Pink Pumpkin

pumpkinI just had delivered to my office several days ago a pumpkin. I haven’t had a real pumpkin at the office in I can’t remember how many years. It’s not just a normal pumpkin as one would expect, but rather a pinkish pumpkin that was supposed to be a bit more pink than it shows but likely due to the growing conditions this year, it didn’t fully develop into an honest to goodness pink pumpkin. It perched itself on a stool near the front door likely so it would catch the eye of a passerby.

It is my understanding that the pink pumpkins came about when a pumpkin grower discovered a genetic mutant in his giant pumpkin field that was a definite pink. He managed to isolate the new strain and began growing pink pumpkins as a novelty. What was the most heartening of the story is that the Breast Cancer Awareness group began using the pink pumpkins for their awareness drives during the Fall months.

I’m glad I have this pumpkin during this time so that I will be reminded of the suffering that many women around the world have endured being treated for breast cancer. Having had two very close relatives being diagnosed with breast cancer a number of years ago brings back many sad memories. One of them is still alive and the other died from a re-occurrence even after many painful and exhaustive treatments. Unless someone has lived through the pain of either having breast cancer themselves or a close relative, they really don’t fully understand the both mental as well as physical hardships that must be endured. What I found the most discomforting was the continued anxiety of not knowing if they were going to survive. Days, months, and years had to pass before a glimmer of hope would rise and yet there was still that haunting question, “Will it return?”

Working with clients and customers for so many years I’ve heard many stories of hope as well as wrenching sadness. A close friend of mine who was also a survivor became a great support for many whom she barely knew simply because she wanted them to know that there were others like hear that survived and cared. It takes a strong woman to go out into the public and tell her story in a shameless way. She considered women who hid their pain suffered even more so because they felt more alone. I’ll never forget the time a woman who was a breast cancer survivor coming to me to sell her a home. In time she informed me that she was married once but her husband divorced her because she had her breasts removed due to breast cancer. I was internally furious with that man and I didn’t even know him. I guess the “in sickness and in health” portion of the marital vows went out the window.

In just these two days, I’ve become quite fond of my pink pumpkin.

Joe Chodur

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