Reflections: With New Year’s Comes a Bright Pink Lining

My mom, Lisa Wegrzyn, and I at a breast cancer awareness event in October 2014.
My mom, Lisa Wegrzyn, and I at a breast cancer awareness event in October 2014.

Historians track the birth of New Year’s resolutions to 4,000 years ago when the Babylonians of ancient Mesopotamia, who celebrated the new year in March upon the arrival of Atiku (barley) harvest festivals, made amends and promises they believed would earn them the gods’ favors for a successful year.

Although most of our present-day resolutions don’t revolve around returning borrowed farm equipment to ensure a blessed harvest, our resolutions are still representative of the same sentiment—renewal, aspirations and optimism.

Although I stopped making official resolutions in the form of a to-do list years ago, as the year quickly approaches its end, it only feels natural to pause for contemplation. This year’s resolutions are molded by a bit of turbulence my family has faced in the last few months—my mother, age 49, was diagnosed with breast cancer in the beginning of October.

From the start, she has faced her diagnosis head-on—without pause, fear or self pity, and with a fully characteristic, strong dose of dry humor. She had us giggling within minutes of her recovery following her bilateral mastectomy, and we’ve already had more than a few laughing fits picking out her new wigs, hats and scarves for once chemo takes it’s toll on her shiny brown hair.

She also tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. This news meant I had a 50% chance at carrying the same genetic mutation. Being inspired by my mother’s proactiveness, I immediately got tested, and after a very long three weeks, the results came back positive. Testing positive for a BRCA1 mutation increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer to 60–80% and ovarian cancer to 30–45% (the average woman in the United States is at 13% and 1–2%, respectively.)

The numbers are scary, yes, but there is also a bright pink lining—knowledge is power! The advancements in breast cancer prevention and treatments are awe-inspiring, as are the endless numbers of resources available to me. This year, I resolve to not commiserate in my diagnosis, but to have gratitude that I have been afforded the opportunity that many aren’t—to be a step ahead of cancer.

Skin Inc.’s resolutions

I asked the people who help bring Skin Inc. to you each month to share their resolutions for 2015 ...

Bryan Crowe, production manager, says “1. Strive to be a better person. Think positively. Ignore negativity. 2. Get in better health and shape (my son is getting married in June.) Got to look good! A new year seems to usher in new promises and hope for everyone, and that to me is a positive thing to focus on.”

Lisa Hede, designer, resolves to “Use big-box stores less, shop local artists and independent retailers more. And grow more than weeds in the garden this year.”

Emily Mohn, assistant show manager, says, “Everything in moderation—food, work, shopping, social media, dating—I need to find balance in my life in 2015.”

Share your resolutions with us on or on Twitter @SkinIncMagazine.

Happy New Year!

Kristen Wegrzyn
Assistant editor
[email protected]

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