As many of you know, my niece was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer a few weeks ago. She discovered it early enough that the surgeon was able to remove it all. The biopsy of the lymph glands was clear. We celebrated.
She is now in the process of enduring several months of “preventative” chemotherapy. The prognosis is good.
Frankly, I don’t even like thinking about the word “cancer.” I don’t like using the word “chemotherapy.” I don’t like pondering anything that involves hospitals or illness or pain. I am infamous in my family for having passed out cold on the doctor’s office floor when he mentioned that my elderly mother might have to have open heart surgery.
And so, wimp that I am, I’ve been privately annoyed in the past by all the pink ribbons constantly in my face–annoyed because they made me think about a subject I wanted to ignore.
That has changed. My annoyance has now changed to gratitude. Within 24 hours of my niece’s diagnosis, the phone calls began. Phone calls from survivors. Women from her church, women who knew women from her church, women from our home town who know her mother. Encouraging phone calls. Strengthening phone calls.
What I’ve discovered is that there is a sisterhood of thousands (millions?) of women warriors who’ve fought the breast cancer battle and won.
The pink ribbon symbol doesn’t annoy me any more. Instead, it represents a celebration of life, of victory, of a society that is capable of linking arms and marching against a common enemy. Because of the money raised by the pink ribbon campaigns, my niece’s hospital is on the cutting edge of helping women beat the disease.
There is another sisterhood involved in the pink ribbon society–those who help their loved ones get through the chemo. At the present time, that’s where I am. I will be spending large chunks of time in another state, helping my niece take care of her family. I would give anything if my niece didn’t have to go through this, but since she does, it is an honor to be a small part of the sisterhood of the pink ribbon.