Pink ribbons...you can find them just about anywhere you look for them during the month of October from jewelry to bagels at Panera, from clothing to purses. And while I think the pink ribbon is sometimes over-commercialized, Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the Pink Ribbon are very close to my heart.
You see, when I was 6 years old, I lost my grandmother to breast cancer. She was my dad's mom and one of my best friends. I remember dancing in her living room to the Lawrence Welk show, having animal crackers and apple juice while sitting on a special wicker chair, and saying "Goodnight, John Boy" as I watched The Waltons with her. She was a very special, godly woman who I was blessed to have known for 6 short years. Every day I wish that she could meet my husband and cuddle Bug and Doodle because I know she would love them just as much as I do!
Because there is a history of breast cancer in my family, I'm always very aware of new lumps and bumps (even if I don't perform self checks as often as I should). So when I found a new lump about a month before my wedding, saying I freaked out a little is probably an understatement. It was my second year of teaching and I remember sitting in my portable classroom and calling my doctor's office immediately to let them know I'd found a lump and wanted an immediate appointment. I remember being so frustrated that the receptionist wasn't nearly as alarmed by this as I was and calmly said, "So when would you like to come in for an appointment?" An appointment was made for later in the week and though my doctor was fairly certain everything was fine, she sent me to an excellent specialist at GBMC, one of Baltimore's finest medical facilities. Due to my age, they decided to perform an ultrasound instead of a mammogram. I guess at 24, my breasts were considered "too dense" to clearly show them what they needed to see. Jarrod took off work to go with me and I remember being so worried that he wouldn't want to marry me if it turned out to be breast cancer (remember, our wedding was only 4 weeks away). All of the "what ifs" ran through my mind. The tech performed the ultrasound and then sent me over to the specialist. I was so glad I had come to him because he decided the tech hadn't done a good enough job and he redid the ultrasound.
Thankfully, in my case it turned out just to be a bump, nothing significant, no cancer, not even a benign cyst that they thought should be removed. I know not everyone's cases turns out like this. I know millions of women who put up a brave fight every day and I am among millions who hope a cure will be found by the time my daughters are reaching maturity. I know I am one of the blessed and fortunate ones, but I am also that much more aware of the need for regular self-exams, etc. So in the month of October, I am more likely to buy cherry/white chocolate "pink ribbon" bagels at Panera or support the Susan G. Komen foundation in loving memory of my grandmother and in honor of all of those women bravely fighting for their lives. And when you see a pink ribbon this month, remember all of the wives, mothers, daughters that have lost their fight...and pray that your wife, mother, or daughter won't have to fight that same fight.