Seeing The World Through Pink Glasses

*Note:  The following post contains my raw thoughts and emotions about a very sensitive subject matter. My intention is not to upset anyone who has gone through this, is currently going through something like this or knows someone that has, but to share a side of me that most would not see.

Did I ever tell you that I hate the color pink? I think I really started to despise the color in the 8th grade. The formal was coming up and I picked out, what I thought, was a gorgeous silk pink dress. When I wore it I felt sophisticated, classy, all things that a 13 year old with frizzy hair, thick glasses and braces did not feel like on a daily basis. I felt so beautiful in the dress, until a friend came up to me while I was talking with a bunch of kids and decided to lecture me on why red-heads should not wear the color. It would be years again until I wore the color again.

But even before that little embarrassment I didn’t really care for the color. While girls would pick shades of pink to color with, I would lean towards purple when needing to pick a girly color. Much later, when I found out that I was having girls, I made it known to friends and family that I would prefer anything but a closet full of pink. Unfortunately for me, I could only hold that true for the first year or so of Lily’s life, then she discovered the Disney princesses and Barbies. I now start to twitch if I stay in our front room, which doubles as their play room, for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Why do I bring this up? Well, yesterday my hatred for the color pink was pushed over the edge.

Sitting in the specialist’s office with little pink ribbons littering the walls I just wanted to throw up. I wanted to hop off the table and start picking off the ribbons with reckless abandon, but the nurses came in before I had the chance. They were cheerful, courteous, friendly and compassionate. I wanted to bash their fucking heads together and stuff the pale pink paper ribbons down their throats.

I kept thinking, I’m 28 I shouldn’t be here. I tried telling myself that I was here for just an ultrasound but it did nothing to make me feel better. I thought my dog just died, Eric is in San Francisco and I’m in the breast cancer specialist’s office by myself. As I sat on the paper clad table I shook my head at the fact that it was just the day before when I sat in my gynecologist’s office for my yearly and casually mentioned what I thought was a non-issue, thanks, in part, to my internet research.

I almost regretted saying “Hey, I got a question….” to my doctor because it led to “Hm, I’m sure it’s nothing, but let’s check it out.” Which brought me to sitting on another table about to get accosted by cold fingers… again.

My heart clenched. I thought I have two little girls that need their mommy.

The nurses did their thing and I was sent off for an ultrasound. Which wasn’t too bad; the bed was kinda comfy, the room was dark and the gel was warm. Is it weird to admit that I kinda liked that? :)

After the doctor read ultrasound she ordered a mammogram. I felt as if all the air left the room. My lungs constricted as tears stung my eyes. The nurse took me to the x-ray room and before I knew what was happening my boob was being squished between two plastic plates. The tech praised my flexibility and ability not to complain about the pain. I found myself smiling and reassuring her that I can handle it. I had an odd moment of “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU REASSURING HER?!?!” But that’s me. I’m scared out of my mind, but I need to make sure the tech is ok and comfortable with her job. Nice.

I waited for about 10 minutes after the tests. They took me to a small room; really if it was bigger than a broom closet I would be surprised. It had three chairs with a little table that held a light, that only lit that corner, and a tissue box. Oh, and the table had a little fake flower on it… pink. sigh

The doctor knocked on the door before she walked in with another nurse in tow. They looked solemn and their smiles were kind – I was scared shitless. The doctor sat to my right while the nurse settled into the chair to my left.

“I looked at your ultrasound and mammogram. And you’re fine. They both came back negative.”

I wanted to bitch slap her. Odd reaction, right? Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been so relieved in my life, but the ambiance of the room and their demeanor had me figuring where I could go to find matching bandanas for the summer dresses I just bought.

I’m not out of the woods yet, due to my age and this abnormality I have a surgical consult next Tuesday, but really, it’s not cancer or anything serious so I am on cloud nine! I understand their want for me to be checked out by another professional and when it comes to my health, I’m a-okay with that.

(And just a side note: The doctors, nurses and techs at this hospital were first rate. Even though I was scared and wanted to inflict bodily harm as a way of dealing with fear, I did feel safe with them, cared for. They are truly special people to deal with this subject every day and I admire their strength and compassion.)

I don’t need to tell you what a scary and hellish experience this was. I lost an aunt to breast cancer several years ago and I know first-hand the heartache it causes. But, I learned a lot from these past two days.

Life is short, friends. Surround yourself with people that make you happy, that support you and pick you up when you’re down. But, don’t forget to be that person in return. Go out and enjoy life, you only get one turn on this roller coaster. (Unless you believe in reincarnation, then I guess you can pick a different ride. ;) )

There are some things you can’t control, accept that and focus on the ones that you can. Make things happen for yourself, strive to be the best, don’t dwell on your shortcomings (we all have them) but accept them as a part of who you are.

And, remember, that each day you wake up, is a good day. It’s better than not waking, right?

Now, get off the computer and go out and enjoy your life :)

Me and my girls this past Easter

 

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28 Responses to “Seeing The World Through Pink Glasses”

  1. Mike P Says:

    I never use the word heartwarming but… Dat picture!

  2. Rik Davnall Says:

    but… but… my life happens on my computer! How can I enjoy life if I leave it behind? (Oh, wait, books).

    On a more serious note hug. Hope everything continues to be fine and your girls outgrow their pink phase ;D

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      I know – I say to get off the computer… but look where I am :) Just remember to get outside once and awhile ;)

      Thank you for your hugs and one can only hope that the pink phase will end soon.

  3. Shay Fabbro Says:

    Oh honey! Do you have any idea how much I’ve to love you over these past few months?!? You are such an amazing person, and I really do think that we are somehow related. ;) And I wished more than anything that I could have done the big sis thing and been there with you while you were going through this.

    I totally understand what you’re going through and I am trying to keep a brave face about this lump in my neck. I keep telling myself it’s a lymph node or maybe a benign cyst but the ugly “lymphoma” rears its ugly head whether I want it to or not. I have a biopsy scheduled for Tuesday. I will be alone, so I’ll try to be brave just like you (and here I am crying like a little girl right now).

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      I wish I could be there for you! I have faith that your strength and determination will carry you through. Please keep me posted and let me know if there is anything I can do. Keep smiling :)

  4. Alex Adena Says:

    Whew!

    I’m glad the results were negative and that you were able to get an answer fairly quickly.

    I’ve been there and I know exactly how badly this sucks. About 10 years ago I started getting dizzy and throwing up, so the docs ordered a MRI to look for tumors (of course.) Wait two weeks for results. Negative. OK, different test for seizure disorders. Wait two weeks. Negative. Wait two MONTHS and drive two hours to see specialist on balance disorders. More tests. Finally, a diagnose: Meniere’s disease. No cure but diet can reduce the symptoms 99 percent. Whew.

    Going through what you just did, you entire life stops because that’s all you think about until someone can give you an answer. And you spend every day worrying about the Worst Case Scenario and how that’s going to kill you or disable you for the next 60 years.

    You came through it with the attitude everyone needs to hear — go live life and don’t waste a single day!

    Alex

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Thanks, Alex! It’s horrible waiting and I wish you didn’t have to do that. One of the reasons why I went to that specific hospital was because they gave you the results right away. I couldn’t imagine not knowing, I was very happy, and lucky, that my hell was short-lived to only two days.

      I’m glad your condition was diagnosed properly and that it something that you can control :)

  5. Susan Borath Says:

    I have been in your shoes before, and it is terrifying. While you know that it is probably nothing, there is always that tiny voice in your head that says…”but what if it isn’t?” I am happy to hear all is OK. :-) (and I always wanted to punch someone, too.)

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      LOL -thanks, Susi. And THANK YOU SO MUCH for watching the girls while I was at the appt. You’re a great friend and someone I know I can count on when things get scary. I was worried about the results but I knew that my girls were being taken care of while I was there and that meant a lot to me :)

  6. Leslie Heffelfinger Says:

    Karen I am so glad your results were negative. Ialso hope you have a great surgeon. If you want to talk, call me, been there, done that, got the PINK T-shirt.

  7. NancyEady Says:

    Karen, I have been through the drill up to the point of a needle biopsy twice so far and I know how frightening it is! Your post is a very honest, thoughtful post that will help people who haven’t been through it to understand.

    Nancy

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Thank you, Nancy. I didn’t intend for it be a post. It started as a journal entry last night. After re-reading it this morning I changed some things around and thought “why not?” I still debated my decision to post even after I published it. But there it is :)

  8. Violeta Says:

    Haha, if only I could unglue my fingers from this greasy keyboard(library computer). But seriously.. I went through something similar myself but it was benign. Phew. But then I had to think about what I’d be missing if it hadn’t been. I don’t have children so I needn’t worry about that, but my friends, my family. When I think of that… it’s too much.

    So I am very happy that it turned out okay for you. :) Your girls are beautiful. :) I also wanted to say that I know what it’s like: this bubbling hatred toward doctors who are just doing their jobs but are nevertheless bringers of bad news. I was a very sickly kid and it got to a point where I was afraid of going to a hospital, I still detest the smell and the niceties I have to make even though I am terrified sometimes, which thank God happens rarely.

    So yeah, I’m happy. I totally get it. And I thank you for this post. :)

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Yeah, sometimes I think it’s the waiting and the “what ifs” that are the worse. I’m glad to hear that your troubles were benign. Hospitals aren’t my favorite place and I could only imagine what it’s like to deal with this problem, and the countless others, on a daily basis.

  9. Diane Ledesma Says:

    Dear Karen,

    I am sorry you had to go through that alone. As difficult as it was/is it is an experience you have been able to learn more about yourself and are already using to try and help others. I admire that and am proud of you. You are a wonderful woman and have so much to offer your world. Please remember I am here if you need anything. God Bless.

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Thank you, Diane. I may have been alone walking in and out of the building but the staff there was there for me. And I knew that no matter the results I have an amazing support system at home and online that I can turn to. I am truly a lucky and blessed woman :)

  10. Janelle Jensen Says:

    I am so glad that everything turned out okay! What a scary situation to find yourself in, especially with Eric away. I can so understand wanting to slap them, when they put on their serious, grim faces, only to tell you that the tests are negative!

    *oh, and you’re not alone. Pink is sooo not my color!

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Haha, thanks Janelle! Yeah, you’d think that they would have been a little bit more livelier but, what are you going to do? I’d rather have them be somber and give me those results, than happier with the opposite end result.

  11. Todd Moody Says:

    Karen, I sorry you had to go through this, especially with your hubby so far away. My wife went through a similar experience a few years back, I know how scary it can be. Your an amazing person! Thanks for sharing this!

    *Pink used to be a man’s color believe it or not and less than 100 years ago.

  12. Stacie P. Says:

    I almost feel like I’m commenting on the wrong thing, but I couldn’t help but empathize with your introspective statement, “I’m scared out of my mind, but I need to make sure the tech is ok and comfortable with her job. Nice.” I have been guilty of this very type of self-denying need to make others feel good for as long as I can remember. But recognizing that your feelings and thoughts are just as valid as everyone else’s (and maybe moreso when you’re dealing with something traumatic) is an important part of dealing with all those emotions. So proud of you for owning your experiences, though, and committing to live life fully. Thanks for the sweetly inspirational post. :)

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Thank you, Stacie, for stopping by. I do have this incessant need to make sure others are ok before me and it can get a little ridiculous at times, especially with something like this. I think it’s a defense mechanism, deflect the problem onto someone else so I can focus on them and not myself.

      I wish you well and hope you can visit again :)

  13. Pamela V. Mason Says:

    I’m with Stacie P up there-> I’ve done the same. Why do we women grin & bear it? I could kick myself every time I do. But then, when I let my anger go, even in a ‘professional’ way, I’m the one who’s labeled ‘difficult’. If men got their balls squished once a year like this, you can lay the college savings on the table they’d come up with a new way to test. But I digress… Karen, sweetie, I’m glad you’re okay. Just keep checking. And if you want to wear a purple ribbon instead of pink, then you do it! But I hope you never do… red, pink, white, fuschia… all these ribbons need to go. I’m 50, & my oldest just started college this week. I waited to have my children ’til my 30′s, so I know what you mean about not missing a thing. And now I’m sandwiched between my kids in high school, and my own parents in the 80′s, with Alzheimer’s & various ailments. It really is the boring, simple things that become most precious to our being when we reach that point. Try to remember that when you’re sitting on the soccer sidelines in the blazing sun, another recital, or wearing your old shoes so your kid can have a pair that’s $100. Let them have what matters most to them when it really matters most; teach them that difference. Gosh… who am I to hijack your comments here? Stay well!

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      I loved, loved, loved your comment! Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me. I absolutely loved your comment about men having their balls squished; it gave me a much needed laugh :)

      And you’re right – it’s the simple, mundane, everyday occurrences that mean the most. I’ll try to remember your advice as I watch my kids grow up.

      Thank you again!! :)

  14. Mac Perry Says:

    I too hated pink as a child. I think because it was often foisted upon me when all i wanted to do was roll around in the mud and punch boys, NOT kiss them. Though later I grew to like pink perhaps because people also told me redheads shouldn’t wear pink. Then it became a symbol of rebellion. I could be frilly and feminine too, not just a carrot top (…or as one pleasant young girl used to call me, “evil redheaded voodoo witch”). Plus many redheaded icons pulled off pink pretty well…Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink” for example.

    Anyways I am glad that the rosy hue failed to color your life with a darkening experience. Your girls are stunning as you are! Here’s to growing old enough to see your red tresses whiten!

    • Karen DeLabar Says:

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Mac!! I appreciate the comment! With three older brothers I was just fine rolling in the mud and I’m known to have a pretty good right hook ;)

      Here’s to redheads!!

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