Monday, June 16, 2014


On September 3, 2013 I found a lump.  It felt like a grape.  It was distinctive and painful.  On September 5 I told my husband, called my sister, the Doctor, told her what I found.  She urged me to call my primary care physician.  Thank God for her because I thought I had to call an OBGYN, of which she is.  She negated that thought.  Tests were done immediately.  I broke down in my Doctor's office that day.  He consoled me.  I told him I didn't know why I was crying, he said I'd obviously been holding it in.  That was a Friday.  "Try not to worry.  Usually, when tumors are cancerous, they aren't painful."  After all there was no change in my skin.  By Tuesday I was at the UCLA Breast Center for an ultrasound, by Thursday I was back for a biopsy.

The next Friday (unbeknownst to me then) my fabulous, fantabulous Dr. Hubbard (primary care physician) had me hooked into with one of the best Breast surgeons in the country.  On Monday evening, he called with the unusual news....Yes, it's cancerous.  You have Breast Cancer.  I was calm.  After my doctor explained that if one has cancer this was the best one to have, it was Inductal Carcinoma, meaning the tumor sat in my milk duct.  The tumor though the size of a large grape was small enough and not to worry, WE were about to kick cancer's ass because Cancer had picked the wrong DIVA.  I would later learn that cancer is cancer, like chemo is chemo.

Calmly I called Injeel.  My husband.  He was in law school at the time, 45 minutes away.  He said he was going to present with his group and return home immediately with a bottle of wine.  We had to celebrate....We know, now it's time to go to war.... was his sentiment.  I called my parents, but only Mom was home.  Dad was at his weekly lodge meeting and Mom was too fragile (in my opinion) to weather this news alone, so I waited until the next day.  I knew she knew but we both played.

With Injeel by my side (we were still in bed), on the next day, I called the parental unit.  "It's cancer...."  I explained all of the particulars.  They were sad but I could tell, they had an attitude of yeah, we're kicking this straight in the ass.  I called my Sissy, my bestie, confidante,  love her dirty drawers....she shifted into BEAST MODE!

From there I immediately assembled my team in my head.  This was instinctive.  I knew I wouldn't get through this without one, after all I live 3000 miles away from my family who all but me reside on the East Coast.  I texted about seven FRIENDS...CAROLE, WINCEY, VONDA, CHANDRA, ERICKA...with the message: CALL ME WHEN YOU CAN TALK, IT'S URGENT!

One by one, they called and I in my least dramatic form gave the news.  Wincey shifted into beast mode...prayer-action.  Carole's attitude was bring it on, Cancer's been waiting on this ass-kicking....Vonda sentimentally pledged her support...Chandra, I hesitated with for some reason, got to her practical self, Toni stop beating around the bush, just tell me! Beast mode....Ericka I told "Man up Ericka, man up!  She later shifted into beast mode (later she revealed that she wanted to kick me in the throat for urging her to man up.  I revealed that I couldn't hold her at the time so I couldn't catch her tears....other team members would be added...Jackie (my older sister) Val (friends since 5th grade), Tammy (Carole's bestie) and her husband Greg, Susan, Aliyah, Suki, Tina, Suki's Mom, Michele, Thensia, Kem....

I was ready.  I was ready to kick Cancer in the ass!  The pieces were in place and thus, how my journey started....

This piece is the beginning of a series of posts, My Feet In The Sand.  A journal chronicling my journey with battling Breast Cancer.  My purpose, to give voice and awareness to the journey, not just the diagnosis and survivorship stages.  Join me!  It's going to be a blast!


  1. Toni, thank you for so candidly and bravely sharing your journey thus far. Your transparency is helping many others understand and see the processing that is often veiled or omitted. Please know that I will be reading your blog. Know that I am praying for you and standing in the fight in support of you. You have assembled a warrior team and I can sense that strong armor bearers are what you need and most appreciate. I am warring in the spirit for you and every time you write and share your journey, that is another victory. Take authority in your voice and your journey. You are NOT alone!

    1. Thank You Lady Roz! With people like you the story will get out and we will beat this thing hands down! God Bless!

  2. Hey Toni...I am praying you through sister went through a battle with cancer a few years ago and it was rough. God carried her through and now she is a living testimony of how God heals. I think back to how you can into my life many years ago such a mighty woman of God and I have been blessed to know you. ..I pray God mighty healing power..strength favor and mercy upon a speedy recovery in Jesus mighty name Amen..YOU SHALL LIVE and be a testimony to others...I love you..I will be praying for you fervently and continually..I love you..Friends for life..

  3. This is a very powerful posts. I'm so glad to know you are speaking your truth and standing in your power. Whether you know it or not, your story is a source of strength for all of those facing adversity. Thank you.

  4. Cuz, I applaud your approach to dealing with it and I admire your tenacity to stay sain in this situation. Love you much