I get asked all the time, why the color green? Why “Green Ninja”? Why the green hair? Well, here’s an answer for that…..
Green hasn’t always been my favorite color. I used to love the color blue because of the ocean. I also loved Tigers and other spirit animals. I always liked turtles, but they weren’t my favorite animal. Turtles eventually became my favorite animal once I started to learn more about them and how resilient they are. I love the idea of turtles being strong because of their shell. They are known for their quiet strength. They also remind you to take it easy once in a while. There’s no rush.
One day I read something about turtles being able to carry the weight of the world on their backs and that resonated with me. I have always felt this pressure to be strong, so that I could help others be strong. I don’t know why. It was never something that I was told I had to do. I just always felt the need to help others and that lead to my nonprofit work. Over 25+ years of working for nonprofits and helping my community.
My love of turtles eventually started my love afair with the color green. I love all shades of green and if you google the color green it symbolizes “nature and life”. It can also symbolize growth and healing. If you google what turtles symbolize, they stand for longevity. Turtles are known to live a long life. Do you see the Irony in all of this? Someone diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer shouldn’t be expecting to live a long life, but I do. I know my story is not done yet.
When I was creating my blog I asked other Breast Cancer survivors for ideas on names. One survivor, Nancy, told me she had created a Facebook group called “Fancy Nancy and her Purple Ninjas”. It was a way for her to keep her family and friends informed. (Thanks Nancy ❤️). I loved it. So when I created my page it was only natural to incorporate a color that not only has so many positive meanings, but that would also give me the strength I needed. I embodied the persona of the “Green Ninja” to help me face my every day challenges of undergoing cancer treatment. Being the Green Ninja gave me the strength I needed to fight for my life. But now, as the Green Ninja I still feel the overwhelming pressure to be strong and to continue to be strong for others. Some days it’s exhausting. But then I look in the mirror and see my green hair and it reminds me that I got this. I can continue to fight and to inspire others. When people see my green hair I am sure they think it’s just a fashion statement, but it’s so much more to me. I feel like it’s such a great conversation starter. Now when I see people with funky hair colors it makes me think about what their story could be, and I smile.
My hope is that others will find their inner “Green Ninja” and they find the strength they need to overcome any obstacles that life throws at them. This hope is not just for my fellow Breast Cancer Survivors and Thrivers, it’s for everyone. We all have our battles to fight and I think we have to stop being so secretive about those battles. We need to share our stories so that others know they are not alone.
My new tattoo! So I did this thing when I was 17 years-old. I drove to New Hampshire and got a tattoo without my parents knowing. It was a terrible tattoo, but I thought I was so cool. I paid $50 to get my little sun with the Puerto Rican flag. Then in college I got another tattoo right underneath my sun. So for the past 20+ years I have wanted to get my tattoos covered up. I wanted them to mean something. So I turned my “tramp stamp” into a mommy tattoo. This is me, Sebastian and Leo swimming along, carefree and strong. This is my constant reminder to keep going and to teach my boys to be resilient. I want my boys to learn something from all of this, becasue there has to be a reason for all of it!! Speacial shout out to my amazing tattoo artist Virginia, who did a great job covering up both tattoos to create this one. (Picture courtesy of Virginia, from Kreepy Tiki. Her Instagram page is virginiamarvel).
**Side note for those of you that took the time to read this. I had a PET Scan last week and I was getting nervous. My calcium levels have been high and my Oncologist made me stop all my supplements. I was worried something might be going on with my bones. But I prayed about it and I tried to be at peace with whatever the results were. I was able to see my results on Thursday and I am happy to report that I am till NED. 20 months and counting….. This was great news since this August is my 3 year Cancerversary. I was officially diagnosed on August 26, 2016. That is why August is always a tough month for me. The 5 year survival rate for Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) is 22%. The median survival is three years. About 114 people die each day from MBC. Let that sink in for a minute…
I get all these Facebook reminders from the last 3 years and I just cry. Most of them are happy tears, grateful tears. Some are “holy crap tears”. I was looking through some old pictures the other day and I can’t believe everything I have been through. I saw a picture of myself while going through Chemo. I was bald. No eyebrows, no eyelashes and completely swollen. I don’t remember that version of myself. Maybe in this situation Chemobrain is a good thing. But today this Green Ninja is standing proud. Thank you to all my Ninjas. All of you who have followed my journey and who have stood strong with me and my family.
“I Choose Joy”
-Myra, The Green Ninja