October’s colors: orange and … pink?

Let me begin by saying that my prayers are with all of you who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath. For those who want to help with recovery efforts, the American Red Cross is a great place to start.

October’s colors
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the colors of October. It’s hard to get through the month without seeing a lot of orange and black as we begin our preparations for Halloween. But these days, it’s hard to go without seeing a lot of pink everywhere, too.

I’m grateful that there are organizations raising money for research to defeat this illness. I’ve known too many who have lost friends, sisters, wives, mothers to this disease. You probably can list too many names of your own.

Everyone seems to be getting in on the breast cancer awareness act, and I worry a bit about pink ribbon weariness. Komen races/walks popped up all over the country to celebrate October as breast cancer awareness month. At least one recent NASCAR race had a pink stripe painted on the inside edge of the track (don’t ask me how I know this). Delta’s flight attendants wore pink shirts and served pink lemonade for a donation. I even saw a Delta plane tug on the tarmac painted pink. At the gym today, I saw someone carrying around a pink-ribboned Evian water bottle. Like I said, pink everywhere.

For me, seeing pink everywhere complicated my emotions, and I struggled with a rising anger over all the pink. I was being selfish, because of what I was facing in my own life this month. The second week of October, I went for an annual mammogram.

This was not my first because my regular doctors ganged up on me a few years ago and convinced me to go have an early one because I’m adopted and have very little medical history of my biological family.

The office called a week or so later to say the radiologist wanted me to come back for additional tests, including another mammogram (oh, happy day) and possibly ultrasounds.

Cue the pink ribbons everywhere. While I was trying not to worry about the follow-up and trying not to think of the friends and neighbors I know who have died from breast cancer, I encountered reminders too numerous to mention. All those ribbons threatened to make me come unglued a little.

My appointment was this past Monday, and on Sunday, as my husband and I drove home from a weekend in the mountains, there, on the back windshield of the car, was another pink ribbon, with my name written under it.

I understand that hope is one of the most powerful weapons in a fight against any sort of cancer, and that prayer and faith can bring about peace and even healing. But right at the moment, I didn’t want to see one more [insert bad word here] pink ribbon, especially not one with my name anywhere near it.

Praise God, though, I got good news at the end of my follow-up visit. I mean it, and so I’ll say it again: Praise God.

All of this made my heart go out to women who face appointments like this but up with bad news at the end of the appointment. And I can only imagine the pain of those who wish the woman (or women) they love could still be alive to go for more mammogram appointments. And I wonder: What does the sea of pink mean for them every October? I imagine that, like my response, it’s a range of emotions that changes with each encounter.

When orange is a happier color than pink
Simply because of the complexity of what all those pink ribbons stand for, October pink cannot be considered a happy color.

To me, orange is October’s happiest color. Think of trees and mums that turn a gleeful orange, and the rows and rows of pumpkins in patches, just waiting to be called “perfect” and taken home to become somebody’s porch decoration or jack-o-lantern.

To celebrate that marvelous color orange, and to distract those of you trying to ignore the pink all around, here are some orange Halloween photos to cheer the rest of your October All Hallow’s Eve.

Assorted pumpkins + hay = easy Halloween decorations

I bought the pumpkin on the left because of its really cool mottled color and the pumpkin on the right because of its awesome stem.

 

I’ve always wanted to dress up as Scooby Doo’s Daphne for Halloween. Apparently, she’s a popular choice this year. Here’s one of at least two Daphnes we saw in a parade in the NC mountains this past weekend.

I don’t know about where you live, but here, in addition to pumpkins, mums are also obligatory porch decoration.

Here’s my little Halloween hiker in her orange(ish) pack and hiking boots. She’s ready to hit the trails and has even been known to do tricks for treats.

Happy Halloween! What’s your favorite color of October?

7 thoughts on “October’s colors: orange and … pink?

  1. At least for me you are not the only one to see pink ribbons as a mixed emotion. When I was first diagnosed I received many pink ribbons, pink ribbon gifts, pink gifts, etc…Like you I was very appreciative of my gifts and the thoughts and prayers of good friends and family that went with them. But as I ended my treatments I also wanted to put this behind me, but the pink gifts kept coming in celebration of me ending treatment. 12 yrs later I am reminded every day as I get dressed of having breast cancer (I had a mastectomy), and I will forever be grateful to my friends and family for being there for me also to the awareness the pink ribbon signifies that has made such wonderful strides in treatments and one day we hope a cure, but that said, if I never see pink again I will be thankful! 😉 But I am also very very thankful for what the pink represents.
    My October color are the russet, gold and brown colors of the leaves Fall to me has always brought a sense of renewal, I shed my “leaves” in the fall season of my life when change occurs (diagnoses and treatment was in the fall), then enter winter with solitude and prayer that will eventually bring forth new growth in my faith in the spring season of my life that will produce fruit in the summer season of my life. Since my diagnoses this is what October is to me. Your dog is adorable by the way! 🙂

    • Beautiful description of the seasons of our personal life journeys and how the changing seasons of nature gives us images to deepen our understanding of our own change and growth. Thanks.

    • I agree with Tracey! You’ve given us a lovely way to think of Fall as a time to renew by shedding old leaves and preparing (by resting first!) for the next productive season. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the pink ribbons and the range of emotions they stir up in you as a cancer survivor. Praise God for your being cancer free 12 years later!

  2. Hope, I’m so glad to hear you are in good health! Praise God!
    It actually never occurred to me that people affected by breast cancer might hate all those ribbons other people use to express their support, but of course you are right. Hmmm. Sobering.
    Thanks for ending this entry with that charming photo of your dog. My chocolate lab makes precisely the same facial expression when he knows how handsome he is 🙂 But I need to know how those boots stay on. Does he really wear them while you hike?

    • Tracey — thanks for commenting! I’ll be interested to hear different reactions about the pink ribbons. Maybe I’m the only person who greets them with such mixed emotions. We’ll see.

      The boots do stay on my dog’s feet. But she only wears them when she has injured paws. I got them from REI a few years ago when she injured her paw pads after we ran in the salt-covered roads after a snow (bad mommy experience on my part). They stay on her front paws pretty well, but the back ones fall off pretty quickly. So now she just wears the front ones, and even they fall off every now and then. She does pretty well with them outside and can even run in them, but inside on the hard floors, she’s pretty clumsy.

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