As a speaker and facilitator, I strive to address topics in the realms of empowerment and microaggressions in black women's health care delivery and what role can cultural humility play through the lens of mindfulness, self-care, and resilience in order to 'Secure Your Oxygen Mask First'.
Presentations and consultations can be tailored to the needs of each project or for an organization, and are delivered with authenticity and inspiration.
Secure Your Oxygen Mask First!
My personal story of resilience, perseverance, and survival inspires audiences of all ages to excel and thrive in their personal and professional lives, despite obstacles.
I am a Survivor, an Author, Speaker, Daughter, Sister, Wife, and a “Bonus Mom!” I am a Women’s Health & Cultural Humility Advocate, and most importantly, a woman that began sharing my on-going journey through the joy & pain of living with chronic illnesses and pain, surviving multiple health challenges & experiences - but realizing how they brought love & light into my world through building my resilience, positive mindset, and embracing self-care.
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice."
Resilience, chronic pain, self-actualization & affirmation were some elements that brought me to start Meraki Life & Style, LLC, more specifically - The Meraki Empowerment Collective. Here is a peek into my 20+ years of overall health and reproductive health challenges that have shaped me into the woman I am and continue to transform into.
Almost 25 years ago I was diagnosed with the chronic and extremely painful disease, StageIV Endometriosis. I'll never forget the night it happened, my life as I knew it was about to change forever. This searing, gut-wrenching pain awoke me out of my sleep during my sophomore year in college, causing me to fall out of bed. The pain was surreal, almost out-of-body, screams of pain were the only thing that enabled me to catch my breath. My boyfriend at the time was startled awake by my sobbing and screaming as I lay on the floor gripping my abdomen, writhing in pain.
He jumped into action and reached out to his fraternity brother, who had a car on campus, to rush us to the emergency room. I was in so much pain I began to hyperventilate and was unable to walk on my own and they had to carry me through the dorm, to his fraternity brother's car and ultimately into the ER. Considering none of us knew the cause of what had brought me to the ER in such distress, the doctors consequently had to rule things out - unfortunately, this process took over 4 hours of Xrays, ultrasounds (regular and vaginal - which was further excruciating).
The ER called in 4 surgeons to examine and observe me and decipher my lab results as I lay on the gurney in mind-numbing pain. It wasn't until about 2 hours into my ER visit was I informed that the ER doctors were trying to determine if my appendix had ruptured and if so, that is why they couldn't give me pain medication that could mask this possibly life-threatening condition and would require immediate surgery to remove the appendix. Once it was determined it wasn't my appendix, 4 hours later, the symptoms were attributed to a multiple cyst rupture, and I was finally given some pain relief. At the time, the attending physicians were still not sure what had caused the rupture, but eventually sent me on my way with the potential diagnosis of endometriosis - which can only be definitively diagnosed through surgery, and that was my welcome into the 1 in 10 women world of Endometriosis.
As a result of this diagnosis, I was told at 19 to get a hysterectomy and I wouldn't be able to conceive or even carry a child to term because it would put my life in danger. Knowing that this may become a reality has always been at the back of my mind but having to actually go through with it is entirely different. Some days I feel so numb.
In 2019 almost 23 years later, 20+ OB/GYNs, 5 surgeries, 2 runs on lupron (horrible side-effects), 3 runs on Mirena, on my last pelvic MRI, it was found that I had a 10cm fibroid-the size of a melon, (1 of too many to count- that was only just 2 small ones years ago- with my severe Adenomyosis and Endometriosis) that it's time to go through with a hysterectomy. Unfortunately, the hysterectomy has had horrible lasting side effects resulting in a transected ureter, chronic pyelonephritis, several hospitalizations, 2 in ICU, 3 additional surgeries, a blood transfusion and added daily pain, with a pending nephrectomy, all during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's still a struggle some days just to get out of bed and do regular day to day activities. During my 3rd surgery, in 2012, I was also diagnosed with Adenomyosis and Fibroids, which added another dimension to my journey with chronic illness and pain and subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2018.
As I continue to recover from my recent brain surgery, I continue to persevere and push through and am thankful for each moment. I pray one day there will be a cure for endometriosis (NO having a hysterectomy or babies does NOT cure it)! I am so happy to see it's starting to get the long-overdue attention it deserves, shout out to Endo Black, Inc. for continuing to elevate this life-altering and debilitating disease. I look forward to sharing the reality of being an EndoWarrior, brain surgery survivor, and what some of us thriving with chronic illness and pain go through in our daily lives, and provide resources for others as we press through this life. Thank God I don't look like what I been through. But I AM STILL HERE!!🙏🏽😁#smilethroughthepain
A mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Self-care is an important and relevant way to maintain our own health and well-being while being of service to others.
My mission is to create relationships, not transactions.
Resilience is the process of bouncing back from adversity and continually learning and growing.
As a consultant, advocate, and strategist, I thrive on sharing my experiences and knowledge to help you integrate successful culturally appropriate and mindful solutions for your group, business or organization.
Available to speak and/or present at:
Scientific studies reveal that when you visualize an action, you stimulate the same brain regions as when you actually perform that action. Learn to embrace and manifest your goals through meditation, vision boarding and journaling!
With 20+ years of public health experience in planning, evaluating, and conducting policy-relevant public health programs, designing, and analyzing research and evaluation projects. I excel at establishing rapport and communicating with teams to ensure high quality content capture and analysis of projects. My background in behavioral and community health, women's health in communities of color, and health disparities, enables me to ensure health programs are designed to meet objectives and systematically execute organizational priorities within stated timelines. I have recently focused on developing solutions for developing culturally appropriate interventions surrounding healthcare delivery, linkage, engagement, and retention in care in diverse healthcare settings. It has led me to continue to share my passion by helping others. Our ramp up process is designed to empower your team and outfit them with the tools they need to succeed. Talk to us today about how we can support your growth, limit your turnover, and put you on a solid track to success and sustainable inclusion.