I Love Komen’s Pink Ribbons

My Name is Lisa—I ♥ Pink.

I’ve “met” a lot of awesome breast cancer survivors/bloggers since I started my blog.  The thing that’s so neat is that while we may not agree with the other’s point of view, we respect the person.  That just doesn’t happen in the real world, unfortunately.  Some of my favorite bloggers have pink-aversion.  I try to understand it, really I do, but I still ♥ Komen and pink breast cancer ribbons.

I’d like to present snippets of my fellow bloggers’ thoughts regarding “pink” because what they have to say needs to be heard.   I encourage you to read their entire posts so you have a full understanding of their opinions, because I’m only posting some parts pertaining to “pink.”  I  get what they are saying, but I can’t diss the pink, which I’ll explain below.

Stacey, Bringing Up GoliathMy brother asked if I’m anti-pink.  Not exactly.  Like so many these days, I’m against what “pink” has come to represent. The happy-go-lucky, early stage, still having fun, never sick, all is right in the world, let’s get coffee with perfect hair and makeup, cancer survivor.  My skin prickles at this unrealistic vision created by major marketing machines.

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The thing is, it hasn’t worked.  Thirty years, no cure and more questions than answers.  The promise most of us grew up with, has yet to come true.  We’re still being told we have breast cancer.

Nancy, Nancy’s PointRecently someone said to me, I’m paraphrasing here, you bloggers need to be careful not to alienate people about pink. Most people are just trying to do the right thing. Most people are just trying to do something.

I get that.

Whenever I write a post I always try to bear this in mind. It is never my intention to put anyone down for buying pink stuff, wearing pink ribbons, running in races or donating to their favorite charity. I think doing any or all of these things is wonderful. In fact, if truth be told, I still like pink.

But turning everything pink this month is just not good enough!

Katie, Uneasy PinkI know why we would rather look at people in cute pink boas and capes racing for a cure instead.  I understand it way down into my gut.

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The question is… do we care enough about REAL awareness?

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That’s why I won’t wear the pink shirt.  That’s why I know we’re not racing for a cure.  That’s why I wanted to spit on all the teenage boys wearing their FBI – Female Boobie Inspector shirts at this year’s race.

None of it has anything to do with reality.

That’s why pink has me down this year instead of angry.

I can’t say it eloquently enough; I know what I feel in my heart.  Have I been pink-washed?  I don’t know.  Honestly, I was clueless about breast cancer and Komen five years ago, and I’m not sure I’m that much more informed now.  I just know I can never tell Lovely Daughter that the pink she wears every single day in October doesn’t mean anything.  It does; it means that, God-willing, she understands how important self-awareness of her body is to her future health.  It means she loves me and is aware, and acknowledges, the pain I’ve gone through.   Do I care if she wears a shirt that says:  Save the Ta-Tas?  Absolutely, positively not.   (By the way, those are her hands above.)  Did (or do) I expect cure for cancer in my lifetime?  No.  Would it be awesome?  It would be unbelievable.  So would a cure for AIDS.  So would ending world-wide hunger.  Could I tell the men and women below that the Komen Rally tennis tournament last Sunday meant nothing?  It meant everything to me; their generosity humbles me.  The women who walk the Race for a Cure as a member of “Lisa’s Ladies”?  You should be so lucky to have those friends in your life.  Do I think the money raised goes toward research and research only?  No.  Without marketing, funds are not successfully raised and without money being raised research is hindered.  Don’t tell me pink isn’t “real awareness.”  You are giving it attention (e.g., awareness), are you not?

To be angry about pink is a waste of good energy!  Comments such as, “pepto-pink sea makes me turn my head and shut my eyes,” ” Pink is covering up the reality of the disease,” makes me sad.  Pink isn’t offensive to me; anger about millions of people just trying to help by wearing pink is what is offensive to me.

Maybe I just have pink-colored glasses on all the time.  Maybe I wear it just for me and my fellow sisters; I hope they don’t think I’m not into “real awareness.”  I just know that if coloring my hair pink and marching down the streets of Little Rock with 55,000 “friends” helps in even a teeny, tiny amount to not only find a cure for cancer, but develop better chemo drugs, or provide a wig or scarf, or just make one woman perform a self-exam, then I will wear my pink ribbons.

Knit-A-Tit

© 2005 Beryl Tsang

Oh, you read that right!

Knitters and persons who support fundraising for breast cancer are my favorite people!  Combine the two and wowza: Knit-A-Tit!  The knitting of soft, comfortable fiber prostheses (a Tit-Bit) was “invented” by a breast cancer survivor some years back.  Beryl Tsang was a 37 year-old breast cancer survivor who inspired a legion of knitters to help their fellow sisters not only in the fight against this horrible disease, but the right (and privilege) to wear something soft and comfortable, as opposed to rubbery and bulky, against their skin.  Now women are knitting sweet, sassy, cool Tit-Bits, Knit-A-Tits, etc.   I encourage you to visit Tit-Bits and read Beryl’s inspiring story.

Now what is even more inspiring to me are the women and men holding knitting parties wherein they make and give away dozens and dozens of these awesome, made with love, knitted prostheses!

If you are anywhere in the Ozarks on October 8, please visit the über cool yarn store One City Market in Rogersville, Missouri.  Starting at 10 a.m. you will witness approximately 100 women (and men!) knitting away for women they don’t even know. . . .  How cool is that?

Want to help, but won’t be in Missouri October 8?  Grab your needles and check out the pattern on knitty.com!  I guarantee there is a woman in your life who would be honored to wear your tit!

Major, major karma points.

“Dear” X-Ray Tech

Just do your job.

“Dear” Becky (aka x-ray tech),

When Lovely Daughter, who is barely 21, visited your fine establishment yesterday to have an ultrasound on her breasts, she did not need your passive aggressive comments. Yes, she is only 21. Yes, we realize it is not “normal” for a 21 year-old to be screened for breast problems (aka CANCER), and yes, we realize she was referred by HORRORS, “a nurse practitioner, not even a doctor,” but shut your pie-hole and do your job.  You didn’t need to consult with a radiologist before administering the ultrasound because you had ORDERS to perform the procedure.  Her healthcare provider ordered it.  Insurance approved it.  Her mom approved it.  Her medical provider was concerned enough that she was finding multiple lumps in Lovely Daughter’s breasts and concerned enough that Lovely Daughter’s mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer that she was being proactive and wanted additional testing to rule out any problems.  You scared and intimidated my child.  You are so lucky Lovely Daughter did not hop off the table to retrieve me because you so do not want to get into a cancer dialogue with me.  My doctors’ estimate cancer was growing in my body for approximately seven years before it was caught, which meant I developed it in my early 30′s.  Seriously girl, do you really believe the stereotype that breast cancer only hits “older” women?  Have you ever heard of early detection?  It is not your place to attempt medical counsel; it’s your place to perform the tests you were directed to perform.  Thank God for every one of you, there are millions of x-ray techs out there who are compassionate, caring, and understanding.

Please ask the director of your facility to send you to sensitivity training.  Oh, and by the way, my daughter-in-law is a nurse practitioner and for years my immediate medical provider was my beloved nurse practitioner.  You really are clueless.  Lastly, my breast cancer was not detected by ultrasound which both an x-ray tech and a radiologist performed.  So, take that.

The Big C and Double Fs

Cancer.  Friends.  Family.

Yep, they go hand in hand; at least they do for me.  Lucky me.  You heard me right.  Lucky me.   I can’t imagine going through something so horrific as cancer and not having the love and support of friends and family.  They are what get you through the rough days and encourage you that You Can Beat This.

Even though it’s been four years since my breast cancer diagnosis, my friends and family continue to support not only me, but all the other women (and men) diagnosed with this awful disease.  These dear supporters have so much good karma coming their way.  I’m thankful for each and every one of them.  You know who you.  Please know that my family and I adore and love you.   Here’s wishing each and every one of them (and yourself included) a lovely holiday season and let’s pray 2011 is an amazing year for all.

Peace and good karma.

Meet My Pink Co-Survivor

Whenever I want throttle my kid, she throws me for a loop and the moment passes.  Look for her—she’s the one wearing pink every day in October (want to see a pink shirt get good use; send it this way because it will receive exposure!).

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago, among the shock, horror, and disbelief was this little 5′ pink star who became, in essence, the bell that notified Better Half when something was wrong.  Like a little fairy, she hovered quietly, listening, watching.  She wouldn’t, or couldn’t, talk to me about my cancer.  The only time I saw her laugh was when she, Better Half, and myself held a shaving party.  My hair was falling out in clumps; I needed a good shave.  A shaving party.   They were laughing and smiling, fumbling with the shaver, trying to make me feel better.  I was wobbly, sick.  I felt like I was dying inside, but that day there were two pink stars beside me. . . .

When I had my last chemo treatment, my family came to watch me ring the bell signaling I was done.  Finished.  Hopefully.  My daughter was 16 and More

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