October has taken on new meaning for me. For 14 years when I was living in Central New York, October was a month that I just loved. Yes, it was the end of summer and the cold weather was quickly approaching (I remember many Halloween’s with snow) but October was special to me. I got engaged at the top of Bald Mountain in the Adirondack State Park in October. The Autumn leaves were breathtaking, the air fresh and clean, and Mother Nature was in all her glory.
October meant an end to the humidity of New York summer and the end of mosquitoes. We could rake piles of leaves and jump in them all day long. There was a bite in the air and I always liked to break out my favorite jeans and sweaters. It meant campfires with friends and skies full of stars.
After getting engaged at the top of the mountain, my husband and I hiked it every year the first weekend in October. We started out alone, then we took both of our daughters (in back packs and then climbing on their own), we took our puppy (and then dog as she grew). We always went, every October.
If your unfamiliar with the Adirondack Mountains, they are in North Eastern New York and are 6.1 million acres. Within them is Lake Placid, two-time site of the winter olympics, numerous mountains and lakes, and a whole world of outdoor activities to explore. It is also where the famous Adirondack chair was born.
I love living in Florida now and I always tell people that the only thing I truly miss up north (excluding people) is our annual trip to the Adirondacks and seeing the colorful trees.
October now has new meaning for me. Not just because I live in Florida and in October the palm tree branches don’t change color and it is still 90 degrees and I’m wearing my flip-flops right now. It is because I have been fighting Breast Cancer and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM).
BCAM started in October of 1985, the year I graduated from high school. In 1991, the year I graduated with my Masters degree, the Susan G. Koman foundation started handing out pink ribbons at a race in NYC for breast cancer survivors. In 1993, the year I graduated with my Ph.D., Estee Lauder Companies established the pink ribbon as the symbol for breast cancer.
Although you may feel inundated during the month of October with pink shirts, hats, ribbons, messages of hope, pleas for support, and reminders of lost loved ones, for me there are many emotions.
October presents me with:
– hope…for an end to this disease some day
– anger…for everything that has been taken from me
– fear…for what still lies ahead
– joy…for the friendships and relationships I have made
– regret…for the time wasted in my life that I won’t get back
– guilt…for not being able to be the perfect mother and wife I would like to be
Breast Cancer is not just the color pink or a ribbon. It is a “life threatening disease” which touches too many lives every day. It rips apart families and causes great pain and suffering. We need to find a cure. Not ways to treat it, but ways to stop it from coming into our lives in the first place. If you have a chance to help in some way, any way….Thank You!
Choosing healthy living over dying 🙂