Pink is My New Normal

It is not easy living in the wake of Breast Cancer.  Although the battle is won and my life is back to normal, it will never truly be normal.  I am forever stained pink.  But, as I have recently learned, pink is not necessarily a bad color if you wear it right. 

Slipping into my much loved hot pink Nike running shoes, I walked ten miles last Saturday and Sunday in preparation for the Susan G. Komen 3-day walk in San Diego this November.  I live right next door to gorgeous hiking trails that wind in, out, and around Santiago Creek, a perfect place for training.  You will find me there almost every day as I get ready to walk sixty miles in three days.

Why am I doing this? 

It is easy to get lost in the confusion of breast cancer.  And the daily upkeep is both lonely and overwhelming at times.  Juicing, exercise, supplements, dry rubs, meal planning, grocery shopping, and cooking consume me.  Worried that cancer may bear its ugly head again consumes me.  Blaming myself for getting cancer in the first place consumes me.  And, concern that I will not be here for my kiddos to see them turn into magnificent glorious adults consumes me.  It is time to take all this “consuming energy” and put it somewhere else for god’s sake, because honestly, worrying about me all the time is exhausting.   

So, as Mahatma Gandhi so brilliantly said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”   

Although, I do not plan to go on a twenty-one day hunger strike, like Gandhi, I do plan to walk sixty miles in three days and raise $2,300.  This is my way to finally give back, reach out to others that share my same fate, and take a stand against breast cancer.

Someone has to take a stand, because, believe it or not, there was a time when breast cancer was considered a socially taboo subject.  Back in 1974, when Betty Ford, a personal hero of mine, was first diagnosed with breast cancer, ‘breasts’ were considered a bad word, and breast cancer was not to be discussed in public.  But, the bold and brave Betty went against the grain, risked a politically incorrect stance, spoke up and shared her story. 

Six years later, in 1980, Susan Komen died of breast cancer.  On her death bead, Susan asked her sister, Nancy Brinker, to promise to find a way to put an end to breast cancer, thus, the birth of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.  When putting together a “press junket for the organization’s first fundraising event in Dallas in 1981, Komen’s public relations people called breast cancer “female cancer” when talking with reporters. ‘Newspapers at the time,’ Brinker said, ‘would not print the word ‘breast’.’’

I was a freshman in high school at the time.  Damn, I truly thought we were more progressive in the 80’s than that. 

Today, fundraisers, pink ribbons, “I Love Boobies” bracelets, and “Save the Ta Ta’s t-shirts abound.  Just the other day, while training, I saw a guy, very good looking I might add, riding his bike with the words, “Bikers for Boobs” written across his back.  Breasts have come a long way!  And, breast cancer is no longer a taboo subject, thanks in part to women like Betty Ford, Nancy Brinker and Susan Komen. 

By the way, three years after Susan died Nancy Brinker was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Betty Ford called Nancy at the hospital, “She told me to cry and then get back up on my feet and make my plans,” Nancy said. “She told me that I’m strong and I can get through it.” 

If Betty were alive today, I am sure she would tell Nancy the same thing again in the midst of the current controversy Brinker is facing.  “Get back on your feet girl,” I imagine her saying.  I hope it will all eventually be worked out and people will remember why this grassroots foundation started in the first place. 

So Betty, in honor of you, Susan, Nancy and all the other women and men who have been faced with this deadly disease, I am back on my feet, and proud to be walking in your footsteps.

It is not going to be easy but I am ready for the challenge. 

And a challenge it will be.  Yesterday on my walk, I had to find a new trail because Santiago Creek was roped off with yellow caution tape, with a sign, “Beware of aggressive bees.”  Today, I am icing my sore feet.  Chemo induced neuropathy leaves my legs feeling like jelly and my feet screaming out in pain.  But, these are hurdles I plan to soar over just like Lolo Jones in the Olympics. 

My husband told me the other day, “Damn, woman, you are a lot of work.”  Although, this is not exactly what he meant, he is right.  I am not easy.  I always have a new adventure in the works, another challenge to face, or a cause that takes us out of our comfort zone. 

So my dear friends, loved ones and loyal readers please bear with me as I take on another adventure and ask you to help me reach my fundraising goal of $2,300.

If you can help in any way, go to my personal page at the Susan G. Komen website and click on “Donate to Deanne in 2012” at the following link:

And, if you see a woman in hot pink Nike running shoes walking in your neighborhood, give me a honk and remember; I walk for you and I walk for me.  I walk for our children and I walk for our children’s children.  I walk for Biker’s for Boobs and pink ribbons.  And, last but not least, I walk for Betty!

Thank you all for your love and support.  XOXO

2 Responses to “Pink is My New Normal”

  1. Aunt Marilyn Says:

    Good for you Deanne. Patti is thrilled that you are joining the walk.
    We are all there for you both.
    Lots of Love

  2. Patricia Says:

    And I walk for you, Deanne! You are my Beautiful, Strong & Courageous Cousin! You continue to inspire me, daily! Thank you for being my Betty!! I love you!!

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