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It’s the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to participate in the hype or shy away from it and hate it like I did last year. I noticed every pink ribbon and commercial that emerged before October and marveled at the pink explosions in Publix. The marketing for breast cancer awareness is a toned-down version of pre-Christmas marketing hysteria. I decided at the beginning of the month that I am proud member of an elite club I really don’t want to be in.

Last year during this month, I had two doses of chemo in me, and two to go. I wore a fleece hat on my head every waking moment except for when I showered, which at that time was not very frequently.

I remember that the last two doses were timed perfectly so that I would be wiped out for two of my favorite holidays: the day before Halloween and again the day before Thanksgiving. I debated hosting Thanksgiving at my house, despite the timing of my treatment. I think I routinely had chemo amnesia. Thankfully I recognized that with each progressive dose, I was probably going to bounce back a bit slower, and good friends hosted turkey day. I barely remember anything about that Thanksgiving besides making my favorite cranberry chutney and turkey-less stuffing the morning before my last chemo. My memory from Thanksgiving itself was simply that of wearing my favorite brown and gold sweater dress, picking at my dinner, and falling asleep on someone’s lap on the couch long before the celebrating was finished.

Recently, I consulted with two plastic surgeons regarding my blue radiation tattoos and the “divot” from my lumpectomy in my right breast. Both surgeons seemed to think that they can remove the tattoos, and lift and enhance my boobs. Although having a nice perky pair does have a certain allure, and I appreciate the 1998 Federal Breast Reconstruction legislation that requires health insurance companies to cover surgery to create symmetrical breasts, I am opting to keep my tattoos and divot. Thinking about having anything changed now brings tears to my eyes and I actually want them. I want the physical representation of that hellacious time.

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