It’s October and the world as I know it is exploding with pink. Newspapers are dyed pink. Newscasters wear pink. Every news source is talking about breast cancer awareness. How to find it. Treat it. Beat it. Early detection. Debates over mammograms. Stories of survivors. Stories of those it killed. Pink, pink pink. Pink is my favorite color, but I avoid that section of my closet this month, and I don’t really understand why.
I am, after all, a “survivor.” I am lucky. I was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2012. It was aggressive but I found a lump and immediately sought a diagnosis. I had lumpectomy surgery, chemo, and radiation. I lost my hair. I pop a Tamoxifen pill every day. I am a walking, talking, living example of the importance of early detection.
I made choices that were right for me, including the decision to keep my breast tissue. But maybe I am scared to identify as a survivor because I am scared that I am tempting fate. That every time I identify myself as a survivor, that I should knock on wood, or somehow let those little cancer cells that may still be lurking in me, that may be contemplating replicating again, let them know that I take them seriously. That I respect them. That I may have beat them once, but that I really don’t want to fight them again.