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Writers Against Racism: Wednesday, July 13, 2011

One week ago today I started chemotherapy and all I can say is – THUG.  It’s that rough – like somebody raiding you of everything – all for the sake of what’s best.  For example, my interest in reading books has waned a bit, as has my writing. I’m pushing through it though and listening to my doctor who said, “Don’t sit around waiting to be sick.”

1st Chemotherapy Session - July 6 - Amy, Mark, Joanne

I won’t get into the effects of chemo because quite honestly, they are what they are and they will pass, once I am finish treatments. I do, however,  want to take you on a quick visit back in time, since lots can happen in a year!

Last July 13th I was busily preparing and putting the finishing touches on my National Diversity in Leadership Conference (NDLC) presentation, held at Princeton University.

Also last summer, I profiled more W.A.R. authors and had them share the impact that racism has had on their lives and their writings. And, as teachers do, I was preparing for the upcoming school year: broadcast journalism and technology classes, and books, books, books!

While I was writing today, guess what was brewing above the mountain?

This summer, while different, has had some similarities. Yes, I am preparing for the upcoming school year and my new role as the school’s Library/Media Coordinator.  Whoo hoo! I will be working in the library, alongside our fabulous librarian and technology team.  A dream come true!

This butterfly I met yesterday and inspired me with its beauty and grace.

What’s different about this summer? Every two weeks I will have a 3-hour session of chemo. ONE down, seven more to go but who’s counting? 😉

I can’t help but contemplate a few, there are tons of well wishes and thoughts that have been sent to me…

  • a line from the song, LEAN ON ME,  I just might have a problem, that you’ll understand.
  • you do what you h a v e to do…and you w i l l overcome….(daughters of the survivors of that infamous middle passage heritage..(and we would always paraphrase faulkner from his noble acceptance speech….(we not only s u r v i v e…we will p r e v a i l….) all love: arnold [Adoff]
  • The card sent to me from SLJ staffers with those adorable birds – “my fans.”
  • The Parents’ Association and parents at The Hewitt School, who organized meals to be sent to me throughout the summer!
  • Determination is the key to most things, and you seem to have much of that. Bless you and I’ll be keeping positive thoughts for you here in Laredo, Texas. I found that a major illness is just a strong reminder to live the life you want now, instead of waiting for a better opportunity. (Beverly Herrera)
  • My students! My readers! My family! My Facebook and Twitter Family! Thank you!

Now, getting back to chemotherapy and its effects: it has not and will not penetrate the LOVE and SUPPORT I have received. Enough said.  And…I have learned more this year than any other year of my life; namely, people make the world go ’round and it’s people that help you to heal.

Thanks for walking this walk with me and thanks, mom, for this video!

I am anxious to read books again but in the meantime, I have discovered that pictures and videos tell their own story. These are some story/pictures from the last seven days.

Today, before the storm (Blue Mountain Lake). I think I need to change up the scarf, yes?


  1. B Herrera says:

    Chemo is a doctor’s way of making everything else seem simple and painless. My brother still can’t stand the taste of certain foods that made him sick during chemo. He used to eat boiled eggs. He didn’t like them, but they stayed down when nothing else would. As long as you look to the future, you’ll make it through these times. I found that when I was the sickest was when I found my strongest friends and family members. Certain people are able to help you through the rough times, and I was lucky to have a few of them. You have many strong people in your life. Let them inspire you while you inspire the rest of us. And maybe you should have a fashion contest – which scarf you should wear to your LAST chemo session.

  2. Stay strong and keep counting those bad-boy chemo sessions right out of your life!