I’m not even joking about the PTSD

Okay, maybe I am a little.  I don’t suffer from the kind of PTSD that has me diving under tables, self-medicating with drugs bought off of sleazy characters in back alleys or laying awake staring at the ceiling every night. Instead I have these little flashbacks of the past year that leave me feeling a little sick to my stomach or with a lump in my throat.  The next several months (ie. the entire holiday line up from now until July 4th) is one long anniversary of cancer.  I found the lump October 30. Happy Halloween.  I had surgery the week after Thanksgiving and started a 6+ month course of chemo two days after Christmas. New Years was spent sick and in pain from the first infusion. I started radiation the week before July 4 and that lasted the entire summer.  In every family photo celebrating holidays and birthdays I am either wearing a wig or a scarf.  Every celebration was wonderful, but I was exhausted or not feeling well through all of them.  Concerts, movies, even simple dinners out had to be planned so I could rest up a bit ahead of time and I always came this [] close to canceling, but never did.  I decided no matter how I was feeling to take the words “fake it til you make it” to heart.  99% of the time my attitude is positive, but then I have a precancerous polyp removed and a wonky pap smear and what would have previously elicited only a mild concern gives me pause.

Now I should just be putting this behind me and moving on (and I will!) but wouldn’t  you know the anniversary of my cancer diagnosis begins during the month of Pinktober, where everywhere I look there are constant reminders of breast cancer. I have an appointment at the Cancer Center tomorrow and I suspect it will be especially obnoxious. You literally cannot leave the house, pick up a newspaper or magazine, turn on the computer or television without being engulfed in a Pepto Bismol colored haze. It’s all good. Just in case, ya know, you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of breast cancer. Now you know.

I’m not suggesting you don’t wear pink. You might look really good in pink! I’m not suggesting you don’t purchase pink items. I use a royal blue spatula myself and I’m not going to judge you if you want a pink one. My favorite present after my diagnosis is still the pink afghan my aunt crocheted for me that I wrapped myself in during chemo. But that blanket was made, given and received out of love. It wasn’t part of a marketing ploy to tug on heartstrings and loosen purse strings.  Be mindful of which companies actually support breast cancer charities when you purchase their pink items and which are only using breast cancer to fatten their bottom line.  Or, instead of licking pink yogurt tops (Really Yoplait?  You can’t just donate based on sales?) make a donation to the carefully researched charity of your choice. I support the American Cancer Society http://www.cancer.org  and recently have joined http://www.armyofwomen.org/ and signed up for a 20 year research study that anyone can take part in, men or women, any age, with or without a history of breast cancer https://www.healthofwomenstudy.org Check them out.

One more anniversary to mention. Today I am 

Look what I can do!

One last thought on the Komen/Planned Parenthood brouhaha

It’s not often you get to use the word brouhaha in a sentence.

As a current breast cancer patient I am sure I’m benefitting from Susan G. Komen, so I have been feeling a bit hypocritical about my rants over the past couple of days. I’m not flipflopping on my position, however.  I still feel they were wrong and I’m still happy that Planned Parenthood got so much support in response.  I’m still not sure how wrapping cancer up in a pretty pink bow helps anyone and I felt that way long before my own diagnosis.

If using pink kitchen gadgets and festooning yourself in pink ribbons makes you feel like you are doing something, that’s great.  If a small portion of what you spend on those items actually goes into breast cancer research, even better. Pink handguns?  really?

I’ve never understood how packaging artery clogging fried chicken in pink buckets and wrapping products made with cancer causing chemicals in pink bubble wrap exactly helped breast cancer patients.  I bet it did help the companies who directly or indirectly cause cancer feel better about themselves (and make a lot of money off a public who can’t seem to see beyond the pink). I am not disputing the Susan Komen foundation has done a lot for breast cancer awareness.  Have they done a lot to find a cure?  I have no idea. My cynical side tells me there is no money in a cure.

If anything this whole cluster has reminded me to look really carefully at where funds go (and don’t go) before donating to any organization based on an emotional reaction.  That’s not a bad thing.

Have I mentioned..

How much I hate the color pink?  Not all pink… just pale, baby girl pink. Even when I had 2 baby girls I wasn’t fond of it. They were dressed in bright primary colors, or at the very least dark pinks and purples. (You’re welcome girls).  Who decided pink would be a good color for breast cancer?  I didn’t get a vote.  Fight like a girl? pfft… What if I break a nail? A pink frosted nail? 

disclaimer.. I do love the hand crocheted pink ribbon blanket my aunt made me. But that’s it.