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All Things Pink and Gratitude

So I’ve been debating addressing, commenting on, or just ignoring the Pink-tober hoopla. I mean, pink has always been a favorite color of mine. But we all know that is not what I’m talking about. For whatever reason, this hasn’t been the easiest emotional month for me. September was a rough month for me physically, having spent time in the hospital which was immediately followed by a large portion of my family and help team being sick, so it could be an emotional “hangover” from all that went along with the month that needed to just end. Then my completely loving amazing supportive mom brought me a breast cancer gift bag with absolutely no ill intention, and I figured it out.

I don’t really need to change the shoelaces in my sneakers to show pink ribbons to remember I have breast cancer. Every time I go for a walk outside no less. I am very AWARE. We won’t discuss the hair ties and headbands. It was so very thoughtful, and she did mean well. It was meant to give me a boost and support for a walk I was participating in. It just really summed up my issue for the last month. Everywhere I looked, I was reminded that I have Breast Cancer. I know you are wondering where the gratitude comes in because this sounds a little bratty. Hang in there with me.

When I was in college, my sorority’s philanthropy was based on breast cancer. Since those days, I have often put my money in that arena when it came time for donations. I’ve participated in walks locally. I never gave a second thought to the puns or salaries or who the organizations partnered with. Now I’ve really become aware of that aspect. There are quite a few experts who really do great research and delve into the pink washing subject and how to do the campaign “right” if there is such a thing. They can tell you where to best put your money to do the most good instead of padding the salaries of executives. They can also give you all the reasons that certain breast cancer supporting organizations really can be quite confusing when they partner with corporations that support things like fracking, which is known to release cancer causing toxins. Then there is the sexualization of breast cancer and all that Save the Tata’s/Second Base/Your Pun of Choice really represents. Let’s save the mom’s, daughter’s, grandma’s, wives, and friends. It is the people that matter. There is a lot of psychological stuff that I am sure goes along with having a mastectomy, and I can’t pretend to know that at this point. I can tell you from where I sit, if it would guarantee me a change in my outcome, I would gladly give up my Tata’s for a lifetime with my family.  And for some reason, metastatic disease is ignored entirely and my favorite morning show even apparently told a woman that she wasn’t bald enough to be a part of a segment. So I did learn a lot this month/year, despite my complete awareness that breast cancer exists.

Did you know there really isn’t a cure at this point? I’ve been surprised at how many people did not know that. When completing treatment the goal is no evidence of disease. They don’t use cure terminology. It can come back from the same cells and therefore they consider the same cancer recurring, in the best way I can explain my understanding. Distant recurrence/metastasis is the scary kind. As my surgeon just said, local recurrence is just “doing all this treatment over, it won’t kill you”. And when they say mammograms save lives, I mean early detection goes a far way to do so, but it doesn’t prevent the disease from invading your body. Genetics and lifestyle have a lot more to do with that than when you have your first mammogram from what I understand. But again, by mid month, I kind of stopped listening, reading, and tried to stay away from social media. It seemed like everyone felt like everyone else was just doing it all wrong. It made me question if I was doing it right. And honestly, that’s where I got frustrated. I mean, I’m doing it my best, but I have no idea if I’m doing it right. I just have it and go on day by day trying to be the best That Girl I can.

So this is how my October went. After a rough September, a new month was just what I needed. Joan Lunden was on the Today Show, and I was just as excited as all the survivors to have her be a voice of reason and I think she has done a lot of things right through this month. And I was super excited for their Power of Pink segments. I got all teary eyed over the summer when Hoda Kotb went through her 50th birthday health checks including her mammogram as a survivor herself and talked about her mom and her surgeon and all of the things I can relate to very well right now. As far as my where I spent my pink ribbon dollars, I actually ordered myself a couple of bracelets in the middle of September after looking to see how much of what I spent was going somewhere to the cause and what that cause was exactly. I didn’t order them to wear in October. I ordered them to wear. PERIOD! I will admit to having bought my family shirts for the walk I mentioned about from Under Armour’s Pink Power line without being able to find much on where and how much money actually went to the cause. And I’m still wondering what exactly their black and pink Superman and Batman shirts do for breast cancer, but I don’t claim they are wrong, I’m just missing the point. I participated in a Breast Cancer focused walk as part of a team that my employer had in honor of myself and another employee going through treatments this year. So many people participated and/or donated money in support of myself and the team. That was so touching, and it really came from the expected as well as most unexpected places. All of that gave me an amazing feeling that morning as I walked what I was able and felt their support. People, including my mother, gave me pink ribbon gifts, and I am beyond grateful for their love and support. So please don’t think I am ungrateful for any of that.

As we drove home from the walk, my daughter asked what all the pink ribbons were for. We have one on each of our cars, as do my parents. People had them on shirts. My mom baked muffins in pink ribbon wrappers. Everywhere you looked it was Pink Pink Pink. Pink tutu’s. Pink Ribbon balloon arches. Pins. Ribbon clackers. It was Pinkilicious heaven (for those of you up on the preschool books). That Little Girl’s and That Baby’s shirts both had pink ribbons on them. So I had to think fast and tell her what it really meant, to me, in very simple words. I told her that people were wearing them to support people with Breast Cancer, like Mommy has, and to show us that they love us and want us to be better. Today, a few days later, we saw a pink ribbon while we were out, and That Little Girl said, “Look, they are letting people sick like you know they are supporting you.”

So that is how my October is ending I would like to think. I am so glad I finally got the courage to start this blog and tell my story. I was very uncertain where this would go and with the support and help of a dear friend, I finally took the leap when I stopped thinking and just did it. I hope the blog reaches someone and helps them when they are going through something similar. I hope it helps those who know me know the story as it happened to us. I am staying away from the Pink Wars. However you choose to support the fight for a cure, think before you vote with your dollars. More than anything, I am ending the month thanking everyone who is reading the blog, praying for us, reaching out to us, helping us, supporting us, and plain loving me and That Family. Each and everyone of you is a huge part of why I am able to face each day and be the best That Girl for That Family with such an amazing support system behind us. Thank you for just being here!

 

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  1. […] new side effects, and everywhere I looked there was pink pink pink. Then at the end of the month I ranted about how to actually support the pink shopping and donation movement, and raved a bit about my […]

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