…I am very connected to my natural surroundings. A healthy physical and spiritual lifestyle is important to me.
A native of the UK, I now live in Connecticut. My hybrid existence as a Briton in America leads to an interesting life and fuels interesting conversations.
In January 2007, my humor turned to a quiet sorrow with the diagnosis of breast cancer that was quite aggressive. Nearing the end of 2006 and into 2007, my German Shepherd pet “Dino” seemed upset. He was sniffing and whining and kept trying to touch my left breast. Soon thereafter I felt stabbing chest pains. My left breast was very warm and had a purple rash. I went to the Southbury Breast Center and was diagnosed with “Rosy Breast.” I then had an ultrasound and biopsy that resulted in the diagnosis of breast cancer to the breast bone. I have lost count of the number of procedures and operations I have had, including lymph node removal, radiation, a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I lost count of the days, weeks, months, and years as I survived in a fog of silence. Everyone wanted me to be chatty and happy. No one wanted to really hear that I was hurting inside. I said goodbye to my husband and my marriage and embarked on a new chapter called: “How To Survive Cancer and Keep My Sanity.”
After fighting breast cancer, in April 2010, while pursuing my doctoral residency, I began experiencing gnawing, nauseating cramps and pain in my abdomen. I continued to work and support myself. I did not confide in anyone. I did not feel that the people around me really wanted to hear about another illness. I emotionally retreated. I would fight this thing. I would get better.
I would surround myself with people who were positive and didn’t constantly criticize my every action.
Rumor had it I was dying and on several occasions I was. In 2010 I had emergency surgery to remove a massive tumor from my stomach. I had to delay my doctoral program and took a leave of absence from my professorship at Post University. The leading surgeon told me the tumor “was a monster.” He wanted to know how I was able to go to work with such a large tumor pressing on my organs and ready to rupture! I wondered myself.
Later in 2010, surgeons saw a small pulmonary nodule sitting at the base of my left lung. It is slow growing and now 0.5 cm. I am under the care of a team of doctors. I get checkups each year. It sits in a difficult spot and causes shortness of breath. One doctor told me: “You can have a heart attack, stroke, or aneurysm at any moment. Take it easy!” Inhale. I did for a while then I got bored and resumed my normal life. Exhale!
I am happy with my life. My daughter has grown into a beautiful, brilliant, devoted adult. I feel blessed.
My life is simple and quiet. Most people wouldn’t think so since I am often chatty, flamboyant, and vivacious when in company. I enjoy meeting people and having intellectual conversations. I also enjoy my Renaissance moments and solitude.
Mostly I like to walk, ride my bike, go to the beach, sing, knit, crotchet, read, paint, play the piano, fuss with my numerous plants, visit museums and historical places, read and write poetry,
and listen to music. I love listening to Nina Simone, Smokey, the Neville Brothers, and Lionel. I love reading Maya Angelou and Alexander Pushkin’s poetry as well as Langston Hughes, Rita
Dove, Lorraine Hansberry, and August Wilson. Lynn Nottage’s plays leave me breathless. Above all, I love working with children, youth, and adult students to foster a love of literacy. I write plays
and I am writing a book which is almost ready for publication.
Curling up in a ratty, tatty chair with a juicy romance book? Heaven!
I founded Creative Arts For Life, ¡Write On! I conducted Workshops, and earned three degrees while battling the Big C. I am currently back to working on my doctorate. Whew!
I am a flower that never fades.
Cancer may come calling again. She might claim me, but I am a child of God who has a joie de vivre, love of liberty, and zest for life. I don’t study dying. I am full of élan. Jehovah wraps me in His
warm embrace like a blanket with a kiss. Jehovah es mi roca!
Before my departure I want to see my daughter happily settled, married with children. I want to see and hold my grands and thank God for all my blessings. I want to see England before I
close my eyes. I want a lot, don’t I?
Thank you God. And thank you all for listening, reading, writing, phoning, visiting, helping me find my inner peace. My name is Yasmin. I am alive. “All is well with my soul.”
I pray: “God, let me win, and if I do not win, let me be brave in the attempt’ (Special Olympics Motto). Since December 2010, I have felt good. This December I will celebrate five years of
I say: “Cancer can maim. Cancer disables. Nothing disables the soul.” Cancer is a battle we all want to win. I have met a lot of brave warriors along the way. I share my story to offer hope
in times of despair. I share to deal with illness in a positive way and move on with my life. I have few regrets. Many friends and well-wishers have faded away, but new, steadfast souls have replaced them. Life is beautiful!