Pink About It

I LOVE the color pink. Some might even say, it’s my signature color. But I don’t actively support Pinktober. Now, before you decide to lynch me, allow me to explain..

I lost my mother to Breast Cancer, she was diagnosed January 2001 and died the following January. I was one of her primary caretakers and advocate with doctors and surgeons. I asked the questions and challenged their ‘opinions’. HER aunt (my great-aunt) was diagnosed and I’ve had my own scare. (Benign tumor removed in 1998) So, I am up close and personal with this bitch of a cancer.

I am a cheerleader for those who have fought valiantly, and will wave their flag any/every day. While I believe there needs to be an awareness raised and a cure found, I don’t believe all pink ribbons are created equal. So many manufacturers rely on the fact that we, as consumers, will buy pink ribbon EVERYTHING! ANY company can put a pink ribbon on items and never donate a dime. Many companies will make a one time donation per campaign, no matter how much revenue that pink ribbon item generates. Meanwhile, a disclaimer is placed on an item…“A portion of the proceeds from this item will be donated to help fight breast cancer.” It is not clear what breast cancer organizations would benefit, how much money they would receive, and what programs or work would be funded by the donation. I know of one particular organization who refused a donation from a BIG fundraiser, simply because it came from a “motorcycle club”. Heaven forbid they be associated with such generous riff-raff.

I have been a hairstylist for nearly 30 years, I have seen the changes with in our industry with pollutants and VOC restrictions. But I’m still boggled to see pink cans of hairspray in October. A product that has known toxins and chemicals being pimped out for a well-meaning consumer!

And let’s talk ta-ta’s… The definition of a woman does not lie in her boobs! Cheers to the brave who have posted, “why keep them, they tried to kill me!” And going braless for a day in the name of awareness is a huge slap in the face to women who have undergone mastectomies. Free-boobing and nipple popping  reminds survivors that they have lost something. It sends the message that they aren’t as “sexy” as all the luscious Instagram photos. Not to mention the pain that may be associated with a survivor going braless. I’d much rather see a bad-ass survivor celebrating her scars with tattoos and a fist raised in victory!

You really want to make a difference? Be a voice for someone who is fighting. Drive a patient to their chemo appointment and sit with them while the poison is pumped through their body. Volunteer to babysit for a patient so they can rest. Prepare a meal, better yet, organize a meal train for a week of meals for a patient. Pray diligently for a family struggling through the financial trainwreck the ‘cure’ has cost them. Host a fundraiser where the funds go directly to the family for expenses.

As I said before, I will be your biggest fan and cheerleader for your personal victory against Breast Cancer. I will always love pink and celebrate the fighters! I will continue to pray for a quick end to this bitch of a cancer; of ALL cancers!!

 

 

Throwing Rocks

Thinking of the well known Bible chronicle of the woman caught in adultery, I’m reminded of her accuser’s ‘rocks’. (John 8:1-11 NIV) The big shots brought the woman to the forefront and pointed out her sin, rocks ready to throw. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, he called out the rock-holders.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

I love the word picture painted here! Jesus wrote in the sand first. His words aren’t recorded or revealed. But, I’d like to believe he wrote the words, forgiven, beloved, favored, cherished. Then he asked the rock-wielding meanies to examine their own hearts and drop their rocks.

At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

So the older dudes were the first to go. Does older equal wiser? Or is it more years of sin? Had they known her in “that” way? Only heaven knows. But what is known, is that there was NO ONE left to throw rocks, even though the law-of-the-land demanded it.

The image painted for me is that of Jesus, with his arm around the shoulders of the trembling woman. Surrounded by a circle of rocks on the ground. The accusers with the rocks have gone, just their rocks remain. In my painting, within this circle of rocks, Jesus’ words written in the sand remain… forgiven, beloved, favored, cherished. Jesus wrote the words before challenging the accusers. In my eyes, He meant the words for them as well.

 

SONY DSC

 

There! I’ve said it!

My mouth tends to get me in trouble. Perhaps it’s a snarky comment that escapes before my brain engages, or it’s my warped sense of humor that maybe only one or two people on the planet understand. But the other day my mouth said something that shocked even me, in a short brief moment, a revelation was sparked.

I recently heard of a colleague who was having a difficult time with reoccurring kidney stones. I wanted to reach out an offer a nugget of encouragement and inquire if he was under the care of a specialist. I wanted to offer up the name of my nephrologist, as I really respect and appreciate the level of care he gives. As my colleague answered no, he did not have a doctor; he surprised me with a simple question in return, “do you have a problem with kidney stones, too?” My answer was quick, unplanned and blurted out, “no, my kidneys are failing.” Gulp! I said what? I’ve known it. I’ve lived it. But I’m not sure that I’ve actually said it. My kidneys are failing.

Two years ago I went to my nurse practitioner thinking I had an infection (as I’ve had 100’s in my life time) She discovered that the lab numbers were alarming and ordered more tests, and more, and ultrasounds, and..ugh a lot of stuff! She referred me to a kidney specialist and hugged me and explained that yes, she was being aggressive and that I am fortunate to catch it in it’s early stages because  most people don’t get a diagnosis until much later in the disease.

I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease. I’ve had issues all my life with kidney and bladder trouble. I was told that in my toddler years, I spent some time in the hospital with a ‘kidney issue’. I’ve asked relatives if they knew any details, but those who knew it best are gone now. My diagnosis didn’t really surprise me, but I don’t think I really owned it as a reality. For some strange moment, two years later, my words made it very very real. I was given medication and dietary restrictions, rules and regulations. I’ve been pretty good about them. When I have been really bad….my kidney function numbers are really bad. I’ve seen the benefit of being better, and been scared by the bad. My darling husband encourages me, and has been scared with me. But I don’t think either of us has really seen the gravity of what my future may hold.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not the kind of girl who will just let this get the best of me. I’m not resigning to the fact that I will have to face dialysis or transplant. I know it is a possibility and being realistic about it. I also know that I serve an amazing God. An awesome healer and great physician. Whatever His plan for me, I will walk in it.

I don’t know which direction this journey will take, I just know I need to get moving. Changes take time, and I am blessed to have amazing cheerleaders beside me. I won’t shed another tear and wonder ‘why me’. I will walk in faith and ask for God’s direction. I won’t simply be a good girl, I will be a better girl and take care of myself.

So today, I will march in to my 2 year ‘anniversary’ nephrologist’s appointment and know that I have a great God, an incredible husband, and an amazing family by blood and heart! I AM blessed!

 

For more information about kidney disease: http://www.nationalkidneycenter.org/chronic-kidney-disease/facts/

{WonderWoman}