Saturday, October 9, 2010

Breast Cancer Awareness slogans I Hate and why I am Cranky this month...

October. I knew it was coming. Things started turning pink round the edges, and then BAM, full pink bloom. Pinktober.

Personally, and yes, it is usually all about me, I hate the constant reminder that I am no longer a "survivor". I was stripped of that title when the cancer came back and branded me with a big 'IV'. Yesterday I was asked if I'd hit my '5 year mark' yet, and how far "OUT" was I? My reply was that I barely made it three years before being thrown back in, and there's no getting "OUT" of this one. I'm ONE year IN.

As far as the Pinking of October goes...yes, it's all over the top; all the questions...where does the money really go, how much of it goes to research, etc (check out Women should be aware, women should get checked, and more money needs to go to research. A cure? Not holding my breath for that one. More effect treatment that is not so toxic to the patient would be a good start. Prevention opens a whole can of worms that we really can't solve unless we go back to the pre-industrial age, IMHO. There are things we can do, but there are no guarantees still.

I HATE "Save the TaTas", "Post a Pink Bra" on your profile, and all the things that draw attention to boobs, jugs, melons, golden bozos, Winnebagos, or even Hooters (thank you Steve Martin)...because not everyone who has gone through this wretched disease was ABLE to "save" their breasts!!! "Save the TaTas" is a slap in the face to anyone who had to have a mastectomy, single or double, who lost all or part of what our culture serves up as the shining beacon of femininity!

I know some of us are more attached to our breasts than others. The decision to lose them or try to keep them is easier for some than for others, but I digress...

The PINK is out of control.

To me, someone who has "been there", what does the PINK RIBBON mean? I do think the pink ribbon has merit. I do still believe that there is power in the pink ribbon. (Gasp! yes, I said that.) When one has just received the devastating diagnosis of breast cancer, when one is facing the new myriad of treatment options, testing, scans...when one is in the middle of this horrifying disease, for which no one signs up...

A pink ribbon on a bracelet, or a blanket, or a brooch says "others have walked this way and many are praying for you". It is courage to face those wretched treatments, knowing that there is an end and better days ahead.

So yeah, there isn't an 'official' color for Metastatic Breast Cancer, which is still technically breast cancer, but we're mostly too sick (though we often don't look it) to be at the Susan G. Komen walk and parade ourselves around as 'survivors'...I'm not dead yet, but I know right now that I have NOT survived breast cancer. (big run-on sentence)

I've voted for Dirty Pink...dragged-through-the-gutter-and-stepped-on pink. It hasn't yet caught on much, other than with me, and really, that's what matters, right?

I would like to opt out of Pinktober. I do have friends who ARE still cancer-free after breast cancer, and this month is for THEM to celebrate.  But it's not for me. And we don't need a whole month. Unless someone stumbles upon the cure this month. Maybe at the Komen walk, if someone keeps their eyes open. You never know what you'll find under a bush, or next to a trashcan. They are, afterall, "Walking for a Cure".


The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

in post script, it seems there is a lot of boobie talk being bantered around out there...a friend who is a high school teacher said, "We have teenage boys at school wearing the I *heart* boobies bracelets and pretending like they're supporting a cause or something. Right. I'd like to see if they would strap on an I *heart* balls bracelet to support finding a cause for testicular cancer. I doubt it."

Dennis Pyritz, RN said...

Shelli, Great attitude! Great post! I am republishing it today as a "Guest Post" at Being Cancer Network. I gave you credit with two links to your blog. You should see some increase in traffic to your site. Congratulations on great writing. I am also placing you on our Honor Roll for Excellence in Cancer Writing.
Take care, Dennis

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

Thank you, Dennis! I am so thrilled by that recognition! Thank you!

Servivorgirl said...

The Pink is a bit overwhelming. The Komen machine is in full gear. God Bless them, but for me it's like there's no other cancer than breast cancer during October. I am a surviving ovarian cancer patient. Our color is teal. We are trying like crazy to gain strength and awareness of OC, it's a "silent killer". I pray that your condition improves. Cancer is cancer, and everyone who has had any kind of cancer wants a cure, not hype. God Bless you.

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

Thank you Denise for your comments and for reading. I had my toenails painted teal last month. I like the saying I recently heard that "not all women's cancer is pink". I think a lot of us have Komen fatigue this month.

Continued good luck and health, my thoughts and prayers are with my OC sisters!

Kristy Richardson said...

Hi Shelli! I am so glad I found your blog on Being Cancer Network. As a cancer blogger, I am generally too busy either coping, blogging or working to read other blogs...but this post really caught my eye.

First, the pink - I was floored when my husband brought back the newspaper and it was pink. I so appreciate the awareness of it as my cousin had breast cancer - but then I find myself selfishly asking 'where the hell is my green newspaper for kidney cancer'?

Second - your comment about having NOT survived breast cancer. I so get that. In the Kidney Cancer world people either refer to themselves as Warriors or Survivors - and then there is the color (the original color) and orange (which is supposed to be for survivors). Left me thinking WTF???

I know that so far, I have survived three years worth of kidney cancer - but I don't really feel like a survivor because I haven't beaten anything. I still have cancer - am uninsured - and feel it would be a total slap in the face when I die from this to have a bunch of orange 'survivor' stuff that my family has to get rid of.

Sorry to have vented here....but I love your writing and you just really inspired me this morning.

The Dirty Pink Underbelly said...

OH Kristy! Bless your heart! I feel for your situation!!! And I HEAR YA!!! The change in color and designations would make me CRAZY!

I am so glad you feel some inspiration this morning!!

Hang in!

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