Front Porch Insights

A Blog written by members of RSP’s Young Advisory Board

The Resilient Sisterhood Project (RSP), founded in 2012 is a nonprofit based in Boston to raise awareness and empower women and young adults of African descent affected by diseases of the reproductive system.  Regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status black women are disproportionately affected by diseases of the reproductive system.  These diseases include, but are not limited to uterine fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome, as well as breast, cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancers.  We approach these diseases and associated burden through a cultural and social justice lens because we believe that poor knowledge of reproductive health is primarily related to health, racial, and socioeconomic disparities.

This blog is a project of RSP’s Young Advisory Board (YAP) which is a cohort of women of African descent between 18 and 40 years old that supports RSP’s mission to address reproductive health issues that affect black women. The goal of this blog is to target women in that specific age range. We are a collaborative blog of scientists, medical professionals, teachers, students, community advocates, and women affected by reproductive health issues.  

With this blog, YAP plans to increase awareness about the diseases of the reproductive system and overall reproductive rights while providing resources to help navigate the systems that contribute to health disparities.  One of our major hope for this blog is to have a very active community of readers—whom we hope will engage and contribute their ideas, suggestions and questions. The blog will come out the second and last Thursday of each month during which we will explore a specific theme.

Below is a partial list of some the topics that will be addressed in 2019:
Disease/ disorder/ chronic conditions/social determinants of health

Breast and other Gynecological Cancers
Uterine Fibroids
Black Maternal Mortality Crisis
Early onset puberty
Reproductive health research
Personal Advocacy (Conversations with physicians)
Holistic health/ wellness (related to reproductive health)
History of Black bodies being used for medical research
Environmental and exposure to toxic chemicals
Chronic stress of racism
Vitamin D deficiency

 Our January post is on breast cancer – written by Yassmina McDonald (Add bio).
Over this coming year, we would love to hear your voices. Come join the sisterhood as we break the silence.  

I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.
— Audre Lorde

Still I Rise
By Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise. 

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room. 

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise. 

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries? 

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard. 

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise. 

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs? 

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide. 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.


By Yvonne Gomez-Carrion

This is unlike the scar the resulted from the overhead light that crashed onto
my midshin when I was 8.

Or the resultant scars the bilaterally ruptured Achilles tendons caused on the back of both of my legs.

This scar is  personal.
It marks a magnificent place on my body.
The organ that fed my precious babes.

It looks perfect in my eyes, who cares what anyone else thinks.
My magnificent gland brought and brings me much pleasure.
I loved and love to touch her.
That is how I discovered,
That there was a part unrecognized,
There was the unwanted, uninvited mass.

That lead to the evaluation, discussion.
The operation, the scar...
The chemo...
The radiation.

There would be NO real guidance without that first step.
A small segment,
The lump,
A smaller sampling,
The nodes,
The lack of normal  architecture will guide.
How much of me is organized or occupied by poorly differentiated rogues?
No one knows with certainty.
There are algorithms.
There are calculated models.

What is the cell type???
Will they follow rules or not???
Cancer, by definition, has no rules.

How much and what kind of treatment to do?
The recommendations, the accepted risks, the balance?

You or me???

Quantity or quality???

Have statistics!
Do they apply to me?
One size does not fit all.

Am I  the less than 10 % ??

Crush... kill.... destroy!!!

You or me...

Will you be, when my chosen the journey is complete???

How will I be???

I will be me...
A better me...
A more appreciative and thankful me!

Cancer, you did mess with the wrong sister!!!

Written by
Dr. Yvonne Gomez-Carrion, OB-GYN

Dr. Yvonne Gomez-Carrion is a gynecologist who has been in clinical practice, affiliated with Beth Israel Deaconess since 1987, after a residency at Columbia Presbyterian in New York City. She is Assistant Professor in Obstetrics & Gynecology at Harvard Medical School. She believes passionately in a holistic approach to health care. 

She is problem-oriented gynecologist who honors the long term, genuine relationship with her patients. As a surgeon, she performs complex open procedures as well as minimally invasive surgeries, including advanced laparoscopic and hysteroscopic techniques. She has devoted her professional life to educating patients about their bodies' functioning and resilience.