October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  I am more aware of breast cancer than ever before since my diagnosis on May 8th of this year.  Yep, very aware.  And is seems appropriate that I will undergo my very last round of chemo today.  Yes, TODAY, October 15th, marks the end of my chemo treatment!!!

Can we all just say a great big HALLELUJAH and PRAISE THE LORD!! 

I’m so very grateful that the Lord has sustained me so sweetly through this adventure, and has opened my eyes to the suffering of others who’ve had it so much worse than I have.

I’m grateful for the precious friends and family who’ve loved and encouraged me and walked alongside me- from both near and far, some who’ve even traveled out to be with me, throughout these past 6 months (the time really has flown by).  All my C.O.W.S. (cloud of witnesses – Hebrews 12:1) – I love you!

I’m grateful for the new friends I’ve made in doctors, nurses, caregivers and other patients I’ve met.  People who have touched my life, served me and ministered to me in profound ways.

I’m grateful to and grateful for my wonderful and loving man, John, who has prayed for and with me, loved me and my disfigured body and bald head, been patient and loving with my chemo-induced emotions and hormonal mood swings; he’s kept me laughing, takes up the slack, and has served me communion each morning before my chemo treatments; truly one of the sweetest times in our marriage.

I can say with every bit of sincerity that the last 6 months have been more of a blessing in my life than anything I would have ever imagined them to be.  And I’ll add to that comment that I would not trade them for anything.  Even the chemo.  While it hasn’t been a walk in the park, it has not been horrible, and so I count it all joy.  Thank you, Jesus!

So, yes, it’s October.  It’s fall.  And I love October and the fall.  Don’t you?  I love the colors of fall, the smell in the air, the change in weather and the changing colors of the trees.  I think God does some of His finest work in the autumn; He shows off so much and so well in the fall- His glory is all around!  Oh, and I love pumpkins.  I love “all things pumpkin” (as my kin say); pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin spice lattes… you name it.  I love October, the autumn and pumpkins!  It’s a happy time, all things considered.

But now October has been “pinked”.  Very pinked with BCA Month and a wide variety of BCA events and memorabilia.  Even the NFL was pinked last week as they supported BCA; football players in bright pink shoes with pink wrist bands, sporting pink ribbons emblazoned on their jerseys and helmets; pink towels on the sidelines.  Very cool.  (John is the team Chaplain for the “Cowboys” and he brought me back some pink stuff from the game).    And now,  even I have become very pinked, much to my surprise.

After my diagnosis I went into full-blown rebellion mode against all things pink.  No way was I going to be an offical “pink girl”.  I screamed to myself, “I WILL NOT BE MARKED BY PINK!!  I WILL PICK MY OWN COLOR, OR NO COLOR, THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!  BUT IT WILL NOT BE PINK!!  IT WILL NOT BE PINK!!!”

Nice try.  One third of my upper-half wardrobe was various shades of, you guessed it – pink – before my diagnosis.

I was done screaming.

For years you couldn’t pay me to wear anything pink or anything other than black.  Then a couple of years ago “they” said that pink was the new black.  OK.  Whatever.  By the way, who are these people… the “they’s” that come up with this stuff?  I’d love to know who makes these official statements of fashion, health, fitness and world affairs in the name of “they”.  Wouldn’t you?

Anyway, I tried pink and found that I actually like some pink on a limited and selective shade basis.  People said it was nice to see me in a color for a change and that I looked nice in pink (the new black) and so I thought I could deal with a little pink in my life.  Ha.  Little did I know.

Here’s another interesting little ditty- kinda funny (both ha-ha and strange): years ago my two roommates, Caryl (pronounced Carol) and Alison (pronounced Alison), nicknamed my nickname Punky to “Miss Pinkie“.  It had nothing to do with the color; I was not wearing anything pink at the time so I’m not exactly sure how or why that started, but it did, and it stuck.  I really needed another nickname.  But it was endearing and I love them and didn’t rebel.  Then they shortened it to just “Pink”.  Caryl still calls me “Pink”.  I’m sure I have some deep laden crisis of identity from all of this.  Not to mention that my real name is Karen; a perfectly lovely and beautiful name that means “pure at heart”, but no one ever calls me by that unless I’m at the doctor or when I was in trouble as a kid.  I’m trying to live up to that name; my real name.  Forever.

I rejoice today in knowing that even though many things have threatened to re-name and re-identify me – breast cancer, pink, nicknames, etc., my true identity is in the One who made me.  No matter what, I know Whose I am and that determines who I am.  And the same is true for you; knowing Whose you are determines who you are: Beloved of God; chosen, redeemed, forgiven, justified, adopted, blessed, favored, set apart and called out for His good purpose, according to His good pleasure and for His glory… in Christ.  It is Him, the One and only, in whom we have our true identity.  Not in the things the world can promise us or the fallen world can do to us.  In Him we live and move and have our being!  (Acts 17:28)

Yes, so the fourth and final round of chemo is this morning and then I’ll be finis!  Oh, except for the finishing touches on my new “Breastplate of Righteousness” which will take place sometime in January.  I’ll keep you posted on those details (I’m sure you are on the edge of your seats).

Oh, this weekend is the Susan B. Koman Race for the Cure here in Big D.  It’s where is all started, thanks to Nancy Brinker, Susan Koman’s sister.  Our Bible study gals, Women at the Well, have formed a team called “More Than Conquerors” (you can read about it under the tab at the right of the blog page) and we’ll be heading out bright and early Saturday morning (along with 35,000 of our closest friends) to race, run, walk and eat for the cure (we have brunch following because we don’t do anything without food).  I’ll give you an update on the event next week.

I love you all.  Thanks for all your feedback and encouragement.  And I’m glad that I can be an encouragement to you through this journey, these thoughts and rambling words of real life.  God bless you all with the joy of the season and the joy of the Lord!

Pressing on with Him!