Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Survivor’s Story
Not for the squeamish
Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. All too often, it’s been a woman who has heard: “I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but you have breast cancer.”  The following story is not for the squeamish. This is a story about friends and family, and what they are willing to do in the name of Breast Cancer Research. It’s also a story about celebrating life, no matter what age you are.

My friend, Gina, and her husband, Steve, recently participated in raising funds for Breast Cancer Research. They are the attractive couple in the middle. They donned their Nike’s and took part in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, which took place in Green Bay last weekend. They were part of team ‘Brenda’s Badarrows’.

This is Brenda. She is Steve’s boss. The team was formed because of her. She is currently receiving treatment for breast cancer.
It rained and it rained, but they pushed on. Their team raised $2205, part of the $125,000 raised for the event.

When they were finished, Gina met up with some of her family, because they all had appointments.

This is Gina’s grandma, Marcella. No, she’s not getting her blood pressure read, and she’s not having labs done.

That’s right. She got a tattoo. A real tattoo, with needles and ink and everything. She is a survivor of breast cancer. She’s proud of her seventy-four years of life. Feel the sting? Just a little pain, considering everything she’s been through already.
My arm is tingling, just looking at her arm.

Gina already had the bracelet around her ankle, so she added the ribbon and the six stars. The stars represent her siblings. She’s a real pro on this tattoo thing.
I’m rubbing my arm from grandma’s tattoo, and now I feel a burning on my ankle.
Gina’s sister, Jami, decided that her shoulder needed to be prettied up. Very charming and feminine.
Tell the truth Jami, did it make your eyes water? Why do I ask?
Because, now my eyes are watering and my teeth are clicking together. My arm stings, and my ankle is burning.
Jana, another of Gina’s sisters, picked a different spot. Yes, the tattoo is on top of her foot. I wonder if she giggled when they touched her foot. I wonder if she had to use crutches after she was done.
Now my toes are curling, and I’m gritting my teeth in sheer pain and agony.  My arm is stinging, my ankle is burning, and my eyes are watering. 
According to some reports, she was gritting her teeth as well.

This is Gina’s Aunt Carolyn. No, the tat artist is not kissing her owie. I mean, you don’t see her crying, do you? She looks just as calm as can be. Probably because she was told to say ‘cheese’.
All done. All better. Now, isn’t that downright pretty?
 Now my leg is twitching, my eyes are watering, my arm is stinging, my ankle burns, my teeth are clenched, and my toes are curled.
Oh, look, here’s Marcella’s sister, Donna. She’s at the same clinic, I mean, Tattoo Parlor as everyone else.
Donna joined in as well, getting a tattoo on her arm. There are three stars, one for each of her sisters.
I’m a mess. Someone touched a hot iron to my shoulder, stomped on my foot, zapped me in the ankle, gave me two snake-bites, and socked me in the jaw. I can hardly keep typing.
Hey, it’s lunch time, and they’re all smiling. They probably nipped a little something to kill all that pain.
I’m looking for the Ibuprofen bottle myself. If I can walk that far.
Ah, that’s better. They all got together again the next day, to show off and celebrate their new beauty. But that’s not all they celebrated. You see, it was Marcella’s birthday. How fitting, when the commercials on TV promote finding the cure for Breast Cancer so that more birthdays can be celebrated.
Marcella’s sister, Jernice, is wearing artwork as well, although it’s not permanent like the others.  She’s the one on the left.
 Look at that beautiful smile on her face. Why did I mention this? Well you see, Jernice has also been diagnosed with breast cancer, but it has metastasized to other parts of her body.  And yet, she joined her sister in celebrating another year of life. What love. What devotion.
But, the story doesn’t end here. There are five more family members meeting at a tattoo parlor today, to do their part in celebrating life. Gina is going to be there to cheer them on and offer her support. All in the name of love.
May we never have to hear those dreaded words, but if we do, rest assured that there are those out there who are helping raise money for research.
Happy Saturday

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