I laughed out loud at the sentiment. "What do you think?!"
Aside: I do NOT have the BRAC1 or the BRAC 2 gene, much to the surprise of the docs.
My friend, Doreen, a breast cancer survivor and fellow Eastie girl cut from the same cloth, phoned a week later threatening bodily harm should the pink ribbon materialize on my bosom or on any area within a one-foot radius.
I don't care for the color pink in general (except on my daughter, of course, and other wee ones) and the irony is not lost on me that the flagship color of breast cancer awareness is -- what do you know?
I mean zero disrepect to the pink ribbons and those who wear them. First, you have to wear what works for you, what makes you feel positive and strong on your journey. Second, there is NO doubt that the pink ribbon's uber-success in raising awareness has led to numerous fundraisers and one, two or three-day walks that many of us have participated in. Because of the pink, the BC coffers overfloweth with cash-money, research funds and expertise. The pink is probably one of the biggest reasons why I have a better chance of surviving breast cancer today. So, I give thanks to the pink.
But with great success, comes ubiquity.
(Hence, LPD and I beating feet out of a North Scituate surplus store after a rapid succession of Susan G. Komen and other related BC commercials)
And when something becomes ubiquitous, it becomes generic. And when something becomes generic, it begins to no longer mean anything. The whole sentiment becomes diluted.
Anyhooters, with one in 8 women projected to get breast cancer at some point in their lives, each illness, life situation and journey will be far too unique and personal to fall under one symbol. People will find their own inspirations and talismen to get them through the battle.
That's why the Nana Rie bling (NRB) among other things, is working for me. And not just for me, but for my cousins who also have their own arsenal of NRB to draw upon for strength. My Aunt JoJo (their mom) was recently diagnosed with MF lung cancer. So, we're all wearing NRB in solidarity, and on Facebook, of course. (BTW, those who never met JoJo in person, she is the artist who hand painted my kids' "Make way for Ducklings" table and chairs that everyone raves about when they come over.)
If you don't know the story of Nana Rie yet, it bears repeating: Our Nana Rie was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 37, back in the 40s when it was a death sentence. She had a double mastectomy and went on to die at 81, in perfect health, after being hit by a car on her way home from a dance class. She took that disease DOWN, wearing her funky hats and pins and beads and necklaces the whole time. Holding onto a piece of her strength and fighting spirit can only make you stronger -- or at least give you a funky-ass baseline along the way.
Aside II: The only ribbon I will wear is the turquoise one, which represents ovarian cancer for my sister-in-law. Nobody has any idea what the turquoise stands for (yet) and people are always asking me about it. Caroline wears her turquoise ribbon as a barrette and says it's for "My Auntie Paula." I usually answer: it's for ovarian cancer, do you know the symptoms? Well, there aren't really any (asides bloating, but c'mon), they whisper. Cue Icicle Works: "Whisper to a Scream."
That said, I share my sack o' talismen that accompanied me to the Dana for my first 1-2 punch of chemo yesterday AM.
-Nana Rie bling: Her rhinestone heart pin that comes with me anywhere.
-A strength stone from my Aunt Joanne.
-Caroline and Paul's artwork, including an envelope Carrie addressed to me that says "Kate Jackson, I love you."
-Uncle Paul's (the orginal Boulos) cross passed along by Paula (he was a brother at Stonehill College who passed away a few years ago. We all loved him.)
-A metal from Majagoria from the Dell'Olio's that I'm wearing on a beaded charm bracelet.
- A necklace that James got me from a street vendor in Positano (right after 9/11) as a reminder that we'll return there during better days.
-I'm sure the bag will continue to grow throughout the journey.
Since I'm wearing as much as this stuff as I am carrying, James has begun referring to me as George Clinton, King of Funk.
That said, please stay tuned for tomorrow's installment (if I'm still upright): "Drip, Drip, Drip goes the Chemo." I'm feeling good today after yesterday's infusion. They told me my bad days will likely be Wed and Thurs, possibly starting later today because of my small size, aka "the boney cheese hater size," if you will.
Pointy note: I never meant for the PU to become a blog about cancer. But that's where we're at right now. And hopefully we will in a different place next year at this time. Thanks for sticking around in the interim. I appreciate you all. xo KJ