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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Do not color me pink...

So I don't wear pink. The pink ribbon is not for me. I do care about research, and I care about camaraderie and I care about fundraising but the pink ribbon bothers me. Maybe it reminds me of a two year battle I waged...I can either look at it like a purple heart or look at it like a seeping, gaping, pussing wound that won't heal...or I can just look at it for what it is. I am not a banner for survival. I know my mere presence reminds someone to get a mammogram or a hair cut or a new bra. I get it. I am fine with it but when I see the topless pictures of women, scarred and mauled, proudly showing their scars like they are some kind of gold medalist, I can't join the parade. The pink sisters in the tu tus, bald and flat chested, walking arm and arm...good for them. Not for me. Maybe I am still angry. I have a right to be or maybe I am just private in my struggle (so I say from my very public blog). Or maybe victory will never quite be mine as long as cancer holds the key. I can't say what. The compliments wore me out. How beautiful I looked, bald and tired (seriously...wha???). How you can't even notice my Double D's are now Negative A's (oh, okay) and how the 60 extra pounds I gained in two years of steroids is hardly noticeable (thanks for that). Do I sound bitter? Good. I should be. When my fake boobs rise to the top of yet another ill fitting bra, or I toss them altogether in search of a shirt that can cover scars up to my collar bone without looking like a penacostal minister's wife, when my fatigue creeps up and zaps the life out of me at noon, when my son asks me about the day he was born and I can't remember, when I show up at the grocery store and have no idea why I am there, when I put my kids to bed and hate the last two years of their life I have been robbed of...yeah, I can be bitter. It's my party. I guess I just don't want to ever be remembered in pink. I want to be remembered for being bald and sick but alive and present at my son's birthday party. I pulled up the strength and went - he was 3. I want to be thought of for taking my girls shopping for bat mitzvah dresses when I knew I couldn't fit into anything sassy and my head covering kept sliding off in the dressing rooms...I want to be remembered for thinking Joseph, after ten years of togetherness, is the most amazing man I have ever known. To this day, he is the only man I see. I want to be the girl who shoveled snow, showed up at every school function, swim meet and crew tournament...bald, sick, didn't matter. I was there. I was not parading down park avenue in my pink sweatshirt, I was walking kids to school in my jeans. I was not hugging and celebrating having cancer, I was sleeping during the day so when the kids came home, I could be awake enough to enjoy the minutia of math tests and lunch antics. I was crawling away from chemo, sleeping fitfully next to Joseph, keeping him up all night and knowing the next day how tired he was but he never said a word. I was going out once a month to my ABC (Anything But Cancer) dinners with the girls who carried me and knew I needed a margarita, chips and a lot of talk about sex. So don't color me pink. I am not a banner for survival. I am a mom and a wife and a woman who managed the hand I was dealt the best I could. I hate my body, I hate the scars and I hate the damage. I hate the ongoing medical visits, I hate the biopsies and the scans. I hate the panic I get at every doctor visit, the drive past the chemo clinic, the daily medication I take to help me sleep, and reduce hot flashes (but let it be known my short sleeve all weather clothing is kinda cool - saves money on winter clothes). I guess I can be considered grateful - I am grateful for my friends and neighbors and family, and my dad who never gave up on me. I am grateful for my two girls who grew up faster than they needed to, my aunt who took care of me for a week, non stop (and I do mean non stop), giving Joseph respite. The meals, the cards, the love...yes, I am grateful. But I am not pink.