Since I am "lucky" enough to have to share my most favorite month with breast cancer awareness month, well, here are my thoughts. As most of you are aware the world has been splashed with a heaping tablespoon of pepto bismol pink - which makes some of us feel about the same as the people in the pepto commercial. Not everyone...much of our cancer tribe has differing views on the subject...some loathe it, some embrace it, and some like me are conflicted about it.
I can honestly say pre-bc I didn't give pink-tober a whole lot of thought. Even though my mom and my grandmother have both had breast cancer, it still didn't really impact me...my mom had what I term (and please save your speeches, I know people who would stab me for saying this) "cancer-lite", she had stage 0, which just resulted in lumpectomy, no chemo, no rads, nothing else. My grandmother had a mastectomy - no chemo, no rads- but that was over 30 years ago. We still have no idea what stage, what kind, nothing other then it never returned...people just didn't really talk about things like that back then. So honestly, other than seeing my football teams with their pink accoutrement's and seeing pink ribbons everywhere, the whole pink-washing didn't really effect my awareness all that much - likely my undoing. Because I always expected that I would get cancer, I was prepared to be vigilant...in my 40s. I expected it when my grandmother and mom got it, in my late '50s. Certainly not at 37 and most definitely not while pregnant. Surprise - joke was on me!
So here I am (I don't count last year because during pink-tober I was hip deep in trying to make sure this baby came out ok, prepare for upcoming mastectomy, continued chemo, and not quite concerned about much else) looking at the pink-washing as...an observer? a participant? an unwilling consort? I don't know. What I do know is that most of the products that slap a pink ribbon on their label are things I wouldn't eat/drink/ingest in any way, shape or form. You think I'm eating/drinking any of that processed crap after I've had CANCER?? No.
Do I appreciate that people walk for and with me at the Komen walk? Of course I do. Would I mind if people thought of me when seeing a ribbon or wore pink in honor of me or showed support that way? of course not!
What I do know is that not wearing a bra on Oct. 13th is in no way showing any sort of awareness, support or camaraderie with those who have breast cancer - it's just making you look, ummm, well, not good likely. (Should we all be going commando in support of prostate cancer awareness? Have all the young starlets flashing their hoohas at the cameras really been supporting cervical cancer awareness all along?) What I do know is playing some dumb game about the color of your bra on facebook is not doing anything other than...playing some stupid game on facebook. If you want to sport a pink ribbon, especially in honor or memory of someone, be my guest. If you want to donate money, please do your research and find the charities whose money does the most good. If you want to make me happy- learn about the signs, check yourself, learn about density and mammograms, advocate for yourself and please go to the doctor if anything is ever amiss - remember what I've been through this year. Know that behind the pretty pink ribbon, there are bald heads and scars and drains and IVs, there is pain and tears and not always happy endings. Cancer is not pretty, it's not pink, it's not sexy, it's awful. I will have my beautiful October tainted pink forever...you don't have to.