A Little Red Equals Sign


This morning I woke up to find the Coolest Post on my Facebook!

Someone I used to work with at a former job has posted that he was so inspired by the number of people in his Facebook world who had changed their profile pictures to be the red equals sign (or some variant thereof) in honor of SCOTUS hearing the (originally) Prop. 8 case from California on Tuesday of this week and the DOMA case yesterday that . . .

. . . he felt loved and supported enough to . . .



He shared that the support and love he had felt from his Facebook world enabled him to take this giant step and his parents were ready to hear it – it all turned out great!

I thanked him in a comment on the post for sharing this (and reminding me indirectly that we don’t always see the effect we have – this time I got to – but that one person Can change the world, or at least Somebody’s world) with us who may have had something to do with it, and congratulating him on his courage!

Despite what’s going on in my life, this put a big smile on my face, and I have a sense that this will warm my heart for some time to come whenever I think of it again.

I’ll Take Red Please

My favorite color is Navy Blue (seen the background color of this blog, for instance?  Guess how I chose my theme.).  I was born in May, so my birthstone is Emerald.  But (other than diamonds, of course) my favorite gemstone is the Sapphire because . . . it is navy blue.

All of a sudden, about 3 months or so ago, I started wanting to wear a lot of red, literally all the time.  I was diagnosed on July 5, 2012 with Breast Cancer.

What does being diagnosed with breast cancer have to do with wearing red?

And why red, as opposed to any other color?

The Chinese culture contains the belief that the color red signifies: good luck, power, strength, long life, vitality, happiness, good fortune, joy, power to ward off evil spirits, energy, determination, vigor, willpower, courage, and triumph, among other things.

Don’t take my word for it.  This information is available all over the internet.  Here are just a few:


Personally, with what I’m up against, I’ll take all of that stuff I can get.

When I said above that I wanted to wear red all the time, I meant 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  That meant I could put red jewelry a couple of places –

My navel (it was already pierced, so this was just a matter of hitting the nearest mall cart and buying the color I wanted, especially since I never take this completely out, only change them from time to time); and

My thumb – where I could simply look down, see the red and tap into that positive vibe anytime I wanted.

I decided, almost upon diagnosis, that this breast cancer thing was Not going to steamroll me.  Hence, I’ve been making trouble all over town.  🙂  But I digress.

Much of what I have to do to fight cancer is, essentially, out of my control.  Not doing it, or not doing some part of it, or not doing something like it, is simply not an option – not if I want the other 40 years my genes promise me (despite various cancers all over my family, my grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides have lived into their late-eighties and nineties with full mental faculties and most physical faculties – so that’s what I’ve grown up to expect I get too), and the alternative sucks.

To balance that feeling of being out of control, I take control and deliberately make decisions about cancer-related things where doing so does not put myself at medical risk, or is not otherwise unreasonable or stupid.  Notice that someone else’s convenience does not enter into my equation.  I do not visit Any of my medical professionals for their convenience, and I find myself often (politely, when I can) reminding them of that.  One thing I can control is what color gauze is used on me when necessary (which is fairly often given my extreme allergy to tape – yes, even Tegaderm), so I choose red.

I figure I’ll use everything I can to sway this fight in my direction, as long as it does not harm anyone.

The other thing I love about my red self-adherent gauze is I can wear it when I can’t wear any of my red jewelry, or in fact, any jewelry at all – when I have surgery.  And to make damn sure I get my red gauze, and to make it as easy on my caregivers as possible (so I prevent even the possibility of a conflict, since I have the means to do so), I bring my own.  I’ve had two surgeries already, and I may be having more on the other side of my radiation therapy.  So far, everybody’s been perfectly happy to use the gauze I bring, particularly after they ask me why red only, and I tell them.  It’s a win-win situation!  🙂  There are only those few minutes between taking All my jewelry off and having that first IV tied down with my red gauze that I don’t have any red on my body (well, except for my red toenail polish of course! – there’s always a way!), and by the time they do anything really serious, like make me unconscious or cut me open…I know I’m covered.

In fact, I’ve found a few items, in addition to red self-adherent gauze, that have so far made my journey easier.  As soon as I can source and price the components, I plan to offer a “You’ll Get Through This” Pack on a new page: “ToLiveWithByJ”