The Hunt for (non)Pink October
They may have had difficulty finding Red October, but these days, October is pink in every direction, supermarket and street corner and even the Patriots stadium. Just the mention of it the other day set my teeth on edge (not actually too great a challenge given my current state of braces). “Whoa, Mom,” my daughter cautioned me. “Still a little sensitive about this issue?” She picked up immediately on the ire that rose swiftly and unbidden. “Wow. I guess I am,” I replied. I hadn’t realized how quickly the reminder of Pink October made my breath quicken and my annoyance surge.
And why? What was it about pink colanders, pink newspapers, pink stripes on the road, and pink ribbons that made me want to rip something apart and utter a scream from deep within my throat?
I would tell you that I’m not usually so reactive and short tempered, that I am generally pretty easy going and tolerant, but in this instance I cannot even seem to approach this demeanor. (which probably makes it some kind of misdemeanor). The thought of having to face the incessant stream of pink makes me want to hurl the most vile invectives at…at…well there’s part of the problem. At what or whom do I direct my irritation?
My rational self wants only my gratitude to be evident. After all, were it not for all the research and attention devoted to the treatment of breast cancer, I may not even have the luxury of expressing my multifaceted reaction. Shouldn’t my deepest thanks be foremost in my mind, and ahead of any other response? Ah, there’s that word that always complicates any sentence or thought. Should.
And of course, I am deeply and abidingly in debt to the teams of people around the world, and in my own community who have directly and indirectly contributed to my own well being, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I never forget this, and hope I express it enough to the people around me who supported me during and after my lengthy treatment for breast cancer.
However, if I allow myself to be completely truthful, I must admit that the non-stop reminders of Breast Cancer Awareness month sometimes make me ache with sadness and distress that there was a time when I was so deeply involved with it. When my deepest wish was to NOT be reminded of it, and to live my life like everyone else, like I used to, I would balk at every key chain, cheerfully displayed soup can, and sign advertising ways to GET INVOLVED. I wanted so much to be NOT involved, to have moments of beautiful, freeing distance from the whole freaking mess, that all the positive pink-infused intention and caring went straight to my internal department of complaints.
Spread throughout the year, and in smaller doses, I am able to be more graceful about the fact that I needed so much help, and had to depend on so many people for everyday kindnesses. Even though I am certain that my own discomfort far exceeds anyone’s feelings of burden about this, I am not yet able to take for granted that this is so.
Thus, even though I am now well, and in many many ways “back to normal,” (not to say “in the pink”), October serves as a reminder that not only was I treated for a life threatening illness, but addition to my external scars, I am at greater risk than the general population for revisiting this issue. Perhaps by releasing this little rant it will free me up to welcome the intent behind the month, instead of seeing red.