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  "Cancer of the spirit" is a debilitating condition that is caused by circumstances, events, or situations that cripple your ability to cope with everyday living. It can be triggered by physical or emotional problems, and disables you to some extent. It temporarily alters who you are, thus having an adverse impact on the way you approach life.    Ife

  Cancer of the Spirit, the book, weaves ten distinct stories, about the lives of ten women ranging in age from 23 to 79, into a colorful quilt of all-too-human struggles and exhilarating triumphs. It describes the heart wrenching, devastating, or other overwhelming circumstances that caused each woman to develop varying degrees of a condition that trampled her spirit. The stories transcend racial, ethnic, social and political lines, and are somewhat based on the lives of women whose paths the author crossed at some point in her life. Those interactions provided her the kind of real-life experiences evidenced in Cancer of the Spirit. One or more of the women could very easily be you are someone you know. With one exception, all of the stories are fictitious. One story is author's own.

Helen's sessions with Dr. Harlee are now once a month. During a reflective period after a recent session, she had a rude awakening. She realized that she was not the only one in her family suffering. She exclaimed to Dr. Harlee, "It hit me like a hammer that Leon and Alexis are also suffering from a bruised spirit, but I didn't realize it until now!" At that moment, Helen decided to do everything in her power to help Leon and Alexis come to their individual place of self-love, self-empowerment and self-respect, as she has. The family has begun that process by having family sessions with Dr. Harlee. They have also had extensive discussions among themselves about the symptoms and impact of depression, low self-esteem, fear and other debilitating conditions. Amazingly, they have even had success in relating these conditions to the challenges that Leon and Alexis are currently facing. They also have had in-depth conversations about the obvious changes that have occurred in Helen as a result of her taking excruciating, but necessary, steps to make her severed spirit whole again. Helen is a much more relaxed, energized, healthy, happy and pleasant-to-be-around person. Leon and Alexis are much more open to making sincere attempts at strengthening their family unit and reclaiming the joy it once exuded. I think recovery is imminent for all of them.

Jerome has made quite a few changes in his life. He attends church every Sunday with Dominique and the girls, and has even joined the Deacon Board. He and Dominique decided to work through their problems, and so far the outcome has been good. Both of the girls are doing fine. Rebecca is almost back to normal and will begin doing a little running soon. She is more positive than she was before she was incapacitated, if that's possible. Her near-death experience has caused Jerome and Dominique to see what is really important in life, and taught them to faithfully show their appreciation for one another and their family. All of them feel very blessed these days.

Although Ena has peace-of-mind about her decision, she is still heartbroken. She says that without the truth of the lines of her journal, she doesn't know if she would have had the courage to let Ali go. She still loves him so much, but knows he's not for her. There are too many little things about him that she can't bring herself to trust. She knows that someone will come into his life who can handle them. She can't, and hopes he will understand. Ali wants to get back with Ena. So far, she's had the strength to not allow that to happen. Tears roll down Ena's dimpled cheeks whenever she contemplates her life without Ali.

Marlana, Edgar and Tina made a very painful, but necessary, decision regarding their mother. Through much agonizing thought, and many, many conversations, they have decided that she would fair better in a nursing home. The level of attention that is now required for Marlana to adequately care for her mother is too much for her to handle alone. Marlana thinks that her mother senses this, and is having a negative affect on her. Her mother now makes statements like, "I know you will be glad when all of this is over", or "How long is this program going to last?". Marlana said that her mother has even had a few crying spells, which is not typical of her at all.

Marlana and her siblings think that their mother will be stimulated more by being around other people her age, and by being involved in some planned daily activities. When they were growing up, their mother was such an active person, involved in everything. Although the decision to relocate her to a nursing home has been a very difficult one for them, Marlana and her siblings believe it will be better for their mother because she will receive the care she now requires from a trained staff. They think that the interaction with other nursing home residents will also uplift their mother's spirit.

The talk therapy that Marlana has undergone with family and friends; her discussion with her mother about briefly leaving her with her aunt; the decision to relocate her mother to a nearby, highly rated nursing home; and her family's financial well-being have boosted Marlana's spirit. Her self-esteem has soared one-hundred percent. She now feels rejuvenated, and is so happy that this time last year she acknowledged that she had REALLY overcome her ongoing feelings of insecurity. That freed her soul.

Hattie Mae is still mourning the loss of her fourth husband, Jake Palmer. She and Sybil are interacting with each other much better. Although Hattie Mae is still quite physically fit, her memory has gotten much worse. She doesn't bring up many things that happened in her past anymore. Sybil takes her to the program for seniors two or three times a week. She now looks forward to going. She spends the remaining four or five days at home working on small projects that Sybil plans for her. Hattie Mae has been in the program for two years now. After all these years, she doesn't seem to be concerned about not having a man in her life. She seems more content than ever. We'll wait and see.

Sybil is much more friendly these days. She also has learned to be more patient and giving. She's enjoying having time for herself to do some of the things that she had deprived herself of for so long.

Leesha and Dwight remain very happy. They do quite a bit of entertaining at home now. That has given each of their families and friends an opportunity to become better acquainted with one another. They also do quite a bit of travelling, in and out of the country. They recently returned from a trip to New York where they saw The Lion King. Leesha looks radiant, and delight is written all over Dwight's face. Everyone is happy that they found each other in the golden years of their lives.

Makeba is doing very well, both personally and politically. She is an active member and key organizer for the National Political Study Program. Her association with Jemonte has made such a difference in Makeba's life. She is so happy that Jemonte is in her life, as he is that Makeba is in his. They are doing fine together and are talking about getting married soon. Makeba has also lost about thirty pounds and is still going to the spa and eating properly. She now feels completely comfortable and satisfied with herself.

Makeba was saddened by the death of Lamin Ture. She is so happy that she got the opportunity to hear him speak in person. She credits Brother Ture and Jemonte for the qualitative change she has made in her life. She encourages each reader to check out the website of the AAPRP,, a real-life political organization, similar to the one she is a member of, that was spearheaded by the late Kwame Ture.

Sharon's book, Cancer of the Spirit, has been published and was released in May. She has received very positive feedback on her book. She feels that she has finally tapped into her true calling - writing. She loves it and plans to do much more. She already has ideas for three other books. Her family is so proud of her, and are glad that she has found a way to reach many others. They have realized for a long time how important that was to her. She has been told by at least three good friends, who are also writers, that she has been a real inspiration to them. They have all begun their writings. She wishes all of them the very best.

As everyone knows, Ama received her Masters degree in Social Work several years ago. It was such a joyous day for her and her father. While working on her Masters, Ama began researching possible locations for where she might set up and direct a program for at-risk youth. She decided to stay in Houston. Her Master's thesis was a prototype design for the program she launched. Ama is also the key facilitator for the Soothe Our Souls sessions.

Ama's father and Ms. Ethel have since married. Ama is happy for him. They stay in constant touch with each other and are very close now.

Surprisingly, Catherine and Michael have worked out their differences and are living in the same area of their brownstone again. After much soul searching on both of their parts, they realized that although they still have things to work out, they do still love each other. They also see how important it is for their children to have both of their parents in their lives. Together, they are working with an excellent family therapist who has been a tremendous help to them.