I know we're only just into August, but I want to give you the heads up on a September whisper that's gathering volume out there.
Pink. Women. Walk.
Now... what do you think of with those three words?
Teal. Women. Toes.
And those three?
One shouts. The other's a whisper. We're all familiar with the breast cancer colours, the pink ribbon and the walk, or run, or race. Pink shouts it loud for Susan G. Komen and we all know.
So, what about Teal? As it happens, I am aware that teal represents Ovarian Cancer. It's the silent killer for women. How fitting that the word about it is only a whisper. Yet we do know about it, and usually when it's too late. That's because the symptoms are so in line with many other ordinary women's symptoms. Like... bloating. I mean... can you seriously see yourself saying after a meal, "Oh, I feel bloated. I'd better get my ovaries checked out."
Then there's the pelvic, or abdominal pain. And what woman hasn't experienced bouts of that?
And urinary symptoms. Urgency, or frequency. You know what? I've always had problems laughing so much that I need the loo. It got worse after my fourth child. And I believe as you get older you just accept... well, you just accept you're getting older. And anyway, who hasn't turned to cranberry juice when the old frequency level turns it up some? Isn't that a sign of having a touch of the all too familiar woman's UTI?
The fourth one? Well, that's difficulty eating, or feeling full quickly. Hmm... sounds like my own symptoms of stress there. I go off food. No appetite at all. And when I do force-feed myself... just one or two bites and I'm feeling full and sickly. Best not to bother... stress will be gone in a few days.
Individually, or collectively these four symptoms can be explained away, and all too often are. Which is why so many women die from it. It's silent. It kills. I wish I could put it in a kinder way. But, Ovarian Cancer is anything but kind. Four symptoms, and four words. It's silent. It kills.
September is Ovarian cancer month, and out there women are gathering in number aiming to raise the whisper volume into one large shout. During September, we're painting our toe nails teal. It's a small act, and yet it's such a conversation starter. How many times do women comment on nail lacquer color between each other. Yes... that's what we do, don't we?
I'll be reminding you all again come September, but I wanted to give you all a heads up so you can be prepared. Go out there shopping for your bottle this next couple of weeks. Find a teal that you love, and wait for September the 1st to wear it with pride. Tell your girlfriends at the office, and turn your workplace tealtoed. Make it a conversation starter and spread the word. Show folk your toes, and ask them to show theirs.
Ovarian Cancer. It's silent. It kills. The month is September. Toes to the ready, girls. Prepare for the shout!
In memory of Linda. 1956-2005