Now that October is here you are probably seeing those pink ribbons everywhere you look because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It seems that there are more and more products sporting a pink ribbon in every aisle of every store. I never paid a lot of attention to them before. I knew what they were for and would occasionally pay more to get whatever it was so a few more cents could go to breast cancer research but that was the extent of it. This year more than ever I am fully aware of each and every pink ribbon I see. At first it sort of excited me and I would smile and think out loud to myself, “I can relate to that.”
It’s hard to explain but another part of me does not identify with a pretty pink ribbon. I tend to think that men who get breast cancer (YES men can and do get it) really can’t identify with a pink ribbon! There was nothing pretty or girly about the whole experience for me. I think back on the surgery, and the chemo, and the side effects, and the radiation, and the drugs, and the doctor visits, and the hospitals, etc. I can identify more with a bandage covering stitches from a lumpectomy or a bandage where an IV was pulled out than I can with a pink ribbon. I can identify more with a band aid covering where the blood work was taken from or with a scarf covering a bald head than I can with a pink ribbon. Don’t get me wrong…I am all for research and raising both funds for it and awareness but in a way, a pink ribbon troubles me. I am left now with scars from surgery and drugs and tattoos from radiation that pink ribbons cannot cover up.
I am proud to be a survivor and I will wear a pink ribbon with honor as one but I’m not so sure it is a good representation of breast cancer. There is nothing pretty or pink about it. It’s ugly. There’s nothing cute about it. The closest resemblance I can think of is after your hair falls out and starts to grow back in it is like a soft fuzzy peach, like a newborn’s head, and I guess that reminds you of a cute baby or a pink ribbon!
Aside from my ribbon ramblings since it is Breast Cancer Awareness month, let me take this opportunity to once again remind you ladies that are due for one, to please schedule your mammogram! I know it’s no fun but many times the things that are truly worth it will cost us something….in this case discomfort, okay, a lot of discomfort. It was through a routine mammogram that I was diagnosed. Often times you cannot feel anything but an x-ray will pick it up. If you wait to go until you feel something it is probably already advanced. If you have the opportunity to walk or run for Breast Cancer (Race for the Cure, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Think Pink Walk, etc.) or can buy a product to help fund research, do so! Kohl’s has two pages of items $10 or less that when you purchase them, 100% of the net profit goes to supporting the fight against breast cancer. Check their website under women’s cause merchandise Elle collection. This is just one example. Your donation could be helping out yourself down the road or your own mother or sister or niece or wife or daughter!
“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12%) women in the US will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
The American Cancer Society’s most recent estimates for breast cancer in the United States are for 2012:
- About 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- About 63,300 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- About 39,510 women will die from breast cancer” (http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer/DetailedGuide/breast-cancer-key-statistics)
Maybe a pink ribbon is not the best representation for breast cancer but I can think of one symbol that I would agree with. Whenever I see a cross I think of the sacrifice that Christ made for me. There is nothing pretty or pink about it. The cross was rugged and probably splintered. Nailing anyone to a cross is ugly. It had blood dripping on it where they nailed his hands and feet to it. At the same time because of what was accomplished on it, it holds a certain kind of beauty. Christ died on the cross but he did not remain defeated. He conquered death. His nail scarred hands show His love for us. ” He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8 NLT He loved us so much, he stretched out his arms and died.
I guess it’s the same with cancer. It’s ugly,there’s nothing pretty about it. At the same time there’s a certain beauty in the battle scars because we are survivors. We are fighting or have fought the battle and we are winning or we have won. We are victors and that is a beautiful thing…pink ribbons and all.