Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cort's Blog!!

"God made us cousins, because he knew our moms couldn't handle us as sisters."

chest tube & liver cath
Soooooo, hey yall! It's been a super long time since I've blogged, huh? So much has happened over the past 8 months I have NO idea where to start....um, I was in the hospital for 40 days and 40 nights (no seriously....40 days and 40 nights).  They found out that I had a pocket of fluid building up around my lungs (which would explain why it hurt every time I took a breath).  I had a lil surgery and had a chest tube inserted to drain the fluid....theeeeeeen, they found ANOTHER pocket of fluid around my liver. Apparently, bile was leaking into my body and reeking all kinds of havoc. Another surgery was scheduled, this time to insert a biliary bag to drain that fluid....I had all kinds of fluid draining into numerous bags attached to my body.  I'm not going to lie, it was horrible! A whole lot went on during my extended stay in the hospital, and I'm sure you guys want to hear all about it, but now is not the time. I still have some AMAZING guest blogs to share, and I wanna get those out before I get back to me!
That being said, you guys know how important my family is to me, and how extremely close we all are. My cousins and I are more like brothers and sisters.  They are always there when I need anything, and they have sacrificed sooooooo much to physically be here.....it just blows my mind how amazing they are. I'm truly blessed, and I thank God for them everyday.  
Cortney, Shyra, and I have spent a lot of time together the past 2 yrs.  The family has started calling us "the three amigos", prob bc we are always up to something (and it's usually fabulous!).  We've already heard from Shy (I still cry when I read it!), and now it's time to hear from the other part of me (they complete me....get it?!), MISS CORTNEY F. CLEVELAND!!! I won't even begin to explain our relationship, bc I can't even find the words. But I'm almost positive she'll be able to, being a writer and
 all ;o) Here we go.....

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.
~Psalm 55:22


For Ebony, The Blueprint

My writing on Ebony is long overdue. It’s fitting because I was long overdue in accepting she had cancer. Cancer. Who decided that my zodiac sign should be the moniker for some shit like this? I don’t even want to write about it. What does Ebony having cancer mean to me? I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around it. I don’t want to.

back in the day.....
The only way for me to do this is to take the scenic route. Let’s start with what Ebony means to me. (Other than the universe and all the stars in it.) Ebony is the blueprint. I thought I was painting pictures until I looked around and realized I was tracing my cousin. Before I could form sentences I started spending every summer with my Aunt Joan, and Ebony became my big sister. She was the coolest. Still is. Smart and LOUD, deranged and completely secure in herself; for better or for worse, Ebony always does what she wants to do. Like since birth.

That’s the biggest thing Ebony has taught me. Trust my gut.It doesn’t matter what other girls are doing, or what other people think is hot. I’m hot, and that’s all the support for my hypothesis I need.

I’ve taken on a lot of her traits. But, every time I see her I’m inspired to be like her a little bit more. Ebony just lives out loud. The person she is in her head is the person she is in the world. My zodiac sign impedes my progress in that area. She makes me want to be better. She makes me want to shout my voice to the world. Because we’re so cool and people need to experience it.

I don’t know if I would be a writer if it weren’t for Ebony. I still remember her room lined with Babysitter’s Club books. She’s the only kid I remember who enjoyed reading, so that made me think it was okay to do the same. Devouring all those books made me think I could spin tales of my own.

When I was told she had cancer it didn’t register. Literally until about two months ago I just viewed Ebony as sick with something like a cough, or a pain that was just passing through. And it did. But, it kept coming back. Which wasn’t helping my denial at all.

Ebony, being Ebony sends for me to come visit her for a screening and her latest round of chemo. She’s shaved off all her hair. But, of course she’s got some graffiti designs taking over half her scalp like she’s bringing the early 90’s back. Because Ebony was swag before swag was swag. She greets me at the airport in full force – screaming at random passerbys, telling airport employees she’s Irish, contorting her face into some weird Salvador Dali painting – the usual.

Support for my blissful ignorance! Everything’s normal, just less hair. She’s slower though. Ebony’s always been a mover. Especially since she got a driver’s license, it’s our custom to stay in the wind. Mind you she’s still getting a lot accomplished, hitting the club in stilettos and pulling herself a new man (a vanilla swirl at that, werk!). What cancer patient is making moves like that? But, still something was different.

And then we go to chemo. I was in such a haze by then, I didn’teven realize this was the big appointment the trip had been building up to. She gets an update about a cell count or something. It’s gobbledygook to my ears because it’s not gone. It’s not over.

We wait the eight hours for white coats to fill her up with chemicals. The woman one seat over randomly breaks down as soon as we sit down. Realness was upon us. Chemo changes Ebony. Now she’s tired and dazed like she just got out of the ring. If this is the medication, what the hell is the disease doing!?!

chemo shenanigans 
Denial finally dries up. Ebony has cancer. The thing is, Idon’t know what I’m supposed to do with this information. My cousin has a life-threatening disease that she keeps beating the brakes off of. Even now that I’ve faced the truth of the matter, I’m still coping with it in a similar way as before. It’s still a passing phase, here today and gone in a tomorrow very soon. Cancer isn’t something I can tie to Ebony. Bass-rattling road rage, high kicks on trampolines, laughter-filled sleepovers, memories old and new – those are the things that I tie to her. There are just too many good things to make space for cancer. So, I won’t.





Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jamilia's Blog!

During chemo, you're more tired than you've ever been.  It's like a cloud passing over the sun, and suddenly you're out.  You don't know how you'll answer the door when your groceries are delivered.  But you also find that you're stronger than you've ever been.  You're clear.  Your mortality is at optimal distance, not up so close that it obscures everything else, but close enough to give you depth perception.  Previously, it has taken you weeks, months, or years to discover the meaning of an experience.  Now it's instantaneous. 
 ~Melissa Bank

So, most of you know today is the big day!! I mean, I guess I wouldn't say, "big day".....it's not like I'm having major surgery....but I guess it's still the, "big day", Radiofrequency ablation sounds like a big deal....doesn't it?!?!?!? Say it outloud...seriously! Say It!!! (....................................................waiting for you to really say it outloud....................................) OK, it sounds like some craziness is about to go down, right?!?!? That's what everyone thinks at least, until you read up on it. This little PSA before we get to Jamilia, is strictly for all you people (you know who you are!!) who are freaking about the procedure....it's not that big of a deal! And, to prove it, Im including a link that will tell you allllllllllll about it.  You know you're interested :o) Now......I give you......Jamilia's blog <3

So, back in the 80's when I was young, my dad met this guy named Skip. He brought him over to our house around dinner time, and my mom gave him a plate. From then on, I think Skip came over at least three times a week around dinner time. Now, my mom was an awesome cook, so I'm not sure I'm convinced if Skip really enjoyed my dad's company, or if he really enjoyed those plates! Lol! Anyhow, Skip soon became Uncle Skip, and Uncle Skip had a beautiful, young family. There was his wife, Joan, who I thought was beautiful. As a child, I thought she was stern, but children always think adults who don't play are stern! Also, he had the most adorable two kids, Ebony and Skippy. They came in and they were quiet and they had these huge puppy dog eyes, and being that I was the youngest and cutest (if I must say so myself) I'm not sure how I felt. I thought, hmm, maybe it will be like having a little brother and sister. I can boss them around, and they'll be more than happy to do what I say. Wrong!!!! Skippy was the youngest, so it was pretty easy to sway him and get him to do things, but that Ebony, Never!! She was very matter-of-fact and she didn't take trash from anyone! I thought she was such a brat! After all, this was my chance to finally boss someone around, but nooooo, not Ebony!

So, as time passed, life changed, people grew up, grew apart, got busy, you know how things change. My mom passed away, I had my own family, and never really saw Uncle Skip, Aunt Joan, Ebony, or Skippy. There was no problem, it's just how things go. Fast forward to last summer.

I was about 7 months pregnant and I went to the store to buy some shoes to fit my swollen feet. I saw a guy that I thought I recognized. I noticed that he thought I looked familiar as well. I'm shy, but I reluctantly went over and asked if his name was Bones. He said yes and I told him who I was. Long story short, him, his wife and I ended up talking for about three hours. During that conversation, Uncle Skip came up. He told me that Ebony had, had Cancer, but that she was in remission.
I was shocked, devastated, hurt, worried, relieved that she was in remission, but most of all, I was sorry. She was my bratty little cousin, who I'd grown up with and loved. How could I have just lost contact to the point that I had no idea that she had gone through something so awful?

I went home, without shoes, trying not to cry. I got on Facebook, and searched out Skip. I found him first. Then Joan, and then Ebony! She doesn't know this, but seeing her on Facebook made my day! That meant to me that she was really ok! I've never really been around anyone with Cancer except my grandfather and he died two weeks after his diagnosis. I'd only seen movies and tv segments and specials about Cancer patients, so I was so happy to know that she was going to be okay!

I got to read all of her updates of how she was rebuilding her life, about her new job. I got to hear about the past and about what she'd been doing with her life. I was happy that she was a special Ed teacher, it meant that maybe she had grown up to be nice! Lol! Mainly, it made me feel that I could do something. I pray for her now and her family every night. I think about them constantly. I read her blogs     and I really love the fact that she approached CanSer, as she spells it, the same way she approached me as a kid. She wasn't going to let it bully her, control her, dictate to her what she was going to do. She was strong willed and matter-of-fact with it. She didn't pretend to be anything else. She stared it down, and she handled it!

I was afraid to reach out for a long time. I'd comment on posts and blogs, but that was all. I wasn't sure if I'd be welcomed back into her life. I'd write her long messages on FB and hit cancel and not send. I was the scared she'd say no. However, two weeks ago, I finally asked if I could come and see her and she totally said Yes! All I could think about was how dumb if was for me to not ask months ago! Im going to go see my little bratty girl very soon and join team FcanSer! I want to see as she says, CanSer get CanSer and die of CanSer! I want it to know and understand that Ebs is not the one to mess with!

Well, this is my two little cents, Ebony, I love you and the Fortune family will see you soon! My only question, "What kind of cake do you like?" 


Mark 5:36

~Trust Him~



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LOVE U :o)


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Autumn's Blog!

"I'm trying to tell you something about my life. Maybe give me insight between black and white. The best thing you've ever done for me, is to help me take my life less seriously......it's only life after all"
~The Indigo Girls (Closer to Fine)

So guys, today was scan day, and ya know what?!?! I wasn't freaking out (that much lol), at all!! I walked in there cooler than a polar bears toenails ($2 to the first person who can tell me who said that last line). This scan was the big one. The one that's gonna tell us what the newbie (Avastin, 5th drug added to my cocktail) has been doing the past 4 rounds (IT FREAKIN BETTER HAVE BEEN GOING ON A CANsER KILLING RAMPAGE DAMMIT!!!!!).  The good news already is, my tumor markers are down (YAAAY!), and my blood counts all look fantastic, so.....we are on our way to being canSer free people!!! We get the results during my next treatment on the 20th, so keep those prayers, thoughts, and positive energy coming, we have some warriors on our side, that's for sure!!! I , of course, will keep you posted in some over dramatic way :o)


~I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.~
Psalms 91:2

Okie dokie....Most of you know I lived in Savannah (shout out!) for a good 7 or 8 years. It wasn't just a stop over place to me. It was home. The people I met there weren't just "placeholders" for my friends in ATL. They became family.....and they still very much are :o) 
 One of these friends, in particular, didn't simply make an impression on me.....she basically branded me with a blazing hot iron, that screamed, "You're mine now!" With Autumn, you don't have a choice. She doesn't let you decide whether or not you're gonna be a staple in her life....she sorta demands it lol. It's definitely one of the reasons I love her so much...she'll prob tell our story better though, so here it is.....

Autumn's Blog:

I have no concept of time. Sometimes I am unable to decipher if an event happened a month a go or two years back. I remember only strange memories and not particularly in the order that they occurred. Every year on December 31st I declare my resolution to not lose ten pounds, but instead to live within the moment. My moments. So when I received a text message from you urging me to write to you, and about you (and our relationship) I panicked because I'm not good at this stuff due to my inability to be present. Not because my love is not intense for you, because it it. Not because I am too busy, because time as you have shown us is sometimes all that we have, whether it be one year or 80 years. We make due with what we have and live, love, and laugh as much as possible within those moments. Our moments.  

The day we met. I remember seeing you and that is the extent of it. The next thing I recall is that we were inseparable. Two peas in a pod. I truthfully can not even tell you how it happened. If one of us wasn't present we were never met with a simple hello, but instead with the question of where was the other one. People took notice if one was absent. The best I can describe it with the hopes of it not sounding too weird is as finding another love of my life. Our relationship was like a lightening bolt. It was fiery and fast, with enough energy to light up a room and keep it ablaze for hours. I always know that I have found another piece to my puzzle through phone interactions. When with the silence of time spent apart, the phone can ring and it can be answered not with a "how have you been" but instead a "So, I just ....." as if the last conversation never even ended. I love those conversations. I love that with certain friendships and relationships time in a sense can seem to stand still. It is going on two years since I last saw you and there are times that six months pass between phone conversations and yet the closeness never widens. 

So, when I received that phone call three years a go telling me of the cancer I was crushed. We hadn't talked in a while and I was hit directly in the face with the thought that cancer could take my friend. You were in the hospital if I remember correctly, and you assured me that it was simply a bump in the road. I believed you. I wiped my hands of the experience. You were healthy and we went about our business. Next year. Same thing. Another phone call. Treatment. A clean bill of health. Third year. Another phone call? When you called with the news that the cancer was back and had spread it just seemed like minutes upon minutes passed with only tears... no words, and then the anger came. You know when that mad girl within you starts to bubble over and you want to ball your fists, stomp your feet, and let that primal scream from way deep down in your belly come roaring out? That is what I wanted to do, but instead I yelled at you "I'm so #&*@**# mad!" What a poet I am. So here we are today. In the midst of our third treatment with all the hopeful, positive energy and fight mixed with the fear and anger that cancer blankets us with. I have watched you fight through this with a grace and beauty that only someone of spectacular strength could achieve. I have witnessed you come to find a deeper love for your faith and family. I have witnessed you let go of things that were no longer healthy for you. I have witnessed a great shield form around you that is made with pure love from your friends both near and far. I have witnessed you sit patiently for the last three years in hopes that life could soon resume cancer free. 

So back to time. Because of you I try to live more authentically. I don't want so much time blacked out by idle thoughtlessness. It can no longer be a matter of taking notice of the movement of time for the first week of January and then allowing preoccupying thoughts to take over and not live within the moment, for the moment. It has shifted into a year long journey that will undoubtedly turn into a lifelong gathering of making adventures reality both alone and partnered with loved ones into a grand story, never to be forgotten. None of us know what lies ahead, but we are fighters. We have proved that, haven't we? We have our scars and have managed to always pull ahead. This time will be no different. You are not defined by cancer. You are defined by the brilliant, sweet soul that you are. You are both my friend and my family. Forever. Kisses. 
my Auti :o)

Looooooove UUUUUU!



Join us this year!!!!
setting up the luminaries  <3

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Click on the link for a list of activities going on during Colon Cancer Awareness Month....GET INVOLVED!!


love love love love love u!!!!!!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Brooke's Blog!!!!

"You were my strength when I was weak, You were my voice when I couldn't speak, You were my eyes when I couldn't see, You saw the best there was in me, lifted me up when I couldn't reach, You gave me faith cause you believed I'm everything I am, because you loved me."
~Celine Dion (Because You Loved Me)

So, I just wanna say this real quick before we begin......I. AM. OVER. CHEMO! Omg y'all, this has been the worst chemo cycle I have ever had!!! Today is the first day that I've felt somewhat normal since treatment....AND IT''S ALREADY TIME TO GO BACK!!! UGH!! Don't get me wrong, I know it's doing a good thing, and I know that it's necessary. I'm just not really feelin it currently.  I've been talking to y'all for a while now, so I feel as if we're close enough for me to say just about anything.....to vent, if you will.  So here's my venting for today: I AM SICK AND TIRED, OF BEING SICK AND TIRED!! I really feel like I'm gonna lose it sometimes.  I miss my job, I miss regular clothes, I miss having stuff to do, I miss having conversations not involving canSer, I miss not having 330 medications to take everyday, I MISS MY LIFE. No worries though, I don't have any doubts that I wont get it back....I'm allowed to vent every once in a while danngit! I mean, I do have canSer lol!

So, what did you guys think of the last blog?!?!!?? I absolutely love hearing what everybody has to say! I didn't make this clear the last time, but anybody can write one.  If you feel like you have something to say, by all means, write it, and shoot it to me in an email! I'd love to hear from you :o) 

22 yrs of awesomeness :o)

Brooke & Danny!
OK, so Brooke's blog is obviously next...I think the next time, I'm just going to post them without reading them first.  It took me about two hours to get through Brooke's, I was literally crying like a baby.  I mean hardcore crying, you know, the kind of crying where you have all kinds of fluid running down your face, and you can't even distinguish where it's coming from! The kind of crying where you're making faces that would no doubt scare a small child, and noises that are completely unnatural....yall know what I'm talking about!!! That's how I was attempting to read what you all are about to read!!  I'll let Brooke explain our relationship, but if you can't tell by my opening quote.....this girl is no doubt my soulmate.  She means the world to me, her family means the world to me (I actually consider myself a part of her marriage, true story!), her children mean the world to me (it makes NO sense how much I love those boys!), our friendship means the world to me. She is my sister, and my best friend, and I love her with every inch of my being.


~Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken~
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12


Brooke's Blog:

    Ebony and I met when we were nine years old and cheering for the same football team. I was clumsy and uncoordinated, whereas she was clearly athletic and all ready showing signs of that natural talent we have all watched develop  into something extraordinary. For some reason, she took pity on me, and pulled me aside to help me learn the cheers and practice my jumps. That, or she realized how awful I was and didn't want to be embarrassed when we actually had an audience. Either way, Ebony showed her true character in the first interaction between us so many years ago- she took the time to use her gifts to help someone she didn't know, for no other reason than she inherently knew that it was the right thing to do. That's just who she is, how she was raised, the type of family that this is. To be honest, I don't remember my life before Ebony was in it. I'm serious, I've tried! But no matter how tightly I closed my eyes, or how hard I concentrated on those years before I called Ebony my best friend, I came up with nothing. It's as if we met, and the rest was history. Our lives became instantly intertwined in an incredible friendship that has truly helped to shape the person that I've become.
       A few years ago, Ebony called me with news that rocked me to my core-she had cancer. CANCER?! Ebony? MY Ebony? No freaking way! Now, I'm going to be completely honest with you guys, because Eb asked me to, and this is her blog, her fight, her ultimate triumph. When she first told me this, I was angry, I was confused, but mostly I was just terrified. The overwhelming feeling of sheer terror that I might lose the best friend I have ever had literally took my breath away. I didn't tell Ebony any of this, because she, in true Ebony fashion, was too busy trying to keep ME from being upset to give me any indication of how she might be feeling about the situation. Throughout this entire ordeal, she has steadfastly remained optimistic and anchored by her faith, continuing to live her life on her own terms, and refusing to let this evil opponent control her or disrupt her life any more than she had to. She rarely complains, she is always smiling and laughing and trying to get those around her to do the same. She has put her complete faith in God to help heal her of this disease, and her spirituality has given her the peace to still be able to enjoy life, even when facing trials and tribulations that most of us will never understand. It has given her the strength to look this beast in the eyes twice, emerge victorious, and the tenacity to be right back there for a third go round, still with a smile on her face and a fight in her heart.
       So, while at first, I'll admit, I was scared and furious with the world, having the opportunity to be by her side for so many of the small battles that she must fight every day has helped me to see that I am NOT afraid of cancer. Not anymore. I've seen what awesome power comes from faith, love and incredible courage. I have seen this amazing woman stand up to cancer, scare that bitch right back where she came came from, enjoy a few months off, then buck up and do it all again. Now here we are smack in the middle of round three, the toughest one yet, and ebony is still coming out with both arms swinging, as beautiful as ever, and continuing to touch lives wherever she goes. The round will go to Ebony as well, of this I am certain, because Ebony's job here on this earth is not finished. Not at all. In fact, it's only just begun. She has so much more in store for her, and I for one can not wait to see what else she will accomplish in her lifetime. She is destined for greatness, mark my words.
      I truly feel that Ebony is my sister, in every way that matters, and I am so incredibly blessed to have her in my life. I don't think it was coincidence that we ended up on that football field together as little girls. I believe that someone had a hand in this, that we were brought together because our bond would help to heal her in some small way during this, the fight of her life. Watching her these past few years has changed me, has shown me so many things about life. Her grace and quiet resolve have been nothing short of awe-inspiring. I am amazed by her every day. Throughout these 22 years, I have come to call her family my own, and I truly feel that they are. Seeing them band together to lift Ebony in spirit and to tend to her every need has made me more honored than ever to be a part of this family. I have always admired them, felt unconditionally loved by them and been thankful to have them in my life, but now, seeing what I have seen, experiencing it first hand, has been overwhelming for me. Being a mother, I now truly understand the love you have for your child, and her parents are a shining example of exactly what a loving parent should be. 
      Ebony, I'm so proud of you, of who you've become and where you are going. You are my best friend, my sister, my partner in crime, but you are so much more. It's difficult for me to articulate how much you really mean to me, but I think you know. I believe our bond is so strong, that you have no doubt that there is nothing in this world that I wouldn't do for you. You are the funniest person I have ever met, you crack me up on a daily basis. You bring happiness with you wherever you go, chemo included! ( Shout out to my home girls at GCS!! <3) You are so incredibly special. You are a warrior princess, a soldier beyond compare and truly the best friend that anyone could ever ask for. I love you so very much, and want to thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you. I'm here every step of the way.  RIDE OR DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                                                 Love you forever,

RIDE or DIE!!!!!!!!

chemo shenanigans with The Kinders!!!


GUESS WHAT?!?!?!?!




oh-if you comment (and please do, love reading them!), please put your name,,,,,,unless you're keeping it anonymous for a reason lol!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Together....WE will beat this (Shyra's Blog)

"You don't choose your family.  They are God's gift to you, as you are to them." 
 ~Desmond Tutu

gift /gift/
Noun- A thing given willingly to someone without payment; a present.

Love, Hope, Faith, Cure.
I've decided to do something a little different with this blog.  You guys have been hearing from me for years.  So it's safe to say, we all pretty much know how Ebony feels about canSer, right?!?! This last month has been pretty crazy in my little "canSer world", I was finally able to start taking my 5th addition to my chemo cocktail, I received my 1st during treatment scan (results weren't great, but they weren't horrible either!!!), annnnnnnnd I shaved my hair off lol! The head shaving thing is a pretty huge deal, so naturally, I should blog about it, right?! Well.....I was thinking a while ago, that maybe you guys want to start hearing from other people.  I am blessed to have the best support system in the world, from my peeps all the way in Savannah, to my Sycamore and White Oak families here. Friends, acquaintances, friends of friends, strangers, and of course....my amazing family.  All these people have been affected in some way, and I think it's time that they're heard!!!! I decided to do some blogs dedicated to all my caregivers, co-survivors,  and supporters.  There is no way I would have gotten this far without all of you, so it's only fair that we should be able to hear what you guys have to say! 

Yall hear me talk about Shyra A LOT lol, I'm not gonna go into much detail about our relationship, I'll let her handle that :o)  I decided, I wanted her to go first, and this is why;  I def wouldn't be where I am today without her.  Although I love that quote up there from Desmond Tutu, I did not need him to tell me that this amazing woman is a gift from God, because I've known that all my life. 


~For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.~
Matthew 18:20 

So here it is......

Shyra's Blog:

I love cancer.
Pause. I’m sure you’re asking how can anyone love cancer? It is a relentless assassin, it devastates millions of families, and claims innocent lives. It causes victims to literally poison their bodies in an effort to rid itself of this tenacious disease.  
I’m sure all of us have been touched by cancer in some way, shape, or form.  I’ve actually gotten to know cancer pretty well the last 3 years. As a matter of fact, I watched a dear loved one look cancer square in the eye 3 different times in 3 years. ( I told you, she’s relentless) So again, you ask, how can anyone love cancer? Well let me tell you...
Now this isn’t my battle, it belongs to Ebony. Ebony and I are first cousins.  Our mothers are twin sisters, so we think of ourselves as “cuhsters,” (cousins and sisters) and we are.  Ebony was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 28.  She whooped cancer up side the head with out a blink.  But, in true cancer form, she came back again in her liver the very next year. Don’t trip, Ebony is a G! She dropped kicked cancer in the face for the 2nd time, no sweat! Oh, but you see, cancer isn’t called cancer for nothing. Embarrassed by 2 butt whoopings in as many years by the same woman no less, cancer reared her ugly little head again, yall! Can you believe it? I can, cancer is a relentless bitch! Not even 8 months after her last round of chemo, cancer came back for the 3rd time in her liver and her lung. So this brings me to present day, Operation: Didn’t -we-tell-your-ugly-butt-twice-not-to-come-around-here-no-more-we-aint-backing-down-so-take-your-ratchet-self-on-somewhere!  Yeah, that’s the name of it. 
Y’all my cousin, Ebony, has carried this with such style and grace.  She’s has the most hopeful and optimistic approach. (As well she should, we serve a mighty God!) We laugh, we joke, we make fun of cancer. I think that pisses cancer off too. We steal it’s thunder. We give it no power. The funniest thing she’s said is, “I hope cancer gets cancer and dies of cancer!” LMBO!!!  She’s hilar! And she will pull that cancer card, quick, to get what she wants...lol! I don’t blame her she’s endured so much. 
Me being the athlete I am, I liken it to a game series. You know the first game, we blew cancer out. The second game, cancer wasn’t going out so easy, she gave us a good run but we still won convincingly. cancer got a little confidence though. Now this third game, we have a new game plan.  We’re not being nice any more. It’s like a pesky, little, scrappy guard. We’re not giving cancer a chance or any hope. We’ve got that killer instinct this go ‘round. A stronger chemo cocktail that will promise to have stronger side effects--the hair’s definitely gonna go. We’re going straight for the head of the beast this time.  At this point of the game, we’re ahead and we’re not looking back. We’re playing up to our competition because cancer’s win/loss record speaks for itself.  We’re gonna step on her neck and leave no chance for a comeback. This is it for you, cancer. You’ve had your time to shine.  We ain’t playing any more! Do or die!  You see, cancer, our Coach is the most high! He’s drilled us, He’s gone over the scouting report with us, He’s given us a pre-game speech that will make you run through a brick wall!   We’re the home team and we have a packed house full of #fcancer fans! He’s already promised us this victory! Praise Him! 
I know what you’re thinking, “Shyra, you still haven’t told us why you love cancer.”  Welp, this is why I love cancer...
I have been a witness--a witness to God’s power and grace! I’ve witnessed His promise and His plan. I’ve witnessed just how detailed and intricately God works. I’m thankful for my own test of faith as a co-survivor, it only strengthened my relationship with Him.  I’ve witnessed courage.  I’ve seen this young, brave, fearless woman look cancer square in the eyes and refuse to lay down. I’ve seen her smile and laugh in the face of adversity. I’ve witnessed the true essence of FAMILY. I’ve seen a family stand in agreement and on one accord in the name of Jesus and for the sake of Ebony. I’ve seen an extended family come together out of pure love; a family that you wouldn’t think could be any closer, band together as tightly as a fist. We’ve fasted for her and we had over 30 family members join in on a prayer call for Ebony. And you know what Matthew 18:19-20 says. I’ve seen her mother, Joan, display the most unwavering exhibit of faith and strength. I’ve witnessed the true inspiration that Ebony has been to people not only in her community but around the world!! Praise God! (tears) How lucky is she that God chose her to be this beacon of light and an example of His grace! She’s saved lives by advocating for cancer awareness and and the importance of screenings.  cancer has brought Ebony and me closer than I had ever imagined and for that, I am truly thankful. She makes me a better person, too. How can I complain about being too tired to practice for 2 hours when she is literally countering this vicious attack on her body by poisoning hers for 8 hours every other week.  If that doesn’t put your priorities in order, I don’t know what will.  Not only is she my cousin, she is my sister. And, not only is she my sister, she is my bestie. So many people have been blessed by Ebony’s generosity and willingness to share her journey. I was fortunate enough to watch her shave her head, just another shot to cancer’s gut. We don’t care about hair! I’ve been humbled, I’ve been educated, I’ve been blessed by cancer. 
And...that’s why I love cancer.
So, Ebony, I want you to know that you are not alone in this fight! You have an army of support and LOVE behind you and WE WILL BEAT cancer...again! And we’re gonna give God all of the GLORY!! Here is my tribute to you! I love you! #fcancer 

Stay tuned for more "guest bloggers"!!!! Up next....My momma.....or my Aunt Jean, which ever finishes first....you know they're twins so it's gonna be a competition lol!

(ANYBODY NOTICE I CHANGED THE NAME OF THE BLOG FROM, "I WILL beat this..." to, "WE will beat this..."?!?!?! hee hee :o))

Love u guys :o)