Proving Your Pain

Today I called an airline for a refund on a flight I had scheduled prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was quite an ordeal.

In November 2019, I bought tickets to travel to Austin, TX, in May 2020. I had no clue that I would be diagnosed with breast cancer weeks later, how expensive cancer be as I worked to improve and maintain my quality of life, how challenging it would be to interact with medical providers and loved ones, how much pressure it is to take care of others even when I needed care, how the COVID-19 pandemic would intersect with my cancer and fertility treatment, how emotional freezing my eggs would be, and how George Floyd’s murder would place the United States’ racism under a magnifying glass in ways that reminded me of the ways others and myself have experienced racism in this country.

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Thin Blue Line Flag

Photo is of a wavy thin blue line and a black background.
Photo from Flickr

Have you slept well? Last night, I was writing a letter to a journalist at a local newspaper. It is The Patriot Ledger. The following is this newspaper’s post on Facebook:

If you want to learn more about the “thin blue line flag,” here is an article on it from NPR and another one from Boston.com.

This flag made it to fire trucks in my city.

As a woman of color and a cancer patient and survivor—during the COVID-19 pandemic—and during an era of reckoning with racism—I have to pick and choose how I will invest my energy.

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What You Can Learn from Cancer Survivors

Six days ago, I went on a long walk to the beach and green space in my community. Consistently, I was frustrated by the people not wearing a mask or social distancing when they came near me. I vented my frustrations in an online group for breast cancer survivors and wrote this:

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Lunch with Lindsay: Supporting Black Lives Matter and Practicing Self-Care

Is it just me, or did last week feel pretty long?

Actually, if you are like many people in my social circles who have been heavily engaged in the active work of racial justice, the last few decades have felt extremely long.

I both am encouraged to see more people fighting for racial justice—especially Black lives—in ways I have not seen in my lifetime, and I also am frustrated that this journey to progress is both so long and mentally and emotionally taxing for those involved. This is why when I saw the NPR Code Switch piece titled A Decade of Watching Black People Die, I thought to myself, “A decade? JUST a decade?” I decided not to listen to it.

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Lunch with Lindsay: Talking Protests, Race, LGBTQ Issues, Cancer, Mental Health, Spirituality, and More

We did it again. My friend Becky and I created another Lunch with Lindsay video yesterday since our Monday lunch got interrupted with the installation of my AC by the maintenance man.

I specifically wanted to have a talk in which I compared my thoughts and experiences with cancer to those with racism. While that was a part of the dialogue, you will find out in the video that a text I received right before we were about to record our video ended up shifting my attention to other aspects of current protests against racial injustice. (If you want to learn more about what I originally wanted to discuss, read If Racism Were a Cancer.)

In our very organic and unscripted conversation, we grappled with protests, race, LGBTQ issues, cancer, mental health, spirituality, military, and more. If you watch the whole video above, you can observe how my friend and I truly give our unedited perspectives.

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If Racism Were a Cancer

I didn’t sleep well last night. Today I will start a new segment of treatment for breast cancer, and I feel emotional about how my body, spirit, and mind will respond to treatment. I’m crying as I write this because I’m both nervous of the effects and also grateful to have access to healthcare. With that said, RACISM IS WORSE THAN CANCER. In the past few days, racism has caused me more sorrow than cancer.

Image from Flickr

When I found out I had cancer, nobody asked me what I did wrong or how bad the cancer was before showing me compassion and wanting justice in my healthcare. When someone experiences racism, there is always someone who needs to evaluate how bad the situation is before determining if the victim is “worthy” of compassion and justice.

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