The Brotherhood, Friends and Stuff . . .


Happy Hump Day, All!

So much to be grateful for …

Well, I am taking some time out from the political drama to focus on myself … and my health!!  Last Friday, I had to do a bunch of things in preparation for my most recent move to a local hostel near the airport in Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood. I had to rent a car, then went to see the results of a couple of friends efforts, Marie Achille of H.E.R.O. and Desmond Hannibal, Program Director at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center who hosted a job fair at the AARLCC.  I had done a book signing for my first book there back when my mother was alive and have remained a friend of the Library and Desmond.  Marie and I worked together with A.C.O.R.N. back in my community organizing days in Nashville and Orlando … and have remained friends and business associates. Then, I went to get the results of a biopsy done by my urologist on my prostate …  I had no time to do a post or blog … So, I waited until today.

Well, the urologist said that according to the biopsy, there are traces of cancer in my prostate …  Now, I didn’t want to hear this.  I do have a friend who kind of walked me through the process as he had just taken a few tests that I had to take, and, had had the biopsy, too!  I was kind of ready … but not that ready.  When I got the biopsy done, I was wide awake … Many folks told me that they wouldn’t have done such a procedure without being knocked out completely with anesthesia!!  The staff at the urologist’s office was very nice so I didn’t think that I had to be worried.  It  wouldn’t have helped anyway because they caught me completely off guard!!  Needless to say, I felt “violated” … yet grateful that the prostate cancer was identified early enough to allow me to treat it and hopefully, alleviate it.  One of my life’s toughest moments was witnessing my father, Isaac H. Cook aka “Big Ike”, expire in my arms from his bought with bone marrow cancer, prostate cancer as well as various tumors that had developed in his shoulders.  My dad … “Big Ike” … had refused treatment.  I am his son in more ways than one ….. I am NOT a big fan of doctors and hospitals, procedures nor surgeries either!  Yet, when informed that my “PSA” (a score measuring prostate health) test score was rather high, I decided that it would be best to get it checked out.  I did … Later, I sobbed, once alone … I didn’t want to hear what the urologist told me.  The next step is to get a bone scan and then a CAT scan to see if it has spread to my bones, as it did with my dad, or other tissue in my body.  Those of you who know me, also know by now that I share some rather intimate events in my life … in hopes that someone gets inspiration, motivation … maybe even direction in their own lives!

After posting on Facebook the fact that the biopsy came back positive, I received overwhelming feedback, uplifting messages of hope, even some private messages from folks who have had the same issue to one degree or another!  One guy whom I know from Princeton sent me a personal message elaborating on the fact that I called him “brother” in response to one of his replies.  He is not an African American, and, after a few “inbox” messages back and forth, we both agreed that we are part of a “brotherhood”!  Those of you who know me know that I like to include EVERYONE that expresses some positiveness, uplifting messages of hope and overcoming as well as a sense of comradery!  Thus, the title of this e-mail/blog post – “The Brotherhood, Friends and Stuff”.  I felt the concern, the care, the love and the encouragement from so many people, women included, even some folks who never really expressed any interest in me or my life … and it was cool!  In other words, it felt good.  Many of those folks are receiving this e-mail as we are also friends on Facebook … so … Thank You … and I love youse!  My daughter was the first to know by text, my sister was the second … and a good long time friend, Gordon Derouseau in Tarrytown, NY was the third.  Then I sat back in the parking lot of the hospice at Florida Medical Center where my mother passed away … and quietly sobbed …  I had to let it out!

Well, it is “Hump Day” and the middle of the week as well as Memorial Day Weekend is upon us!  The weather is really “summery” here in SoFlo and I have a class to teach tonight.  So, may we begin our journeys and enjoy our day … and the weekend!

Thanks for reading!


John I. Cook, Director

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