October: Breast Cancer Awareness month

Yes, it’s that time of year again. I used to be one of those people who thought the colours of October were just assorted shades of yellows, oranges, reds and rusts. And although I still love to see those colours, another colour has become prominent in my life…pink.

Maple Leaf Quilters is once again getting involved in making Breast Cancer Pillows to support breast cancer awareness month. We have downloaded the pattern from the Quilter’s Connection website: Breast Cancer Pillow. These pillows were well received by the oncology department at NRGH. Unfortunately they are always in need of more pillows.  The pattern for this pillow includes a pillow pocket with straps. The straps go over the shoulder, keeping the pillow in place without having to actually hold it there. It doesn’t take much fabric and very little time to assemble: pillow fabric: 2 – 11˝x 11˝ squares, purse fabric: 1 – 19˝x 12˝ rectangle & 2 – 2¼˝ x 25˝ strips.  You can drop your pillows with us at MLQ and we’ll get them delivered or you can find a place in your community that supports those with breast cancer.

I’m torn about writing about things in my private life BUT I am a breast cancer survivor. It is a journey that I will be on for the rest of my life. I really believe that we don’t know enough about the before, during and after of breast cancer diagnosis/treatment/recovery. Today I returned to work after being off for 6 weeks d/t recurring health problems caused by radiation. My radiation treatment ended in May 2013! My first conversation this morning was explaining my absence to my work partner. I am continually learning & I think open discussion & questions is a good thing.

This paper bag greeted me for 16 radiation treatment days…I’d be in the change room and I could hear the never ending crackle of not only my paper bag but that of too many others. On your initial visit to the cancer treatment centre you are given a paper bag to place your clothes in. When you are finished your treatment you put your lovely gown in there until you returned for the next visit, stowing it in the too crowded cubby holes. (I like this environmentally sound approach as your gown is only on for maybe 5 minutes) Some days I’d feel sad about that noise and other days it made me laugh that I would be so focused on the crackling. :D

The strangest things that happen along the way stick with you. I know that receiving a pretty, soft, comfortable pillow will be something positive that will stick out on someone else’s journey.

The term “cancer survivor” includes anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, from the time of diagnosis through the rest of his or her life. The word “survivor” helps many people think about embracing their lives beyond their illness.

Happy Quilting…Valerie Raye…and I am pledging 6 pillows :D

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