Before breast cancer, I would never have noticed a pretty little store on a quiet little
street, named Pretty in Pink. Now, after cancer, I am there often. I love all the goodies in their window—leopard chemo turbans, a turquoise work-out shirt, undergarments with built-in pockets for prostheses, and the prostheses themselves. The Pretty in Pink employees are so kind that I’m excited when I unexpectedly bump into them in public places. They’ve seen my most private disfigurements and have gently and lovingly guided me into bras that restore my confidence. On days when I feel like shouting, “I am not an animal!” they treat me like a woman, like a movie star, as they watch me struggling to make decisions that weren’t even on my radar before cancer.
This is weird stuff. Surreal. These precious people make it seem normal, safe. I never
imagined a day when I would be in this situation. They make it okay. Many of them are cancer survivors and their stories inspire me. There are worse things than having one’s chest chopped off. One must remain grateful for kindness and love and all the other blessings God showers on us.
The store name Pretty in Pink reminds me of the movie Pretty in Pink starring Molly
Ringwald. I worked with Molly in another movie, The Pickup Artist, with Robert Downey, Jr., way back in 1986. I auditioned in 1985 but found out I got the role months later, right after I’d delivered my first baby. The pregnancy had stretched my gymnastic body to capacity never to be the same again. I walked the Hollywood Hills and dieted to lose the forty pounds of baby weight by the movie shoot date. Some things couldn’t be fixed with exercise, so I had plastic surgery. I finished filming The Pickup Artist and did many other movies. Time passed, coupled with more pregnancies and aging. My body has been through a lot. Suddenly I’m 58 and I find I’m still trying to fix myself.
The Vanderbilt Breast Clinic care was excellent, and after five months of chemo and
33 rounds of radiation, I am healed and healthy and deciding whether or not to keep
fixing this body. It’s such a private thing, breast cancer, but it is a reality and very common. One in eight women get breast cancer and most are not genetically predisposed to it. It was not in my family tree. Early detection offers the best outcome. Preventive measures can also help such as lots of fruits and vegetables, no smoking, and limiting alcohol and sugar.
My two best ukulele songs were inspired during my cancer journey and I named my new
book, Lavender Hair, after one of the songs. If I could turn back time, I would do a few things differently, but through it all God is my rock and holding me with His right hand.
VICTORIA JACKSON is the author of Lavender Hair and is best known for her six seasons (1986-1992) on Saturday Night Live. She has also appeared in many films. Victoria was raised in a Bible-believing, piano-playing home with no TV. While at college on a gymnastics scholarship, Victoria discovered drama. Johnny Carson’s talent scout saw her six-minute stand-up comedy act and put her on the Tonight Show where she appeared over twenty times. In 1992, Victoria was reunited with her high school sweetheart, Paul Wessel, and left show business to raise a family in the suburbs of Miami. Victoria still performs stand-up comedy and appears in an occasional film. She and her husband now reside in Nashville, Tennessee, to be near their daughters and grandchildren.
Lavender Hair is available now for purchase at: https://www.amazon.com/Lavender-Hair-Devotions-Breast-Cancer/dp/1424555620.
To celebrate the launch of the book, Victoria is performing her stand-up routine and singingher new song live at Zanies Comedy Club in Nashville on October 8. Purchase tickets here! and donate to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation here.
Pretty in Pink boutiques offer breast cancer essentials from diagnosis to remission at four locations across Middle Tennessee – Franklin, St Thomas in Nashville, 100 Oaks and Murfreesboro. Learn more here.