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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From the Yellow House…

Hey y’all! Hope your weekend is off to a nice start! We here at the yellow house have been busy with the goings on of 6th and 3rd grade, work, and recovery from surgery. And mama is just busy with it all! The big hubbub around these parts is that the sweet husband has had to go through another (his second) shoulder surgery in just over 6 months. And y’all, it’s on the same shoulder. He’s a real trooper. And unlike this chick, he has managed to still look so danged cute through it all. Figures.
     During the last couple of days I’ve spent taking care of him, I’ve had some time to think. Not that I’ve had a lot of down time, mind you. He IS down to one arm. Try to go to the bathroom with one arm all tied up, and you’ll see where I’ve been needed the last couple of days. I’m a good wife, but I digress…

Something that I’ve been thinking about lately-really it’s something that I make a priority-is my marriage. Albeit, we’ve been married just over a year, but we have faced some unique challenges in our short time married. We also came into our relationship with a background of struggles that have made us who we are, and have given us a starting point from which to base our standards off of. Funny how, at the time we were going through those times, we never thought of them like that. While we can both say that we work to make sure we both experience the butterfly feelings and goosebumps regularly, real life does rear its ugly head and show us who’s boss now and again. And with the sweet husband’s surgery, it has definitely tried to do just that. But. Instead of giving in to the inevitable stress that this physical issue has brought, I’ve learned a lot from it.

It has been a year now since my sweet husband was injured at work. Long story short…he hurt his leg, took care of business, and went back to work. Fast forward a couple of months and he noticed that his shoulder had been especially stiff and sore. Nothing we tried had worked, so off to the doc he went. Nothing she tried worked, and off to the shoulder doc he went. All the recommendations and physical therapy in the world couldn’t cure the torn stuff up in his shoulder. Figuring all of this out took a while, y’all. So off to the operating room he went. But that didn’t work. For the last 6 months, he has struggled with constant pain, lack of sleep, frustration, side effects of constant medication, and everything else that you can possibly imagine. It took its toll on him, and on all of us.

I’m not gonna lie here. Some days, he frustrated the living hell outta me. It was hard to maintain the happy wife face while he was suffering. I took it personally when he lashed out from not feeling well. But the next day he would be back to normal. Talk about adding insult to injury (get it??). Looking back over the last year, I can see that we have grown so much closer through this trying period than through the happy, lovey-dovey days that we have. Don’t get me wrong, I adore those days…we have plenty of ’em. He is one of the most romantic men out there. But for seeing him at his most vulnerable, doing what I can to make him the most comfortable, being able to care for him and honor him with complete love, I can honestly say that I feel closer to him than ever. Isn’t that ultimately what I should be doing anyway? In sickness AND in health? Making sure everything I do brings him ultimate comfort, care, and love? Showing him my love by treating him gently and kindly? Hmm. Something to think about.

Now, this isn’t gonna be easy. He will still frustrate the hell outta me. I’m not innocent either, although I know I’ve gotta be easy-peasy to get along with! Speaking of…sounds like “somebody” needs their pants tied up. Wonder what he would do if I tied them in a double knot next time??

All my best…

~Jennifer (don’t forget to follow this blog!!)

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Up ‘Till Now…

     Ok.  So I realize I’ve been a bit behind on this blogging deal of late, so time to play catch up with our wild and crazy busy lives.  I swore I wouldn’t be one of “those” bloggers, but guess I was wrong.  Not the first time, and sure won’t ever be the last!!
     School is…well…school.  I dread it most nights but at the same time, I actually find myself enjoying learning new things.  I have caught myself saying weird things like “Shouldn’t this stuff get easier as I go along, since I’m learning more??”.  Makes no sense, I know.  But my brain is fried.  What can I say.  I’m learning the things I enjoy are not the subjects I originally thought I would.  I still have a love for sociology.  And truth be told, if ever there were to be money made in that field, I’d jump on it in a heartbeat.  But, alas, there’s not.  So why waste my time and money on something that won’t pay the bills?  Ergo my dilemma.  Still going with the business degree with a minor in medical management, but kinda leaning towards a masters in sociology.  That way all parts of my educational heart can be happy.  We shall see how it all turns out in the end.
     One week from tomorrow is one of the hugest days of all for us.  We close on our house!!!  I don’t know who’s more excited about what…us about more room or the kids about getting the puppies that are coming when we move.  There are so many awesome things happening for us that nobody can’t say that God isn’t involved in it!  He’s sure smiling on us!  Other than not having everything packed up yet (ahem…) we are all rarin’ to head over to the new house!!  We noticed that we have a fairly older man as a neighbor.  Let’s hope he’s a nice older man like the one that both Sean and I had as neighbors growing up.  There are so many kids and places to run and play.  Nothing like living in a col-d-sac!
     I’ve continued my healthy living changes…no more Cokes except for special occasions.  No candy except for when I usually have a Coke.  Nothing like having a Reece’s cup with a Coke.  Nothing but high protein, complex carbs, fruits and veggies to eat.  Coffee, unsweet tea (or with Stevia…yummy stuff!) or water.  Big changes for me!!  I’ve also become quite addicted to Zumba.  I absolutely love shakin’ it at 6 in the morning to get my day started off right.  And in the mornings there’s not a class offered, there’s always one later in the day.  I find I’m always checking the Colvin/Wellness Center schedules to see when the next class is.  I would say I MIGHT be addicted.  Just maybe.  Really in the scheme of things is that so bad?  There are so many other things a girl could be addicted to and I’m thinking working out can’t be all that bad. 🙂
     Why am I doing all the working out, you ask?  Well the wedding is coming up quick!!  I wanna be one smokin’ hot mama in that dress!!  Plus we have all the other pre-wedding stuff, too.  Pictures need to look good, too.  It is so exciting to be planning for our future.  All of our decisions are fun to make…it breaks my heart to hear about couples that fight and argue about their wedding and all the details.  This should be a happy day!  We are thrilled to celebrate it!!  Now the counting down begins!  Only 5 months and about 2 1/2 weeks left to go!  Plus we’ve FINALLY decided on our honeymoon details.  At first we debated on just doing a family vacation, but with some of our summer plans including a big one already, we decided that we needed to do a get away just for ourselves.  So….we chose….Savannah, Georgia.  We wanted a place in the south that neither of us had ever been to before.  We both love history and museums, so that will be perfect for a week away from reality to spend together, just the two of us.
     Hmmm….I think that just about covers it, for now.  That’s the high points of our lives and what we have going on right now.  So many new and exciting things are are getting to experience together and as a family.  It is incredible to be able to move along on the journey together with my best friend, who makes each good day the best day of my life and the down times so much more tolerable…dare I say even fun.  Just yesterday at work one of my co-workers commented on just how how happy I look and could tell by how I carried myself that my life is where it should be and that I am full of love and loved fully.  That made my day in more ways than I could ever begin to describe.  Because it is the truth.  Never before Mr. Man walked into my life have I EVER heard that.  Not one time.  I am finally at a place where I not only can love someone freely and without any kind of walls around my heart, but I can also love myself for all that I am and all that I have to offer.  I would say that is a huge change that has been ever evolving!         

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