Antoinette: Surrendering Pink
Ok, I'll say it; "I hate pink!" This is an extremely hard statement for me to admit out loud, on paper, since pink has forever been my favorite color. Forever!
The pink passion started early. My mother always dressed me and my three younger sisters in the same style dresses and coats. We were differentiated by color. Mary had the carefree blues, Diana in gorgeous greens (the only light eyed and golden hair of the four who could carry all shades of green) and I in happy pinks. Being that Mary, Diana and I were close in age and they seem to grow at a faster rate than I, my faded clothes were passed over them to my youngest sister, Barbara, whose color was dubbed "peach". Our clothes and selves were easily sorted. We could be quickly identified by our colored peddle-pushers and peter-pan collared shirts.
Pink suited me. Pinks soften my dark eyes and evened my ruddy skin tone. While most girls outgrew their pink tendencies, I continued to wear pink from fluffy headbands to sparkly pink pumps. I preferred pink roses. Conveniently, pink tourmaline marked my birthstone. Soft spoken pink was not loud like orange or tough like red. Happy pink fit my practical and shy nature best. It was always mine.
Then breast cancer hit. Surgery, chemo and radiation therapy destroyed the Stage1 cancer and forever placed me in the sisterhood of survivors. This was not exactly a crowd I wanted to be a part of, but since 2007, I have been so glad to have this strong army on my side of the battle.
Pink, the mascot of breast cancer awareness, research, treatment and support, flooded my already pink themed drawers and closet. During that year, pink crept beyond the clothing and took center stage in jewelry, accessories, and house wares. I toted a canvas bag with the pink ribbon embroidered on the side and handles, and collected "Fight Like a Girl" and pink-sandal promotional pins to give away with the message to stay vigilant. I wore pink breast cancer awareness t-shirts and scarves to prove my participation in walks for the cure and donations to fundraisers. The ongoing research and incredible strides in treatment protocols depend on the efforts of the fundraising machines.
My pink earned a new role. Pinks were proof of my membership to the mission. I was proud to be a pink survivor and so happily grateful to have my health and long life ahead.
The bottom fell out in 2012. The menace came back as metastasized bone cancer. Some little cell(s) somehow survived the onslaught five years before and meandered its way to my spine. Unbelievably, some 20-25% of earlier staged breast cancer patients do develop Stage 4 metastasized cancers! Now cancer is forever.
I am lucky, though. It was caught early before any real damage occurred. After surgeries and radiation therapy, the ongoing treatment protocol has been minimally intrusive and invasive. I continue to work and take care of my family and home. Play fits in more frequently and there is a dent in an ever increasing bucket list. I look healthy. I can say, "I'm fine." with conviction. I consider it a chronic condition, not a terminal illness.
Despite all this "good attitude", I do feel betrayed by my own body and really angry! I am not one to rant over the unfairness of it all or sob through boxes of tissues (OK, I'll admit to having regular private pity parties). I do not intend to allow cancer to rule or ruin my body or my life. I am at war and war is not pretty. Pink has no place in war.
The purging of pink has begun. I adopted my sisters' blues and greens. Tough reds and bold purples seeped into my closet. The pink ribbon mugs live in the corner of the kitchen cabinet. The pretty pink shoes and handy totes have new homes.
I continue to contribute and participate in fundraising events, but forgo the complementary ornaments. The value of the campaigns cannot be overstated. I hung up the pink survivor role for a stealth warrior persona. My practical and shy nature reluctantly surrendered my beloved pinks to take on a bold stance for life.
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