I was in good hands. Not only did she wheel me all the way to baggage claim, but she also wheeled me all the way to the cab and also handed my luggage to the cab driver. Now that was star wheelchair treatment.

While I felt okay enough on the flight back to Atlanta, it was a different story once the plane landed. It was a full flight with not much room to stretch my legs. This time it was a younger guy waiting for me with a wheelchair as I not only hobbled but stumbled off the plane because I was in excruciating pain all over my body. The best way to describe fibromyalgia pain is a radiating burning feeling that is felt from head to toe with a big ‘ole headache as the cherry on top. This young man was fantastic! He was pleasant, energetic, and so thoughtful the entire ride to baggage claim. Then he wheeled me all the way up to the MARTA (name of our Atlanta trains) gate, so all I had to do was get up and walk right through it and up the escalator to the platform. Once again, I received star wheelchair treatment.

Of course, as I was driving home, I wondered if I’ll ever feel safe in this body? Will I ever feel strong again? Will it ever not hurt to the point of pushing me to tears from frustration, anger, and pain because I have to deal with this bullshit 24/7? I no longer remember what it feels like to not be in excruciating, burning pain.

So, it’s time to officially reconsider going the medical marijuana route. My primary’s PA actually validated my feelings and has diagnosed me with intractable pain. I’ll write more about this diagnosis next time. She referred me to another doctor who specializes in prescribing medical marijuana. I’ve tried the CBD/THC drops in the past, and they didn’t help with my pain at all. Here’s hoping I find the right method of medical marijuana that will help minimize the pain and not just make me drowsy.

This life on the cancer train often sucks and wish there was a final destination to be able to rest and recover. A girl can dream, right?

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie

You Never Forget The Cancer Call

I’ve been struggling with writing lately. It’s not because I have nothing to say or am uninspired. It’s because I have way too much to say and struggling to get my thoughts written down in a cohesive way. The perfectionist in me doesn’t want to write something awful, yet I need to release some of what has been on my mind lately.

My six-year anniversary of getting the cancer call was on Tuesday, September 14th. I woke up that morning with mixed emotions. It’s one of those memories that will never fade. The flashbacks are clear and packed with emotion. I was working at iHeart Media sitting in my cubicle on 9/14/15. I’d had the biopsy at 4pm on 9/11/15 which fell on Friday that year and was told it would take 48-72 hours to receive the results. I’m always aware of the time because of all my years working in media and making sure the commercials were the correct spot length. I remember looking at my phone when it rang at 3:05pm and not recognizing the number but knowing in my gut to answer.

“Megan-Claire, you have Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer. We don’t know the stage yet. You need to get a pen and paper and take some notes because time is of the essence.”

The entire trajectory of my life changed in an instant. Yes, I’m still alive and “survived,”, but many other warriors I’ve crossed paths with during these six years have died. Why am I still here and they aren’t? They had husbands or wives and children. I don’t. Survivor’s guilt is real. It’s important for people to not negate these feelings because the guilt is just as crushing as the loss of friends. 

I miss them.

I think of their families.

I wish I could’ve taken their place.

So yes, I’m still here but not physically or mentally the same. I’m chronically ill thanks to fibromyalgia, back pain, and neuropathy. I’m in pain every second of every damn day. Some days are manageable and other days it’s off the charts. I literally look like a different person (chemo curls are back) in a body I don’t recognize at all. 

Being naturally resilient is a blessing and a curse. Even when I don’t want to show up for myself I somehow always manage to push up and just do it. I’m fully immersed within the cancer space. There are days where I feel passionate about my advocacy and days where I am utterly drained. I have to continuously remind myself that it’s okay to put myself first and can say no to various requests of my time. That doesn’t mean I am selfish or don’t care. That is self-care.

For the first time in six years, I did not completely wallow on that day. You see, cancer cannot take away the essence of me, you or anyone. Ever. The one constant that brings me pure joy is the arts, specifically the theatre. So, I went to see a musical with another theatre friend that evening. It was the first time I had done something that literally breathed life into me. I fully enjoyed myself and felt the familiar feeling of walking into a theatre and feeling like I was home. It was an evening that cancer could not touch.

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie