Orange is the New Pink

Kathy Woodward

“You have cancer.”

Those three words still sound utterly alien to me. They came from the doctor who was explaining to Frank and me the meaning of the starburst-shaped intruder in my lung. But once those three words hit the airwaves, they cannot be retracted. And, as I was soon to learn, those are “fightin’ words” even when, as in my case, the cancer is mercifully caught early.

Needless to say it was an unexpected encouragement to hear from Kathy Woodward who attended a conference in California where I spoke about the ezer last February just days before my diagnosis. She wanted me to know how that ezer message steeled her for the moment four months later when she would hear those same three fightin’ words and she embraced her ezer-warrior self at a whole new level.

She gave me permission to publish the poem she wrote as she journaled her battle with cancer in the hope that it will encourage others who are engaged in this battle (as it does me) and the many other battles God calls his daughters and sons to engage. Her grandkids joined the battle with her by making the paper chain she is holding with words of encouragement and verses for her to read each week.

Orange Is the New Pink 

Don’t give me pink! Pink is soft, tender blooms in spring, baby’s skin. Pink is NOT me.
Breast Cancer is not pink,
                        not pretty,
               not girlie.
     And definitely not for WARRIORS!
Breast Cancer is walking on fire, step by step through smoldering flames. Hard to see across.
Each step painful, but with God, each step is a miracle and a necessity to arrive to the other side.

FIRE is orange, it is a bold color. BOLD is for WARRIORS and I AM a warrior!
Orange shouts from the mountaintop, or shocks the eye in a painted sunset.
Cancer requires one to be a bold warrior. (An “Ezer” —or warrior— was designed to reflect God’s own character.)
               Prepared for battle
     Armed with Him
NO FEAR. Ready to move forward into unknown territory, even if what awaits is not seen.
But trusting.
Give me ORANGE. In my weakness, help me be BOLD. I am a warrior when He is with me.

About carolyncustisjames
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3 Responses to Orange is the New Pink

  1. sealover says:

    Love the poem. And as a breast cancer survivor, I agree—orange IS the new pink!


  2. Bev Murrill says:

    I agree, cancer is not pink, it is not pretty. It is an ugly, filthy, cruel disease.

    My husband has just been diagnosed stage 4 stomach cancer… we do not take it lying down. Emmanuel


  3. Susan says:

    Bev, may you and your husband know God's nearness every day as you face his diagnosis and treatment. Isaiah 41:10 “Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged (disempowered), for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”


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