Thursday, October 4, 2007

Think Pink

I love October.

The color in the trees, the spooky decorations, the raspy sound of kids walking through the dried leaves on the the street, the cooler temperatures (well, in most Octobers; we have highs in the upper 80s here in northern K.Y. through the weekend), and, in recent years, the proliferation of all things pink.

I used to hate pink. It used to be that anything the color of Pepto-Bismol made me need Pepto-Bismol. I cringed at the pink t-shirt I had to wear to my high-school job in a mall yogurt shop and balked at the very idea of buying any item of clothing in a hue along the strawberry-ice-cream spectrum. I watched The Bachelor's Trista and Ryan's exceedingly pink wedding and almost gagged at the blush that hung over every dress and every decoration. Then, 5 1/2 years ago, I learned I was carrying a little girl. Suddenly, I was surrounded by the very color I hated. Pink onesies. Pink booties. Pink hats. Pink blankets and cuddle toys. Pink pajamas and dresses and pants and even pink UK shirts. And once it represented the precious little bundle I was expecting, it started to become...dare I say it? Lovely. Feminine. Gentle. All those things I used to not be able to relate to. And I began to like it a little.

Since my own cancer diagnosis, I've become more aware of the pink ribbons I see displayed every October for breast cancer awareness month. I didn't have breast cancer, or course, but the chemo and radiation regimen I had was very similar to the drugs and radiation fields used to fight breast cancer. My worst treatment side effect, a lymph-drainage problem called lymphedema, is most commonly seen in breast cancer survivors. My treatments have put me in a high-risk category for breast cancer. I feel a part of the sisterhood.

So when I see the flood of pink merchandise every October, I go a little nuts. Literally. I bought a one-pound bag of pink peanut M&Ms at the grocery yesterday. Over the last couple of years, I've bought pink bracelets, pink athletic socks with the little cancer ribbon on the ankle, pink t-shirts, pink undies, pink cake mixes, and pink candles. If it has that little ribbon on it, and the words "Susan G. Komen" on the packaging anywhere, I just can't resist. I even bought Ainsley a little pink rubber duckie to benefit the Susan G. Komen Foundation. In October, I'm an easy sell for any pink novelty item I see.

If you are a Kentuckian, our First Lady, Glenna Fletcher, has designated Wednesday, October 10 as a statewide "Wear Pink to Work Day." Even if you're a pink-hater like I used to be, please show your support for the cause. One out of every eight women will get a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime. Chances are, we or someone we love will get this disease. Being aware of this cancer, and getting regular screenings, can go so far in an early diagnosis and successful treatment.

So, while you're enjoying this glorious month and Halloween and the beginnings of fall, remember to take a little time to think pink.

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