Light Notes

Real men wear pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Real men don’t eat quiche, wear Crocs or worry about the latest male fashion trends, but some guys are willing to buck tradition this month and are smartly in style.

Real men are wearing pink.

“Look what I bought for you!” I announced to Bill as I pulled the black T-shirt from my shopping bag, hoping he’d be as enthusiastic about the purchase as I felt.

He examined the words “REAL MEN WEAR PINK” inscribed across the front, a bright pink breast cancer symbol punctuating the statement.

“That’s a nice one!” Bill said with a smile. “And I’ll bet the proceeds went for breast cancer research,” he added enthusiastically as he slipped it over his head.

It was a perfect fit. Much the same as life has been from the very first moment we began this journey of pink — diagnosis, decisions, doctor appointments — together more than eight years ago.

Through every step, Bill has been by my side walking hand-in-hand right up to the door of the pre-surgery room where he regretfully let go.

Since that day, it has seemed to me that the women get all the hoopla — pink jewelry, pink clothing and even pink ice at one Tri-City Americans hockey game. But the men who love a woman with breast cancer deserve accolades, too.

They are in effect wearing pink — and stress — once the doctor’s words, “You have breast cancer,” are announced, resonating in a couple’s hearts. It’s a moment when men make a choice — to support wholeheartedly or turn from the disfigurement that can become a breast cancer patient’s reality.

I’ll never forget how Bill wore his role of supportive spouse when I wrestled with huge decisions that would follow my mastectomy.“Don’t feel like you have to get reconstructive surgery for me,” he assured as I studied what a TRAM Free Flap operation involved. “It’d be fine with me if you just tattooed an American flag across your chest,” he teased to lighten the mood.

Even though he was joking, I knew there was truth: It wouldn’t matter how bad the scar, it wouldn’t affect how he loved me.

Real men wear pink. And my husband wears it well.