Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!
Ok… It’s not what you‘re thinking!
Blue first. CAROLINA BLUE! Once again, what a fun weekend I had. I met my kids in Chapel Hill Friday night for LATE NIGHT WITH ROY, and it did not disappoint. What is LATE NIGHT all about? It is a night of entertainment by the Carolina Men’s and Women’s basketball teams complete with skits, dancing, and eventually an exhibition of basketball. This year’s LNWR was very special as the 2017 MEN’S NCAA BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP banner was hung in the rafters alongside the ones from 1924, 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, and 2009. Honestly, it was incredible! The Dean Dome was PACKED. When my older daughter was at Carolina, she was the student sports marketing director for the Carolina Athletic Association and worked on Late Night with Roy for 3 years. I have not been to one since she graduated. My son loved LNWR as he was in Chapel Hill April 3rd for the championship game, celebrated the win on Franklin Street, saw the team receive their championship rings several weeks ago, and now, full circle, saw the banner!
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan (GOAT – Greatest Of All Time!)
“Talent is a gift. But character is a choice.” John Maxwell
Of course, we tailgated Saturday before the game. It was a beautiful summer- I mean fall- day and we enjoyed the sunshine playing corn hole, watching other games on TV, eating, drinking, and visiting with other tailgaters. We visited one tailgate whose theme was Breast Cancer Awareness. They gave out pink ribbons and had bras flying up their flagpole! Creative!
“You learn more from failure than success. Don’t let it stop you. Failure builds character.”
And yes, we suffered another loss. This is a character building year for all Carolina Football fans. (Bring on BASKETBALL!) We stayed until the last second ticked off the clock, then walked to HE’S NOT HERE to drown our sorrows and get a PINK cup. This is Breast Cancer Awareness month and everything is pink, from the football players’ compression sleeves to UNC t-shirts to HE’S NOT HERE cups. By the way, these cups can hold a bottle of wine or a couple of beers – needless to say, I did not finish mine! But I wanted that pink cup. We all did. And we got ‘em.
Is there anyone out there who does not know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer? No, I did not think so. Currently, I know 18 women, including my mother, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Did you know that, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1 in 8 American women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life? Every 2 minutes a woman in the US is diagnosed with breast cancer and every 13 minutes, 1 woman dies of breast cancer.
“When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.” Kay Yow (NCSU women’s basketball coach)
One of my dearest friends stayed with me last week as she was in town for her annual breast MRI and oncology appointment. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 6 years ago. Her family history with breast cancer is stronger than most – her mother died of it at the young age of 30, her aunts, cousin, and grandmother in their 40’s and 50’s. She had genetic testing to see if she had the gene for breast cancer. She did not, and she let her guard down. Skipped a Mammogram. Luckily, her breast cancer was found very early and after lumpectomies and radiation, her outcome was successful. Yet every year when it is time for her MRI, the fear of the unknown is forefront. Actually, it is always there, yet she does not live her life in fear; she lives in gratefulness. Though it is a big part of her life, she does not want breast cancer to be her identity nor does she want to be defined by it. Every woman’s journey is different. My sweet friend wants to tell all women not to skip their mammogram. And don’t take life for granted.
This week another friend shared with me that she has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. The mere word “cancer” struck fear in her like nothing else. It was caught early through her annual mammogram. She is a fighter. And she does not fall into any of the categories you would expect for this diagnosis – doesn’t smoke, is not overweight, works out all the time – except she is a woman. A cancer diagnosis is life changing – it can be life threatening. On a more positive note, there are 3.3 million breast cancer survivors in the US.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop and look fear in the face.” Eleanor Roosevelt
So ladies, grab that courage and make an appointment today to get your mammogram. Mine is next month – I always schedule it in my birthday month. At my first mammogram, the technician had a heating pad on the metal plates. Ahhh… much more bearable. Of course that ended when the Fire Marshall squashed that plan (yes a pun intended!). Mammograms are not the most enjoyable experiences, but are vital. Don’t underestimate the importance of a breast self exam – no one knows your ta-tas like you do! And if someone else knows them better, make sure they tell you if there is a change! Be proactive with your health. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Limit your alcohol to 1 glass of wine or beer a day (or less). But most importantly, don’t let what happens to you, define you. It is how you react to what happens to you that defines you and your character. We all face obstacles in our lives, be it an illness, death, or loss, but life goes on. If there is one thing I have learned being SOLO, it is that life goes on and I am stronger and better for it.
Spend time with those you love, because as we all know, tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
See you next week,