National No Bra Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month — OR — Please Put That Pink Can of Soup Down & Put Your Bra Back On

National No Bra Day Breast Cancer Awareness

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***10/9/2013:  I have been completely overwhelmed by the number of visitors this post has received in the past few days (over 130,000 at last count!).  I am not sure who first shared it — or who continues to share it — but I want to THANK YOU all for visiting, reading, and sharing it.  I think the realities of breast cancer are so often trivialized and “pinkified” so I am sincerely grateful to everyone who has taken the time to read or share my blog.  I am sorry to say that my story is just one of many, but with your help, we may just be able to do something to change that.  Please feel free to leave me a comment or to share your own story below — or send an email: cancerinmythirties@yahoo.com.   Thank you all. ***

Peter Griffin / Family Guy “What Grinds My Gears” Episode

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I am not a ranter by any means and I have been pretty quiet about “Pinktober” and what has come to be known as “Pinkwashing” in breast cancer circles, but seeing October 13th advertised as “National No Bra Day” and as a “fun” way to support people with breast cancer has pushed me over the edge.

Are you kidding me?  How on earth could a day where girls and women are encouraged to post and share photos of their braless breasts and to walk around with their nipples poking through their shirts be “supportive” for women who are living with or who have died from breast cancer, or who have managed to ‘complete’ the arduous treatments and disfiguring surgeries required to put them into remission?

I think the answer is simple.  It is not.

Like so many women–and men–who have faced this disease, I have lost my breasts to cancer.  Though I had a terrific surgeon, it was a physically and emotionally disfiguring surgery.

The cancer had gone so deep and was so extensive on my left side that it was at first inoperable.  Even after months of chemo, my surgeon took as much tissue and skin as possible and went deep into my axilla (underarm area).  The cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes and had invaded them to such a degree that they broke open to allow the cancer cells to go beyond the walls of the nodes.  Because of how invasive the surgery was and of how much nerve damage, etc. resulted, it was not only extremely painful then, but continues to be a source of pain and phantom sensations that affect my entire upper torso even today.

I required over a year of physical therapy just to be able to raise my arms again and I still don’t have full function or range of motion.  And, because of pain, swelling, conspicuous compression sleeves and gloves, I am constantly reminded of the lymphedema that resulted from the surgery and loss of my lymph nodes.  Oh, and the life-threatening infections that forced a couple of hospitalizations and four months of massive doses of antibiotics this summer (almost 2 years after my original surgery), are also a little reminder of some of the things that the bilateral mastectomy and lymph node surgeries have left me with.  And there is so much more…

So the thought of seeing bra-less women flaunting two body parts that I have lost to cancer — more than I already see this on a regular day — does not feel all that supportive.  In fact, it feels quite the opposite.

I think of myself as an open-minded person.  I do my best not to judge others or their beliefs and ideals.  I have a pretty good sense of humor and am usually the first to poke fun at myself.  And I make light of breast cancer and my struggles, treatments and their side effects, lack of breasts, fear of death, etc. fairly frequently.  It is how I cope.  But, given what I have been through, I think I have earned the right to joke and make light of how this terrible disease has affected me.  But if you haven’t been there or taken care of someone who has been there, then you should think twice before you publicize a day that jokes about putting the first body parts we usually lose to this disease “out there” on display even more conspicuously and then labeling it as an activity that helps our ’cause’.

We live in a society that makes a huge hoopla about breast cancer while at the very same time trivializing the seriousness of the disease.  How can we be so contradictory?

While I am beyond thrilled that breast cancer is no longer a taboo issue and that people are talking about it, the commercialism has gotten out of hand.  There is nothing pink and rosy about breast cancer, yet it has been pink-washed to death.  It is a serious disease that kills.

And while I do think we need more awareness and education (about metastatic disease, about how young women CAN develop breast cancer, about how women (young and not so young) DO die from this disease, about the importance of research, etc.), I don’t think we need the kind of awareness that buying a jar of salsa with a pink ribbon on it brings.  While I hardly ever see “awareness” products addressing the topics above, I can’t go anywhere without seeing pink products.  Heck, I just have to look out of my front window to see giant pink garbage totes.  The stores are filled with pink as companies try to make a buck off breast cancer.  If you look carefully at these products, you’ll find that some of them don’t even donate a cent to breast cancer awareness, support, research, etc.  And oftentimes those that do make a very minimal donation — and not always to organizations/programs where the money is well spent. Case in point — during a recent trip to my grocery store’s pink breast cancer section, I found (after reading the small print) that the maximum per item donation to the breast cancer “cause” was $0.35. An abysmal $0.35 for a $25.00 plastic coffee mug! And, guess what, once that $0.35 reaches “the cause,” a portion of it is lost to overhead, salaries and advertising costs.

One of the most unfortunate issues here is that well-meaning people are willing to buy pink products, even pay a little extra, because they think they are helping to do something to “cure” breast cancer or to provide “hope” to breast cancer patients.  Why is this sad?  Because those dollars spent on pink key chains, pink beer koozies, pink boxes of crackers and pink plastic water bottles could be going to fund research into metastatic disease, better (and less harmful) treatments, the elusive “cure” and, dare I say it, PREVENTION.

My intention is not to offend or to hurt the feelings of anyone who is genuinely trying to help, but I think it is important for you to know the truth.  So please put your bra back on, put down those pink garbage bags (unless you really like pink that much!), that pink “awareness” pepper spray keychain, and that pink breast cancer “awareness” vibrator and dildo (yes, I’m blushing and yes, these are real things that their merchandisers say will “help you raise breast cancer awareness” — though they are shipped discretely in plain, unmarked boxes so no one knows what you purchased) and send a few dollars to an organization that devotes their fundraising dollars to research.  You just have to do a bit of homework or read the labels on those pink items to see where your money is actually going.  [There are pink products out there that do help to fund research, etc. -- they seem to be in the vast minority, but they do exist.]  And, if you don’t like homework, here are a few great organizations — there are many others, but these are some of my favorites:

*** http://www.standup2cancer.org/ ***:  [This is a terrific one -- and it's not just for breast cancer, but all cancers.]  Our mission is to fund collaborative, translational cancer research to bring treatments from the bench to the bedside faster, and save lives now.  Since Stand Up To Cancer was founded in May 2008, we have granted $161 Million Dollars to ten Dream Teams of scientists and researchers, one international translational research team and 26 high-risk, high-reward Innovative Research Grants.  100% of public funds go directly into research grants. A portion of the funds that are raised from major donations and third-party fundraising go towards administrative expenses and overhead.

*** Metavivor.org ***: From support groups to funding vital research, our programs sustain the power of hope.  Passionately committed patients ourselves, we rally public attention to the urgent needs of the metastatic breast cancer (MBC) community, help patients find strength through support and purpose, and make EVERY dollar count as we work with researchers to regain longevity with quality of life.

http://www.theibcnetwork.org/:  Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) is a rare and highly fatal form of breast cancer that is not typically discovered by mammogram and often occurs prior to standard breast cancer screening age recommendations. Our all volunteer board is focused on education and funding research for this 200 year old orphaned form of breast cancer. No Lump Still Cancer.

A number of people have emailed or commented about how Young Survival Coalition (YSC) has helped them.  This organization is the premier global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.

…or consider a group that helps cancer patients and their families cope with their illness.  For example:

CancerIsAJerk.org  — This is a small charity my dear friend jme set up to help families affected by cancer.  You can make a financial donation  or  purchase “Cancer Is a Jerk” t-shirts with all proceeds going to help actual families affected by cancer.  You can also contact jme through the charity if you’d like to sell shirts as a fundraiser with all proceeds going to benefit cancer family applicants in general OR designate a specific family of your choosing.  And if you know a cancer family in need, please encourage them to apply for assistance.

And don’t underestimate the value of local organizations.  My local Breast Cancer Coalition is a perfect example.  The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester‘s mission is to make the eradication of breast cancer a priority through education and advocacy; to empower women and men to participate fully in decisions relating to breast cancer; to provide support to those coping with a breast cancer diagnosis; and to focus research into the causes, prevention, treatment and cure of breast cancer.

Also local for me is The Karen Carson Crane Foundation.  Founded by Karen’s siblings after she died of breast cancer, the mission of the Karen Carson Crane Foundation (“the KCC Foundation”) is to provide support and financial assistance for individuals affected by breast cancer; to encourage breast cancer patients to have the strength, courage and passion to overcome their disease; to support local organizations that assist breast cancer patients; and to donate a portion of its fundraising dollars to organizations that research and promote alternative cancer treatment methods.  

There are many other great organizations and groups out there — these are just a few.

And if you can’t help with a financial donation, consider volunteering your time or talents.  Perhaps to local cancer patients — bringing a meal or knitting a chemo cap or scarf, or sending a cozy blanket are examples of ways to show your support.   I remember when a small box of craft supplies was left on my doorstep when I was first going through chemo — what a gift that was — my kids loved it and it kept them occupied for a little while when I was really ill!  Or consider volunteering at a local cancer center or for a local American Cancer Society chapter.  There are many ways to show your support that don’t require $$.

And, of course, don’t forget to go for your regular mammograms and to feel your breasts when you can (and report any changes to your doctor) because doing these things IS important.  It is how I found my own lumps, about 17 years before I was due for my first mammogram (according to the recommended screening age back in 2009).  While the vast majority of lumps are benign, I still believe it’s always best to bring your breast changes to the attention of your doctor.  Thanks for reading…

I will leave you with a picture that I think is my best advertisement for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Me -- 5 Days post bilateral mastectomy and complete ALND (Axillary Lymph Node Dissection)

Me — 5 Days post bilateral mastectomy and complete ALND (Axillary Lymph Node Dissection)

Side note:  The ACTUAL National No Bra Day is July 9th annually.  Someone had the great idea to do a bra-less day during October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — to support “the cause.”

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10/10/13:  This post was written a year ago on National No Bra Day.  Please visit my latest Breast Cancer Awareness post here.  And thank you all for your support and amazing comments!

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522 thoughts on “National No Bra Day and Breast Cancer Awareness Month — OR — Please Put That Pink Can of Soup Down & Put Your Bra Back On

  1. What an incredible piece of writing. The whole “pinkification” thing has annoyed me for years because I feel like it piles unnecessary pressure upon women who either have, or have had, breast cancer to be light and fluffy about it. It completely negates the seriousness and devastating effects that this disease can have. I really dislike the way that breast cancer has somehow become this “marketable” cancer, which is not only negative for sufferers and survivors, but also for others who are going through treatment for other cancers. Not to mention the fact that it must completely alienate male breast cancer patients. As a fellow survivor, I want to say well done for speaking so frankly and honestly about your experiences and your opinions, you’re an inspiration.

    • Thank you so much, Suzy Marie. I appreciate your kind words more than I can say. And I think you summed “pinkification” up perfectly.
      I’m sorry that you have firsthand knowledge of what it’s like to face this disease. And I send you my warmest thoughts and thanks,
      Leisha

      • As a husband of a BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR, I find these pseudo campaigns not only insulting and inappropriate, but downright disgusting. As someone who has seen the psychological impact of facing a potentially life threatening disease, I’m appalled at this type of crap. Support breast cancer RESEARCH, yes, but support a flimsy excuse to have women go braless NO WAY. I wish they’d get a life and stop these offensive pseudo campaigns. To the guy (obviously) who started this, I wonder if he’d find it so funny if he found he had testicular cancer?

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  4. Thank you for everything you shared here. As a complete aside, another way to support Stand Up 2 Cancer year round is through Charity Miles (www.charitymiles.org) which gives 25 cents per walked or run mile and ten cents per cycled mile to SU2C. I know 25 cents is 25 cents but if people are going to be walking/running anyway they might as well raise $ and awareness too. Many wishes for health for you …. thank you again for your candor.

    • Thank you, Paula, for your comment and good wishes. And also for sharing this information about SU2C. I wasn’t aware of the charitymiles.org program. But it sounds like a great way to raise some extra $$.
      Thank you for sharing!
      Warmest wishes,
      Leisha

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  6. my husband supports the 49ers. From time to time he’ll buy a baseball cap or a t shirt. I’m neither a huge sports fan and as a non american, not much of a football one either, anyway one time I thought I would support my husband’s love for the 49ers and do some good buy buying a 49ers pink shirt, as they looked nice, But I found them to be too expensive. We don’t earn in $$$ and I felt that $36.95 – $38.95, depending on the style was too much not including shipping so at the end I didn’t buy it, I figured I would if an when I can spare the cash. However, since the arrival of our 3rd child in 2011, I haven’t gone back to work, so I doubt I can spare the cash for a while yet.
    How can I find out how much they contribute for the fight against cancer? contact the web site?

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  9. I have long thought I was the only one who felt this way. I look like a freak and these people think that I can cover it up with Pink. The truth is the emotional scars are worse than the rest of it and I find nothing more offensive than this idea that getting breast cancer in some way makes you part of the pink parade or getting to sit at the cool table in the lunchroom. It is not pretty, it hurts families and caregivers. It destroys people financially and it interferes with careers. It is not pink and pretty!

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  12. Please let me share my thoughts on this matter that I wrote about earlier this month:

    October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While it’s important to do monthly breast exams and get ourselves screened while prompting our friends and loved ones to do the same, we need to examine where we send our donations.

    All too often, nationally known organizations do a bang-up job promoting breast cancer awareness—and really, who isn’t aware by now?—while raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars which do not go to research or helping patients and their families.

    Instead, most of their donations are applied to administrative and marketing expenses. As of June 2013, the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s CEO rakes in $684,000 a year. Yet many breast cancer patients and the people who love them will tell you they personally were never helped in any way by this foundation.

    On Tuesday, October 15, 2013, I went to my credit union. At the end of my transaction the teller gave me a complimentary pink-and black hammer emblazoned with the name of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. A hammer–perhaps to “hammer out” breast cancer?

    In any case, I just couldn’t help but wonder how much money the Susan G. Komen Foundation shelled out to buy and distribute all these hammers for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Even if the foundation got a company like True Value Hardware to donate these hammers, there still is some promotional expense involved in distributing them.

    I think that before we open our hearts and wallets, we should evaluate the intentions of those asking for our time and money–whether it’s the Komen Foundation or any other charity that is hosting walk-runs and indulging in all things pink.

    Personally, I would sooner give to the American Cancer Association, ABCD (After Breast Cancer Diagnosis), or buy coffee for volunteers who work with cancer patients than give a dime to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

    What a scam.

    • Thank you so much for sharing, Sharon! So much important information.
      Handing out pink hammers is a new one for me! Hammers are an expensive marketing tool! And I’m sure specially made pink & logo’d hammers are not cheap. You are right to ask how much Komen shelled out for this promotion — and how many women will actually be inspired to have a mammogram because of a tool they will likely just take home and pop in their toolboxes.
      You raise many important points. Thanks so much for sharing with us.
      Kind regards,
      Leisha

      • Thanks for speaking your mind and giving your opinion of pinktober. I look at Pinktober from a different angle. My Mom and I are both cancer SURVIVORS, Praise GOD! She survived breast cancer and I survived smoker’s lung cancer, as a non-smoker. She is invited to luncheons, gets gifts and cards in the mail from different groups and businesses. I do not. I am not jealous. Breast cancer “awareness” is everywhere, football games, Newspapers printed on pink paper, pink debit cards at our bank…..EVERYWHERE! But September is Ovarian cancer awareness month, no teal cleats on football players, November is Lung Cancer awareness month, no opal or gray ribbons painted on the football field, no “cute” gray ribbons to wear….After diagnosis, I asked our oncologist why there are no meetings, luncheons, or fashion shows for other Survivors….only Breast Cancer Survivors…He told me, I am sorry…I don’t understand why, but the BIG MONEY companies and Sports teams are interested in breasts, but could care less about a sickness to any other body part. In other words, Breast Cancer SURVIVORS are being played! It’s not just that the rest of us are being forgotten, it’s that people with money can make more money and look cute doing it, while the unknowing masses are impressed and buy loads of pepto pink merchandise. STINKS!

        P.S. When I wear my SURVIVOR shirt, I am still asked about how I felt when I lost my breast. Tacky question…..but then I have to clarify that I lost a lung, not a breast! Weird that it is automatically assumed that women are breast cancer SURVIVORS.

    • Sharon,
      I COULD NOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE ABOUT THE SUSAN G. KOMEN FOUNDATION. I DID AN ABUNDANCE OF RESEARCH ON FOUNDATIONS AND NON-PROFITS WHEN I WAS STRUCK DOWN BY THIS HARSH, FILTHY DISEASE. NEEDLESS TO SAY, THE PERSON I SPOKE TO AT “KOMEN” INFORMED ME THAT THEY WEREN’T IN THE BUSINESS OF HELPING WOMEN PAY THEIR $600 HEAT BILL OR ELECTRIC BILL OR OFFERING FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO ANY WOMAN WHO IS SUFFERING THROUGH BREAST CANCER SURGERY AND 29 WEEKS OF CHEMOTHERAPY PURCHASE A $300 WIG! THEY ONLY DONATE TO PROFESSIONAL RESEARCH AND DISCOUNTED MAMMOGRAMS, THAT’S IT!! HOWEVER, THE WOMAN DID TELL ME IF I WERE TO LOSE THE MOST SEVERE BATTLE OF MY LIFE, MY 16-YEAR-OLD SON COULD APPLY FOR A $10,000 COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP. NOW, USE YOUR MOST VIVID, DARKEST IMAGINATION TO FIGURE OUT WHAT MY CLEAR AND DIRECT RESPONSE WAS!!! THEN I FOUND OUT ANYONE CAN LOOK UP THEIR FINANCES, IT’S PUBLIC RECORD AS A “NON=PROFIT” IT WAS VERY INTERESTING TO FIND OUT THEIR CEO IS SITTING PRETTY AS SHE DEPOSITS A HEFTY SIX-FIGURE YEARLY SALARY!!

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  18. Yes, yes and yes again to what you have written.

    In the UK we have similar pinkwashing happening all year around and it disgusts me and many of the women who I chat with in the oncology unit. The media and the do-gooding souls who present women with breast cancer as “survivors” or “brave fighters” and nothing in between make us all puke torrents of anger.

    Recently in the UK one of the leading breast cancer charities ran a very expensive ad campaign in all media, exhorting everyone to swear at cancer, call it rude names, make rude gestures at it – hell they even brought in and paid actors and celebrities to indulge in this infantile crap. Every one of the women I know who have this disease was disgusted by this campaign. Why are our breasts considered so precious yet our minds thought to be those of developmentally delayed toddlers?

    Even the breast care nurses and oncologists indulge in similar kinds of infantilisation. When we ask for explicit details of how it’s going to be post op, during chemo, post rads – all we get is minimal baby talk from most of the professionals. Don’t even get me started on the offensive fools who insist that we “stay positive” The friend who told me “well breast cancer isn’t a big deal now” got dumped the same day. It is a big deal, whatever type of breast cancer (or any cancer) you have is a very big deal. This pink crap is the icing on the cake of insult.

    It gets worse in that many people over here expect that the day your active treatment is over, that you can just jump back to being your old self again and never mention cancer again or if you do, you must talk of it as it were but a tiny, sniffle of a cold. Well, the truth, for those of us who have cancer is far from the embarrassed wishes of those who don’t. Cancer changes you forever. Just because it may have gone from your body, it has never gone from your experience and should never be reduced to pink frippery.

    The reality is that cancer is a foul, frightening and disgustingly cruel disease to have. The treatments are barbaric and cruel, yet they are all we have. Cancer is enough of a fucking rapist without the media, cancer charities and the well meaning and mawkish cancer free, freeloaders hijacking the very last bit of power we have left – our voices.

    Having cancer has allowed me to become 100% intolerant of even one more molecule of bullshit. I will call it out whenever I can and keep calling it out, until the money making corporate charity whores, the emotional vampires and the baby talking leeches that diminish our power listen, get educated and get real.

    You are a great voice.
    We are all great voices.

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  20. Wow!! A very deeply moving piece on breast cancer. I don’t have cancer and do have yearly mammograms. My sister had breast cancer some 25 years ago and now she is battling another kind of cancer which is incurable–Adenoidcystic Carcinoma of the vulva–she’s 71 now. Our daughter-in-law had breast cancer last year and luckily it was found very early–lumpectomy and radiation. But, in the last few years I’ve had a niece that has had cancer and a bilateral mastectomy and a very dear friend who is at the end of her treatments for her breast cancer–fact is today is her one year anniversary of finding her cancer-herself and she’d had a negative mammogram 6 months prior. She’s also the one who posted the link to your blog and I very much agree with everything you said. I’m not into the pink either–never have been and I think it is criminal how very little actually goes to a great many of the causes that money is collected for. Thank you for speaking out and I pray that you will be around to write many more articles.

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  22. I always felt my Mother would get breast cancer because at least 2 of her aunts had breast cancer and her family was filled with cancer victims. She did have several lumps removed over the years – all benign, but cancer still took her away from us by way of lung cancer in 1996. She was only 60 years old. My nephew died (age 30) a few years ago. I have had my scares as well and after losing so many of my family & friends to this horrific disease, and seeing my surviving friends go through the battle of their lives, cancer awareness of any kind is important to me.

    A few weeks ago one of my dear friends, a breast cancer survivor herself, as well as her Mom, shared your blog on her Facebook page and in turn I shared on mine. I think this particular blog was originally written a year ago but was brought to our attention because of all the “pink elephant” lunches, “pink runs”, etc, that our little town does for breast cancer awareness.

    Your blog was a very well written, heart felt, eye opening, gut wrenching factual article sharing your breast cancer battle and how you felt about all the pink hype. You also shared information regarding foundations, charities, research, sales and such. I wrote a comment on Facebook saying I completely understand how you feel, but to me, the pink symbolizes my loss, memories, tributes, & remembrance. I also suggested we all be more aware of the facts before we purchase or donate.

    All of this being said, I just wanted you to know that everything you wrote, as well as your health, has been continuously on my mind and I pray all is well for you – today and always. I still feel the same as I did the day I responded to your blog via FB but your story and opinions opened my eyes. I cannot purchase the tiniest pink item without knowing how much is donated back to research or to the care of cancer patients. The same goes for supporting foundations, charities, etc., and I will continue to pass this blog along.
    Thank you so much for letting us into your life and sharing information with us. I believe by doing so you have greatly helped the fight against all cancers. Take care and God Bless
    Ann Haney
    Athens, AL

  23. I’ve been through almost the same as you did, both breast removed with lymph nodes removed on both side, 6 months of chemo, then 2 surgery and to be completed by 5 weeks of radiations. I have no choice but to wear a compressive sleeve and glove on the right side since I’m right handed and I am now working at the hospital where I go my surgery and meet the man who saved my life at the cafeteria and everywhere in the hospital. That surgeon was one of the founder of the breast clinic where I’ve been diagnostic with breast cancer. He had work hard and is continuing research to help finding a cure. After participating in walks to raise money for research, I was diagnose after my 3 consecutive walk, the fourth year I was raising money but couldn’t make it to the 60k walk in 2 days due to my two surgeries, bit for my fifth year I walk, but not has fast as I use to. I heard that chemo can stay from 5 to 6 years in your body and it shows. In those five years I raised more then $12,000 for research and I am proud of myself for it. But I even more proud that on November 22nd I will be 3 years cancer free and I stay positive that I will make it. Wishing you a long and healthy life.
    Colette
    Montreal, Quebec Canada

  24. One year out from double. I did not care about losing my breasts and was focused on cure. Some days I am just sad and that’s allowed. Although I did not have a great affection for my breasts, it just feels odd being breastless! I still encounter great curious looks at my chest. I will never reveal the secret underneath. Let them guess.
    God bless all the girls who lost the “girls.” Stay well. Be strong. Pink is annoying and October does suck. Carol – North Tonawanda, New York

    • Carol you took the words out of my mouth and for me it’s 7-cancer-free-years now and the reconstruction does not look like anything I had imagined, and it’s still painful. I was never happy with my small size breasts and always wished I had been blessed larger. Now, I would do just about anything to have my little girls back!! When I hear women complain about their small healthy breasts or how their kids sucked the life out of them and they aren’t standing at attention anymore. My immediate response is “but I’ll bet you have feeling in them other than sharp, tight jabbing pains, and can lift your arms above your head without a dull, numbing, pinching feeling radiating down through your armpit into what’s is left of your chest muscles,” The conversation ends at that point!

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  27. I do our local Relay for Life in our local community. We have a team from our church that walk to remember and support all those who have, or have died from cancer. I really enjoyed reading your article. Well-written. I was pulled into the picture because I was caregiver for my mom who like you had it in the axialary area, lympodema and all the other things that go with cancer. I remember her telling me, that she scared herself in the middle of the night looking at the scars and no hair, and radiation burns. As I read her journals now, she felt much the same way but didn’t blog, only journaled. We called them Della’s Diaries. Best wishes and prayers go out to you and your family. Glad your sister is there too.

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