I can't say that I've never been a fan of the color pink. When I was really small, I was a very girlie girl. But once I discovered Wonder Woman, all that pretty princess stuff more or less dissolved in my world. I soon developed a loathing for pink**. By the time I was 13, it made me psychotically angry, mainly because of the behaviors associated with it—girls dumbing themselves down and acting cutesy so boys would like them, that kind of rot. It seemed childish at best, and even at that tender age I sensed the inherent emotional damage that Egregious Pinkness could cause. (And now that's got me wanting to listen to British symthpop...)
Flash forward to 2009; I turned 40 and my boob tried to kill me. While I'm grateful my type of cancer was imminently curable, I have to laugh and roll my eyes at Fate's sense of humor. I'm forever saddled with The Dreaded Pinkness.
And now we're midway through October and it's a little bittersweet. See, it's my favorite month for many reasons. Autumn is my favorite season—I love to see the world in transition. It's ablaze with color, and you feel the earth actively preparing to slumber and recover, encouraging us to do the same. It always makes me homesick, though, as Texas autumn is nothing like Michigan autumn. It's not bad. It's just not as evocative for me. Of course, I also love Halloween. It's an eldritch time of year, and this makes my inner Goth girlie squeeble in a very un-Goth-like fashion.
Of course, October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Damn you, pink! You've invaded my reds, golds, and russets with your... pinky pinkness. Gah!
I support research. I support awareness. But pink ribbons are kind of a joke. I really resent my suffering being used as a marketing ploy to make companies rich and let people feel like they're doing something that matters. We're getting manipulated, and in the meantime I'm reading about how little has changed for breast cancer patients in the last 25 years. This is unacceptable!
If you want to ensure that the products you buy to support the cause are making a difference, please check out Think Before You Pink. They have FAQs and a toolkit to help you make good decisions. If you want to do more than donate, become part of the Army of Women. This organization aggregates breast cancer studies across the country, and sends out opportunities to participate. You don't have to be a survivor, either. Many studies focus on prevention, and need healthy women to help them figure out what triggers the disease so they can work to stop it. Some studies require you to be in the local area, while some are remote. It's not spammy, and nothing negative happens if you RSVP as a "No" for any study.
If you want to do something to support me personally, check out my Survivor Swag shop on CafePress. There are designs for survivors and for folks who love us. It takes a lot of luck and a lot of love to get through a breast cancer diagnosis, and the designs reflect that. CafePress has chosen to help further the mission of Breastcancer.org by donating 10% of the sale price of items sold in October.
Most importantly, get familiar with your boobs. It sounds flippant, but I'm deadly serious. Self exams are great, but if you're worried you don't know "the proper method," don't let that stop you. Be aware of what's normal for you, and get yourself checked if anything varies from that normal.
I know I've said it, but as my Gram used to say, "It bears repeating." Thank you to everyone for the love and support during my journey. You've laughed and cried with me, you nurtured me and fought for me, and provided plenty of distractions when I needed them. I can't imagine going through something like this without all the amazing people in my life, and if you've ever smiled at me or spoken a kind word then yes, I'm talking about you.
Here's hoping I can pay it forward. Maybe this is a start.
* I love Sherlock, and am an unabashed Cumberbitch. It makes me feel sassy to reference him in a post that mostly talks about my boobs.
** My dislike of the color is, of course, subject to the Underpants Rule (as in, you get to be the boss of yours). I won't judge you for loving pink***. (I will, however, mock you mercilessly if you act stupid because of it.)
*** I will also judge you in a positive fashion if you like P!nk, too. I'm not much for pop, but she's the notable exception, because she's made of Awesome.