PINK MUSINGS FOR OCTOBER
October is here. Breast cancer awareness month. In 13 days it will be ONE year from the day that changed the rest of my life.That day I had my first mammogram followed by an ultrasound and biopsy that determined I had breast cancer. I have stage 4 breast cancer. Metastatic breast cancer. There is NO CURE. This year has been a roller coaster of emotion. Am I dying? Am I living? In the throws of chemo, feeling like complete shit, do I want to live? What do I want my legacy to be? How will I advocate? For myself? For others with breast cancer? How will I share about this disease during Pinktober? Being metastatic and 41 puts me in a weird position. Sometimes I don't feel like I belong with the young survivor movement. First, because I am not that young and second, I am not a survivor. I don't get to have a cancer free party. I am really okay with this. I will celebrate with ANYONE who gets to have this party. The other part of the breast cancer movement that I can't identify with is the disfigurement. Being stage four from the jump means I don't have surgery for lump/breast removal. SO another club that I don't have access too. I don't have shocking photos to display, reconstructions stories to tell.....a large part of me feels very lucky, a tiny part of me feels lonely......I don't have a shock factor for Pinktober.
Being that October is the PINK campaign and breast cancer AWARENESS. I feel torn with what to do. Young breast cancer survivors want EARLY DETECTION. They want the narrative to change and have mammograms occurring earlier than 40. This is a great movement as breast cancer contained to the breast can not KILL. Women with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer want more RESEARCH on metastasis. We want to be heard and to have donations that support research and less about the commercialization of the pink ribbon. WE have our own ribbon and colors to represent our fight. There are some amazing women out there who are advocating for people like me. Some of them are angry, out loud and proud. I think to myself, do I fit in there? Can I be overtly vocal? Sometimes this crowd boarders on shaming and bullying people who do support pink movements and even the early stage breast cancer survivors, for not getting it. That is defiantly not me. I am happy if I meet an early stager that has been clear for 1, 3, 5 years. Do I spoil their good fortune by telling them a statistic for reoccurrence? Do I shame someone for wearing pink or buying something with a pink ribbon? They are doing the best with the information they have. I bought that stuff before I knew better. How much education do you provide in a moment? If you decide to be an advocate do you have to be "ON" all the time? I do think EDUCATION is the key. Awareness is great. I think people are very aware of breast cancer but it went right to the commercialization of our pain. Breast cancer became a product to push versus a cause to support. The commercialization has lost the face of the person behind the diagnosis, all we see is the color pink and the pretty ribbon. Breast cancer is not pretty in pink. Some of the pink washing has led people to tell me that I have the "easy" cancer. There is NO easy cancer. Any cancer is scary, painful, uncertain and can lead to death. So sit here pondering how I want to spend this month. What do I want to share? What do I want my friends to know? What do I want the world to know? I also wonder if I share a lot during this month will my friends on FB defriend me? Will someone not want to hear my story, take part in my advocacy and decide to step away? Do I want to put myself out there and see what happens? Will me sharing in my small spot of the world make a difference? Is the risk worth the reward? But then I think of my daughter. She will have to start getting mammograms at age of 30. My misfortune at least hopefully will allow her access to early detection. With funding for research maybe their will be a cure in her life time? I think of my friends who are my age that texted me after their mammograms thanking me for giving them the courage to get their breast checked. And I think of me, of my reality. I am worth it. I can share my struggle, share my truth, share the facts about metastatic breast cancer. If my friends don't like it, they can keep strolling. I won't be upset. I get it. However, I want to help as many people as I can. SO...... This October I will share about early detection because it is important, so feel your breast ladies. This October I will share about Metastatic breast cancer because it is MY reality and it is the only breast cancer that kills. The more you know..... This October I will share about organizations that support research for MBC, so you can support if you so choose. This October I will share about bad ass women who are fighting the cause hardcore so that more of us with MBC will live longer. This October I am going to share with positive intention, with love. In hopes that I help one person, inspire one person, educate one person. Even though I am just one person. Like the whisper on the wings of a butterfly.....a small movement can move mountains.