In June I marked my four year cancerversary. The other day I marked four years since the completion of treatment.
I have had four years to get used to the onslaught of PINKTOBER and all the ungodly pink products that really don’t raise money for anything other than temporarily pink corporate America.
I haven’t gotten used to it and I was speaking to yet another survivor last week who dreads #Pinktober too. As a matter of fact I have not in four years met a survivor who was super excited over #Pinktober. No matter how the survivor feels about being open or closed about their breast cancer, they all agree that #Pinktober makes them nauseous.
As survivors, previvors, and those going through treatment currently we are not defined by things like crappy pink rubber bracelets. We are defined by ourselves. This disease is part of our reality, but it does not define us as individual women.
So don’t wear or buy pink for me and for others, get yourself educated on the disease called breast cancer.
Get your mammograms.
Educate your daughters, mothers, aunts, nieces, friends, men.
Donate to responsible charities (which P.S. don’t EVER cold call you on your home phone!).
Keep up the pressure to Washington D.C. so all women get GOOD coverage, not just some bare minimum that causes as much stress as NOT having insurance.
Keep up the pressure to Washington, D.C. for reforms to big pharma and health insurance companies.
Last years I posted what I am about to post again. Live it. It’s the #truth
Now ONE #Pinktober thing I will post is something I received from BreastCancer.org – My Radiation Oncologist Dr. Marisa Weiss is on The Today Show tomorrow. That is one of the women responsible for saving my life and getting me cancer free.
Some of the strongest women I know have survived, previved, and live daily with breast cancer. Everyday, amazing women. Some others have lost their fight, but their will to live lives on in all of the rest of us. I choose to honor all these women by doing my best to live a good life….and not succumb to fake pinkness.
Anyway, that is all from me on the eve of yet another #Pinktober . I wish I could be a more cooperative survivor and embrace it, but knowing it looms only makes me want to pull the quilt over my head. But I won’t….but I won’t be bringing home pink wheat thins, either.
I will leave you with this quote:
“The best protection any woman can have … is courage.”
Would you allow me to copy your graphic and post it on my facebook?
Of course ! Feel free it is why I did it
People think they’re helping…but…
…they don’t realize. They don’t know that this is the time of year that I, personally, and who knows how many others are trying to gear down the anxiety machine that roars to life when those follow-up appointments happen…in my own experience, my lump from nowhere had to get in line behind those who took October as the impetus to ‘git mah mammo’…and when FINALLY I was seen, my lump was not cancer. My cancer didn’t show up on any ‘mammo’. My cancer hid behind the lump and only ultrasound and MRI saw it.
These ‘education’ campaigns…they don’t educate anyone nearly enough. A dear friend had the most lethal and aggressive kind of BC, the kind that, had she relied on ‘mammo’s, which gave her an all clear, would have killed her within months. Her doctor saw. Her doctor picked up his phone and called his ‘guy’ and got her biopsied within an hour. Her doctor saw her into chemo within a week.
That was a brutal chemo regimen, a radical mastectomy, a skin-destroying radiation treatment (goodbye reconstruction), and 10 years ago. And counting. My ‘tic-tac of doom’ was a skip through the daisies in comparison, but it grieves us all the same. The theft perpetrated by cancer and its treatment, the stolen time, stolen health, stolen sanity…
The ever-present terror…
I am not the same person I was prior. I think she died when that follow-up ultrasound was put off by the imaging place the second or third time as if it didn’t matter. She was a cold corpse the morning of her surgery when her surgeon made her the butt of the joke in a room full of strangers because she was upset that they couldn’t place a line in her hand, stabbing it repeatedly (“Oh, she just doesn’t like needles” he told them). She was in full decomposition when he denied her a refill of pain meds two weeks after being cut on (“Oh, take Tylenol” he said). She was reeking and falling apart when the pain of the fourth session of radiation she never wanted was more than she could bear (“That’s unusual, take some ibuprofen” she was told). She has been dead for years without any explanation for continuing pain from treatment thus far. This was not a ‘journey’, it was, and continues to be, an ordeal. The pinkwashing of this, or any, serious health issue is incredibly insulting and delusionary.
But they think they’re helping…
They don’t see my seething ghost at my shoulder. My precious, murdered girl…
Oh J, I do know how you feel. There are days I look in the mirror and wonder what if…what if they hadn’t finally diagnosed my cancer (invasive lobular did not show up on old school mammogram, although the new machines would probably have showed it fine)….what if I had never had cancer.
Did part of me go away with this? Yes. Do I still have good days and bad days because I had and was treated for breast cancer? Yes. Tamoxifen definitely causes that.
And oh do I hate Pinktober because people do not get what this feels like inside, the scars only we see. And I have lost people I care about since to breast and other cancers. One thing I can’t do a lot of times is go to the funerals. They make me want to jump out of my skin realizing again and again that although that has NOT been my fate it could have been. It terrifies me.
BUT I am alive. And that trumps all.
Have faith. Please. And thank you for reading what I write and taking the time to comment.