A Little Rant: “Perfect Boobs” Seriously??

I kid you not.

While channel surfing through Dish Network this Sunday morning, I was struck by this wording:  Perfect Boobs.  First and foremost, let me say I find the title a little very demeaning, inappropriate, and demeaning, particularly on Sunday at 8 a.m.  Second, just the title alone is enough to perpetuate the myth that one (uh, meaning female) should strive to be perfect.  Third, well, let’s just say there are many more things I’d like to say, but I’m going to be a lady and keep them to myself.

I love pretty things, and most days (today not being one of them) I want to look-if not good-then at least presentable.  But perfect?  Do I really need to be perfect?  Or is that just certain parts of my female anatomy need to be perfect? And whom determines whether or not they’re perfect?  What an advertising ploy for a bra.  Call it “Perfect Bra” or (shocker) it’s name: Genie Bra, and maybe I’d have checked it out.  I hope and pray a man came up with this title and not a female because that might put me over the e.d.g.e.

Dear Mr. Idiot (please, please be a man):

You are sexist and you insult consumers (and don’t even get me started about breast cancer survivors).  I do not need to be perfect to love myself or have someone love me.  What exactly is your definition of perfect?  Let me tell you something, no female’s “boobs” are perfect, and I don’t give a rat’s rear what bra you slap on her chest.  My “boobs” will never be perfect. . . because one is half-missing and was filled with cancer.  No bra can or will ever make me perfect in your eyes.  That’s okay because in Better Half’s eyes I (not my body parts) am perfect (most days….) and better yet, I am alive.  I have fought the hard fight and I am winning.  To me, that is perfection.

Mr. Idiot, perhaps you should concern yourself with making some body part on yourself “perfect.”

P.S. to Dish Network: shame on you for allowing that wording to be placed right above the cartoon Angelina Ballerina–just great for little girls (and boys) to see. . . .

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5 Years–So What Now?

What the heck does it really mean?

During the past week’s headlines regarding the fraud allegations I filed against my former boss (a big WAHOO for auditors), I realized I passed the five-year anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.  For five years I’ve been asked  “How many years? ” I’ll reply “Two,” “Four,” etc.  Okay, now I’m at five years post diagnosis, and what’s the big deal?  I don’t feel any different.  I’m not less scared that a recurrence will happen.  I still look the same.  No doctor called to congratulate me.   Now that I have time to sit and digest this little tidbit, I’m curious.  Someone once told me that if I lived to the five-year mark then my odds of developing cancer are the same as someone who never had cancer.  But, I’ve had cancer. . . .  Someone said I’m cured.  Really, then why am I still taking Aromasin?  Why am I still having scans? So, I survived five years, now what?  Is there another magic number I need to meet?

According to the National Cancer Institute:

The 5-year survival rate indicates the percentage of people who are alive 5 years after their cancer diagnosis, whether they have few or no signs or symptoms of cancer, are free of disease, or are having treatment. Five-year survival rates are used as a standard way of discussing prognosis as well as a way to compare the value of one treatment with another. It does not mean that a patient can expect to live for only 5 years after treatment or that there are no cures for cancer.  Blah, blah, blah.

According to Komen,

It is important to keep in mind that relative survival compares survival rates between women with breast cancer to women in the general population. For example, the five-year relative survival for stage II breast cancer is 92 percent. This means that women with stage II breast cancer are, on average, 92 percent as likely as women in the general population to live five beyond their diagnosis. Women with stage 0 (DCIS) or stage I breast cancer are just as likely as women in the general population to live five more years. As with overall survival, these rates are averages and vary depending on each person’s diagnosis and treatment. Blah, blah, blah.

I could go one and one with what I’ve found re:  five-year survival rate, five-year mark, five years after cancer diagnosis, etc.  I really don’t (but I kind of do) understand why this five-year anniversary is important.  Or maybe it really isn’t.

You tell me: what the heck does the five-year mark mean to you?

“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 Cancer Club

A New Kind of Sisterhood.

In the 70’s and 80’s  sisterhood meant stealing my older sister’s diary and telling my younger sister all the juicy details.  It meant tattling.  It was Barbies.  It was hunting for Easter eggs.  It was building a raft to float a river drainage ditch.

It seems I’ve been placed in a new category of sisterhood that five years ago I didn’t even know existed.  Honestly, I kind of miss the days when ignorance was bliss.

It’s not that I don’t have commonalities with these new sisters.  Chemotherapy.  Radiation.  Pink.  Surgery.  Scars.   Pain.  The list goes on and on.

I notice these new sisters at the grocery store.  At the gas station.  At  doctors’ offices.  We instantaneously  recognize each other, which I don’t understand because my hair has long since grown back.  How do they tell I’m one of them?  Urgh, tell me how do I leave this club?  Can I tell them I don’t really belong in this “exclusive” club? There must have been a mistake.  No one in my family has had cancer.  Seriously, it must have been a fluke.  Let me out of here!

Nope.   They won’t let me leave.  They hug and embrace me (well, if I don’t hug and embrace them first!).  They understand (and help) my fight to raise funds for breast cancer research.   They listen to me when I tell them my aggravation with the American Cancer Society.  We talk about doctors.  We share tips.  We speak in secret code that no one from the “outside” can understand.

We’re always praying that we’re closed to new members.  To put is simply kiddo, we really don’t want you in our club.  However, for me, I think I’m staying.

Acknowledging Cancer

Wanted: words of wisdom

First things first:  this past month I’ve been a busy gal with lots of doctor visits, scans, blood work, blah, blah, and as of yesterday (my last appointment), I’m clean as a whistle!  As my hematologist-oncologist said, my results are “boring”!  It’s hard to believe four years I was just finishing up chemo and starting radiation. . . .

While Better Half and I were in the hotel lobby Monday night, there were two couples sitting at the table next to us.  We saw that painfully familiar sight of a beautiful woman, very pale, wearing an oh-so-familiar hat because she didn’t have an ounce of hair.   We started hearing snippets of the conversation and it became obvious that both women were cancer patients as they were using only words someone familiar with cancer would know.

I’m not a shy person; ask Better Half and my friends.  As we got up to leave, I walked over to the table, crouched at eye level, and said I was so disappointed because four years ago I thought I was the cutest bald woman in the world, but obviously now my title was being relinquished.  I got the shocked, acknowledged look and laugh, and then we talked.  The two couples did not know each other; they had just met at the hotel.  The women both have multiple myeloma.  One traveled from Ohio and the other Alabama.  I felt bad that I “only” had breast cancer.  I told them they both looked beautiful, and we laughed about the joy of not having to shave your legs during chemo.  No plucking those darn hairs that pop up out of nowhere!

My question:  is it wrong for me to “force” myself upon other cancer victims?  I don’t know the Emily Post etiquette on this subject.  I only know that when I first lost my hair a kind woman came up to me (while Better Half was helping me try on hats) and told me how beautiful I looked and assured me my hair would indeed grow back as her’s had.  I was so grateful to her.

Am I being too pushy?  Please give me some sage advice!

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