Those two little words came into my life for the first time in 2003. My Mom–Super Warrior Princess that she is–battled the disease and won. I told you all about her story last year.
But what you don’t know is that breast cancer runs rampant on both sides of my family tree. I lost two great-grandmothers to breast cancer, one on each side. A great aunt on my Dad’s side of the family also lost her life to the disease. My maternal grandmother had a scare in her twenties that left her shaken but safe. And my Aunt Myra–my mother’s oldest sister–has battled cancer not once, but twice.
Double mastectomies, radiation, chemotherapy, Tamoxifen, metastatic, lymphnode removal…these are words in our family vernacular. We know what each word means without explanation. We’ve shaped the words in our mouths, each one spoken leaving a mark on the ones around us. We’ve named the drugs, the treatments, the procedures so many times we could spell them in our sleep. We sport scars on our chests, and uneven breasts from lumpectomies and reconstruction surgeries. We warn those women we love best to practice self-examination, without shame, but with determined regularity.
We are Pink Warriors, each woman in my family.
That is why, each and every October, I institute a “pink out” across my many forms of social media. My personal Facebook page gets a makeover:
My Twitter page gets an overhaul:
And as you can see, Abby Gabs has joined the party this year with an all-pink background.
My goal isn’t to inundate you with pink. I’m not trying to beat you over the head with the breast cancer awareness stick, or make you uncomfortable by talking about health issues or make you blush by mentioning boobies.
The truth of the matter is that, in my family, we fly pink like a flag. Because to us, it stands for strength. Hope. Victory. And I will continue to sport that pink ribbon faithfully—for my Mom, for my Aunt, for my Grandmother, for my Great-Grandmothers–and for all the women in the world who have faced breast cancer, victors or not.
And while October is breast cancer awareness month, and it’s when I fly my pink flag more prominently, I have decided that, along with my brother, I will be getting a tattoo this month so that I can wear my ribbon every single day.
I will wear it in honor of those women in my family who have given cancer the stiff arm. I will wear it in memory of those who have battled and lost. And I will wear it for myself–a woman who hopes that a cure will be found before I am forced into a battle of my own.
Want to join us in our Web Wide Pink Out? I’d love to help. If you’d like a personalized profile picture bearing the pink ribbon symbol, a Twitter background similar to mine, or a Facebook timeline cover, let me know! If you don’t want one specific to you and your family, you can also check out the new tab above for some generic breast cancer awareness buttons, banners, and profile picture options. I’m thrilled to help you spread the word about breast cancer awareness, one ribbon at a time.
Also, I’m joining up with this week’s crew over at yeahwrite’s speakeasy to help spread the word. It’s a story worth sharing, if nothing else. And after this week, they’re going to a short-fiction-only format. So I wanted one last opportunity to join up with the mighty forces of the speakeasy. Stop by and read the other awesome bloggers taking part this week.