In the Pink
July 14, 2005
Yesterday I received a lovely, actual-handwritten-on-paper note from Minarae, thanking me for an embarrassingly paltry donation I made to her Breast Cancer 3-Day fund. She also enclosed a pink wristband.
Now, for the record, I'm fairly tired of the whole wristband thing. Sure, it was awesome when the LIVESTRONG bracelets first came out, because who doesn't love Lance Armstrong? (America-haters, that's who.) And they're a great idea, really, for people who truly and passionately support a certain cause. But the whole craze took a fairly distasteful turn when the yellow bands became some sort of must-have fashion accessory and everybody was wearing them, even if they'd only given the actual charity a dollar just to get the band, or got one from someone giving them away for free at the office.
And now it's officially gotten out of hand, what with collector's sites selling 400 frillion different bands along with retired Beanie Babies and all these half-wits running around wearing three or four different bracelets that COORDINATE WITH THEIR OUTFITS, and oh my God, those rainbow ones are soooo cute. Who do you have to support to get that one?
Please don't think I'm bashing everybody who wears a wristband. Just, you know, the assholes.
Because I'm sure as hell going to wear this pink one.
Because my mom's been diagnosed with breast cancer.
When my mom called to tell me about the lump, it barely registered. Between my mom, my sister and I, the doctors have found dozens and dozens of lumps. We all have the fibrocystic breast disease. Which is not so much of a "disease" as is it is a "huge pain in the boobs," because our breasts ALWAYS have cysts and lumps and suspicious activity going on, but in the end, the lumps are ALWAYS benign. ALWAYS, I tell you. I'm only 27 and have already had four breast ultrasounds, one mammogram and three aspirations of suspicious-yet-benign cysts. Lumps are just not a Big Scary Thing around here.
So when she called to say her doctor was ordering a biopsy on yet another lump, we kind of mutual-eye-rolled and sighed because DUH, it's just another cyst that's absorbed some blood so it looks abnormal but everything will be fine in the end and when are you coming down to help me paint the baby's room?
She won't be coming down to paint the baby's room. Instead she'll be having her second surgery in a month to remove more breast tissue because they aren't satisfied with the margins they got the first time around.
And then she'll be starting radiation.
And then she'll be starting a five-year drug regimen to fight the other strain of breast cancer she has, because oh yeah, she's got two different kinds blah blah blah lots of letters and abbreviations and one strain is apparently scary and aggressive and does this mean you won't be able to come down and help me take care of the baby after Jason goes back to work? Because I don't know what I'm doing and want my mommy?
Her prognosis is good. Her oncologist is confident they caught it early enough. Huge props and shout-outs to routine mammograms.
But still. I'm wearing the damn wristband. And writing a bigger check next time.
Because that one-in-eight statistic is suddenly talking about my mother. And my baby's Nana. And we both need her around for a good, long time.