I've posted before that I see October as the color pink. I still do but there are many whose hearts bleed red across this sea of pink and see October as black.
As we forge on with joys of survival, races for the cure, making strides against breast cancer , we sometimes slightly slight, just perhaps only for this month, those who have not survived.
On the other hand, there are many lives that have been lost that are remembered, rejoiced and celebrated even more so this month. Either way, I'm willing to bet that there are a lot of tears shed. I shed a lot myself both as a survivor and one who has lost.
I take this time to write a heartfelt letter to a friend I lost unnecessarily in my opinion to breast cancer last year. If this letter angers you, I hope it does so in a way that induces action.
I am pissed! I'm pissed at you. You left me. It took me 30 years to find you and you only gave me a year. Why didn't you take better care of yourself? Why didn't you get your mammogram earlier? Why did I survive and not you with me?
Oh the cancer jokes we could have told -- for years had you lived. Do you remember my nick name in college? "No brain, Lisa Cain!" now actually has a legitimate existence only instead you would be calling me "Chemo Brain, Lisa Cain!" and we would laugh and laugh knowing there is scientific proof -- not that we didn't laugh back then. To everyone's surprise, "No Brain, Lisa Cain" was actually a genius in disguise. Well, at least in my mind I was.
We would have joked about the fact that we couldn't use our cleavage any more to throw off our male pool shooting opponents. My mastectomy and the one you were supposed to have kind of took care of that. Oh, and the meds I get for being a survivor are awesome. I guess they figure that the quality of life after what we went through is better than the quantity since the quantity odds have diminished. But no -- you didn't live. I have to tell these jokes by myself now. I know life's not fair, but I don't give a damn. I'm still pissed at you for leaving. I'm pissed at you for waiting so long to have that one little test.
I'm pissed at me -- all those years we didn't stay in touch. I want a "do over," I want the clock pushed back and Facebook to be 30 years old. I want reunions with all my friends. I want more time with you; all of you.
This is a selfish letter. I know -- the friends you have today are entitled to be even more pissed at you than I am. What right do I have? I hadn't seen you in 30 years. I didn't keep in touch. I wasn't close by to take care of you in the end. I wasn't close enough to visit more. It took Judy to find me to find you -- her and Mark Zukerburg. I know your family is hurting and they must miss you terribly... more than I have any right to. They may not be pissed at you anymore. They may have made it through the grieving process. I haven't yet. I'm still pissed.
I miss you,
"No Brain, Lisa Cain"
We all have friends we remember from the past that bring a smile to our faces when we think of them, those that we were a little extra close with. I have five of them. They were my little circle. In college, we all worked at Wendy's. We all shared an "Ann" somewhere in our names (Lisa Ann, Judith Ann, Sara Ann, etc.). We all shot pool at the local biker bar together and we all did a few (maybe more than a few) things we shouldn't have done in college. Yes, we had other friends and sorority sisters that we still love -- but for me, the five of us were bonded differently.
If I could say anything to all of you, I would say two things. First, make the effort and stay in touch with your friends. Reconnect with them. We have the technology.
Second and maybe more importantly, please get your mammograms (and not after the age of 50). Check your breasts often (I say every Friday) so that early detection is made. Know your breasts. I realize you hear this over and over. Hear it again and do it. If not for you, do it for your friends and families. Please don't leave us behind if you don't have to.
Do it so they don't have to be pissed off!
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