Saturday, October 1, 2011


Exactly one year ago — October 1, 2010 — I had the mammogram that would alter everything. (It's sort of ironic that I found my cancer during the very month that has been hammered into our heads as the month to get a mammogram. So I guess that's the good news.)

Much has been written about the Hunt for Pink October, and prior to being diagnosed myself, I was blissfully unaware of how breast cancer survivors might feel about all this pinkification. My involvement in the surging sea of pink prior to my diagnosis was one of abject commercialism. In the world of women's consumer magazines (where I used to toil), the pages of each October issue were flush with pink products. We had to create 'thoughtful' stories structured around a breast cancer theme, drum up reasons to buy rose-colored, rhinestone-encrusted compacts, and entice readers to want to do downward dog on a pretty-in-pink yoga mat. It was all part of the job. We were providing a service (albeit a branded one) in which women not afflicted by the disease could in some way show their support (via the "percentage of proceeds donated") for those that were. And we were doing our best to educate the masses about breast cancer with our articles. But let's be honest: Advertisers loved seeing their "pink'd" items showcased on our pages — and that kept the wheels of profitability greased and spinning. 

Did I ever stop to think how "Pinktober" felt to a woman who actually had breast cancer? 


Then I got diagnosed. Now I know. It sucks. Pinktober is just one ginormous reminder that I didn't dodge the bullet. And no pretty-in-pink yoga mat is gonna change my status now. 

(Copyright The Big C and Me)
Speaking of hues, who chose pink as the color of breast cancer anyway? 'cause I think they got it all wrong. Blue — now that's a color any survivor can wrap his or her head around. What BCer doesn't feel blue? Not all the time, of course, but I bet we feel blue more often than we feel pink. Yes? No?

You want to see real breast cancer pink? Check out a sistah post-surgery. No matter the color of our skin, our scars are the same: pink.

My one-year marker is the first of many dates I'll be noting in the coming months. The best place for me to reflect on these types of things is on the trail. We had a little rain today, and storm clouds were still swirling overhead, so after dinner, my husband and I went up into the mountains and were greeted by a rosy sunset of spectacular proportion. 

The Hunt for Pink October? I think I may have found it. In shades of blue and pink.


  1. Renn, your post gave me goosebumps. I didn't see this one coming, but you did. You found what is most important about Pink October: Love and relationships, appreciation for nature and life. Those are the things that push us to get mammograms, the desire to continue to live healthy lives, love those closest to us and pursue those things that matter to us most.

  2. Renn ~ thank you for checking out and commenting on my blog ( Your encouraging words were the dopamine that jumped started my morning. Because you GOT IT! Quite the "huntress."
    ~ TC

  3. Brenda, TC... the more we talk and blog about it, the wider the net we cast. Maybe next October will simply look "rosy" (not "pink"). One can hope! ;-)

  4. I understand your feelings. Mine have certainly changed even from last year. Last October I was still in chemo and not yet fully "aware" of the down side to all the pink hoopla. I learned fast though. It is ironic that Oct is the month in which your cancer was detected. That should make the month even more interesting/annoying for you. Good luck with all of those upcoming dates. The picture is stunning.

  5. Nancy: Thanks! It's funny how fast we learn what it's like to get pink'd, isn't it?

    Last October will go down in my history as the last month where I did not give c-a-n-c-e-r any time, energy or thought. (I didn't get the letter to come back in for more testing until November.)

  6. Oh, girl, you nailed it! All the pink is a huge and blaring reminder that we didn't dodge that bullet. I wondered why I felt so creeped out at the grocery store this a.m. looking at pink junk everywhere: it's because it was reminding me at every turn that I'm a cancerchick. Ugh. It's going to be a long month.

  7. Pink: A long month indeed for us "cancerchicks"! I was at the supermarket yesterday and the cashier asked if I wanted to donate $1 to BC research. I said no, but should have said, "I gave at the office — the surgeon's office."

  8. When I first pinned a pink ribbon on myself, I remember feeling quite different. It was October 2004 and I had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I felt that pinning on the pink ribbon was a symbol of solidarity with all the other women with breast cancer, and I wore it proudly. Six years later, it has come to represent something different in my mind, thanks in no small part to posts like yours!

  9. I LOVE your analogy of our pink scars...I'm wearing a long pink ribbon right on my chest! I never thought of my scar that way before.

  10. Marie: It's kinda like Christmas: The whole "pink" thing is completely commercialized. But change is underfoot.

    Ginny: Scars show our "true" colors! ;-)

  11. I love this. :D I was a pink girl before breast cancer came waltzing into my life, and it took me a while to come to terms with all the pink in my life because there was already a ton of pink in my life.

    Also, the title of your post made me go "mmmm..Sean Connery". mmmm.

  12. Love this post...
    Yes...NOW we think of pink so much different.
    And just a couple months out of my BXM and getting ready for my second chemo.
    The pink seems to really hit different now.:(
    It seems so strange this month to really be living scar's and all.

  13. Renn,
    The picture is GREAT! Not a hint of pink AT ALL! YES, you put your finger right on the pulse... "did I ever stop to think how Pinktober felt?" And yes, it is just one ginormous reminder that I didn't dodge the bullet!! There are times (5 yrs post surgery), something will hit me from out of left field-like seeing the damn BMW truck that tours the country with people signing the thing. I sat outside the service dept all by myself... trying to control the tears and then just put my head down and started to cry. The poor service guys didn't know what the hell to make of me. Rock ON, sistah.... ROCK on!!! xoxox AnneMarie

  14. Renn, great post, and I LOVE the name. Very clever. I've lost the scent (of that terrible new perfume by Komen) in my hunt for pink October. Let October be oranges and natural shades, not a fiefdom of pinkdumb.


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