Today, we are introducing you to "Tamara Halliburton"
Share info about you, where you are from originally and where you are now, and what you do?
I am an almost 50-year old Black woman working in IT during the day and as a therapist at night. I was born and raised in Detroit, MI and continue to be an advocate and resident of my beloved city.
What have you overcome? Share a little about your topic.
In September of 2019, I was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. After having surgery and 12 rounds of chemotherapy, I continue to be free from colorectal cancer three years later. However, in March of 2022, I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I will have surgery in late April and will find out in early May if I will need to have chemo again and/or radiation. The doctor believes we caught it early so he is thinking I will only need surgery. During both bouts with cancer, I was in the midst of pursuing graduate degrees with me attaining a master’s degree during my fight with colorectal cancer and currently pursuing my doctorate.
How did you know you needed to change?
While both of these diagnoses might feel terrified, I believe I was extremely blessed in both cases. With my first diagnosis, everything was discovered right before COVID-19 became rampant in the US, so I was not impacted much by it. Had my diagnosis come a few months later, my surgery might have been delayed or my chemo treatments. Additionally, both diagnoses came really quickly. I have read stories from other cancer survivors who took months and years to get a diagnosis. In both cases, I had doctors who were very knowledgeable about their fields. As a matter of fact, my GI doctor who found the colorectal cancer, suggested a colonoscopy at 46 because he knew the recommended age for having that procedure had been dropped to 45 for African-Americans. If I could give a word of advice for others suffering with cancer, it would be that you are not alone. Find support groups (virtual or in person) so you can hear of others battling this disease and you won’t feel so alone. You will want to have support to beat this!
What steps did you take to implement change?
Being a therapist, I knew that I needed to deal with my feelings, fears and anxieties or I might not make it through this medical crisis in my best emotional and mental states. I believe that I have become more patient during this experience and try to see the good in every situation. I had more than one chemotherapy nurse tell me that I would come in for most of my infusions with a smile on my face. This journey has taught me to value each day. I have started traveling again and make sure that I participate in activities. This might seem easy to some, but I am very introverted, so sometimes I had to push myself to go to these events. And, after every event, I always feel better and glad that I participated.
What encouraging words can you leave for the readers?
If I could have any words of advice for others, it would be to live every day like it was your last. That doesn’t mean to be irresponsible, but don’t give in to internal (or external!) voices telling you that now is not a good time. Also, make sure to incorporate self-care into your life. There is no need to feel guilty about taking time for yourself – even if you have children or other family members who depend on you. You will not be your best you if you don’t take care of you. What is self-care? It’s different for each person. For some people, it is taking a hot bath. For others, it would be a daily jog. It is whatever you do that helps you temporarily forget about your problems. It is SO important that you take time regularly to spoil yourself.
What is your favorite quote?
“I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.” Harriet Tubman
"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity." Christopher Morley
Provide the best ways to contact you.
Best way to contact me is via email.
Tamara has been in the workforce for over thirty years and is just finding her stride. She is finally working in roles where she is able to fulfill her passions for learning about new technologies and helping others.
She currently works as a Product Owner during the day and as an Outpatient Therapist at night. She is also in the first phases of starting a business in the real estate industry. An avid learner, she has degrees from Wayne State University, Central Michigan University and Michigan State University and completed a certificate program at Cornell University. She also tries to find time to volunteer and has volunteered in the past as a tutor and with the Big Brother Big Sister
Tamara has two little spoiled dogs. Along with her dogs, she loves to travel, read, listen to music and watches way too much junk TV. She also has dreams of writing a book.
Victorious Living Culture hopes you enjoyed learning about our guest Tamara. If you would like to nominate someone to be a special guest, contact www.NoreenNHenry.com