Skip to Content

Taking Back October

Fall has always been my favorite season. Some people don’t like fall because it means winter is next. To that I say, you can’t blame fall for what follows it; besides, I kind of like winter too.

I also love fall photos, specifically fall outdoor photos.

Fall outdoor photos remind me of how fleeting the spectacular beauty of fall really is. They remind me we can miss that beauty entirely if we don’t stop to revel in it a bit.

I have always loved October. How can you not love the blue skies, cooler temps and breathtaking color displays that October offers?

October is my favorite month of the entire year, perhaps because even my own backyard is miraculously transformed by Mother Nature’s fall “performance.” Her magical change of seasons and colors  takes place right before my very eyes and all I have to do is pause and take notice of it. I’m trying to do just that. I’m trying to seperate October from “pink.”

Some breast cancer bloggers profess to dread or even hate the month of October, but what they really dread or hate isn’t the October part it’s the Breast Cancer Awareness Month designation part. I get that. Sometimes all the pink, all the ribbons, all the emotion, all the debate and all the rest of the stuff that rises to the surface in October does become more than a bit over-whelming, more than a bit tiring and more than a bit annoying.

Before my cancer diagnosis, I didn’t pay all that much attention to the fact that October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One year my neighbor’s yard had bras of various colors and sizes strung up across it, I guess because her sister had breast cancer. That was hard not to miss. Other than that, I noticed the various awareness campaigns, of course, but in a sort of mindless way.

Well, that has certainly changed.

During October, the breast cancer blogosphere is, of course, more a-buzz than usual. Bloggers are busy sharing their opinions, ideas and yes, their rants. It’s a month of passionate dialogue and opinion sharing. Some bloggers set lofty goals like posting every single day. Others pick this month to bring out their most opinionated posts and offer profound words of wisdom while delivering bold statements and challenges. Still others share more poignant reflective thoughts and experiences. And finally, a few remain somber and quiet simply waiting for the month to pass. 

The purpose of this post has nothing to do with any of that. This post is really about my attempt at “taking back October,” taking back my favorite month of the year. I don’t want to give it up.

This past weekend hubby, the dogs and I loaded up in the car and set out on a drive. We didn’t have any particular destination in mind. We headed north toward Lake Superior like we usually do when in doubt about where to go. Luckily for us it’s not that far to the big lake. Whenever I see it, I immediately know why it bears the name Superior. It is just that, superior.

While on the drive, I thought about last fall and last October.

Last fall I was still in chemo. We took drives every other weekend when I was on my “good week” of the chemo cycle. My hair was falling out left and right, but in my stubbornness I was still refusing to shave it off. On those trips last fall it felt wonderful to plop a cap on my head and just get out of town. It was almost as if hubby and I were “on the run,” feeling a bit like a couple of “cancer fugitives.”

One year later, I’m thankful to not be in chemo. One year later, I’m still plopping that cap on my head mostly for vanity reasons, but that’s a different post. One year later, it still feels good to get out of town and leave it all behind, even if only for a day.

Mostly, one year later, it still feels good to marvel at the spectacular beauty of a fall day in October and for those moments not think about breast cancer even once.

It feels good to “take back October.”

What is your favorite season or month?

How do you revel in fall’s beauty?

How do you “take back” October (or any time)?





Wednesday 12th of October 2011

Fall is probably my favorite time of year. I also like winter except for driving in snowy, icy weather. I don't like spring - too cold and sloppy and muddy where I live.

I always try to take pictures in the fall or to just slow down outside and enjoy the colors. I'm always sad when the colors are gone, but then I look forward to Thanksgiving and the holidays.


Thursday 13th of October 2011

Lindsay. It sounds like we think alike! Thanks for commenting.

Being Sarah

Tuesday 11th of October 2011

I love your photos Nancy. You are really lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and that lake is stunning. In the UK we don't have the same proliferation of pink (although we have some) and I've not felt the need to escape it like you have. However, I still feel the need to get into nature as often as possible, all year round! Like you, I like to 'get away' and find time when I don't think about breast cancer too. Best to you and enjoy the gorgeous autumn colours. Sarah


Tuesday 11th of October 2011

Sarah, I'm glad you enjoyed the photos and yes, Lake Superior is stunning during any season of the year actually. It's critical to find time away and not think about breast cancer isnt' it? Still, when I try to do that, I remember those who can't get away from it ... Thanks for commenting and for your good wishes and yes, I will enjoy the gorgeous autumn colors.


Tuesday 11th of October 2011

Wonderful thoughts and expressions, Nancy! I appreciate your insight and really respect your input. I am also a lover of Fall - Chuck and I celebrated 29 years together earlier in the month. I, too, can get lost in the colors and often find myself in the middle of my yard staring up through the Oak's orange and yellow leaves. I am glad you can escape and enjoy the beauty of our state!


Tuesday 11th of October 2011

Lori, It was a lovely surprise to see your comment here, thanks so much! There is something really special about fall isn't there? Knowing that the beauty doesn't last long and that winter is coming, makes it even more special somehow. Congrats on the 29 years!

Beth L. Gainer

Monday 10th of October 2011


You beat me to it!! I am working on a posting called Reclaiming October. It will be about some similar themes, but --and here's the heads up -- I'm going to take a break from the blogosphere to enjoy October.

I psychologically need a break.

Your pictures are gorgeous, and your posting is, as usual, wonderfully written.

This October finds me in a different place I've ever been. When I was a newbie, I celebrated pink. Then, I dreaded it. Then I felt hijacked by it. And now I'm ignoring it in favor of the fall colors and orange of Halloween. I'm celebrating October, as you are!! I took a bunch of fall pix too -- great minds think alike.


Monday 10th of October 2011

Beth, Good for you for taking an October break. I've heard others say they need a psychological break this month too, so you are certainly not alone. I will look forward to that post; reclaiming October is a good title and sounds empowering. Enjoy Halloween with your daughter! Orange and black never looked better. And yes, I guess great minds do think alike! ha. Thanks so much for commenting, Beth.


Monday 10th of October 2011

The problem with Pink October is how very many people are trying to make a buck off the backs of suffering women. When a casino offers 10% of a room rate to Komen, that isn't to help cancer patients. It's a trick to get more people into their smoky casinos. When they make pink chips, pink sheets and have pink cocktails to entice people to spend more, it is not about a cure for cancer. Alcohol, smoke, gambling - all bad for you. Alcohol and smoking are linked to cancer and so is stress, like in, you know, losing money at a casino.

Pink October is not about me - the metastatic cancer patient. Metastatic patients are the scary ones - the ones who die of cancer. Not the cute women running with pink hats on that are so adorable. Oh no, we are the battered, the scarred, the tired, the wheezing. The money raised goes to mammograms, which is great and necessary. It goes to more "awareness" which is not.

Very few goes to research for the very ones who will die.

I don't have to take back October because this year, I'm not well enough to go out and see the pink everywhere. I hope that next year I am. I don't think I'll be ranting on my own blog, since I had half my liver removed last week. I have more important things to worry about - like letting women know this surgery is even an option. VERY few oncologists and surgeons will do it.

I would dearly love to change October to "Cancer Awareness Month" instead of this pink mess. All cancer is awful. All families suffer when a loved one dies of cancer. If I ran the world, 100% of every dollar taken in would go to research.

thanks for letting me rant, Nancy! :)


Monday 10th of October 2011

But Doctor I Hate Pink, I am so with you on your big complaints. Pinktober has become more about corporations making a buck than about supporting breast cancer research. And the non-inclusion of people like yourself with mets, is just deplorable and totally unacceptable. Maybe you're right, "Cancer Awareness Month" might be better, but I don't see that changing. "Breast cancer business" is too huge. I'm glad your surgery is done and I hope things go well for you from here on out. I am in your corner. And by the way, I always love a good rant!

%d bloggers like this: