Friday, February 11, 2011

CANCER DOES NOT DEFINE ME

I knew this rant was going to seep out one day...  It can be an awkward and maybe a risky "conversation" but, seeing the Pink Ribbon sometimes annoys me... and, sometimes, pisses me off.  Whew, there, I let the cat out of the bag...

Six years ago, I had  routine mammogram which ended up not at all routine.  Within minutes, my life changed...  I had breast cancer - early detection/small/Stage 1/hormone positive/HER2 negative/not-in-lymph-nodes.  If you have to have cancer...  opt for breast cancer and line up to have the above characteristics.  Think work, hard-not-fun-work, not death 'cause breast cancer is one of the most curable cancers of them all (5th - 86% survival rate).

But, this isn't about the personal work involved in cancer treatment, but about the media and about the marketing of breast cancer and the tactics used to scare us into thinking that Cancer defines us and, without huge donations, we will die from it.  (I warned you ... a rant!)

Awkward, right?  

Ok, if you walk, ride, drive, sing, dance or DO anything for any cause, be it breast cancer, any cancer, ALS, multiple sclerosis, hospice, etc, and you ask me, I will donate.  I love YOUR commitment to your cause.  What I won't do, is donate, personally, to breast cancer research.  All of my personal donations go to the American Cancer Society (or similar non-specific cancer research) to be distributed to cancer research.

Think about it...  think about the marketing.  If you can pick half the population (women) and convince them that by donating to breast cancer research, they will live.  Then WOW, you have a pocket full of money.  Don't get me wrong...  breast cancer is curable because of all the work that's been done.  I am grateful for that...  really grateful...

I just can't help but to think,  what about the "orphan" cancers - pancreatic, lung, colon, brain, bone...  do they lose because breast cancer research is so well funded?  These are not pretty cancers and, the "survivors" don't survive long enough to tell their story.  Funny, my dad died of lung cancer...  I would be rich if I charged everyone a $1 for every time they asked me if he smoked...  Lung cancer is not a glamorous cancer.

Cancer does not define me... I am not a survivor for I was never near death.  I had a disease.  I went through some awful treatment (chemo and radiation)... Hmm, maybe I would say I survived chemo and radiation without the label of survivor.   If I get it again...  that would suck and I would go through the process again (pissing and moaning, just a lil' bit).  I just don't buy into the fear...

If you or a family member ever gets the diagnosis  - breast cancer...  remember, it is one of the most curable cancers of them all!!!!!  Lead their care with hope, not fear!

Special note - this website really saved my mind during treatment (http://www.breastcancer.org/)

4 comments:

MaryP said...

Having just lost my mother to colon and now my brother in law is battling lung, I often wonder with my cynical attitude about all the money that is thrown into research of cancer and we can't find anything that can effectively battle it.

drapertherapies said...

Suzanne- I had no idea! It is a true attest that sometimes the weird and unexpected circumstances we face bring us together. I'm glad to know yet another piece of you and that fate has interwoven us even in this kind of way.

Seema said...

I had hodgkins when I was 23 (48 now) and have to say (it is probably even more curable), that I feel much as you do. It was an annoying, difficult time, but fear of death wasn't part of the equation. I did the breast cancer 3 day walk once, mostly to do it with a friend, but found the whole rhetoric of it immensely annoying. Love your blog. Mine is http://seema-thefloridachronicles.blogspot.com/

Debbie said...

I'm with you on this one - I give to ALL cancer, not one specific type.