Yesterday we celebrated International Women’s Day and it got me to thinking about all the amazing women in my circle who’ve supported me in my darkest hour. Without their love, support, prayers and helping hands I could not navigate my way through this difficult road. The females in my tribe stepped up in a big way….my sister, cousins and sister-friends rallied in a way I never expected, although knowing them I shouldn’t have been surprised.
You see I’m not one to ask for help. I guess that comes from being a single woman in my late 40’s. When things need to get done, I do it myself. But life has a funny way of twisting and turning. This experience more than anything is teaching me that no man or woman is meant to trod this earth alone, we all need to be nurtured, loved and supported. We all need help. And we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for it. Asking for and accepting help has been the most humbling and vulnerable part of this journey for me. The women in my tribe flew in from overseas, drove miles to pick me up in Montego Bay or just to visit, were prayer warriors and a constant presence at the hospital, opened their homes to me for recovery after surgery, set up a Tina’s Tribe chat group and a Go-Fund Me campaign, paid bills, accompanied me to doctors appointments and so much more. Now as I’m going through chemotherapy, they are by my side, even tag teaming to call me when they suspect I’m defying orders to take it easy ;-).
The truth is though its not just the women in my immediate circle, there are some pretty dope men in my tribe too. Leading the pack is my father who lives overseas but calls daily, my brother and nephews who send messages of encouragement.
Then we have my amazing medical team, my surgeon and oncologist, even the oncologist friend of a friend who’s taken an interest in my case from all the way in Maryland. College friends who although we don’t speak regularly came through to visit me in the hospital, the brothers and husbands/partners of my female tribe who visited and held things down for their women as they rallied for me. The farmer who sent me freshly cultivated greens, the male friends who continue to call or message to check up on me, drop by with food, guinea hen weed, sour sop leaf, lemons…I appreciate you all and every little act of kindness. I can’t leave out my social media family. Social media gets a bad rap sometimes but for me the tribe I’ve cultivated on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have been nothing but supportive. Messages of encouragement, prayers, advice, connecting me with survivors, getting a great hook up to have affordable genetic testing done have all come from me sharing my cancer story on social media.
So this post is simply about giving thanks. Giving thanks to all the folks who’ve touched me along this path. And giving thanks to God for putting all these people in my path.