Mr. DeMille would look good in pink
Posted September 13, 2009on:
Saturday I was part of a movement – 4,000+ plus strong who dressed in hot pink and walked up to five miles in an event called Steppin’ Out in Pink. Sponsored by Gundersen Lutheran with proceeds for breast cancer research, it is a community-wide event that raises more than $250,000 a year. (Final number is not in yet.)
My friend, Patty, created Steppin’ Out in Pink after she was diagnosed. It was a way to take it on in a positive way. She’s doing great and is very supportive. And has raised a ton of money and spirits with this event.
Although my care is across town at Franciscan Skemp, we do things in La Crosse as a community. The walk consists mostly of women, but everyone is invited. Little girls held up signs along the route that said, “Thank you for Steppin’ Out in Pink.”
My team this year was called the JABOBs for Sue. In past years it was just the JABOBs. Cover your eyes if you are a child and reading this, but JABOBs stands for Just a Bunch of Boobs.
When I received a group email that this year it would be JABOBs for Sue. I wrote back, “Good idea. I’m down a couple.”
Our team wore the pink clown noses that I ordered to remind folks to laugh when around me.
The event is highly spirited pink silliness, something I embrace plus great support and encouragement. Women tell their stories and others who have not had cancer raise money with the hope that it would find more answers to this disease.
Those of us who have had breast cancer not only get a hot pink t-shirt, but a “survivor’s” hat with a pink ribbon symbol for each year since diagnosis. It’s wonderful to see other women whose hats are plastered with pink ribbons. I received one pink ribbon, which makes me a buck private in the war on my cancer.
This community cares about each other and has terrific medical care far beyond anything that a city of 52,000 would expect to have. We are still small enough to care about each other and see each other as more than diagnoses or statistics. That’s why our medical centers are such leaders in advance directives in the country.
I wrote about the advance directive process the other day and want to reiterate that those who help you with your advance directive are really a life panel. Advance directives are opportunities to consider what you value.
Sharing those values with family is a gift. Should I become unable to make decisions for myself because of my medical condition, I don’t want my family to sit vigil by my body forever more while it is hooked to machines. I want them to let me go if my brain is gone and I have no hope of meaningful recovery.
This may not be your choice; you may want everything possible to be done no matter your hope for recovery. I respect that. And you know health care providers will respect your choice as well – if they know what it is.
I am no cancer victim, as those with cancer used to be called. I am anything but that because I am embracing life. When I walk I especially feel alive and I’m darn proud of myself as well. Will I keep it up when I go through chemotherapy later this month? I don’t know. I’ll face that when I can. I’ve had this idea that I need to walk at least 3 miles a day because I’m Stage 3 and want to beat it.
And I really wanted to complete the Steppin’ Out in Pink event, and physically I could have completed the five miles. But I had to leave early as the PBS Now crew that was in La Crosse last week really wanted to record more background video (b roll) of Dick and me, as we are to be a part of a story on advance directives in La Crosse.
They watched the process of creating an advance directive for a complicated medical condition, interviewed us the next day and then needed that b-roll so we are not just talking heads.
The crew really, really wanted to be in our house and I really, really didn’t want them to be in it. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not the most organized or neat person.
In the movie Sunset Boulevard, Norma Desmond is an aging actress, appalled that she is turning 50 and therefore is washed up in Hollywood. But not quite in her mind, she is convinced her career is getting a comeback.
“All right, Mr. DeMille,” she says to no one in particular. “I’m ready for my close-up.”
I used that line with Brian Epstein, the associate producer, and possibly to Maria Hinohosa, the senior correspondent when she interviewed us.
What I should have added was, “but not my house.”
In the end, we hid a few things and let them into the kitchen and dining room. The crew proclaimed that our house was not unorganized or unclean.
Vision tests for the crew should have followed.
P.S. I also am trying to raise funds for Franciscan Skemp for breast cancer screenings for women who cannot afford them. Friends have created Pinky Pie wristbands for that purpose. If you’d like one I’d be happy to send you one for a donation to Franciscan Skemp for mammograms.