Thursday, October 14, 2010

When Breast Cancer is a Good Thing

It's October and unless you've been living under a rock, you are well aware that it's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everything is PINK! What an easy and wonderful way to donate a little here and a little there, right? It's a little crazy though, because I was in WalMart the other day and I saw a huge display of pink bubble wrap!

I would love to hear what crazy and unusual things you've seen that are pink this month, so please share in the comments section below.

But I digress... 

This morning I enjoyed having a cup of coffee with my neighbor Patty. We sometimes sit in her beautiful new Florida room and have conversations about baking, decorating, crafting, Halloween, you name it. It's great! We both get excited about the same things. And then there are times when I dump my woes on her about raising my pre-teen. She's been through it all with step kids and her own daughter Jen who is now in grad school.

During our conversation today we happened on the subject of Jen and how she's doing up at the University of St. Augustine. She's currently working her butt off on her Masters in occupational therapy. Patty told me how she's been spending educational time with a hand therapy specialist and thinks she might like this career path herself.

I listened as Patty spoke of her daughter, clearly proud but not overly so, and very pleased that Jen has chosen a profession that she absolutely loves. She beamed with a big smile as she told me how much Jen LOVEs it.

I asked her if she ever thought Jen would have gone into this profession way back when she was younger, like my Jamie.

She said "no way". It just sort of evolved.

As high school came to a close, Jen attended the local community college and thought she might like studying health in some capacity and eventually finished her Bachelors degree at the University of North Florida. It was during her second year there that her mom found a lump in her breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Patty opted to go to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for her treatments, scans, specialists, etc. When she would go, she would meet up with Jen, since UNF is in Jacksonville. Jen would accompany her to the Mayo as much as possible. Over the span of many hard months for her and Patty, Jen grew to know the staff and to witness the expertise at the Mayo. She was so impressed with the care for her mother and the environment at the Mayo that she spoke with someone about getting an internship and, although it was unheard of to get in that easily, Jen was recommended and admitted to their internship program.

On to the University of St. Augustine where she absolutely loves what she does and is excited about her career possibilities. And Patty is now two years cancer-free.

As Patty and I talked about the connection of her breast cancer and Jen's eventual career path, it gave me goosebumps.

As parents, I think we all hope and dream that our children will grow up to be happy successful individuals. But to absolutely LOVE what you do each and every day? Well that's just the ultimate.

This is clearly one of those instances where being handed something bad in life comes around full circle in a beautiful way. Call it fate, whatever. Things sometimes just have to happen in the order they do, and I don't think we should mess with that.

Incidentally, as I thought about writing this blog entry I was walking Suki just before sunset. My mind was at work mulling through the facts, so I almost missed it. 

I looked up at the sky.

It was a big, beautiful shade of pink. 


  1. Yes, we don't see the big picture sometimes when things happen in our lives. Great story! Now I have to call Patty and go over and drop her my pre-teen woes! ;-) Maybe I'll just drop off the pre-teen herelf! :P xoxo

  2. Thank you. I love your photo, and I have tears in my eyes from your story and the reflection. Nicely stated.

  3. Loved your story. Creating good from bad is the ultimate blessing.

    As for all the pink husband is a firefighter and this year several departments are wearing pink shirts in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Nothing like seeing a bunch of guys wearing pink shirts and turnout gear. Gotta love those firemen!


Thanks for leaving a comment! If you have a question you would like answered, please e-mail me at