It is October – a month known for it’s ghouls and goblins, the best college football games in the season and, these days, it seems to be a Pink-out just about everywhere you go. Do you even notice anymore? I mean, do you actually notice with purpose? Have you become immune to the dominance of pink just about everywhere in October, much like you become immune to the newest, hottest song being played every hour on the hour on the radio?
Do the pink football cleats during NFL games, the pink cheer pom-poms at high school pep rallies and games or all the pink ribbon images that will be included in the countless retail emails that are in your inbox this month make you stop and actually TAKE ACTION?
Well they should. Let me explain…
I could name every woman that has been a part of my social circles over the past 25 years that has been stricken by breast cancer at some stage or phase, but I won’t. What I will tell you is that I would need more than two hands to count them…and these are my close circle of friends. Here is my reality – I have prayed from afar, I have taken meals for their family, I have visited them after surgery, I have watched them say the word “cancer” as easily as they say “hello,” I have watched husbands fearful of losing the one person who keeps the household and family going, I have seen friends already so thin become waifs as a result of aggressive treatment, I have seen teenage kids bewildered at the thought of losing their Mom and yet, I have not had a mammogram in 2 years. In all of those friends’ battles (and those battles were FIERCE), I only attended two funerals. I know, funeral-talk is harsh and my candidness makes you want to hit delete. But my point is that there are LOTS of diagnoses every hour of every day and with the help of early detection, one’s body awareness of when something feels “not right” and the tremendous research and technology that makes early detection and wildly successful treatment a great outcome, survival is a probability. So why the hell was I not taking 30 minutes out of a day to get my mammogram?
You see, I’m that “every woman” who says, “I’m too busy, but I’ll get around to it” or worst yet the one who says, ”it’s not in my family history.” Yep, full disclosure – that’s me and for many of you that is you, too.
So I called one of my good friends the other day to talk about business and noticed she was talking just above a whisper. She mentioned that she was in the waiting room waiting to have her mammogram. I glanced over at my reminder from January 2016 that I had still not scheduled my mammogram (I leave it sitting under my office phone as a “to do”). You did not misread that, SHE-friends – yes, January. And that notice was because I had already gone well over a year without one.
I was already planning my India Hicks “Give Together” events for this month and realized what a hypocrite I was when it came to the meaning of “pink.” So,SHE-friends, this month I am all about the pink, both for my own personal health (because I love my family) and for the SHE-vivors in my life. Some of you fought the horrific fight over a decade ago, some of you fought it in the last 5 years, and some of you are in the midst of the battle or have just recently won it. Some of you, SHE-friends, have yet to be diagnosed.
So what will every pink armband and every pink hair bow and all of those pink towels and ribbons and t-shirts mean? I am taking notice, I am taking care of me, I am celebrating the SHE-vivors, and I am raising funds for continued research, education and technology. We are WINNING this battle, but we are far from done.
I am excited to partner with a good SHE-friend this month to raise funds for the P.L.A.Y for Pink project at the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Several others I know will be doing fundraisers for the Susan. G Komen organization, and others are even fundraising to assist a friend or family member currently in the fight for her life. Support them and that effort.
Say lots of prayers. Listen to your body because sometimes (not all of the time) it sends you the “something is not right” message in the form of breast lumps, tenderness or other possible symptoms of breast cancer.
And, SHE-friends, GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM.
Pink is definitely my favorite color this month and, yes, every time I see it I will think of one of the many SHE-vivors in my circle of friends and be so, so thankful they are still here to call, laugh with and to share great Facebook posts of their kids or grandkids.
Oh, and by the way…my mammogram is this Tuesday at 7:50 AM. When is yours?
Note from the SHE files: There is Power in the PINK!