Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Last installment on Patch!

The final installment of my long battle with breast cancer is up. Here's one of the cities that carry it:

My Battle with Breast Cancer: Radiation & Reconstruction

And like I've promised, this weekend, I'm going to tackle what me & other breast cancer survivors have taken to calling the "pinkwashing" of America. I hope you'll read that.

If you've been reading me for any length of time, you know that I'm never political or controversial. That being said, we're gearing up to elect a president in November. If you have decent insurance, please check with them about what will happen if Obamacare goes into effect as it's written. I know that my doctors have told me that they're worried about whether or not they'll be able to continue to take medicare patients - that's just one of the many concerns. The claim that you'll still have your doctor is just that - a claim. PLEASE, check with your doctor, your hospital, your insurance company to be sure that you'll still be seeing them if Obamacare is implemented in its entirety. 

When Obama's website told me to "vote with my lady parts", I'm taking him up on that. My biggest lady part is my brain; which I plan to use to vote. Him out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Chemo story is live - preview of last in the series.

The latest in my story about my breast cancer journey is up! You can read it here:

My Battle with Breast Cancer; Chemotherapy Sucks!

Next week, I'll go into radiation & reconstruction. I still have another procedure until I'm all done. Also, I'm going to have Dr. Morrissey take a look at the girls - I still think they're not matched very well. So, I'll be doing that at the beginning the the year (insurance reasons - ugh).

The last installment for Patch is going to be a little dicey. I've asked, and was given the okay, to write about what I & many of my breast cancer sisters hate - the "Pinkwashing of America". In October, companies turn everything pink - even the most ridiculous things turn pink. Did you know a pornographer has sent out mass emails to folks, promising to donate to some cancer charity for every page view he gets? I mean, really? Have these people no shame?

What most of the wonderful people who purchase the often times pricier name brand goods because they're helping the cause don't know is that the amount that goes to charity is paltry - at best. All companies have a pre-determined amount of money that they'll donate - period. So, after they've met the almost always minuscule amount, the rest of the month, the money good people have paid goes nowhere but the pockets of the companies and their share holders.

PLEASE DON'T GET ME WRONG! I do not begrudge companies making a profit!! In fact, I'm very pro-capitalism. What I DO object to is making that money by pretending to be donating big sums of money to a charity & using the suffering of others to profit. And profit they do. 

I also have a problem with October being breast cancer month. What about all the other equally deadly cancers out there? I know that some have their months, but nothing like breast cancer. I'm well aware that I benefited from having such a "trendy" cancer; but what about others?

I was having insurance problems, and while speaking to the billing department at St. Luke's, I "met" a lovely woman, Diane, who went out of her way to help. During our conversation, I found out that she had beaten colon cancer. I couldn't help but think, wow; what about her? I mean, seriously, colon cancer is every bit as deadly, but it's also not quite so . . is the word "attractive"? At the very least, it wasn't trendy. I wondered how she felt every October, when the world is practically celebrating breast cancer.

There's so much more, & what I can't fit into my limited space for the paper, I'll write here. I just want people to be aware that buying something pink doesn't guarantee that much money is being donated. And these days, many of us are struggling to make ends meet. If you're in the grocery store, looking at soup, and you normally buy generic - please buy it!! Don't let that pink can fool you or make you feel guilty for purchasing the generic version. I love it that so many of you are so kind hearted and generous; and sadly, advertisers are counting on it.

And now, for something completely different!

In the event you didn't see the video my kids made for me that was embedded in the Patch article, here's that link:

The Hat Song
If you noticed, there's a Peeta standee in the video; because my kids were crazy about that movie, The Hunger Games. So, I found this photo; which I love! Thankfully, they have good senses of humour! Here it is: 

The Hungry, Hungry Hippo Games!

 May the paddle be ever in your favour!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Story of the mastectomy is up!

As promised, I'm writing to let you know that the abridged version of my mastectomy is live on Patch. You can read about it here:

The Mastectomy

Also, you'll see a video attached to the article. A group called, "Strangely Attractive" performed a song & asked for permission to make a slide show of the faces of breast cancer. Their bassist, Chris Gongora wrote the song for his cousin who passed from the disease. I was fortunate to be one of the faces of a survivor.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sharing this journey on Patch

Before I get started, I wanted to share the photo of my oncologist, Dr. Nakajima. Here he is:

He's so very, very kind!

I've decided to share my journey with my Patch readers. Of course, I can't go into the detail that I've shared with you  here in my blog, but hopefully I can get women to get mammograms. The first installment is called, "My Battle with Breast Cancer". I know, not the catchy titles, but my editor, Theresa, is smart. She words titles in a way that will get internet readers to find it. I'll post the second part here when it's out on Sunday. Let's just say that I'm a little more descriptive in how I was feeling. In other words, I share the battle with darkness that one wages when confronted with something like this. Sometimes, the darkness wins.

If you've been reading this for any length of time, you know that I dislike October's designation as breast cancer awareness month. And, yes, I know that sounds odd. But the reason I'm uncomfortable is two fold. First, why does any month have to be designated for one particular cancer? In my journey, I've met people with other cancers, who have no specific month designated for them. I've met colon cancer patients, a friend has pancreatic cancer, and my mother in law beat bladder cancer. While my cancer may be trendy, but still deadly, theirs is every bit as deadly. They just don't get the benefit of it being trendy.

The second reason I don't like this month is that it's the Holy Grail of months for manufacturers of all types of products. Everything turns pink for an entire month. Don't get me wrong - I love the colour pink. Always have (as evidenced by the prominent colour of this blog!). But just because the label on a can of soup is pink, doesn't mean that anything is being donated. 

I was at the grocery store, and as I walked in, there were giant photos of cakes & other pastries with pink ribbons all over them. Words like "hope" & stuff were printed under them. When I looked closer, there was no small print. There was nothing saying that any proceeds of these festively decorated cupcakes went to anything - other than the pocket of the grocer.

Something else I'll bet you didn't know. Even those that donate proceeds to charity have a preset cap; in other words, they decide how much of the proceeds are going to the charity that they've chosen before the campaign gets under way. After that cap is met, the rest of the proceeds is pure profit. And here's why that irritates me - the cap is usually some paltry number, say, $250,000. While that may seem like a lot, during the month of October, the sales of all things pink bring in millions. All purchased by wonderful people, thinking that their hard earned money, and their decision to pay more for the pink product, are doing something. The odds are, after the first day of October, the cap has been met. The manufacturers are now left with 30 days of huge profits.

Don't get me wrong - I think businesses have every right to profit. I don't begrudge a company their money. I DO, however, begrudge it when it's done in deceitful ways & profits from the suffering of others. If companies are truly concerned about fighting breast cancer, then let them donate a proceed of the profits without a cap. Then, I could get behind them. As it is, that will never happen. There's just way too much money to be made off the pink ribbon.

I'll post a link to part two of my story on Patch on Sunday. Until then, I hope that you will:


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