This is my daughters favorite color. This color also represents something else. It has become the color that symbolizes Breast Cancer.
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time for women and men to think about getting mammograms, offer monetary support for the foundations that they support and to bring awareness to everyone that is involved, has been affected by cancer, survivors and those that have past.
Breast cancer is affecting more and more people and the disease is hitting closer and closer to home. With the technology of modern medicine the doctors are able to diagnosis and treat the cancer sooner.
My own life has been affected by the scare of finding lumps. Both times it was assessed that they were benign. Thank goodness I was fortunate to have dodged that bullet.
I can only relate my own thoughts of fear and sadness each time I saw the technician leave the room to get the doctor as they returned to scan the mammogram. On my left breast it was determined that the mass was a cyst and was nothing to worry about.
The second time, on my right breast. It was a different story. All I can say is to me it looked like someone had shoved a tootsie roll candy deep inside, up against my rib cage. I could not feel it. That was frustrating. I wanted to feel it. I wanted to know what was inside my body.
I was scared. I saw my kids grow up without a mother. I know that not all lumps are a death sentence but I am human and I thought the worst. After the fears, comes the calming knowledge that you will do what ever it takes to rid your body of the disease.
This all happened at a time when I was very sick trying to figure out other reasons for me being so sick. It was soon after this that I learned I had celiac. We were also about to embark on our year long trip around the US in our motor home with the kids.
The next day I was asked to come in so that they could aspirate the "tootsie roll". I went in and watched as they entered long needles into my right breast to try and drain it. Unfortunately my doctor was unable to complete the procedure.
We chatted and he felt assured that what we were dealing with was not of great concern. He wanted me to wait and get a new mammogram in six months.
Six months later and many miles behind us, we found ourselves in Texas. I had the date written on the calendar and found a specialist in this field. I carried my xrays with me and after being retested and visiting with the doctor she felt that what we were dealing with was another cyst.
For two years, I had to return every 6 months and have a new mammogram to make sure that the "tootsie roll" was not growing or changing. It never did.
I still need to be aware of this and as I prepare to go to my new doctor next week for my yearly visit, I will be carting my xrays in to her office to monitor any changes.
I learned a lot about myself during the time of waiting. Our minds are powerful cheerleaders when the possibility of the worst is before you. I was grateful for doctors and modern science that could help me make the decisions that I had been faced with. I was grateful for my family.
I gained a greater sense of living each day to the fullest. I was one of the lucky ones. My husband bought me a pink ribbon charm to remind me how fragile life is. He knew what a mental race I had just endured. I was one of the lucky ones that received good news. Others are not so fortunate and for this my heart breaks to those that have lost the battle too soon.
In honor of this month, I wanted to create a pink recipe. With Thanksgiving right around the corner and cranberries having their roll in our turkey dinner I thought this would be a nice addition to our dinner, Cranberry Vinaiegrette Salad Dressing.
I served this dressing on a broccoli and cranberry salad. It can be tossed together or the salad can be served on a side plate with the dressing available for each guest to pour themselves.
I like the cranberry flavor, thick consistency and twang of the apple cider vinegar.
Please enjoy this recipe and remember to get mammograms early for early detection.
Recipe: Cranberry Broccoli Salad
Makes 6-8 side servings
3 cups of raw broccoli, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup of crispy bacon, diced
1/4 cup of caramelized pecans
3 tablespoons of red onion, diced small
1/3 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of cranberry vinaigrette (recipe below)
Toss the above ingredients together.
Cranberry Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Makes about 2.5 cups
2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed
1/2 cup of orange juice
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon of white sugar
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon of dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 cup of cranberry sauce
Sprinkle of clove, to taste
Sprinkle of cinnamon, to taste
1/2 cup of light olive oil
In a blender combine all of the above ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil.
Blend until small specks of cranberry can be seen.
Salad dressing can be used immediately or stored in refrigerator for one week.