Bonfires and Bluejeans

Randoms from my spot next to the fire

Just a little rant…

For the most part, I really don’t like the color pink.  At least not the Pepto-Pink color that has now become the overly sweet color used to celebrate “Pinktober”…all things boobies related.  Considering we just (thankfully) ended the month of October (aka shameless-retail-exploitation-of-women-with-a-life-altering-illness), now is as good a time as any to give you the low down on my opinion on the horrific ploy to make the world a place full of happy boobies.

I am not heartless..in fact I would like to think that, in some instances, I can possess a rather large heart.  One thing, however that will get my heart to shut down quicker than all get out is for somebody to sugar coat a reality that is far from sweet.  This may be a character flaw, but I would much rather look at it as an opportunity to bring the truth to the masses.  Especially when said masses are being continually taken advantage of in the name of happy boobies.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am so in favor of saving the lives that are altered by breast cancer.  Women (and men!) face this diagnosis regularly, and while more often then not it is an illness to be managed and worked through.  Definitely not saying breast cancer is likened to a cold, but there are so many different stages and points along the breast cancer spectrum.  Not saying each path and struggle isn’t significant in its own right…far from it.  But unfortunately this idea of “Pinktober” has lessened the impact of the potential seriousness of this disease.  While most women will ultimate heal physically from their ordeal, others will not.  Others are doomed to die.  It’s the point blank, blunt truth.  I cannot imagine being somebody diagnosed with end stage breast cancer having to watch somebody diagnosed while in stage one…maybe a little lumpectomy…might even have to do a little bit of radiation.  But really.  What are you fighting for?  The chances are extremely high you are going to make it through physically.  Probably with quite a bit of emotional and physical scarring, but make it none the less.  For those whose daily struggle is literally a fight to live, to even just survive, their perspective would be so different.  Literally planning a week ahead is difficult at best.

Why does this matter?  Because what on earth does buying something with a pink ribbon really have to contribute in the long run?  I’m just as guilty as the next person and have bought my fair share of “pink” over the time since my own mom fought her own battle.  These corporations-who have no intent on making a difference-prey on the victims and families of the carriers of this disease.  Everything from fun, goo filled boobs that must have been targeted to middle school boys to feel up to the pink wrist bands that share the sentiment of “save the boobies”.  Seriously.  How on earth is this saving lives?  Funding research?

I read this the other day on a blog of  woman who is facing the reality of her near death from metastasized breast cancer.  She realizes it will be a matter of time and has now stopped all treatments.  Her take is one that I am beginning to share:  If your beloved husband was hit and smashed flat like a pancake by a Peterbuilt truck, would you get a tattoo of a Peterbuilt truck put on your body to memorialize the horrendous accident that claimed the life of your soul mate?  Would you wear a tshirt with the image of the truck around proudly, even if it was just to help “remember” the accident?  As if you could ever really forget…

I’m really not on a soapbox here.  After watching my own mom struggle with her own battle with breast cancer…still in the NED (no evidence of disease) phase before any physician will publicly come out and say she’s cancer free (that’s a whole different post…so no comments on this part, please) I am gaining a whole new perspective of this horrible cancer.  Talk to me in a few more years, when she is clinically “out of the woods”.  It deserves much more than a pepto-pink ribbon.

Every struggle is different.  Each person’s reaction to this horrible cancer, its long-term effects, and lifelong changes to family members and caregivers are unique.  It is beyond cold and heartless to lump them all into a pink-power month…what about the other 11 months these women (and men!) are fighting the battles of their lives?  The real battles…not the ones that you might have had to take a week or so off work to put the band-aid on your lumpectomy and maybe a day to get the radiation all set up deserve a bit more attention-and action-than wearing a pink rubber bracelet.  Did you know that September is ovarian cancer awareness month?  That it is much more deadly and harder to detect than breast cancer?  That the treatment is less effective because many women don’t even go to the doctor until it is at stage 3 or 4?  That many women are diagnosed at a much younger age…so many still with young children at home that are left without moms.  Where is the awareness for those life and death battles?

There is a reason for this little tirade.  If you really want to actually do something effective…instead of buying cereal that displays the pink ribbon (because that must mean they make huge donations to cancer research) then try this.  Sign up for this website and actually do something that can save a life.  It’s a research program that you can sign up for the different research trials and studies that you qualify for.  If you meet the guidelines, then sign up.  Could be as simple as filling out a questionnaire or giving samples of breast tissue.  What do you have to lose?  Nothing.

I have seen the effects of breast cancer.  Of the rare, invasive kind that can come back with a vengeance.  The kind that they say “oh she had breast cancer…now it’s in her bones”.  I can say all of this because I’ve stripped the drain lines from the surgical site of a radical mastectomy.  Nothing…and I mean nothing…can prepare you for the emotional toll of seeing this.  The side effects of the chemo.  The moment a nurse walks in an the nausea sets in before the chemo is even started because that’s all you associate with the process.  The burned, charred skin of radiation.  The seemingly forever lasting effects of the drugs and radiation on a body.  Going to the bathroom is still a chore months after everything is complete.  As a daughter, living for the results from scan to scan.  That’s how I know.

If there is anyone that could possibly be saved because of your 15 minutes to fill out a medical questionnaire, would you do it?  If a mom could be told that she actually had time to attend her daughter’s wedding…her son’s graduation…live to see grandchildren…would you do it then?  Or would you just stick to buying the granola bars that have a ribbon on it?

I thought so.  Here is the link to The Army of Women.  If you want to make a real difference, this is how you can.

God bless~

-Jennifer

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It’s Hey Day ‘Round Here

Yesterday passed without anyone giving it much thought, I’m sure.  Maybe there were a few birthdays, or anniversaries.  Maybe yesterday was a day of somber remembrance for others.  Each day holds something significant for somebody.  Overwhelming a bit, if you think about it.  I’m going to go out on a limb here, and figure that yesterday passed without the vast majority of people realizing that it was International Hey Day.  Yup.  Big day ’round these parts.

Hey Day celebrates the spirit of stepping outside of your box, trying something new, acting like a completely awkward dork, and being rewarded for all of it the rest of your life.  Who wouldn’t want to honor and revere a day full of such meaning?  While the day probably flew by in a flurry of busy activities, work deadlines, and cramming to get to-do lists completed before hitting the proverbial bedtime wall, the day has become a wonderful point in the year for the hubs and I to stop our busy lives and just reflect.  And laugh a little bit.  Ok…a lot.  At me.

Had you told me that three years ago, on October 2nd, I was going to be meeting the person who not only is the love of my life and keeper of my heart, but best buddy through thick and thin, I would have told you to go jump in a lake.  Or something like that.  Probably would have just rolled my eyes at you. 🙂  Not really in the mood during that particular stretch of time in my life to be out and about meeting new people, I decided to jump waay out of the box and head over to a get together.  Where I seriously only knew 2 people.  Out of like 300.  Okay, maybe 50.  But it really felt more like 300.  Normally not one to worry about meeting new people or going to events, during that time I just hadn’t been in the mood.  I was going through a period of living in my shell, so to speak.  So, after a seriously busy day of pumpkin patchin’ it up with the kids, we loaded up the truck and headed over to the good ‘ol hoe down.  (Sounds better said that way, huh?)  I was wore smooth out from not feeling well, the kids were wore smooth out from playing, and we were not going to stay very long.  Uh huh.  Famous last words.

And thus…the birth of Hey Day.  There, in the midst of all of those strangers, stood the most glorious sight I had ever laid my weary eyes upon.  Ok…dramatic a tiny bit.  But still.  He was the tallest drink of water I had ever seen.  And, in my smoothest of ways, I made a huge dork of myself.  In only the way that I can.  Cause I’m good at it like that, I guess.  How?  One word.  And one word only.  Hey.  But it wasn’t so much the word that catapulted me to a level of dorkdom that I had only aspired to attain before.  It was the obnoxious way in which I managed to mutter it out.  Not so much mutter, really.  Croak.  Yeah.  C-r-o-a-k.  What I felt I was going to literally do.  Cause it wasn’t the cute, bat my eyes and flip my hair in that flirty way every girl, deep down, dreams of acting in the presence of a potential suitor.  Naw.  There’s always that one girl who manages to act a fool.  And what did he do?  Besides probably laugh and roll his eyes at this cute little dork wearing a flannel shirt and jeans.  What can I say?  I did look kinda cute. 🙂  Say hey back.  In the dreamiest of voices.  He didn’t croak…he was so smooth.  For whatever reason (probably a flying football coming at my head or something totally uncool like that) we parted ways.  Walked on.  Yeah.  That was it.  Totally thought I blew my chances.

Not one to chase, I just chalked that one up lost to my proverbial weirdness and just didn’t think he could handle it.  Boy howdy was I wrong!  Three years later…here we be.  Celebrating the most awkward of moments between two strangers.  Not romcom material, for sure, but just what the two of us needed, in God’ perfect timing of course.  Several funny stories and favorite memories later, we finally found each other.  And not a moment too soon.

I have to be honest here.  Hey Day is really a two day, two part celebration of sorts.  Why, you may ask?  Because.  I married somebody who makes a point to try and confuse me and has honed it down to a fine skill.  It’s an art, and he is so good at it.  For so long now, he has argued that it was actually October 3rd (that was a Sunday) and not the 2nd.  Each time causing me to pull up Google…cause that is the end all to all discrepancies in our conversations.  I made the executive decision to extend the celebration to cover both days.  In case he forgot again what day is actually was.  Cause I’m all kinds of awesome like that. 🙂

While Hey Day 1 and 2 has probably passed in your life with nary a peep, it made a significant enough impact on ours.  Huge impact.  Crater in the earth impact.  I appreciate the fact that he was able to look past all of my dorkyness and seriously awkward ways and see the potential in me.  So much more than I could ever see in myself.  Having him as my husband is a blessing that there just isn’t words enough to explain my gratitude for.  And the fact that he’s willing to remember Hey Day and it’s significance for us…and the impact it made on our future…and be willing to overlook my awkward introduction into his life…well that’s all just icing on the cake!

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