Note: I wrote this post yesterday then impulsively deleted it. I deleted it simply because someone I used to think of as a friend took issue with it, took issue with how I think and feel about my life.
I think now that I was wrong for pulling it, so I’m re-posting it.
You certainly don’t have to agree with it. Your Mileage May Vary, of course. I understand that. And while at times (like lately), I’ve felt angry at my cancer, I also wake up each day thanking God for the day that I have on this earth.
I don’t have to feel a certain way. I don’t have to take on other peoples’ issues, and I won’t. It’s my life and these are my feelings. As I said, Your Mileage May Vary. I will respect that, unlike the person who did not respect it for me.
Unless you’re living under the proverbial rock, you must know that it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Which probably begs the question — a breast cancer survivor NOT liking National Breast Cancer Awareness Month? What’s wrong with her?
Ahh, let me count the ways.
1. Pink, pink, pink. I’m honestly pinked out. All around, you see pink this and that, pink ribbons, pink whatever. As someone who lives with this EVERY. FLIPPIN’. DAY. 24/7, I don’t need awareness. Because I’m Stage IV (that’s Very Bad, for those who don’t know), I’m not cured. I’m in remission. In fact, as I so clearly remember my oncologist telling me, “there is no cure” for Stage IV Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I also remember the prognoses (two of them) that I received and maybe if those were better, maybe if they were in double digits of years instead of single digits of years, I’d feel differently about a Pink October. But they’re not so I don’t. As my friend Susan said in response to a previous note, “perhaps if we knew that we’d have many more Octobers, it would be easier to bear being surrounded by the reminders all month.” I couldn’t agree more.
Some may tell me to “think positive;” some may tell me that you never know when your time on earth will be up, that you could be hit by the *&^%(@!! bus tomorrow (why it’s most often a bus, I have no idea). I know these things, I KNOW these things, and I thank you for trying . . . but they just don’t help. When I look at my 8 1/2 year old son and worry about him losing a second mother (after losing his birth mother), they just don’t help. When I think about the possibility of not being able to raise him to adulthood, they don’t help. When I think of leaving him and my husband before I’m ready, they Just. Don’t. Help.
More years would help. Knowing I have more years would help, but I don’t know that. I could spell out the statistics of Inflammatory Breast Cancer survivorship here, but doing so will just make me cry harder . . . . so I don’t want to. If you want to know what they are, you can look them up yourself. Let me just say that when I was first diagnosed with IBC and went home and looked it up, I had the biggest panic attack I’ve ever had and I stayed up All Night crying until 5:00 a.m. when I could finally get a bit of sleep. Basically, I cried for two days straight until I could tell anyone, including — maybe especially — my family.
So for those reasons and many others, I simply don’t like being reminded more than I already am of my disease.
2. Think Before You Pink. Not everything that’s pink or even a pink ribbon has money going back to breast cancer research. Let me say that in another way: companies are making money off of Pink/Pink Ribbons without donating a cent to anything related to breast cancer. Not all of them, but some of them. Don’t just buy something because it’s pink or it’s a pink ribbon designed to “raise awareness” or whatever. We are consumers and yes, we are being manipulated by some companies who want to make more money off of the pinkness of October. Disgusted? So am I. Go to the site, Think Before You Pink and learn about how to evaluate items that indicate that they’re for “National Breast Cancer Month.” Do they designate HOW MUCH of the profit will go to breast cancer research? Is it a percentage? Is it a certain amount, and any amount over that will just go into the company’s coffers? Read. Educate yourself. Don’t just buy blindly.
3. Awareness. Unless someone has been under that proverbial rock, he/she is aware of breast cancer. But I doubt many people — except for those who know me and know of it — are aware of the breast cancer that I have, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, the short straw of breast cancers. Or other breast cancers. Breast cancer is not singular; it’s plural, and until “they” (whoever “they” is) start to make a concerted effort to educate and make aware about all of the breast cancers, the majority of the population is aware of the most common breast cancer and believes that when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer, that’s what she (or he) has.
Let’s face it, I didn’t know what Inflammatory Breast Cancer was until I was diagnosed with it.
Truthfully? I wish I still didn’t know, didn’t have to know.
4. Research and a Cure. All the money in the world to make people aware is not necessarily going to research; hence, it’s not necessarily going towards a cure. I won’t be happy about this month until either a cure is found or I’ve lived out the good long life that I had originally intended.
I do know how it sounds, and I’d apologize if I thought I had to apologize for being truthful. The fact is, you don’t have to agree with me. You don’t have to like what I say. You can think I’m bitter (and you’d probably be right there — at least at times I am). But these are the thoughts of a woman living with metastatic Inflammatory Breast Cancer.
Who is not liking October . . . not at all.
Cross-posted to Just Enjoy Him.