Received my rejection letter for food stamps today. It still amazes me that even though my total income is well below the federal poverty line, I still make *too much* to qualify for food stamps. My gross income (before taxes) is $40 over the cutoff limit for my household size.
That extra $40,…
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to various studies, the female incarceration rate is increasing at alarming rates and one reason is that battered women are being imprisoned for defending themselves. In response to this, amnesty…
I was diagnosed at age 42 in the midst of getting my second master’s degree – an MFA in television writing and production. My classmates and I were in the midst of shooting for the pilot we had co-written when the mammogram I had several weeks earlier revealed an abnormality in my left breast. Putting my health first, I missed two days of production in order to have the biopsy. A week later I got the call. “It’s cancer.”
After initial shock and terror, went into full-on warrior mode which in part meant humbling myself and going to others. My mother is also a breast cancer survivor (no genetic link) and was secretive about her experience; I knew at my core that withdrawing from the world wasn’t the healthiest way for me to handle the illness.
The first person I reached out to was another young Latina in the entertainment industry who was very transparent about her experience. She immediately responded and encouraged me to get a second opinion at New York Presbyterian. After meeting with the competent and compassionate doctors there – especially plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Ascherman – I knew that was the best place for treatment. After every appointment, I walked out feeling like a survivor rather than a patient.
From that first visit, Dr. Ascherman told me that I was a candidate for the XPAND clinical trial. I’m an activist and so anything that can serve the larger good appeals to me. After I researched traditional reconstruction with needles, constant trips to doctor, the pain and discomfort, I realized this was an invitation to be a powerful lantern to light a new path for women.
I hope that the AeroForm becomes the standard of care for all breast cancer survivors in the very near future. No woman who has to face this illness should be denied this easier path to reconstruction. I was intent on learning from this cancer experience and not giving it full power over my life. I thrived during chemotherapy (and worked that baldness as if I were in the running to becoming America’s next top model!) and I continued to do everything I love including my work as a teaching artist. Having so much control over the expansion process enabled me to keep living fully during treatment.
No matter what I do or experience, my deepest desire is to be of inspiration and support to other women as they express their best selves. I never would’ve chosen breast cancer as a way to do that, but asking, “Why me?” is a waste of precious time and energy. The most challenging periods of our lives can be the soil from which our unique greatness can blossom if only we’re willing to get our fingernails dirty.
Mister Cee? Chris & Rihanna? Jay-Z & Belafonte? The Next One’s On You
So much constantly going on in the world of hip-hop, what’s an intrepid cultural activist to do?
It’s My Birthday and The RAP(P)ER is Here !
Today’s my birthday, but I’ve got a gift for YOU!
For 24 hours (counting down from 12:01 AM EST),…
"The Customer Ain’t Always Right" - In Solidarity with the Fast Food Workers Strike
Today throughout the United States, fast food workers are striking for a $15 per hour minimum…
THE RAP(P)ER is Coming
And whether he raps or rapes is up to you.