In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge for HORIZON, I’m going to post some of the memories still within reach to capture on my brain’s horizon.
When I was 5, my best friend was diagnosed with leukemia. Beyond not recognizing her when she returned from St. Jude’s, feeling as if I was making a brand new friend as we became reacquainted once her immune system could tolerate my presence, and spending the rest of my pre-adult years trying to convince her that the damage the chemo had done to her hair did not detract from her beauty, I didn’t really understand what she had overcome – not until I lost my nephew to this same horrific cancer years later in my life. I was a kid. She was a kid. I had no awareness of death.
When I was 7, my mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Beyond not seeing her for weeks on end when she’d have to go for treatments, then feeling exuberant over spending nearly every day with her one summer at the dialysis clinic (when her kidneys stopped functioning), and knowing I wasn’t to get near the heparin and needles in her closet, I didn’t really understand terminal cancer – not until the very end, anyway, as she would lie in the hospital bed at our house, looking up towards heaven and speaking to angels in words only they could understood. All other times, she functioned as normally as she possibly could as a mom. I didn’t notice the graft loop in her forearm or the fact that her skin had become a yellowish-green tint over her emaciated structure. (It was only in looking back at pictures, years later, that enabled me to see those changes.) I have no doubt that she put forth great effort to be as productive and seem as vivacious and as lovely as she could for her family. I was a kid. I had no awareness of the war a mom will wage to “do anything” for those she loves.
I’m sure it’s not by accident that I ended up being drawn into the health care field. For a portion of those years, I had the privilege of serving many women in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, most directly while supervising and assuring accreditation of three breast centers in their early years of operation. We all opted to wear pink each day there, not just as a reminder to the women who came to us that we were dedicated to supporting them, but to remind ourselves and others (when we were away from our work territory throughout the day) of the bravery of these women who were waging war against a deadly opponent. We were wearing our team colors proudly, supporting and cheering this team of women towards VICTORY!
That’s what many of the sports teams have been doing, as of late (particularly during October, the month designated for Breast Cancer Awareness). It may seem pointless to some for people to put on the color pink while playing a ball game, but Real Men are wearing pink for a powerful purpose! You see, when these gruff, tough male team members begin to dress out in this otherwise improbable choice of color for support, it sparks some level of awareness in them (and in those watching) about what others are battling on life’s field, where the impact of wins and losses is substantial.
Cancer patients know – this battle’s tough; but life has to “go on” around them. Despite the time stolen for surgeries, treatments, reconstruction, therapy…others at work, at home, in life are depending on them to be there. And I’m always amazed at how responsive they are to these demands.
Breast cancer is an especially tough diagnosis, too, maybe because it emphasizes the difficulty of life simply “going on” – not necessarily just for the patient, but for her entire family. The majority of those affected (though not all – and that, too, is important to recognize) are women, more specifically often mothers and wives. Many of these ladies are the center of their families’ universes, serving as the beautiful centerpiece around which everything else is arranged. While they visually represent the softness, the warmth, and the splendor of the household, they authentically serve as a backbone of support. More than anything, that’s the importance of bringing awareness to their battle ground and offering our own lovely pink arrangement of support to them.
I’d love to share with you how my son’s school and football team (and their opponents) participated in this effort during last week’s homecoming game. Beyond selling items (shirts, hats, etc.) where proceeds would go towards breast cancer research, beyond pink jack-o-lantern buckets being passed around at half time to gather additional proceeds, and beyond a check for previously collected money being presented to the American Cancer Society during half-time, we had an inspirational half-time show where all cancer survivors present (led by the school’s headmaster, a breast cancer survivor, herself) were invited to come onto the field and release balloons to honor their victories and the good fight fought by so many others.
I hope these photos depict the excitement of the evening and celebrate what took place on both of these fields of “battle.”
We Salute You Sassy Sisters (and all others waging war against cancer).
- Waging War in Pink (humantriumphant.wordpress.com)
- White House Turns Pink for Breast Cancer (washington.cbslocal.com)
I long for those primitive days of old.
Then, whenever I’d screech and roar my beastly best,
all went well in my world.
I’d be held,
Where did the cuddling go?
This was written in response to this weekend’s fun Trifextra 33-word challenge. What better to write about than beastly behavior, as the Hallowed Eve tries to slip upon us?
Thirty years ago, Roald Dahl published the book Dirty Beasts, a collection of poems for children about weird and wonderful animals. The last poem, however, is called The Tummy Beast about a boy who thinks there’s someone living in his belly. Your Trifextra challenge is to write 33 words on a beast in an unusual place. No swamps or forests or caves, we really want you to take your beast out of its comfort zone. – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.SSZ6TDA4.dpuf
The reason I could fall in love with so many women, so many times, was because I could fall out of it just as quickly. The concept of any permanence in a shared lifelong relationship seemed pretty mundane to me. I invented my ideal soul mate to be an unobtainable phantom of perfection I was sure I could only envision in my mind, a sensual conglomeration of all the very best traits I liked most about each of my other temporal partners, while utterly void of all their irritating annoyances. The beauty to my madness was that I knew I’d never allow myself to get strapped down to any one of them for too long – nobody except the one I was sure didn’t actually exist.
Then the day came when I was hit like a revolving door nicking my heel, causing me to trip up about the time I decided I was going to use it and then didn’t move in sync with the motion of its rhythm. She’d been right there, right in front of me, for most of my self-vexed life. She’d even stood back along the fringes of my bond-free destruction for the past handful of years, patiently waiting for me to come to my senses. Meanwhile, I’d tried every way I could to justify why she was all wrong for me. By the time I understood she was the epitome of everything I’d ever wanted, of everything right in my life, she vanished. She became every bit as intangible as I’d ever thought my phantasmal version of her was. Except…the more elusive she became, the more my desire to be with her was inflamed. As wretched as that sounds, the saddest part is, I gave up. Yep. I was too tired from chasing my own fantastical version of her and too complacent to pursue authenticity with her. I settled, instead. Funny word. Settling. You see, when you do it, there’s nothing very settling about it at all, is there?
Now, onto this week’s prompt. We’re still not totally spooked out by you guys yet and we’re a little way from Halloween proper so get your ghoul glad rags on again this week. If there’s anyone who puts the ghoul in ghoulish, it’s you lot. Have fun and, as always, make sure you use the THIRD definition. This week we are back to entries of 33-333 words.
1 a : something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence : APPARITION b : something elusive or visionary c : an object of continual dread or abhorrence
2 : something existing in appearance only
3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal