Tag Archives: chemotherapy

Out of Sync With Pink: One


dahlia_1

[Image Credit:  Fabricandart.com]

Dear Readers,

Please read this post first:   The Problem With Pink.

Last year,  I devised what I thought was a very clever and original title for a series of posts regarding Breast Cancer Awareness.

However, last week, I  “Googled” the phrase, “The Problem With Pink” and discovered, to my dismay, that several other writers have already used that title.

So, I asked for brainstorming ideas from my sister, who provided this title for the series:  “Out of Sync With Pink.”  Thanks, Susan!

. . . I am “Out of Sync With Pink” because of this concern:

The philosophy behind the ceaseless flow of commercial products and advertisements, which target the Breast Cancer Population.  

We, as Breast Cancer Patients, float upon — and threaten to drown under– an undulating river of Free Pink Plastic Products.

I do not wish to appear ungrateful and cynical — however, I am smart enough to realize that I am a target and the ultimate goal is profit.

My strongest objection is focused upon:

The advertising campaigns which recommend “feel-good” Glamour Products as “the best treatment” for Breast Cancer Patients.

I object to these campaigns because they trivialize the potentially deadly nature of Breast Cancer and the devastating nature of the required therapies.

Breast Cancer Patients endure therapies that include surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation.  We endure complications, ER visits, hospitalizations, short-term side effects and long-term side effects.

In what universe would Glamour Products be “the best treatment” for a woman walking through this nightmare?

If I may be so bold:

I will “speak up” for my Breast Cancer Sisters . . .

. . . We long for the day when this “ceaseless flow of commercial products and advertisements” will stop.

. . . We envision a time when the money invested would instead be diverted into Breast Cancer Research, in order to save the lives of women:  in this generation and the next.

. . .We look forward to a time when research will improve the quality of life and health of women who are struggling with the devastating side effects of therapies.

Yet in the meantime . . . .

. . . If we lose one or both of our breasts, we submit to Reconstructive Surgery or, at the very least, we have the decency to wear our Prosthetic/s.

. . . During the course of Chemotherapy, we agree to wear wigs or hats in public, to hide the shameful sight of our bald heads.

. . . We agree to wear Glamour Products so that we will appear to look good — even if we feel dreadful.

We hide the ravages of Breast Cancer and its therapies so that no one will see.  

And, as a consequence, people forget what Breast Cancer does to women.

Example:  I am a swimmer and people sometimes ask me:  “Are you careful to ‘cover up’ in the Pool Locker Room?”

The answer is “No” but I  find that implication in that question full of irony for this reason:

— Before surgery, I would have offended no one if I had walked onto the Pool Deck, wearing a revealing bathing suit, which shamelessly displayed  the cleavage of my bounteous breasts.

— But after surgery, I must offend no one:  I must “cover up” in the Pool Locker Room, to hide the view of my “shameful” scarred and concave chest.

Because no one wants to see what Breast Cancer does to women.  We want to forget.

Please do not misunderstand me:  I am NOT suggesting that Breast Cancer Patients “bare all”  and become visual “Poster Children” for Breast Cancer Awareness.

If you have had Reconstructive Surgery, I salute you.  If you wore a hat during Chemotherapy, as I did, I understand.  If you have mastered the art of applying eye brow powder, I say, “Well done!”

However, together we can send a strong message to the “For-Profit” Corporations:  

“I refuse to accept ‘Free Plastic Pink Products,’ which focus merely upon my ‘appearance.’

Deliver, instead, substantial help to this generation of Breast Cancer Patients and to the next.  

Contribute, instead, to Breast Cancer Research, to significantly increase the longevity of and improve the lives of women:  now and in the future.”

 

Coram Deo,

Margot Blair Payne,

for Breast Cancer Awareness Month:  October  2013

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Breast Cancer, Cancer, Chemotherapy, Mastectomy

The Problem With Pink

Dear Readers,

You say you are tired of October and all the Pink Ribbons?  You say you are relieved that  November is finally here?  Well, I hear you!  

Yet, we should be grateful for the Pink Ribbons, despite their profuse, plastic tacky-ness, for they have accomplished their purpose:  By now, everyone, I sincerely hope, is aware that one out of eight women WILL be diagnosed with Breast Cancer.

Yet, the pink bumper-stickers continue to puzzle and irritate me:  “Save the Ta-Tas!”  

Why are we still so silly about the word, “breasts?”   I should not have to list the other euphemisms . . . and I will not.

That is one of the Problems With Pink.

“Save the Ta-Tas!”   That is, indeed, an excellent idea:  Women should learn how to do regular Breast Self-Examinations [BSE] and should submit to regular Mammograms.   We should contribute to Breast Cancer Research.

However, the time to “Save the Ta-Tas” is nowbefore a Breast Cancer Diagnosis.  The sober fact is that, once a woman receives a Breast Cancer Diagnosis, it may well be too late to “Save the Ta-Tas.”  

After the diagnosis, we immediately shift the focus: “Save a Woman’s Life!”

A woman, faced with a Breast Cancer Diagnosis, is willing to give up both of her breasts, if necessary, to save her LIFE.

I will be honest here:  The prospect, three years ago, of a bilateral mastectomy traumatized me.  The surgery is daunting yet it pales, in comparison, to the ravages of chemotherapy.

The spectre of chemotherapy mortified me and it was, indeed, more terrifying than I could ever imagine.

After I survived the surgery and the chemotherapy, there remained very few things, of which I was afraid.  I am certainly not afraid of facing my life without breasts.  Before the surgery, my breasts did not define me.  The loss of those breasts certainly will not define me now.

I have no Breast Reconstruction:  My bust area is concave and my collar bones are now more prominent than the place of my incision scar.  I can feel each one of my ribs.  By touching my hand to my chest, I can feel my heart not merely beating — I can actually feel my heart pumping.  [I mention these details to remind folks that not every woman is a candidate for Reconstructive Surgery.]

~~~~~~~~~~~

When I was going through chemotherapy, I received offers of make-up lessons and free samples.  The good-hearted folks extending these offers assumed, perhaps, that my first waking thought in the morning was,  “Am I going to feel pretty and girlish today?”  

And that is another Problem With Pink.

I refused the offers — kindly, I hope.  My first waking thought in the morning was, instead, “Am I going to survive chemotherapy today?”  and “Will I live long enough to hold my second grandchild?”

I recently stumbled across a blog, written by a young woman, in which she listed her fears.  Her top two fears?   Wrinkles and grey hair.   She was fearful of the inevitable aging process, against which she has absolutely no control.

I am more fortunate than that young woman:  I know now what to fear and what not to fear.

I should not have to point out that some Breast Cancer Patients may not live long enough to enjoy the luxury of obsessing over their wrinkles and grey hair.

Now, can we stop being so silly about wrinkles and grey hair . . . and about the word, “breast?”

Can we now turn our attention to protecting the health of women and on saving the lives of women?    

To focus on all things “pink and girly” and “the Ta Ta’s” is to view women as bifurcated beings.  But we are integrated beings, endowed not only with bodies but also with intelligence, creativity, strength, wisdom, imagination, and a myriad of other gifts.

I have identified the problem and, in future blog entries, I will offer practical suggestions to women, on how we can protect the health of our breasts and how we can support and encourage the strong and heroic women among us:  those battling Breast Cancer.

Coram Deo,

Margot

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Breast Cancer