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