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Halfway through Pinktober

Someone recently asked me, as part of my recovery and moving on, how often I think about being a cancer survivor now. I wryly answered, “It’s October. It’s everywhere. Any time I am on the internet, turn on the television, or go shopping I think about it.” I mean seriously, we are aware folks. Can we rename it education, perhaps?

Whoops, sidetracked already. Getting back to the main point, this is not the easiest month to move on with my life.

Last year, as I have said before, I started this blog in October. While it might have been good for helping others to finally start getting my story out there, I didn’t realize the full impact submersing myself in social media would have on my emotions during the month the world turns pink. This year, I was at least  little more self aware of the social media aspects. I intended to really get moving on the blog again and finally get back to telling that story, but I feel like it would be lost in all the other conversations. It is coming though, I do promise!

Last year I did participate in my first walk as a survivor. Once you are diagnosed, my understanding is, you are considered a survivor. Last year, my employer had a team and it was named in honor of myself and a co-worker receiving treatment. I had so much support there in terms of friends and my family in addition to the co-workers, that when it was time to put on the survivor sash I was hesitant but able to be convinced.

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I’m sorry. These are pompoms that just resemble breasts by random luck.

This year, I participated in a walk separate from that already. This is the one I had intended to run, but have an injury that prevented that this year. See that. THIS YEAR! I’ll be back at it and do it next year. There was another survivor picture at this walk. With pink pompoms waving. And I didn’t have quite the support in numbers and was separate from my friend, husband, and daughter who were there. Waving a pink pom pom and smiling with a bunch of women who’s lives were forever changed by this bullshit disease. I kind of wanted to run away. And I know I wasn’t the only one. Then they had a survivor parade. And I love the concept. They were honoring us. Thousands of women, and a few men, parted and clapped and cried and allowed us to pass through. In concept, amazing. In reality, as a survivor, I was kind of wishing I could get to the side and clap for all the other women. Or grab those who were there with me to hold my hands and walk with me. I saw friends from childhood that happened to be there and I was beyond relieved to see people I know smiling at me instead of crying. And I know that everyone there had a reaction that was separate from my experience and based on their life and their reason for being there. Still, I’m just not sure that I can walk a parade and wave a pom pom.

I mean, sure I’m happy to be a survivor, but F that. Cure this bull$#*! so we can all move on and being a survivor is a given. I will wave all the pom poms I can carry right over to the scientists and chemists and patients in trials that are going to make that happen. What the hell did I do to wave a pompom about? I showed up! I did what they told me. Wave a pompom for my girls, my family, and my friends who were here for me.

So it was likely a combination of extreme discomfort with the attention and not being there yet emotionally, but whoa. I am definitely looking forward to wearing a sash and being surrounded by my family at the next walk.

And I’ll fill you in on a much lighter pink story. I was volunteering, for lack of a better term, and seated at a table for a breast cancer fundraiser. I had planned to wear one outfit and that morning changed my mind and quick threw on a favorite go-to sweater. It happens to be pink. Now, I am very aware of wearing pink now which is a shame because I can remember a time when my wardrobe was basically pink, black, or navy. I’ve branched out since those blush and bashful (and fuchsia) days prior to my diagnosis, but I do like a good jewel tone pink. I was sitting for a bit when I realized that I felt like I was kind of guilting people into supporting the cause as I was sitting there as a survivor. Kind of hard to walk past and be like NO I will not support finding a cure. Ha! I mean, you totally can if you happen to be someone seeing me there if there is a next time! No hard feelings. Awkward for all involved I now know. Anyway, someone I know approached and commented how coordinated I was. Without realizing it, I had perfectly matched the tablecloth with my pink sweater. Next time, I will plan to be uncomfortably warm! I am most of the time anyway (damn Lupron).

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