Tag Archives: survivor

Play to Provide Breast Cancer Awareness to Sold Out Audience This Thursday

23 Oct



Tracey Walker Banks (972) 841-0824 and LaTricia Woods (480) 495-2484

Play to Provide Breast Cancer Awareness to a Sold Out Audience This Thursday

Community Comes Out to Support First-Time Playwright Barbra Watson-Riley

 Event Details:

Life in the Cancer Lane™ is a compilation of stories from breast cancer survivors produced by first-time playwright Barbra Watson-Riley

Thursday, Oct. 24

Reception: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Performance: 7 p.m.

Black Theatre Troupe, 1333 E. Washington Street

About the Play

LITCL imageLife in the Cancer Lane™ begins when women first hear the words “breast cancer” and details what happens when they are thrown head first into the Cancer Lane. Whether its dealing with the side effects from chemo, or the loss of hair…and friends, the play examines the twists, turns and bumps in the breast cancer journey. The stories are based on conversations with breast cancer survivors and their caregivers.

Barbra Watson-Riley was diagnosed in Sept. 2011 with advanced Stage 3 breast cancer. Her treatment included chemo, a double mastectomy and radiation. Six months after completing treatment, she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer of the lung.

Watson-Riley is a member of the Susan G. Komen Central and Northern Arizona Chapter and the Coalition of Blacks Against Breast Cancer. She is currently in treatment, completing her book (also called Life in the Cancer Lane) and fighting the battle of her life, for her life. Fighting beside her are her husband, 11-year-old daughter, family and a community of friends and supporters.

Tickets to Life in the Cancer Lane™ sold out in less than three weeks. The community has come out in strong support of this production and Watson-Riley. The production is being sponsored by Cox Communications and benefits the health and human services facet of the Phoenix Chapter of the Links, Inc. “Life in the Cancer Lane” is a Pinkwellchick© Production.

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 Photo and Video Opportunities Available

Direct all legal inquiries to Tonya M. Evans, Esq. at tme [AT] tmelaw.net

19 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think via MarcandAngel.com

3 Sep

“Even in uncertain times, it’s always important to keep things in perspective.”

Source: MarcandAngel.com

  1. You are alive.
  2. You are able to see the sunrise and the sunset.
  3. You are able to hear birds sing and waves crash.
  4. You can walk outside and feel the breeze through your hair and the sun’s warmth on your skin.
  5. You have tasted the sweetness of chocolate cake.
  6. You didn’t go to sleep hungry last night.
  7. You awoke this morning with a roof over your head.
  8. You had a choice of what clothes to wear.
  9. You haven’t feared for your life today.
  10. You have overcome some considerable obstacles, and you have learned and survived.

True wealth is the ability to fully experience life. – Henry David Thoreau

Although things may not always be as good as they seem, they are never as bad as they seem. For more signs that things are better than you think, click here to read the full article “19 Signs You’re Doing Better Than You Think” by Marc Chernoff

Continue to SHINE in everything you think and do. YOU are a miracle in the making!

Tonya @WisdomWhispers (PinkWellChick.com guest blogger)

Best Medicine

15 Jan

Pink Ink…

What do we do when we are faced with life crises?  We all have them at some point in our lives.  At a certain age, people begin to expect these life tests.  A parent’s passing.  Divorce.  Health issues.  The loss of a job.  But often, a life test or crisis is not what we expect it to be.  It hits you when you least “expect” it.  What do you?  How do you wade through the deep waters?

My “life test” came when I was diagnosed with terminal metastatic in my lung in November.  I mentioned before, that it was just 5 months after finishing treatment for breast cancer.  Within the week, my play “big sis”, who happens to be a doctor in great shape, learned she had a life changing illness. A bit later, another close friend faced an unforeseen crisis with her beloved child.  We were all grounded for several weeks, shocked at these life-altering events, mourning our previous existence.  At some point, we each sat with our hands in our heads, crying, and asking God, how do we go on. Eventually, you do.  Eventually, you must.  You find your fuel and get moving.

Today, I was fueled in my fight by four different sources.

  • Breast Cancer Survivor, Hoda Kotb was on TV promoting her new book about six people who each faced a life crisis and subsequently transformed their lives.  While the stories were certainly moving, the thing that stuck with me was Hoda’s advice. “Don’t miss your magic moment”. 

Good advice.

  • Next, I learned that Stuart Scott revealed his cancer is back, and he is again in chemo. One of his tweets this morning read: “Here’s what I do right aftr chemo.  Leave the infusion center and go STRAIGHT to either do a p90x wkout or train MMA.  That’s how you #LIVESTRONG”

Again, good advice and great attitude. (I’m slacking!)

  • Robin Roberts announced she is coming back to TV in February.

Need I say more?  Her energy, focus, and faith are inspiring.

  • Finally, a friend I met on Twitter moved me.  Stylist to the stars, June Ambrose, connected us almost a year ago. Both “M” and I had tweeted about being bald and wearing turbans. June connected our tweets, and a long distance friendship developed.  A fellow Survivor, I was moved by “M’s” tweet: “I woke up today on one! It’s clear to me that, in spite of, I have been given everything, EVERYTHING, that I have prayed for. #Perspective”

No truer words could have been written.

The next time you are faced with a life crisis, and are looking for the road out of pain and darkness perhaps this will help fuel you.

  • Remember it’s ok to have a brief pity party.  Acknowledge the pain. Don’t hide from it. It will slow you down.  After the pity party, GET UP!  If you can’t…
  • Ask for help. You are never alone.
  • Push through the sadness and remember there are people who love you and will help you live through the journey.
  • Find your fuel, then…FIGHT!

Everyday, I pull fuel from different places.   As Dr. Tierona Dogi says…

Life is your…best medicine!

We Laughed

11 Oct

Pink Ink…

Chemotherapy is the use of strong drugs used to stop the growth of tumors.  Chemo also kills cancer cells that have spread to other parts of the body.  The length of the treatment and the drugs given, depends on the type of cancer. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, early menopause, mouth sores, weight gain, and memory loss (chemo brain).

This is about all the information that a person diagnosed with cancer, receives.  And really, what more do you need?  Yes, I did hear the names of medicines I was given, but to this day, can’t pronounce them.  Yes, I had all the side effects, and them some!

Are you a caregiver, friend or family member who wants to do something to make chemo “easier”?  I’ve got the answer!  Create a chemo bag.  One of my closest friends gave me a bag that I took to every chemo appointment, and every surgery.   Often, people who have had chemo say they don’t want to keep anything from their chemo days.  Not me.  This bag has come to represent comfort for me, and my family.  Perhaps you can give someone this gift.

Inside the bag?

My chemo bag!

  • Blanket: It gets cold in the chemo suites.  Warm sheets don’t cut it.
  • Socks: Helps the feet stay warm.
  • Lemon or ginger sucking candies:  These help with the nausea.
  • Magazines: I could barely stay awake during chemo, but the magazines came in handy.
  • Potpourri bag or small scented pillow: This was the best thing in the bag.  My bag was filled with eucalyptus and lavender.  When a person gets chemo, the nurses must “flush” the needle with saline.  For some, the saline can cause nausea. (Me!)  The solution is usually holding an alcohol wipe under the nose.  The potpourri works MUCH better.  I still use mine whenever I have to have blood drawn, or an IV is inserted.
  • Journal: As the drugs course through the body, random thoughts come…and GO! Chemo brain kicks in pretty quick.  The journal is a place to collect random thoughts, make lists, etc.  I love to look back and see what I wrote during those 1st few treatments.
  • Small picture frame or book:  Most chemo suites discourage the use of cell phones. (so no pictures, or internet!)  I kept a picture of my husband and daughter with me.  Their smiles gave me strength.
  • Lotion and lip balm: Skin gets really dry!


Over the months, I added things like crackers, and my Ipad.  It may seem like a lot.  But chemo can last anywhere from 2 -6 hours, or longer!  Mine averaged 4.5.  Anything that can make the time go faster, or be more comfortable, is a bonus.

One more tip for the caregiver.  Immediately re-pack the bag when you return home.  Then the bag is ready to go the next time chemo rolls around.

I started chemo a year ago yesterday.

Time flies when you are fighting!

Tip for the Survivor:Don’t forget to thank your Chemo Crew!  They work hard to make a bad situation…tolerable!  Yesterday I took treats to thank my nurses for all the care and attention they showed me last year!  These are the people we scowl at, and throw up on.  Many times, the nurses are literally wiping up our blood, sweat and tears! By the time we are done with chemo, we just want to run and not look back. The least I could do was thank them for their care!

My Chemo Crew a year later!

Yesterday, as I walked away, I turned and said, “I hope I never see you again.”

Together…we laughed.

A friend

4 Oct

Pink Ink…

We’re coming to the end of the 1st week of Breast Cancer Awareness month!  Turn in any direction , and there is something PINK.  There are Races, development drives, Zumba classes, and pink products. Celebrities come out of the woodwork to share their “stories of inspiration”.  The White House even goes pink! That din you hear is the call for a cure, and awareness!

Last night Phoenix Fashion Week was kicked off with a Fashionably Pink Fashion Show.  The proceeds went to Susan G. Komen for a Cure.  The Fashion Show brought together “real” models, celebrities and Survivors to walk the runway.  The fashion show, while a showcase for local designers, was really a celebration of Survivors.  It was a great event not just because it raised a lot of money, and we got to play dress up.  It was a great event because people shared their stories, and people listened.  Yes, there were interviews, and videos of Survivors.  But as we sat around, models and Survivors, getting our make up done, or waiting for the show to begin, we talked.  I met a woman diagnosed at 25, who is using her experience of the last year to educate other young woman.  I chatted at length with a 3 year Survivor who was diagnosed when her daughter was 9, like me. Holly has spent the years since her diagnosis spreading awareness, through any means necessary.  (Sounds familiar!) Interestingly, none of the Survivors I spoke with cared about losing their breasts!  One of us proudly shared that she said “no way” to reconstruction, and hasn’t looked back!  We compared chemo port scars, drugs, and shared stories of losing our hair.  Other models took the chance to ask questions about how we were diagnosed, how we felt, and how our families held up. The feeling of the event was of warmth and love and support!  It reinforced the idea that we must share our stories!  Attendees, models and Survivors all learned something about breast health last night, in a fun environment. Thanks Phoenix Fashion Week and Susan G. Komen for a great evening!

But the truth about breast cancer is that not everyone survives.

People die.

Last night marked the 1-year anniversary of the passing of a family friend from breast cancer. So I briefly share her story.


Like me, Angie was diagnosed with aggressive triple negative breast cancer.  Like me, she did it all.   Chemo, double mastectomy, radiation etc.  Like me, she had a great team of friends, family and doctors supporting and loving her.  Like me, she was young, active, didn’t smoke, and breast cancer didn’t run in her family.  Like me, Angie fought.  She fought hard, while always maintaining a positive attitude.  Angie’s cancer eventually spread to her lungs.  Even then, she was positive.  She shared her journey with others.  She shared her journey with me. She was an inspiration even before I was diagnosed.

Angie is now an Angel, but she continues to inspire me, to push me to fight.

Last night, as I walked that runway, I thought of my friend. I didn’t share with anyone what that night truly meant to me.  I didn’t want the “sad eyes”.  Last night was a celebration of clothes and survival for most.

But for me, it was also a celebration of …a friend.

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