Cast Blog: #RHOA

Kenya's Breast Cancer Scare

Kenya opens up about her experience.

EXPOSED

When I decided to join the cast I knew that it meant that I had to expose some very dark personal issues that I struggle with. One is that I have the propensity to completely block out hurtful things from of my mind as a coping mechanism. When my OB/GYN first discovered a lump in my breast during my annual exam, she directed me to get a mammogram. That’s when things turned for the worst. I did as she advised but my experience was so unpleasant that I never told any one or ever called back for the results. No woman wants to be told they could possibly have cancer. I thought the worst and took inventory of my life. Did I have my personal affairs in order? What if I couldn’t be treated? Would I have to undergo chemotherapy? Have a mastectomy? Lose all my hair? All these questions flooded my mind. The fact was and is I could possibly die from cancer.



I lost both of my grandfathers to aggressive cancers, and two very young friends under the age of 30 (Keith and Michelle may you rest in peace) whom I was very close to.  I watched them all fight for their lives and dwindle down to mere skin and bones. I would never wish cancer on my worst enemy. No one deserves to suffer or die that way. It wasn’t until my Aunt Lori found out and compelled me to return for further testing. She researched and found the BEST doctor that anyone in my position could have ever had.  When I first spoke to Dr. April Speed (draprilspeed.com) she was so generous with her time, knowledge about breast cancer, and the procedure that she made me feel extremely comfortable. Notwithstanding her calming bedside manner as she spoke in a soft but confident voice that immediately soothed my nerves. I shared with her my trepidation about the process being filmed and being in such a vulnerable position on TV in front of millions. She encouraged me to be brave, noting that if we could save just one life at the end of the day, it would be reward enough.  It was clear then that I didn’t have a choice.

MY BIOPSY

Dr. Speed found not one but three separate lumps and they all required a biopsy. My aunt promised to be by my side every step of the way, and she was. I don’t think I could have done it without her. Dr. Speed assured me that I wouldn’t be in a lot of pain. The procedure wasn’t necessarily painful inasmuch as it was uncomfortable. I prayed to God for favorable results while I lay on the exam table. I wholeheartedly believe I am a blessed child. I’ve defied the odds and prevailed through unspeakable circumstances throughout my life.  I thought if I have cancer, I can beat it too with the will of God.

RESULTS

My family’s prayers worked when my doctor announced that my lumps were benign. Although I am still at risk, we now have the knowledge to stay ahead of the disease. I want to personally thank Dr. April Speed and her amazing staff for treating me with the utmost care and most dignified way possible. I realize that I have to live a less stressful life and not let people affect me the way they have. At the end of the day a person who calls you unspeakable names to hurt you, someone who intentionally maligns you out of spite; a man who tries to tear you down or break you to gain negative fame or attention for himself; or my incessant worrying about my future matters not if I don’t have a life to live at all.  My family and friends are the only variables in my life that will ever matter moving forward. I was disappointed when none of my cast mates reached out to me after learning of my ordeal when many viewers did.  Whether or not I am your favorite or least favorite person, the bond that we all have is that we are women first. I’m a woman before I am any other identifying marker such as race, social status, popularity, occupation, or religious background. I am a woman. I am a child of God and I am blessed. With that said, I beg all women to get a mammogram. If you get a call back, GO BACK. BE BRAVE. Early detection is the key to survival.  And do a self-breast examination that can be found at http://on.aol.com/video/how-to-perform-breast-self-exam-286302892. Thank you for allowing me to share my experience with you.

Breast Cancer Generalized
•    An estimated 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually
•    Only a small number of new cases have a genetic link (5%) or family history (10-15%)
•    40,000 will die from their disease

Breast Cancer in Black Women
•    Although the incidence of breast cancer is higher among white women, black women are more likely to die from their disease
•    Death rate is 41% higher in black women
•    Black women are three times more likely to have triple negative breast cancer, which makes it more challenging to treat. (More aggressive, poorer prognosis, higher recurrence and reduced survival)
•    Black women have the lowest survival rate of all races

Awareness
•    Awareness has been the focus for 20 years, now it's time to move toward action!
•    Breast cancer typically produces little to no symptoms when detected early, that's why Mammograms are so important, get them starting at age 40 or sooner if there is a family history
•    If you get a call back, make sure your follow up; "Early detection means better protection"Behavior
•    No magic diet to prevent breast cancer but maintain a healthy weight, elevated BMI (over 25) is associated with an increased breast cancer
•    Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (5 or more servings)
•    Have a meatless Monday and a Wine-less Wednesday, moderation is key
•    Exercise, Exercise, Exercise! Research suggests that 30-45 minutes per day or 10 minutes several times a day can reduce risk of breast cancer.

I’m thrilled to know that my forthcoming workout video could actually help to save lives and possibly reduce the risk of breast cancer. You never know what His plan is, but what I know is that I cannot question it.

With love and hope,

Kenya
KENYAMOORE.COM

Claudia: Some People Have a Vendetta

Claudia Jordan shares her thoughts on the group therapy session.

Bravotv.com: Did you feel like progress was made at the therapy session?
Claudia Jordan: I do and I don't. The main people that needed it were not willing participants. One took off because she couldn't deal with hearing about how her actions affected the rest of the ladies. And the other that stayed, well… she received apology after apology without ever acknowledging any of her own wrong doing. That's not right at all. How is it that the woman on the receiving end of a physical attack has apologized to her assailant on several occasions, yet she has yet to show any remorse? That's downright insane to me! At the end of the day, there are lots of situations in this group where one can claim they were "provoked," and if the response/excuse every single time was physical violence, we'd all be in jail! And the sad thing is in this particular environment I felt that everyone else there was really ready to do the work and participate. So if ever there was a time to drop the ego and do the right thing and apologize simply for the purpose of starting the healing process for the group, then that was the time. Some people are just too stubborn and refuse to humble themselves. That happens when you are babied your entire life -- you feel like you can do no wrong. The rest of the ladies (including myself) however have all apologized and taken responsibility for contributing to the discord. But just pay attention to who never apologizes and who always does. I do not think that is because one "group" has been causing all the negativity in the group. But I do think that is because some have an agenda and a vendetta, while the other group is actually trying to make things cool and move on.


But on the flip side I will say that therapy was beneficial. In that one session we did get some good guidance from Dr. Jeff, who I would like to apologize to on behalf of the group for how he was mistreated. He came to help us and was insulted, disrespected, and his professionalism was questioned, which he did not deserve. So Dr. Jeff, I am sorry for how you were mistreated. The session did just highlight that some of us are mature and able to speak respectfully to one another, even if we have an issue with them, and some just cannot stand the sight and sound of someone we have decided not to like just because. All in all we did the best we could, and everyone who stayed did seem to really want to get along. And things were definitely better at work after the session. We were cordial and friendly.

Bravotv.com: Why did you decide to meet with Dr. Jeff one-on-one?
CJ: I have never, ever once claimed to be perfect or without flaws. And when I say I want to really resolve things, I am not just offering lip service -- I really mean it. If there is something that I am doing wrong that is contributing to any of the strife amongst the group, then I'd like to address it and do my part to work on me. I think most of us have issues with others because of past hurts that we perhaps never really dealt with and that cause us to act out in certain ways that may bother others. I am not saying I do this necessarily, but I have no problems talking to someone to at least try to be a better person. I for sure have made my share of mistakes and have experienced a lot of pain and disappointment in my life, but I've also been extremely blessed. But at the end of the day, my intention is always to grow and learn from it all and to be a better woman today than I was yesterday. Dr. Jeff is great at what he does and was for sure an asset to the group. Thank you, Doctor!

Bravotv.com: Did you and Porsha manage to get back to a better place?
CJ: It seemed that way. But I had made the decision that regardless of whether or not she was going to continue the peace treaty, that I was going to do my part to keep it cool, polite, and cordial. And so far so good.

Again I'd like to thank the fans for all their support and love and enthusiasm for #RHOA! I was in Miami Beach and Miami Gardens with the morning show this past weekend for Jazz in the Gardens, and the love I got from all the fans of the show was next level! I was truly flattered and humbled, and I will never let any of this get to my head and change me. I'm grateful to be a part of this and for all the amazing opportunities that keep sprouting from this. I just wrapped a movie called The Hills that I have a lead role in, which will be out in the fall, as well as another film called Love is Not Enough. I'm also working on a product line (to be announced soon) and more calls have been coming in from Hollywood for more great acting roles. I also had a great time with my girls in Miami and ran into a bunch of awesome people doing their thing that love the show too! I feel so rested and at peace. I'm healthy, happy, and appreciative. #ThankYouGod

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