an inspirational newsletter by JC Gardner
Do Not Underestimate the Power of the Pen
M O N T H L Y
I N S P I R A T I O N A L B Y
N E W S L E T T E R
G A R D N E R
DISCUSSION TOPICS The Mask Contoversy Forgiveness, A Lofty Request Remembering John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon Millenial Hot News Don't miss the special feature celebrating women who have overcome the odds!
This month's honoree is Cherita Scott Butler
It’s My Civil Right NOT to Wear a Mask! I’m sure most of you are like, “JC!! Seriously?” Don’t worry. This is not how I feel about it. In fact, I believe that not wearing a mask is a very selfish act that goes against the common good. This pandemic has no respecter of persons, meaning all ages have been susceptible to getting sick, with certain demographics being more vulnerable than
A July issue of the Washington Post stated: “Early on, government officials instructed Americans to stop buying masks and said they would not be effective in preventing infection. Even now, after leading health authorities came around to masks as a key measure to fight the virus, the country has resisted a national mask mandate.”1 I’m struggling with this, ya’ll. The U.S. always has stated that it is the biggest, richest, smartest nation in the world.
others. I know it’s not the most comfortable,
Countries used to admire us, want to model
fashionable thing; it can be hot and fog up
us, and people flocked to our borders in the
your glasses. And it seems you need special-
hopes of a shot at the “American Dream.”
shaped ears to accommodate those ear loops.
Were there a lot of flaws and mistakes
But if the benefits of wearing a mask can save
along the way? Absolutely!! Before COVID-
lives, including yours and your family’s, what
19, we were not an idyllic society by no
is the harm in doing it? Why has our country not required it?
Scripted - Page 2
stretch of the imagination, but dare I say we felt we
were none-a-my forefathers!) But if you want to
were safe from pandemics -- that we had the most
risk killing yourself, please don’t take the rest of
protective measures (OFDA, CIA, FBI, NSA, DOD,
us with you. There have been many reports of
WHO…) in place to prevent us from being consumed
people who refused to wear a mask getting sick.
should such a thing happen? The American Dream is
Unless there are medical reasons, I do not
now an American Nightmare.
understand the resistance, other than to holler, “You’re violating my rights.”
My, my. Here are some more staggering, devastating facts, which definitely move the U.S. out of the “Gifted and Talented” classroom:
It was my ancestors’ rights to get forty-acres and a mule; we still waiting! I saw a Facebook post that sums it up nicely. It reflected on when the new federally mandated seatbelt law went into effect. 3 The meme said: “Remember Click-it or Ticket? How about Mask-it or Casket?” I could go on for days, but I’m-a leave this right here!
Please note these numbers change daily.
And “we” had nerve to be calling other countries “shythole” countries. As of July 20th, we have been banned from entering 33 countries.2 Talk about Karma! Yet, there continues to be many people who outright refuse to wear a mask. I hope naysayers really focus on the number of deaths in the U.S. vs. worldwide. Those represent Americans – somebody’s mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, son, daughter, many who died ALONE due to social distancing restrictions. And then have you heard about young people having parties to see who gets the virus first, like some sort of modernday Russian roulette? How reckless can it get? I have great respect for people who stand their ground, tow the line, and raise the red flag when they feel any part of the constitution is in direct violation of what “their” forefathers intended. (This is my new view – they
1https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/07/20/mandatory-facemask-requirements-global-coronavirus/ 2https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexandrasternlicht/2020/07/20/these33-countries-have-banned-us-travelers/#7b81fa0b7ea9 3In 2017, 47% of passenger vehicle occupants were killed in 2017 due to being unrestrained out of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes. Seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives and could have saved an additional 2,549 people if they had been wearing seat belts. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts
Scripted - Page 3
I Forgive You BUT I'LL NEVER FORGET! There's a song that says, "Breaking up is hard to do!" Humph, I don't know about that. I think kicking out that partner, spouse, boo who was not doing right by you should feel free, liberating, and a cause for celebration. It might hurt for a minute, but in the end, you'll be better for it, as there's no time to waste being stuck in a meaningless, loveless relationship. When there's irreconcilable differences, you can part ways, sometimes as friends. But if that person really did you wrong -- cheated on you, stole your money, crashed your car, kept your pet, lied on you, caused you to lose your job, physically hurt you, mentally abused you -- whew! Just typing this list has me hot! But if they come and ask for forgiveness, I mean show a true conversion of heart and mind, a realization they were wrong and want to make amends, what is your response? I'm not saying this is easy. I think it is one of the hardest biblical things to do, yet if you have ever recited the Lord's prayer, you say it every single time: "Forgive us our tresspasses AS WE forgive those who tresspass against us." Mark 11:25 says, "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” (NIV) We like to say, "I forgive you," and then whisper to ourselves, but I'll never forget. Usually when we say that, we are pretty much through with you. You'll probably never hear from us again. If we are in the same room, our paths will intentionally not cross; phone number blocked; unfollow on social media; basically shut out forever ever. Yup! This is hard stuff. I'm not saying I have it all figured out. I surely do not. There is work to do with how we treat each other and how much grace we allow. People are going to make mistakes; I have yet to meet a perfect person. I do wonder how our prayers to be forgiven stack up against those who have asked us for the same concession.
ear h o t nt I waom yo u! fr What's your point of view?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments will appear in the September newsletter.
News by Alexis Gardner
There's evening news, fake news and now we have hot news from the millennial perspective. Check it out! Music:
Beyonce Knowles does it again! Beyoncé recently dropped her highly anticipated visual album “Black is King”
which celebrates African history, culture, and tradition and accompanies her album “The Lion King: The Gift.”
What in the Tik Tok?
Tik Tok is an app used by many, but mainly by Gen-Z and Millennials. It’s popular for making videos
featuring dances, educational videos with a funny twist and overall entertainment. Before a Trump rally in Tulsa, OH, Tik Tokers found out that they were able to reserve as many tickets as they wanted to reserve seats without actually attending. This left Trump’s rally to be lower in attendance than he anticipated. There is talk of the app being banned in the United States according to Trump. Some may say it’s retaliation because of what happened at his rally in Tulsa, but the more probable reason is because Tik Tok is actually owned by the Chinese Communist Party and is allegedly being used to spy on Americans.
Netflix’s New Additions: Good thing we’re still in quarantine because Netflix is adding popular Black sitcoms to its
library including: “Moesha,” “The Parkers,” “The Game,” “Sister, Sister,” Girlfriends,” “Half & Half” and “One on One.” Happy binging!
l Women's Survivor Series a i c e Sp t s e u Cherita Scott Butler G e r u t Organ Transplant Fea
Ms. Cherita Scott Butler and I go way back to Clara Barton High School for the Health Professions in Brooklyn, New York, about forty years ago. We’ve stayed in touch ever since. It is my sincere honor to share with you her courageous story of faith, determination, and resolve to live in spite of the medical reports. I present to you, Organ Transplant (as told to JC Gardner.)
I am a 58-year-old wife, mother, grandmother, caregiver -- you name it. I am the nucleus of my family. I am also a good cook, along with my husband, who is a better cook than I am but when it comes down to holidays, I like to take over. I’ve always had a love of food, especially coming from New York, which has some of the best food. While living in NY, I found it easy to maintain my weight because you were constantly moving between subways and walking everywhere vs. jumping in a car. I moved to Columbus, Ohio in 1990 for a better way of life for me and my only daughter. Five years later, I was losing my hair and an average of five pounds a week. I was tested for scleroderma, lupus and every type of rheumatoid disease there was. I was diagnosed with Connective Tissue Disorder. I went through many prescriptions of prednisone medication for two years. Also, during that year, I lost my father. I was with him when he passed away and that caused me to go into a deep depression. Up until that time, I had never seen anyone die. My father had cirrhosis of the liver, that we didn’t know about, for many years. Unfortunately, he developed liver cancer as a result, which was not discovered until two weeks before his death. It bothered me that he pretty much suffered in silence. After his funeral services in NY, I returned to Columbus. It took me years to really process his death. It seemed like every time I went
to sleep, I saw it in my mind. It was like my nightmare for five years. During this time, food became my comfort, and it was all the wrong types of food. It was like me and Little Debbie became BFFs. I was in the snack food aisle every other day. I would bring Little Debbie cakes home and watch a lifetime movie and cry with Little Debbie. Before I knew it, my comfortable weight of 175 pounds ballooned to 205 pounds. I said, “Well, my clothes are a little tight, but they still fit!” I blamed it on prednisone because it’s a steroid that increases your weight. It also triggers depression as well. 205 pounds turned into 215 pounds. I was stuck there for a few years even after I was off of it. Soon I met my husband, and he’s an excellent cook. The more he cooked the more I ate, so I packed on another 10 pounds easily. Back in the day, plus-sized fashions weren’t that attractive but today, it’s a different story. I was always fashionable, confident, and professional, and as long as there was a leather dress I could get into, I was good! Before I knew what what was happening, I was 250 pounds. Around 2009, my body started showing signs of struggle, such as arthritis in my shoulder and my mobility had slowed tremendously, along with shortness of breath. Then my leg became inflamed; that startled me because heart disease in my family is very prominent. I scheduled an appointment with my doctor to check to make sure there was no early onset heart
Scripted - Page 5
disease or diabetes due to my leg inflammation; those reports were negative, but it turned out I had high blood pressure. My doctor advised me to lose at least 20 pounds. For someone who loved to cook and eat, that was a tall order. I did evict Little Debbie from the house though. Upon a return visit, routine blood work revealed my liver enzymes were high. Suddenly, that test result started to sound familiar. For ten years, my liver enzymes were always high, and all the doctor would say is, “Let’s keep an eye on it,” without further testing. My leg inflammation ended up being deep vein thrombosis, but it was initially misdiagnosed as cellulitis. You really have to advocate for yourself and fight for the right to be heard. I knew it wasn’t cellulitis, as it was too painful. I insisted on a deep vein/doppler ultrasound and that revealed I had not one, but two blood clots. I was then rushed to the emergency room for treatment and blood thinners. By now, I had lost a few pounds. But I also realized I needed some health professionals who knew what they were talking about, especially after being misdiagnosed. I was very pleased with my long-term OB/GYN doctor and I said, “Hey, I need a good primary care doctor, and I want you to refer me to somebody that doctors go too,” the best of the best. She referred me to a doctor in a neighborhood where millionaires lived. That worked for me, and I have been going there ever since. It was time for my physical again and my current doctor, who I’ll call “Dr. Rich,” was very thorough. My blood-work consisted of 18 vials of blood to see if my clots were linked to a hereditary disease. It was not, but it was brought on by my obesity, so I tried to maintain my new weight of 200 pounds. Then life happened. A new job, added stress, and 12-hour days allowed Little Debbie to move back in. Stress eating is real! All of that hard work I did to lose some pounds went out the window, and I tipped the scale at 268 pounds. Dr. Rich sent me for a stress test and now my blood pressure was up, even though I was still on the meds. And my liver enzymes demanded attention. It increased to 4 times the normal level. Again, I heard those dreaded words: you need to lose weight. I just couldn’t wrap my head around how bad my health was declining, and the fact that I could still dress fly, I just didn’t take it seriously. Those liver results forced a new round of testing, and the doctor’s next report was a shock to my system. “I don’t like your liver enzyme numbers.” (Now don’t forget, I’ve heard that for years.) But then she followed it up with a 1, 2 knockout punch. “You must have severe liver damage, and I am going to refer you to a gastroenterologist. In order for me to make a confirmed diagnosis, you need a liver biopsy.” That’s when reality kicked in. I was horrified by her statements and the word biopsy was like a dagger to my heart. Flashbacks to my father and his suffering haunted me. This happened in January 2019, and my biopsy wasn’t until March, so I suffered for two months with the unknown. In between praying, meditating, and leaning into my faith, I did all kinds of research on liver biopsies and was not happy when I found out you are awake (with anesthesia) for the procedure. That was most terrifying. In March, my husband took me for the procedure, and I did survive it. After that, my doctor went on vacation for two weeks. That was the most agonizing two weeks of my life, waiting for my results. Finally, she called me on April 1, 2019 at 5 pm. I will never forget it. I was at my desk on pins and needles waiting for that phone to ring. She said, “Cherita, this is not what I wanted to tell you.” At this time, I am feeling nervous and anxious and the tears were welling in my eyes. She says, “You have stage two liver cirrhosis.” When you hear cirrhosis of the liver, you automatically think alcohol is the culprit, but that did not fit my profile. I had NASH: Non-alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH), which is an advanced form of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; it is caused by buildup of fat in the liver, and yes, it is linked to being overweight, among other things. I was besides myself. I did not want to have a meltdown at work, but I did. She went on to tell me that unfortunately, there was no treatment or reversing it, but we could work to stop the progression. If the progression could not be stopped, I would have to be put on the liver transplant list, and there was no guarantee I would get one.
Scripted - Page 6
If that wasn’t an eye-opener and Come to Jesus Moment, I don’t know what was. That’s when I made up my mind that I was going to lose this weight because I refused to be put on a transplant list, and I did not want to suffer the way my father did. I said to the doctor, “What do I have to do?” Dr. Rich was emphatic: If I did not have drastic weight loss in the immediate future, she would add my name to the transplant list. She referred me to the Ohio Health Weight Management Group. On my first visit, I recall being in the waiting room and looking around, noting I was the smallest one in there. The other patients who were considerably heavier than I was with oxygen tanks and wheelchairs kept looking my way with curious stares. I was thinking, “If you only knew!” I had two doctors and a nutritionist, and they recommended gastric bypass surgery. I remember them asking me what my goal weight was, and I mentioned 160 pounds, since I’m tall. They said that wouldn’t be a problem. I attended classes and got educated on what my lifestyle change was going to involve. I had to be on a high protein diet and lose weight before the surgery, which entailed eliminating alcohol, caffeine, sugar, bread, and pasta. After additional testing was done that ruled out any underlying issues, I was approved for the surgery. And this time, Little Debbie was issued a permanent eviction. At the time of surgery, I lost 40 pounds. Even my coworkers noticed a change. I had my gastric bypass surgery on a Friday and came home on a Sunday. I was blessed to have a visiting nurse who checked on me. After just two weeks, and for the first time in twenty years, I was under 200 pounds, weighing in at 198. I wanted to do a cartwheel, somersault, and a back flip all at once. This was quite a journey. I had a lot of naysayers saying, “Oh girl, you lost 50 pounds on your own. Why do you have to go through surgery?” The objective of the surgery was to make sure that I did not go back to my old habits. The surgery was a tool, not a resolution. The mindset of reprogramming was on me. I had to put in that work, and I am still putting it in. Today I weigh 143 pounds and because of my determination, my liver disease has not progressed, thank you Jesus! What makes you a survivor? What makes me a survivor is the motivation and desire to be around for my grandchildren. I want to attend graduations. I want to attend their weddings. I want to be here for the birth of their children. I want my legacy to know that Grandma did this for us. She did not give up.
Know of a phenomenal woman who has survived the odds and would like to be featured in an upcoming newsletter? Email email@example.com Let's show her some love!
Remembering John Lewis, Civil Rights Activist, Trailblazer and Advocate Let us remember this prolific hero of the civil rights movement and beyond. May we always get in some "Good Trouble."
Scripted - Page 8
Schedule your free coaching session today and use the power of the pen to tell your story! Use this link for a personal coaching session. https://booking.appointy.com/authorjcgÂ Select: Introductory Coaching Session for Aspiring Authors
Thanks to those who came to the Writing Emporim Open House! More Dates to Come!
JC's inspiration and take on current events. Also highlighting women who have beat the odds.
Published on Aug 6, 2020
JC's inspiration and take on current events. Also highlighting women who have beat the odds.