Don’t just ‘Think Pink’ in October

By Lindsey Maeda

Two words I would associate with the color pink would be wimpy and girly.

I was never too fond of the color pink. It was not until about eight months ago that I realized what this color truly symbolized. One Sunday afternoon had been fairly typical. My brother and I were trying to finish the weekend homework we had procrastinated on, while my mom and dad were preparing lunch. As my mom finished up in the kitchen, she called my brother and me and pulled us aside.

She took a seat on the living room couch as my brother and I stood in front of her, anxiously waiting to hear what she had to say. “I need to talk to you about something,” she said.

We only had these types of conversations when we were in trouble, but something seemed off. In a calm and collective tone, my mom had us recall all her trips to the doctor’s office.  I did not realize that she had actually taken quite a few within the last two weeks. It was then that she began to explain the follow-up tests that were run after her mammogram.

Instantly, my mind started to connect the dots as it anticipated what she was going to say next. My ears began to strain, trying to pull out the next words that were hesitantly trickling out of her mouth.

Then, my eyes locked on her quivering lips as these stray words found their way out and crept through my ears, “I have breast cancer.”

The word cancer has the power to stop time and space, as the whole universe seemed as if it were silenced. My mom proceeded to assure us that due to today’s medical technology, breast cancer was very treatable.

Thankfully, she was right. About two months later, she was lying on the operating table while her surgeon performed a mastectomy to remove the cancer cells. Unfortunately, this meant that with the cancer cells, she would also lose her right breast. It was an incredibly difficult decision for her to make, but at the same time, easy. She was willing to do whatever it took to fight this disease. After a successful surgery, we were relieved to find out that the cancer had not spread to any other part of her body.

She would also not have to go through chemotherapy, since the stage of her cancer was relatively low. With this news, we celebrated, and a couple months later my mom underwent reconstructive surgery for a breast implant.

Today, I can proudly say that my mom is a breast cancer survivor.   Her treatments were successful and by switching up her diet, she has returned to her healthy, normal self. My mom was lucky to have had such a dedicated support group during her fight against breast cancer, but there are many others out there who are not as fortunate as my mom and deal with more life-threatening circumstances.

Although breast cancer awareness is something that should be promoted regularly, we should take this month to support everyone who has fought, or is still fighting this disease. Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, there are several simple ways to give back. One way to support is by becoming educated about breast cancer, so that we can encourage others to be more proactive about their health.

According to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure website, breast cancer death rates have declined since 1990. Increased awareness and earlier screening detection are thought to be two of the reasons for this gradual decrease.

Some consumer product companies provide opportunities for donating more available to the community during this month. When products such as Nestle Pure Life Purified Water and Healthy Ones deli meat are purchased, a donation will be made to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. More consumer items that give back are readily available in local grocery stores. Just look for the pink ribbon. A complete list of pink products can be found at bcfcure.org.

Breast cancer not only affects those who are diagnosed with the disease, but everyone around them as well. After my mom’s experience with breast cancer, my interpretation of the color pink has vastly changed.

These are the words that I now associate this color with: hope, courage and strength.

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