|Harlem Theatre Company, Chicago|
However, until I had to fight my way through Cancer and become my own advocate, the Captain of my life and healthcare, I hadn't realized how much of my voice I had given away.
The first indication came when I had to pick my Oncologist. I must properly frame this scenario. For those of you who don't know me well enough or have never been around me, my Husband loves my dirty drawers. When I say this man loves and have always loved the good, the great and the ugly. He accepts me for who I am and encourages me to be the best of me. Like me, my husband is highly opinionated, especially when it comes to me. So when I had the first meeting with my would be Oncologist--I got three opinions and went with the third--all colors of attitude flew throughout the room. It was Alpha Male vs. Alpha Female (1st Oncologist) and I was in the middle. It was ugly. And when the energy of that clash didn't sway Alpha female, my husband's rigid lack of confidence in Oncologist #1 veered toward me.
On the way home, we would have one of two of the worst fights on this journey. The fight was so bad that when we finally reached our destination--home--I told him, "Just let me Fucking Die..." and slammed the car door.
I appreciated O1. She was confident, knew her stuff and came highly recommended. She was a Christina Yang type--Grey's Anatomy--highly skilled and straight shooter with no time for cuddling. She was serious about her work and it was time to get to work, especially with my type of Breast Cancer, Triple Negative, susceptible to primarily Black and Brown women and the most aggressive form of Breast Cancer. In fact what started the piss-off contest between Alphas male and female was the invitation/push for me to enroll in a study specific to Triple Negative Breast Cancer. "She doesn't give a damn about you or if she's your Dr. or not..." Alpha male barked, followed by a series of rapid fire insults to my intelligence and ability concerning my care. So rapid were the insults and sentiments of dismay, I didn't have time to fire before he was locked, loaded and re-loaded.
I was shaken. I called two members of TeamToni, my Sissy (the Dr.) and Wincey (the Minister). First words out of my mouth to both, "....Girl he showed his ass for real today..." For Wincey I used butt but my tone conveyed the picture. Wincey, immediately went into prayer mode and talking me down. Sissy, had a different approach. She advised me to go to class, I love writing class, think about what I need to say to Alpha Male later. I would later learn that Alpha Male also talked to Sissy who eloquently set the stage for my talk with him after class.
So, it was after class and the time had come. Alpha Male was in law school at the time and we arrived home at the same moment. After I spoke to his carpool buddy--not letting on about our feud to either of them, Alpha Male acted as if he'd gotten the poison out of his body and was good--we proceeded in the house.
Me: We have to talk, now....
We sat down and Lucy (Alpha Male often refers to me as his Black Lucy) explained. "What happened today won't EVER happen again, EVER...." I went on to explain how he berated and castigated me. How he spoke to me and dishonored and disrespected me and how he would never ever do that to anyone else. And should he ever get that comfortable to engage with me in that manner, "I will separate myself from you with a quickness..." Now I get it, although never spoken, my man was frightened. In ten years, he's lost several inner circle family members and to lose me he would lose his mind. Regardless, I, we had bigger fish to fry and fresh fish doesn't cook in old grease, it burns. Finally, I concluded with, God and me. God first, and me second am the Captain of my healthcare ship. You are entitled to your opinion and we can confer but you don't get a consensus. I. Make. The. Ultimate. Choice. whether you agree with it or not.
It took us a minute to really get over that one. And we would have to visit this sentiment several times moving forward. Alpha Male became my husband again and he had to relinquish control. I wasn't having it any other way. For I had found my voice again and I wasn't/am not about to give it back.