Why October’s Pink Ribbon’s Are Less Than Rosy
When October rolls around and pink ribbons start popping up all over the place, I hold my breath just a little. It’s a very bright, visual reminder of my tangle with breast cancer and of the anxiety that remains bubbling below the surface. This time of year also happens to be the time of my annual doctor check up to make sure everything is “on track.” Just adding an extra bit of “angst spice” to the mix!
While I’ve written periodically about my journey with “the big C”, I felt it apt to revisit the topic this year since these noted pink ribbons are now marking my achievement: beating cancer and making the “5 years all clear” milestone this month! And at last, I can reflect back on those messy years and see that while I had a long road to get back to my “normal self”, the ordeals and humps in the road certainly made my creative life sing.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you might recall that as I rounded the corner on my 38th year of life, I was diagnosed with stage 1A breast cancer (or was it 1B? I’ve blocked it out). It was surgically removed, reconstruction happened, radiation ensued, and the exhaustion of the whole ordeal set in. To top it off, not even a year later, the doctors thought that I had ovarian cancer, which was a whole other rabbit hole of hell. Needless to say, it was a rough slog and I was both physically and mentally scarred for a long time.
I’ve always been taught to push through, to hold my head up and carry on, to make the effort. And so I did by immediately throwing myself into getting on the road for shows and sales, and trying to design, create and make – simply to give me a bit of my pre-C self back. In hindsight, perhaps not the smartest move as I was definitely off my game. I didn’t feel like myself physically, I didn’t have the energy, I was depressed, I was anxious. And perhaps there was some of me that just didn't care and wasn’t into it – it was hard to force myself to move forward. But I had to do it, I had to beat “it”.
So I pushed my feelings aside and luckily, despite the other stresses the Covid years caused, the shut downs allowed me the extra time to stay home, sleep and rest up. It gave me the space to re-find the beauty in the things around me – landscape, stones, jewelry, people…. To discover how to charge my energy reserves and get my confidence and sexy back.
I’m still trying to figure out how to tackle the anxiety that rears its ugly head when I least expect it. And while I’m investing in previously unexplored “me time,” my two year-old Toy Australian Shepherd, Kodak, insists I take breaks and head out the studio door at 5:30! Thank you, Kodak. You are really the best possible therapist.
I like to reflect on what I’ve learned along the way, and I guess the key thing would be if you get thrown off your game, you can find the road back – it might just take a little bit. I couldn’t have gotten to this point without my arsenal of thoughtful, amazing, supportive family and friends who checked in with me, listened, and cheered me up. Who gave me hugs and soup and coloring books along the way.
And while I didn't realize it in real-time, I now see the transformations in my jewelry and the things I am creating today. I leaned into what I truly loved (unique, unusual minerals and gemstones), experimented with details that excite me like textures and finishes (recently a matte finish and a combination of bezel-set plus prong mountings such as these Daybreak Earrings in my Landscape Collection), and I tapped into a more streamlined and graphic style (going back to my graphic design roots!). Overall, less busy, less complicated – like the way I’ve re-shaped my life – but still fun and zesty. And now that I feel whole again, I’m ready to embrace the bumps, dive into my creative future, and to quote Kay Thompson, “Think Pink!”
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