Not So Crazy About Pink

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I’m not sure how I feel about October as Breast Cancer Awareness month. Don’t get me wrong. I dutifully place pink ribbon stickers on my outgoing mail for one month out of the year. I feel the tug at my heart as I hear a survivor’s story. I am all for a good cause and this is a great cause. Too many women get breast cancer and too many women die from this disease.

The problem I have is that everywhere I go, I am reminded that I had breast cancer. My scars and not-so-distant memories are enough to remind me daily that I need to see my doctor yearly, get a mammogram, do self-exams and be aware. Sometimes, I struggle to put the cancer behind me, especially so in October. I just want a break when I run my errands, browse the store aisles, eat my meals or watch t.v. But there it is: pink ribbons and pink packaging everywhere. I can’t escape it.

Maybe this year it won’t bother me as much. I am one year further along from the original diagnosis. I am healthy. I feel good. Pink is even starting to grow on me. For those times when I get overwhelmed by too much breast cancer pink, I picture Jesus wearing pink. Jesus always makes me smile and reminds me that His pink represents compassion and the power to heal. Now that’s pink I can embrace year round.

Proverbs 15:30

A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. 

Proverbs 16:24

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 

Proverbs 17:22

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Not So Crazy About Pink

    • Donna, Jesus in pink… a nice mental picture, isn’t it. 🙂 I base it on Hebrews 2:14-16, “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants.”

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  1. I honestly never thought about this issue from your perspective…I guess I always assumed that survivors would see all the pink as support, and I understand you get that. But I can also see how it could be an unwelcome reminder. Thanks for making me think about this differently…always good to see a fresh point of view! Glad you’re feeling healthy and doing well! ~ Sheila

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    • Sheila… At the beginning of my cancer journey, I invited another breast cancer survivor to a “pink event.” She turned me down and said she wasn’t interested. It struck me as odd, but I didn’t say anything so as not to judge her. Truthfully, I didn’t understand her negative response. Now I do. There can be a fine line between receiving wonderful support (as intended) and experiencing the raw emotions of your own cancer journey all over again (unintended consequences.)

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  2. That is truly beautiful and enriching. Jesus wears the colors that shares both our worst and our best, our fears and our triumphs, our joys and sadness. Colors that remind us we are never alone. I hope and pray for your good health and that of your love ones.

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    • Island Traveler, As always you write in such a way to touch the depths of our souls. Beautiful words. Thank you for your prayers. I thank God over and over that in January, I will be a four year cancer survivor. Cancer pulls on you to always look back, but God lifts us up and propels us forward to better days in Him. Also, I didn’t know until your last post, that there have been health issues with your wife. Prayers for continued and complete healing. Also, way to go, losing weight and eating healthy together and it isn’t even January 1st! 🙂

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  3. You expressed how I feel about pink in Oct – its been 15 yrs since I was diagnosed and was given many pink ribbons things. Don’t get me wrong, I treasured those items from friends who did not know what to say but wanted to encourage me and give me hope, but sometimes I needed to escape from the reality of having breast cancer. I must say I am not sure about Jesus in pink but I know He would wear it to offer us His Hope, His Strength and His peace. Gods blessings to you.

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    • Patty, Thanking God that you are at the 15 year mark and counting! I still count the 1/2 years which puts me at 4 1/2 years post diagnosis. I agree with your comment about Jesus in pink. That mental picture of Jesus in pink was my way of trying to think “outside of the box.” It also reminded me that God can and does take me by surprise with extra special doses of His Hope, His Strength and His peace!

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      • Funny, I still think in the 1/2 yrs too. But really on July 9 is my 15th yr of being diagnosed. I count that day because that was the day my journey began. But technically it is Jan 2 for 15 yrs cancer free! (so 14 1/2 yrs!) That was the best New Year ever! I remember everything of that day, even the book I was reading… “God Weeps” by Joni Erickson Tada. Perfect timing.

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        • Patty, I wasn’t sure if I should count from the day of diagnosis or from the day treatment ended. I even asked my doctors what was considered our “cancer birthday.” I didn’t get a clear answer, so I started celebrating two cancer “birthdays.” I figured it was good to celebrate the end of cancer more than once a year! Actually, I am thankful every day. It is not so easy to forget that you were a cancer patient as we will always be a survivor with cancer attached to our names and our lives. BTW, I started out my 2011 New Year with a cancer diagnosis and ended the cancer journey with the start of summer and my son’s high school graduation.

          I assume that your cancer was caught early like mine. Six months of treatment tells me that you did not have chemo, correct? I am so glad to hear from survivors like you that are on their 15th year. Too often, I run into women who are dealing with a reoccurance (or even a metastasis) at the 11th year mark. I have to admit that I fear the 10 to 15 year mark. In the past, I thought if I made it 5 years I was in the clear and at 10 years, certainly no more fears.

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          • I like that having 2 cancer birthdays to celebrate. Actually I had an aggressive form but stage 2, so yes they caught it early enough. I had three areas of cancer with three different types, all in the left breast. I had a mastectomy and 5 months of chemo and 4 wks of radiation (supposed to be 6 but I was doing so good they thought 4 would be plenty) that is because they found one cell in my lympnodes. So considering my age the dr wanted to destroy it – no problem with me. Glad he was an aggressive dr. I met ladies when I was first diagnosed who had 10 – 15 + yrs cancer free and wondered if I would make it. I knew so many from my support group who passed away.
            We all belong to same sisterhood – and share a bond that we hope no one else ever will.
            We will celebrate 20+ years out – the happiest day was when I was told I am no longer maintenance but back in preventive care.
            I took tamoxofen and then the other one which I can’t remember the name of….see chemo brain still strikes!! Are you taking any additional meds?
            Blessings for continued health!

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          • Oh Patty, what a journey you had. You reached “the light at the end of the tunnel” and are now looking back with gratitude! You are probably thinking of the AI’s (aromatose inhibitors) like anastrozole. The last time I visited my oncologist, he mentioned that the recommendations are evolving in terms of 5 years of tamoxifen followed by another 5 years with the AI. When I first started, it was 5 years of only one of the two preventative medication.)

            I am thankful that the doctors are learning more and more how to keep us going for 20 years out. Medicine and prayers for complete healing! 🙂

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          • It was a long journey though wasn’t it?! But we have all been given a special gift.
            I was estrogen positive and after my treatments I was thrown into menopause but then had complications and had a complete hysterectomy in which they found pre cancerous cells in my ovaries but clean margins. So I was on the drug they give to post menopausal women, I did a search….Femera….gee after 5yrs you would think I would remember! 🙂
            I was active in a support group and the american cancer society – and hope to get back to it someday. But now working full time again it doesn’t leave me much time to volunteer.
            Have a great week!

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          • Patty, thanks for sharing your story as it encourages others regardless of where we are at in our own breast cancer journey. Every October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I post stories about my cancer journey. It is my opportunity to do something positive with pink and look back on how far God has brought me into a good future despite a cancer diagnosis!

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          • Many women need to hear your message, I am sure you are blessing many women with strength and courage. And through you writing other women won’t feel so alone.

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          • Patty, It is interesting to note that it was a comment from another breast cancer survivor in 2011 that gave me the “freedom” to express the thought, “Not so crazy about pink.” It was the beginning of my journey before I could even be sick of pink. She shared her feelings about all the breast cancer awareness events. Her feelings took me by surprise, but I always kept it at the back of my mind to figure out the why. I believe that we are most helpful when we are transparent. Pink is pretty, but not always what we need for that moment!

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          • so true… I always felt like I was betraying the cause because I did not like pink ribbons or not active in the American Cancer Society. 🙂 I found out soon that there are other ways I can use this experience to help others. It is amazing how God uses each us differently but for the same purpose.

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