Entering Your New Season | How 2 Woman Overcame Life’s Obstacles

Lashondra breast cancer survivor

Two dynamic women discuss conquering their fears and overcoming strenuous life events while using podcasting and content creation to cope, re-invent themselves, and continue living their best lives in their new season.

Meet LaShondra Cherry

Age: 27
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Connect with LaShondra: Blog | Twitter | Instagram | The Officially Street Podcast

Who is LaShondra Cherry?

I am LaShondra and I am originally from Fort Wayne Indiana. Currently I live in Philadelphia, PA by way of Stroudsburg, PA, by way of Passaic, NJ. I’ve been in Philly about a year and a half now and I love it. By day I am an instructional designer (I design and develop training materials), and by night I am a podcaster. I have been doing radio/podcasting since 2012. I started off with my radio show Heart2Heart and then gradually moved into podcasting. I do my podcast with two guys, Jayomega and Syer. We have been podcasting together for two years and we are showing a lot of progress.

Last year I was diagnosed with adenoid cystic carcinoma, which is a salivary gland cancer. I had to get surgery to remove the cancerous tumor in my mouth; this procedure resulted in me losing my last three teeth, gums, and the roof of my mouth. I also had to complete six weeks of radiation therapy; this caused me to get sores in my mouth, which hindered me from eating and talking. I also lost all of my taste buds and a lot of hair in the back of my head. It was pretty rough but I always tried to stay positive; I believe that maintaining a positive mindset helped me recover so quickly. I am almost a year cancer free and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life right now.  

What were your greatest fear(s) while conquering or overcoming your obstacle?

My greatest fear was the fear of dying. I had never undergone anesthesia before and one of the biggest risks of undergoing surgery is dying. I was afraid that doctors put me under and that would be it. My surgeon at the time also mentioned the possibility of having to take a skin graph of my thigh which would have resulted in a lot of pain and a crazy scar post-operation.

Another obstacle that I went through and am still experiencing is hair loss and a noticeable change in texture. I lost a large patch in the back of my head so I couldn’t wear my hair in a ponytail for a while (anyone with natural hair knows how annoying it can be to not be able to throw your hair in a quick bun). My hair is growing back but the patches of curl-less, stringy and thin textures are challenging for me to style/manage. Right now, I am experimenting with braids. I haven’t had braids since I was a child but for now I’m finding them very convenient.

What purpose(s) did podcasting and content creation serve during your period of transition? 

I think my blog helped me a lot when it came to releasing my feelings about what I was going through. I was able to tell the stories about my surgery in addition to my treatment, recovery, and my interactions with other people throughout this journey (good and bad). I love that my blog has not only helped me cope with what I was going through, but it also allows me the opportunity to help and talk to others.  I like that I am able to inspire and make readers laugh. People read my blog and say “wow, she is going through all of that and I’m over here complaining that I lost a shirt, where are my priorities?”; I feel that telling my story give people a sense of perspective. I also write my blog to be a source of inspiration and encouragement for someone who may be experiencing similar situations as I, if not the same.

Now that you have entered into your new season, define or describe what “living your best life” means for you. 

Living my best life means being truly and genuinely happy. For myself I achieve that by doing whatever I want to do, when I want to do it. I’ve learned that in order to be truly happy you have to take 100 percent control of your life, and that’s what I’ve done. I rarely worry about the “what if this negative thing happens”; instead I decide to exude positive thoughts and energy. I just do what I want and if something bad happens I worry about dealing with the (potential) consequences afterward.

One thing I took up when I was going through radiation therapy was arts and crafts. I started using my creativity to make my apartment look better with things that I’ve made. I also picked up crocheting again and started making baby booties and crochet tops for my friends. I think having a hobby is another important aspect of living your best life.

Meet Jackie Warren

Age: 44
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
Connect with Jackie: Website | YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

Who is Jackie Warren?

Peace beautiful people.  I am Jacqueline Warren: a mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, friend, accountant, and in the world of social media ImJustJackie.  For years I was a career driven hard working wife and mother; my routine was work and take care of home. I reached a point in my life where I wanted more in my career, and with a lot of hard work and sacrifice I decided to go back to college and obtain my degree. After doing so I gained momentum in my accounting career, which later led me to starting my accounting and tax business as well as a commercial cleaning business with my (then) spouse. My husband and I worked side by side, but not too long after I noticed a shift in the marriage. I honestly thought it was just us being around each other all day (working together and being a married couple), so I decided to start a solo project. I had just did “the big chop” with my hair so I started a YouTube page, Facebook and Instagram based on natural hair and eventually makeup.  As I started to flourish with my social media, life happened and I faced my biggest obstacle thus far; I discovered that my spouse was unfaithful, and from there my life was never the same. After five years, five stages of grief, a multitude of ups and downs, self doubt, heartache and heartbreak I finally had my breakthrough.

What were your greatest fear(s) while conquering or overcoming your obstacle? 

 At that time my greatest fears were: insecurity, low self-esteem, being broken, questioning my self-worth, and not being able to get past the hurt and pain.

What purpose(s) did podcasting and content creation serve during your period of transition? 

I began content creating (YouTube) during the beginning and middle of the separation.  It gave me a sense or purpose, and was a much needed escape from the separation.  Podcasting came along at the end of the separation leading into the divorce.  I had a handful of brothers in podcasting who helped along the way with their advice and insight. I’m so grateful for them! Without podcasting I would not be in my process of healing today (which includes therapy).  

Now that you have entered into your new season, define or describe what “living your best life” means for you. 

Wow, I definitely feel like I’m living my best life.  I took my life back with the decision to file for divorce. My life started again on May 23, 2018 (the day my divorce was final).  I define “living my best life” as waking up everyday loving the person I am (flaws and all), enjoying life to the fullest, being selfish (nothing wrong with me time), and living for me.