Ramborella


Ramborella™ Brenda Coffee. All rights reserved.

Twenty years ago a friend designed a great startup screen for my computer. He brandished “Ramborella” across a hot pink background like something out of a female version of Indiana Jones. When I asked him what it meant, he said I was part Rambo and part Barbarella—adventurous and sexy—a nod to my days as the first journalist to drive and fire the Army’s M-1 tank, land on an aircraft carrier, descend in a nuclear submarine and nearly succumb as one of the “desaparecidos,” the thousands who went missing every year at the hands of the Honduran military commandos. Although I no longer look like Barbarella, I am still Ramborella at heart. Except now I am a breast cancer survivor, and as a survivor my mission is to keep on living and to lead the charge.  Like me, each one of you is Ramborella, breast cancer warrior. 

While cameras and computers are still the tools of my trade, my interests have changed. Instead of sleek metal and rivets, I focus on plenty of sleep, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, a low-fat diet, light on the red meat, alcohol and sugar, plus plenty of Vitamin D, estrogen-blockers and exercise. The biggest guns in my war against breast cancer are my faith in God, a loving husband, a sense of humor and steely determination.

Like me, your mission is to keep on living, so let’s make a pact, you and I: Whenever we are tempted to hole up like a big old bear and do nothing but eat Oreos and ice cream and forgo that brisk walk, let’s remember Rambo did not survive by taking the easy way out. He fought until he was drained of strength, then got up and charged again. Perhaps Ramborella survived the jungles of Honduras to stand tall in this fight against breast cancer.

Emily Dickinson said “That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” Seize it with both hands. Whether you know it or not, you are empowered with an innate strength and courage. You have lives to lead, children to nurture, husbands to love and sunsets to watch. Gather your courage Ramborella and charge, charge again.