I love each of the four seasons; each one can be declared a favorite based upon how I feel on a particular day.  This past summer was declared the most humid summer on record in New York City, which was not at all pleasant.  At the height of the swelter I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Both the weather and my health had become oppressive and unpleasant.  Fall was a welcome change with its earthy scents, blue skies, and crisp air.

And then there was October.

Pumpkin pie, jewel-toned leaves, and cool air were drowned out by the color pink.  Awareness!  Cure!  I do not ever recall associating breast cancer with October in the past, but this year it closed around me like a suffocating fog.  The anger, frustration, and disgust I felt about my diagnosis was projected onto the month with abandon.  It was a time where a diagnosis, a month of celebration (quite literally), and advocacy merged into the perfect storm of anger and exhaustion.  The Boob helps me to work through these feelings and I am relieved that the month is nearly at an end; it’s been intense.

My view toward Pinktober has made a 180° turn.  I don’t embrace the month, mind you.  There is a real part of me that just doesn’t care anymore.

I saw a Twitter conversation the other day between two individuals.  One posted a photograph of pink Moët et Chandon.  And another person answered by saying that she had given a local liquor store the what for because it was marrying BC awareness with selling liquor and pointed out that alcohol was a risk factor.

I get the conversation and the good intentions and harbor no negative opinions of the individuals, but I think that was my personal watershed moment of “Honestly, who gives a fuck?”  Alcohol is a risk factor so you’re going to go in and bitch at the manager?  Then I guess every person who drives a car spewing out carcinogens deserves a shout out.  How about those microwave towers and cell phone users?  The food we eat?  The air we breath?  The water we drink?  The clothes we wear?  The technology we use?  I had reached my fill.  Fuck October.  Fuck awareness overload.  Let people do whatever the hell they want.  The world doesn’t revolve around my breast cancer.

A simple comment–and not a bad one–was the tipping point as a month of pink madness began to wane. Why should I care anymore?

Every single day brings an awareness of breast cancer and the challenge of a new normal.  Forget Groundhog Day; every day for thousands of us is October 13.  And given what I am facing in my own life, today–at this moment in time–I don’t care if you buy a pink mixer, touch your tits, get a mammogram, or indulge in a memorial tattoo.  I can’t afford the luxury of mental detritus. 

But as we bid October goodbye, don’t pack away your awareness when you finish that last treatment, enjoy another year free of cancer, or breathe a sigh of relief for yourself or a for friend. Remember the 30% who need your awareness and advocacy for more research dollars. We’re dying for the attention.

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7 Responses to Seasons

  1. Acacia says:

    After everything, I’ve got serious pink fatigue too. Right now I just don’t have the energy to be angry. Maybe that’s why they can get away with it.

  2. Personally I wonder why we need a whole month, it just seems to drag on and the message doesn’t really make its way through because ‘it’ll never happen to me’ – if only. What annoys me it the impression that there is just one breast cancer (at least 10 have now been identified) and a miriad of causes. It takes various factors to come together to make the Perfect Storm, or Frankenstorm as Sandy has become, so it is the same with any form of cancer (unless someone knows differently). After all there are those annoying people who are asked what their secret of longevity is when they make it to their 100th birthday and who smoked 100 cigarettes a day, a bottle of Jack, married 10 times and worked in an asbestos factory and have never had a cold! Then there are those who have done everything right and get cancer. Early detection helps, but mammograms can also cause cancer. In short, if the short straw has your name on it … Just avoid the most obvious things and do what you can to avoid the wrong things, but don’t let the worry and fear take away the life that you do have. Today is a gift – that’s why it’s called the PRESENT.

    As for the Pinkwashing … what I object to most is the dishonesty. Don’t say one thing, or give the impression of doing something when you have no intention of doing it. I am all for capitalism, but it is the honesty and integrity that seem to have been trampled into the mud somewhere along the line. And for that matter if you know something is carcinogenic WHY THE HECK ARE YOU USING IT IN YOUR PRODUCTS in the first place?

    • Scorchy says:

      I couldn’t have said it better. In an ironic twist the pink movement has done good to be sure, but it’s reached its saturation point. And perhaps that’s just what it needed to move forward in a more meaningful way.

  3. Beautifully put! I couldn’t agree more. Although the hypocrisy of attaching breast cancer awareness to products that help cause cancer annoys the shit outta me, I question our ability to truly change the capitalistic nature of the world we live in. It is what it is. People are gonna do what they want regardless. And more attention really needs to be focused on those of us with metastatic disease. That’s what kills.
    Hope you’re holding up OK through the wrath of Sandy!

    • Scorchy says:

      Yeah, it makes me crazy too. I know this too shall pass and I’ll be bitching about the pink again. But it’s been interesting to gauge my reactions to this. We continue to make a difference one action at a time. What a long strange trip it’s been.

  4. Katie says:

    I think if I was going through what you are what would bother me the most is how everyone feels the need to get it on breast cancer during the month of October. From the damn pumpkins to the alcohol that you mentioned, it’s more of a money-making marketing ploy than anything else. Bring on November!

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