Monday, October 22, 2007

surviving a pink October


I have to admit that I've found October to be an oddly painful month for the last few years.

October brings constant reminders, everywhere I look, about a disease that has permeated and effected my family for far too long. I also find it irritating that we still don't talk as freely about the other cancers that effect women.

Most people reading here don't know that September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month, just as October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. In September you scarcely hear about ovca. You definitely don't walk into a Hallmark store and see teal candles on a special display. You don't get offered a teal bracelet for an extra two bucks at your local discount shoe chain. Your favorite oil change place doesn't donate a buck for every customer in Sept. to ovca research...

I hope to one day see that.

After all- look how far we have come with breast cancer.
We remind each other to do our monthly self exams.. We remind each other to get our mammograms.. We have programs in place so that women without insurance can get those mammograms.
Not too many years ago, people did not even say the word "cancer" out loud.
October now brings in-your-face reminders about breast cancer everywhere you look. I hope someday we are as open about all cancers.

This year, October has been very different for me. I woke up, after a bilateral mastectomy, to a roomful of flowers adorned with pink ribbons. Many of the tags from the florists had messages saying that some money from all orders in Oct. is donated for breast cancer research. These tags are applied to all arrangements- the florist never knowing who is on the receiving end and why....

If wearing pink every day for the rest of my life would guarantee a cure for cancer I would do it.

But it's not the wearing of pink or a pink ribbon magnet on the back of your mini-van. It's the fact that pink everywhere makes us talk to each other. It makes us remind each other to take care of ourselves. It evokes the emotion that countless women should not die from this horrid disease. We need to keep talking and spreading the word....

6 Comments:

Blogger Smiler said...

Thanks for coming by. I always like to know who is reading me, so comments are greatly appreciated. Take good care.

7:06 PM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger Catherine said...

I think it's a good idea to promote breast cancer research, as what is done now isn't appropriate - I'd like to see money targeted more effectively. Breast self-examination doesn't save lives, as it detects lumps too late, and mammograms aren't very effective in pre-menopausal women, as the breast tissue is too dense, but here anyway, women seem to think that if the government would only put more money into extending the age of free mammograms downwards, we'd be fine. We need research to tell us what works and what doesn't.
I'm sure that many of these cancers are on the rise because we use plastics too much - the chemicals that are used to soften plastics disrupt hormones.
And yes, I'd like to see more attention given to other cancers, you'd think that breast cancer is the only sort there is.
I hope your recovery is going well. Michele sent me.

8:48 PM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger Carmi said...

I remain hopeful, too, because passionate folks like you are keeping the issue front and center. If teal joins pink as the couleur-du-jour, it'll be because you played an integral part in ensuring no one forgets.

Thank you for having the guts to share your experience and advocate for people you'll never even meet. How cool you are.

Wishing you a rapid and full recovery from your surgery. Every day, I say a little prayer for you.

9:38 PM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger Shari said...

Thank you for sharing this post. You are right about ovarian cancer. You don't hear about that so much.

I hope you are recovering as expected. I know a few other bloggers who had breast cancer and I have known a few personally. It's a disease that can be caught early.

Did you know that there's a Deaf Awareness Week in the month of September?

Michele sent me.

10:21 PM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger Dak-Ind said...

i did not know about ovca. you are right, we just dont hear about it. it isnt a "popular" cancer. as for pink... i purchased pink breast cancer awareness ladies golf clubs this year. fashinable clubs that make a statement and you are right... a few people have asked me about them and it gives me the chance to start a conversation.

visiting tonight from michele.

11:18 PM, October 26, 2007  
Blogger Square1 said...

September will get marked on my calendar. I'm going to start making up those teal ribbons. As I hand them out on campus people will be certain to ask what they're for, and it's a perfect place and time to explain. Thank you for calling my attention to this. I had often heard that ovarian and cervical cancer are some of the most aggressive cancers a woman might have to deal with. As I said above I'm glad for your good report. Hang in there, lady. Sometimes it takes the person who survives to get the word out and make people understand.

Michele sent me this morning.

8:06 AM, November 03, 2007  

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(written September of 2005) I have learned much in the last nine months. I have read that ovarian cancer whispers. I say it screams. It just needs someone to listen. The American Cancer Society statistics for ovarian cancer estimate that there will be 22,220 new cases and 16,210 deaths in 2005. This is a death rate FOUR TIMES that of breast cancer.Almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage. The 5-year survival rate for these women is only 15 to 20 percent. This is unacceptable. Women need to be made more aware of the symptoms, and doctors need to listen to their patients. Especially when the patient tells them that they fear they have ovca, as my mother did for almost a year before she was finally diagnosed. It’s so sad and senseless when a woman knows the symptoms but can’t get anyone to listen to what she is saying.

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