Another Year, Another Birthday, Another Review of Life Thus Far

There was a time when I would tell the world my birthday was on July 3rd and celebrate it with all the joy, tiaras, and zest I possess.

Then adulting happened.

Then shattered hearts happened.

Then the recession of 2008 happened.

Then more breakups happened.

Then weight gain happened.

Then officially diagnosed with depression and anxiety happened.

Then jobs not paying me my worth happened.

Then breast cancer happened.

Then financial toxicity happened.

Then experiencing racism in the cancer space happened.

Then began the grief cycle of losing my fertility happened.

Then surgical menopause happened.

Then permanent damage from toxic cancer treatments happened.

Then chronic pain happened.

Then multiple falls happened.

Then the fear of living alone happened.

Then the loss of career happened again.

Then belief in my worth professionally happened.

Then the pandemic happened.

Then started believing in my many talents happened.

Then a change in career trajectory happened.

Then learned how insidious oppression has happened.

Then became known as an advocate, writer, and speaker happened.

Then more and more friends in cancerland dying from cancer happened.

Then faced microaggressions that turned into full-on aggression happened.

Then a complete mental breakdown happened.

Then changed jobs again happened.

Then more weight gain happened.

Then even more fear of existing in the USA happened.

Then amazing friendships developed that aren’t local happened.

Then continued to be plagued by loneliness happened.

Then more years in the “survivorship stage” happened.

Then beginning to do more creative things happened.

Then glimmers of hope happened.

Then glimmers of hope dashed happened.

Then soul was on the verge of completely shattering happened.

Then another birthday happened.

I turn 46 years old tomorrow, July 3rd, but I like to say 546 years old. I had felt  500 years added to my age from when I landed on the cancer train at 39 and felt continuously much older than my physical appearance. Chronic pain, depression, anxiety, rage in this country, and loneliness wear me down. I do have moments of joy, but they’re fleeting. I long for the day when those moments become long-term. The reality is that may never happen.

People from all races constantly tell me to keep using my voice without fully recognizing the emotional and physical toll it takes to keep speaking up and out about racism in and outside cancerland. I am an only child; my besties do not live nearby, and no human children or a relationship with anyone. The loneliness and fear are palpable more times than not.

I had posted on social media how being perceived as strong and often having no choice but to be strong is detrimental to my mental health. A white woman commented that I should probably change my social media handle if that’s the case. I shouldn’t be surprised by comments like this but it still made me shake my head. I know there is constant dispute over using battle terms in the cancer space. To me, essentially branding myself as Warrior Megsie was fitting because I don’t get a break from my cancer reality or the reality of being Black this country and how it affects everything from career, health, and relationships. There are no breaks from injustice, racism, and oppression in the Black community. There comes a point where the inherent strength many of us possess can’t continue warding off attacks to our very existence without cracking from the toll of it. I will always see myself as Warrior Megsie because my entrance (birth) into this universe was life-threatening, challenging, and foreshadowed the difficulties I would face as a Black little girl through adulthood.

So, as my cutie therapist tells me weekly, I will do my best to find some sparks of joy daily and be comforted in knowing I have created a digital legacy that is pretty damn special. I have the capacity for great darkness and great joy. Lately, the darkness is gripping my soul, but my bright light still peaks through. Even though I am heavily contemplating no longer writing new posts but keeping the site available for people to read past posts, I am proud of the vulnerability, rawness, humor, reality, and the full range of emotions displayed in every word.

Until next time (if there IS a next time),

Warrior Megsie

The One Cancer Side Effect I Love

Going through cancer is like being on a never-ending rollercoaster in the dark. You never know what drop or curve is coming next. I’ve often written and spoken about how devastating the physical changes are and how destructive the mental changes are. Yet, I realized something a few days ago that is a surprisingly positive side effect – my attitude changed.

There isn’t a day that goes by without missing my pre-cancer body. Every morning I wake up, I immediately curse it because I can no longer count on it to be healthy or strong.

Painsomnia is my nightly companion.

My cortisol belly and non-estrogen-producing body horrify me by their immense size.

The physical strength I used to possess is gone.

Nails break, eyebrows are filled in with brow gel on the daily, and lashes are no longer thick.

Fibromyalgia and chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy are the exes who won’t leave me alone.

Lower back pain did temporarily go away after two facet injections last year but now I need a third one.

This body of mine continues to bankrupt me financially and mentally. There is so much out of my control, except my assertive mind. I will no longer tolerate bullshit or being disrespected – personally or professionally. I’ve mentioned this before but there’s a difference now. I’ve been actively living in my truth and values (yay therapy).

I’ve dealt with racism and microaggressions my entire life and career but never had the confidence to truly do something about it. The first time I actually said, “I will not be the Black token” and “I do not feel safe” was 15 months ago at my previous employment. I was so scared, that my voice shook, but I knew I had to stand up for myself. I was drowning mentally and emotionally but something shifted in my spirit the first time I said those words.

I believed in my talent and expertise so much that I just knew I would land on my feet. Did it hurt me financially to leave a job back then without a backup plan? Yes, it did, but I spoke MY truth. Now that I’ve done it once I can’t go back to being silent.

Existing in this country and in this skin has cracked my soul in ways I can’t fully verbalize. While it’s exhausting, I am becoming careful about protecting access to my energy. Who knew maintaining healthy boundaries would be difficult yet freeing at the same time?!

Though I continue to struggle with accepting this post-cancer body both externally and internally, I feel more confident to be unapologetically ME and stand up for myself in situations where no one else has the courage to do so.

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie

Derailed Dreams Can Still Come True After Cancer

I made another vlog yesterday but was too fatigued to post it last night. It’s still painful and difficult to type with my right hand as I wait for the thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) to run its course through my right shoulder, arm, and hand. Going through breast cancer and all the other complications post-cancer caused financial toxicity and seriously derailed many creative dreams I had wanted to pursue. I was able to make a dream that I’ve had since my early 20’s come true last Friday.

So, sit back and watch as I share how I fulfilled a major dream in the world of voiceovers and some upcoming projects.


Me with audio engineer Daniel!
Baby Natey’s location during the recording of this video. Ohhhh Natey!

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie

Part 2: Different Treatment Options and Hope For Chemo-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

I have the chorus “I get knocked down, but I get up again! No one’s ever gonna keep me down!” by Chumbawamba playing on a loop in my head most days. I’ve referenced this song in previous posts because of the comfort it brings me. I seem to possess a natural resilience and consistently get back up and push forward when facing the never-ending challenges this world throws at me. I would be lying if I said it’s easy to keep kicking and feel hopeful.

I wasn’t sure if I would ever find new treatment options for my chemo-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). I had begun to not only lose hope but fear was doing its best to cripple me. As a chronically single woman, I’ve been fearful of more falls occurring when by myself as I get older. The only reason I can almost grin when thinking about the grade 3 sprain I suffered from in January is that it was the first time I’d fallen and wasn’t alone. I had been walking with my realtor looking at townhouses when I went down hard. That dreamed dissolved right then and there.

So, as the winds of resilience push me forward, again and again, I was determined to find a specialist who could help with my CIPN. Lo and behold, I found one who not only listens but thinks outside of the box because he fully understands how debilitating and painful CIPN can be for cancer patients.

Meet my chiropractor Dr. Dan Ruitenbeek in Marietta, GA. His training is in clinical neurology. He’s the first specialist who wasn’t trying to shove medications down my throat or make me feel those were the only options. What many cancer patients with CIPN don’t think about or maybe even know is the lack of blood flow and how that plays into how severe or not the symptoms can be.

First, we had a consultation and he did some tests to get a baseline of the nerve damage in my hands and feet. With every little test, including thermal imaging, I was floored but also overwhelmed with emotion by what I was NOT feeling. There’s quite a bit of math involved, too.

Second, Dr. Dan reviewed the results of my consultation and laid out his suggested treatment plans. I knew there was major nerve damage, but the numbers did shock me.

Severe sensory loss category:

  • Right foot – 62.9% loss
  • Left foot – 60.0% loss
  • Right hand and Left hand – 45.7% loss

My new treatment protocol is a combination of both in-office and at-home treatments. The first three months are like a bootcamp of sorts to see what stimulations I respond to, the levels, and any unforeseen reactions.

***Disclaimer: This is my specific treatment and not for everyone. Everything you see below is based on the severity of my CIPN and prescribed by my chiropractor.***

Anodyne Therapy – At-home treatments 2x per day

Rebuilder Tub with rubber pads and electrodes – At-home treatment 1x per day

Conductive Garment Gloves – At-home treatment to help with my hands for 30 minutes 2x per day

In-office treatments – I receive stimulation and get help with blood flow.

Light therapy (not pictured) – In-office treatment

My back, thighs, and feet are wrapped (kinda like a baked potato) and I feel this heat from the pads. I do this for 20 minutes. Though I can feel the heat in my back (helps with lumbar facet joint pain), I feel some heat on my thighs and a minuscule amount in my feet. The goal is to help with blood flow to help gain some feeling again. One day (fingers crossed) I hope to fully feel the heat.

I’m still in the first month of all these treatments. It definitely takes planning to do the at-home treatments and time to go to the in-office treatments. Still, I’m hopeful that I will begin to feel small to moderate difference after my first three months. My treatment plan is for a full 12-16 months, which also includes eating foods to help reduce inflammation and cutting out other foods. This is a slow but intentional process.

If you want to know more about my chiropractor, location, and other offices, here’s the information below. Tell him or his staff that Megs referred you. I don’t get anything monetary out of sharing all of this information about my holistic treatments. I just want to give others hope by knowing there are other potential treatments that might help deal with the falls, pain, and lack of blood flow caused by CIPN.

Until next time,

Warrior Megsie