Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weird, Just Plain Weird

October is here, cooler weather is upon us (which makes this hot flashin' gal happy), and PINK IS EVERYWHERE...which leaves this gal feeling a bit weird. Here are a few reasons why...

1. I feel bad. As in I feel really bad that not every single month is dedicated to some sort of cancer awareness. Maybe it's guilt that I feel because my mom has cancer that I don't even know the color ribbon for (maybe there is not one), and I think her cancer deserves a whole month dedicated to fundraising and national awareness.
2. I feel irritated. There was a pin on pinterest.com that just did not resonate well with me last night. But it's odd because it kind of goes against what listed as #1 in my list. The pin said, "I hate breast cancer awareness month because more children die of childhood cancers that women die of breast cancer." WOW! Internal struggle here! Four of my most memorable patients when I was working as a nurse were all oncology patients. This hits home to me. At the same time though I wanted to comment on this person's pin and say "cancer sucks for all cancer patients so be a bit more sensitive when you pin things like this." But then I wonder if this person lost a child to cancer. I recently read a statement that said (and I'm paraphrasing) your pain is the worst pain you will ever have because it is YOUR pain. No one else "gets it." So maybe a little grace should be extended for this "pinner."
3. I feel desperate? Susan G Komen is the nonprofit that I believe put breast cancer on the national radar. Before Susan passed away, her sister promised her that she would work hard to find a cure for breast cancer and bring awareness. The reason October is dedicated to all things pink and breast cancer is because this sister kept her promise and has worked very very hard to bring national attention to this illness. I feel desperate for every other cancer to have that one person who works to bring awareness to the world about it. Lance Armstrong is one who did that for testicular cancer.
4. I feel like I want to vomit. Ok, maybe I shouldn't have used that term given how I responded to the last chemo treatment, but it's true. I took Chloe with me to run errands the other day and of course, my ever observant and extremely smart 4 year old said, "mommy, look! there is cancer stuff everywhere. Why did they put chemo things in the store?" After being taken aback for about 2 seconds, I just replied to her that October was a month when lots of people give money to cancer doctors so that they can work really hard to make a medicine that makes cancer go away forever. Dumb answer? Maybe. However, she was satisfied and didn't ask anything else...but she did continue to point out all things pink ribbon related for the remainder of that shopping trip. It became slightly nauseating when she even got excited about pink "chemo" bubble wrap. A four year old should not have to worry about cancer, chemo, mommy's hair coming out again, mommy's scars and boo-boos, and mommy having a sick tummy for days on end. That is what makes me want to vomit...that part of Chloe's innocence has forever been taken. She even commented that the cartoon character, Caillou, must have cancer because he has no hair. I want her to notice pink ribbons that would look adorable in her hair, and pink princess things...not pink cancer ribbons...at least not at her age. But who knows...maybe the Lord is already softening her heart to this and He will use her in a mighty way for other people with breast cancer.
5. I feel grateful for all of the research, awareness and attention given to breast cancer because I know it saved my life. Had I not known anything about self-exams I would not be here today - my oncologist has said that had we not caught it when we did that I would have been gone within a year. I know that awareness of the disease put self-exams, mammograms, and ultrasounds on the map and gave women more weapons in the fight against breast cancer.
6. And finally I feel a little melancholy. This month always makes me miss Kate. I miss her smile, her laugh, her voice. I miss the friendship that we so quickly formed in the chemo waiting room. I miss seeing her every week and getting together for lunch in between treatments. I miss having a sounding board and being a sounding board for her (although she is perfectly healed in heaven now and doesn't need a sounding board). I miss her especially when we do our annual Race for the Cure...it's coming up. She is supposed to be walking with us. It doesn't seem right to not have her physically here. But I would never wish her back. I would never ever wish her away from the feet of Jesus back to this sinful, fallen world that we live in. She is the lucky one if I am being honest. Her family and friends certainly aren't as her husband still misses and grieves her fiercely, but you know what I mean....

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