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

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Claudia: I Felt Good About the Reunion

Claudia Jordan shares her thoughts on NeNe Leakes' breakdown and the reunion as a whole.

Bravotv.com: What was going through your mind when NeNe walked off?
Claudia Jordan: Well the reunion was quite an experience. When NeNe walked off, initially I wasn't sure what was going on to be honest. But I did notice she seemed to be trembling, so I knew she was definitely feeling something very real to her. I just didn't know what set her off at that point. So at first I was a little taken back. I had never seen her cry, but we are all human and everyone has their breaking point.

Bravotv.com: Do you think NeNe had a real breakthrough?
CJ: I honestly did think at that moment she really did. Her demeanor was different afterwards. And I even heard from her after the show. That to me was a good sign that perhaps we could all really move forward and start fresh. I know I'm always open to squash some beef, especially if it's nothing deep rooted and something surface. I don't see why not. But like I said on the show, we all have a story and things that we have had to deal with and overcome. I think we need to not think our problems are bigger than the next woman's and respect one another's struggles -- whether we think they are major or minor. One woman's problems are not more important than the rest. And I think if we can all learn to be sensitive to the next woman, then we are on our way. Hopefully that moment was the catalyst for change in NeNe and in others as well.

Bravotv.com: Do you feel like everyone ended the reunion in a better place?
CJ: I'd like to think so. I do think some will probably never be open for change and are just stuck in their own way, while others really took advantage of the opportunity to take something from it all. I'm not going to worry about those that do not wish to grow and move forward. I will just focus and give energy to likeminded individuals that want to get along, move forward, grow, learn, and progress. I know I felt good about the reunion. I know I didn't chime in a whole lot. And I think I had good reason. You don’t get to see everything, but I felt it was important to let the people who had real issues with each other hash it out with no outside opinions, just like I said in the Philippines. When people interject their opinions and thoughts when it’s not their issue, it just adds confusion to the situation. One of the cast members in particular is good for that. Always adding "well I think..." when it has absolutely nothing to do with her, and I feel those extra unnecessary comments can potentially add fuel to the fire and then there is no coming back. So if my silence was going to help the progress of the group moving forward, then I will take that "L."

Yes, it's "cute" to "read" and get in an epic one liner or rant, but sometimes you just need to shut the hell up and let folks deal with each other and let them do them. I have no problems with that. Plus my opinion on everyone’s situation doesn't need to always be heard -- I wish more of us felt the same way. I will say that this seemed to be a great starting point for folks to move forward and put their money where their mouths are when it comes to being a grown ass woman. I really hope everyone wants to. It'd be great to see how things could go if we spent less time fussing and more time co-existing peacefully. #ThatIsAll

 

As the season has come to an end for me, I just wanted to say wow! What a roller coaster ride it has been! I had no idea getting into this that any of it would happen. I thought I'd come on board, have a little fun, bring a little light-hearted fun, and make some new acquaintances. This show is huge and everywhere I go people come up to me and say such amazingly sweet things, and I am truly humbled when they tell me how they can relate to me and appreciate my realness. I was particularly touched when a teenage boy who was gay and biracial that had always felt like an outsider reached out to me talking about suicidal thoughts he had. We spoke and I was beyond moved when he told me that he could relate to some of the things I spoke about and that I somehow inspired and encouraged him to keep going. Those are the moments that make all the drama and fussing and fighting truly worth it. I want to continue to use this amazing platform for important issues. Again I thank Andy, Carlos, Joy, Lauren, Stephen, the entire cast and crew for this amazing opportunity. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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