Friday, October 01, 2010


Being breast cancer awareness month and all, I have to be honest. I have a love / hate thing with the pink ribbon.

Poly is nodding already but for the rest of you, I will try to explain my feelings. (I don't claim to speak for her, or anyone else who has had breast cancer. Your mileage may vary)

The ribbon is good because it is kind people with good hearts trying to reach fools like me who never dreamed they would ever have to worry about cancer, and educate us, and remind us to get the checkups we need even when we are unemployed and depressed.

It's people who want to encourage me to fight, giving me scarves and hats and so on... All with the ribbon- many kind gifts of loving support.

But the ribbon is a trigger reminder of all things unpleasantly included in the package deal that I never wanted and oh look, there's "why me" and a bunch of other things that well up. Fear and pain and needles and medicines and being the only one awake in the house at 4:12 a.m.

It's a reminder that my life is forever changed. It's something I'll always have to have in the back of my mind. Watch for recurrence. Take the drugs. Keep the followup appointments. I basically lost eight months out of my life to a disfiguring disease, and sometimes it's hard not to resent the ribbon as a tangible focal point for al of those issues.

People don't always recognize me, as I've blogged about, and some days I still don't feel quite like me. And now and then I brood while I palpate the dents and gaps and tattoo marks left behind. It's over in most people's minds, and I try not to linger in that part of my past, but I haven't quite escaped.

But I come back to thinking about the generosity of so many people in my life, and I am immensely grateful for my family and friends, as well as for the dozens of medical professionals I have encountered in the past year. Nothing underscores that quite as nicely as the viral video going around (just search for Pink Glove Dance, on YouTube ) - dozens of people just like the ones who took care of me... I love it and it makes me cry all at the same time.

My son is organizing a charity baseball game with his eighth grade class and I have to go there and be brave and try not to cry. I am proud, very very proud of them, but nervous about going.

It's October, and pink ribbon time.


Meoskop said...

I'd like them to move it. Because it's my birthday month, and now forever and ever my birthday month is also CANCER month and a shameless money grab by companies than often donate barely a token amount in exchange for gaining sales via the CANCER marketing. And then those well meaning people think 'oh, I bought all this pink ribbon stuff, I don't need to donate.'

emmay said...

It's okay to cry this month and every October for the rest of your life. This cancer thing changed you in ways you haven't yet discovered, babe. And I'm so glad you're here to be sad and mad and everything else.
I know I haven't had cancer, but the thing it is most easy for me to equate it with is the birth of my babies and the fact that they, particularly Ruthie, were critically ill. I didn't have the meds and the needles and the machines and all that, but I watched my babies endure that. THAT changed me. And there was (and still sometimes is) the wondering how it changed who they are...if only...would they do this, would they not do that, etc. And EVERY year without fail, when we drive to the Crossings for our April walk, my eyes fill up the second I see that big purple March for Babies banner. Every single time. I feel a little silly sometimes, but hey, it was a pretty monumental thing.
And you...that was a monumental thing. If my kid were planning a charity baseball game, I'd be a big sobbing mess. BIG. SOBBING. MESS. I will give you a giant box of tissues to bring with you. Cause it is OKAY to feel fact it's good....I think I'd wonder if you didn't cry a little at that game!!
And you can love and hate the pink ribbon all you want. Not that you need my permission.