October is a tough month for me! Just like it is for every other woman that has been affected by Breast Cancer. But for me it’s about trying to find a balance. You see, this is my Birthday month. I just turned 42 years old. I should be celebrating life, but instead I am overwhelmed with all the Pinkwashing and all the “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” campaigns that you see in every corner. Thank God I don’t suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), but I could totally see how survivors are traumatized all over again this month.
A part of me really wants to just ignore all the Pink Ribbons, but I can’t. It’s a part of my reality. I am reminded every morning that I am living with Metastatic Breast Cancer because I wake up feeling the side-effects of the medication. I wake up feeling all the pain in my leg, the pain and soreness in my hands and feet, the neuropathy in my fingers and I have even felt a difference in my eyes and vision. I don’t need a whole month focusing on my disease since it’s a yearly and daily thing for me. But it’s an opportunity to share my story and to hopefully help another woman going through this diagnosis. So that’s where the balancing act comes into play. I am a Libra, and we are all about balance. So how am I doing it? Not sure yet, it’s a work in progress. But I am really trying not to come off as a completely angry person, that doesn’t do me any good. I want to educate people, so they learn about the different types of Breast Cancer, because we are not all the same, as well as, stress the need for research.
I know so many people have great intentions this month. They have this overwhelming NEED to want to help, but a lot of things I see on social media are just a slap in the face. I am not going to act like I haven’t bought into all the Pinkwashing in the past. I really thought that by purchasing all these products I was helping to raise money for Breast Cancer, but I wasn’t. The money was going into someone else’s pocket and I have a problem with that. I thought I knew it all because I knew woman who had Breast Cancer. My aunts are survivors, and I lost my dear friend Barbara to this disease, but I wasn’t truly educated until I was the one diagnosed.
Please do your research and make sure you know where your money is going and where it’s doing the most good. And please don’t just donate in October, we need funding all year round. I am not telling you not to buy that Pink Ribbon. If you want to wear it in support of us survivors, thrivers, previvors or in honor of someone you have lost, then that is great. I have my “Pink Gear” and I wear it because it’s a conversation starter and it’s a way for me to educate people. Just like my green hair is a way to tell people about my story. But if you really want to make a difference than make sure you are supporting organizations focused on Research. I am a huge supporter of Metavivor. https://www.metavivor.org/ 100% of the money goes to research. And if you want to support a small business that will contribute to a Breast Cancer organization than yes. I am all for it. I just don’t want people to think that Pink Ribbons saves lives. Buying that pair of socks at the Dollar Tree is not going to help save my life. I rather you donate that $1 directly to research.
This time last year I was still N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease). I was living my best life. I was on my first line of treatment and I was on top of the world. But today is a different story. I am on my 3rd line of treatment and I am just praying to be N.E.D. again. We need more research and more options. I never want to hear my Oncologist tell me that I am out of treatment options, but it’s a reality. It’s a sad reality for all of us. Statistically I shouldn’t be here and that is why I consider myself a miracle. God has a purpose for me!
All I ask is that you be sympathetic when October rolls around. Make sure that when you post something about Breast Cancer it’s accurate information. Don’t just post about mammograms, eventhough yes that is important. Post info about where a woman could get a free mammogram. That’s helpful and that is information that should be shared all year round. We should not only hear about free services during October. Women get diagnosed all year round. I know people are not trying to be offensive, but a lot of these games and fundraising tactics are offensive. These “Save the Tatas” campaigns are stupid. I rather save the woman. Cut the tatas off and save her life. I don’t care about saving her hair, I want to save her life. Also, I rather you give that money directly to someone that is currently in treatment.
People ask me all the time what they can do to help. So, here are a few suggestions that work during this pandemic:
- Provide their family a meal. Preferably something healthy. Gift cards are great. Homemade Soups are great, especially during chemo.
- Provide them with products that can actually help them during treatment. There are all these awesome companies that make headwraps, wigs and organic products that we can use during treatment.
- Chemotherapy causes so many issues, like dry skin, black nails, weight gain, neuropathy. Creams are always great, especially anything for your feet. Nail polish used to hurt my nails, and I was trying to cover up the black nails. There are nail stickers that would be great.
- There are some great products to help with hotflashes. (Bamboo bedsheets help to sleep better). The hubby bought me the Embr ( google it). It helps to cool me down when I have a hot flash.
- One of my favorite gifts was from my Best Friend LaToya, it was a box of dishes and a hammer. I really needed that to get out some of the rage. Also, a friend send me a “Damnit Doll” that I could slam on the table or threw across the room. Another friend sent me a mini punching bag. All great ways to relieve stress. You could also get some stress relief oils, but sometimes you just need to be a little violent. LOL
- I am a person of Faith and I love inspirational books. My dear friend Kyshana gifted me a book called “ Healed of Cancer” by Dodie Osteen. It’s such an inspirational book. I have recommended to several cancer patients and they love it. We all need a little hope in our lives. But please don’t send a Cancer patient a book about how some special herbs will cure you or some conspiracy theory crap. I just think that is so rude.
- We need hope, and faith and we need to laugh and feel loved. We need to be reminded what we are fighting for. A simple card letting them know you are thinking of them speaks volumes.
- You can also donate to a Cancer organization in that person’s name. I’ve had a few people make donations to Metavivor in honor of me for my birthday and it has been awesome. You can also donate to Heritance of Hope, a non-profit organization that inspires hope in young families facing the loss of a parent. Through counseling and retreat programs, Inheritance of Hope helps families navigate the challenges of a parent’s terminal illness. inheritanceofhope.org
Please remember “Awareness” is needed all year round. Reasearch is needed to make Metastatic Breast Cancer a chronic disease and not terminal one. I write my blogs from my perspective, but with the intention of including all women affected by this disease. Women who were diagnosed early stage still live in fear of a reoccurence. I am not just here to advocate for myself, I am here to advocate for all of us.