Breast cancer awareness

Thank you to Leisha Davison-Yasol for penning an essay that inspired me to finally voice my opinion on this topic.

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It’s near the end of October – a month during which football teams don lurid, pink accoutrements, that generally clash in the tackiest of ways with their uniforms, stores cash in on various pink, breast cancer-supporting memorabilia, women free their ta-tas from the constraints of their brassieres, and Facebook is rife with breast-related gimmicks.

I usually keep quiet during this month. My mommy underwent heinous, disfiguring surgeries to rid her of her breast cancer several years ago, and even though she’s considered “in remission” now, the pain, discomfort, nausea, infections, edema and psychological damage resulting from invasive surgeries and chemo remain.

I don’t like October. It’s not that I don’t appreciate people trying to be supportive, but frankly the crass commercialism, breast-related games, and ham-handed puns and stunts are more than irritating. They’ve become offensive.

For the record, I don’t see how flaunting the fact that you’re not wearing a bra today, or making people guess what color bra you have on to hold up your two healthy breasts is in any way supportive of women – and men, by the way – who have lost theirs.

For the record, I don’t see how forcing the Seattle Seahawks to don bright pink accents, making them look like the awkward spawn of a Smurf and Strawberry Shortcake from a drunken bar hook-up (thanks to my buddy Rick for that visual) helps women with cancer.

For the record, I don’t see how buying coffee mugs made in China, with pink ribbons on them for a few more bucks, so that the store, the coffee cup manufacturer, promoter, etc. make an extra profit, while donating MAYBE 1 percent to breast cancer research – if that – helps the devastation caused by cancer.

I just don’t see it.

I was there, in my mom’s hospital room after the initial surgery was over. I helped her to the bathroom. I talked to her when she woke up from the anesthesia. But when my mom was undergoing chemo and recovering from her surgeries, I was frightened. The kids were frightened. I freaked out to such a degree, that I could barely be in the same room with her at times. I was afraid to infect her with something, because her system was so immuno-compromised. I was afraid to touch her or hug her, because I thought I would hurt something. But most of all, I was reminded, horribly, of her mortality and that reminder of the fact that I could lose my mom, forced me to a distance.

I was wrong, and I eventually got over it. I talked to her, and we visited, and eventually, the horror of the possibility of losing her subsided.

But not once, did I think jumping around without my bra on to show my “support” was a good idea!

And not once, did I consider putting on pink, buying a pink Coach bag, which cost more than my grocery budget for a damn month, while putting extra money in the pockets of the already profitable company, or wearing a stupid ribbon to “support” my mom a good idea.

What supported her was her family.

My dad taking her to doctors, holding her while she got physically sick after chemo, and talking to her when she needed to vent.

Our visits. Seeing the kids.

Phone calls. Conversations. My dad’s extra trips to the grocery store to get her something she craved on that particular day just to see her eat something without getting sick.

Mine being the first face she saw after waking up from anesthesia.

Helping her walk a little at a time, as her bruised and battered body healed.

That’s what supported her. Stupid pink ribbons and pink NFL towels be damned!

I don’t want to disparage those of you who get that little boost from displaying your pink Coach bag or your lapel ribbon as a sign of your solidarity with those who have suffered cancer… well… yeah, I do.

It’s not about ribbons. It’s not about pink ties, shoes, towels and car magnets. And it’s certainly not about jiggling your healthy ta-tas in public while others are no longer able to do so. So just stop it.

I’ve had close friends who have had to deal with cancer at different stages recently – young, vibrant men and women, whose lives are indelibly changed by this disease.

It’s not just breast cancer.

It’s cervical cancer. It’s prostate cancer. It’s endometrial cancer. It’s lung cancer. It’s cancerous brain tumors.

All these heinous diseases deserve your attention and support, and not in the form of ribbons!

Talk to your friends and family. Be there for them. Take their calls at 3am. Visit them in the hospital. Bring them chocolate and movies and bottled water and other goodies. Hug them without being afraid. Be bold and brave, and don’t avoid the conversation. Take your kids to see them, and teach your kids to support their loved ones through your actions, and not through pink accents on an NFL uniform.

And ferfuckssake, PUT AWAY YOUR TITS!

11 responses

  1. It is a very sad commentary that all of this celebrity hyping to appeal to society’s lowest common denominator (which has the effect of lowering the lowest common denominator) has lost America’s focus upon not only the true seriousness of cancer as a whole (breast or otherwise), but upon the personal sufferings of cancer business.

    One practical approach, far more classy and tasteful, has been the U.S. Postal Service’s Breast Cancer Stamp sales, which have resulted in the funding of some useful research [http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-45]. I bought a sheet of the stamps last week.

    But when breast cancer is hyped in a manner reminiscent of the hyping of Joe Camel (albeit without the cigarettes), one must really, really wonder just how low our society has declined.

    Not that it really matters, but my Mom had the surgery; fortunately it was caught at an early stage and she is past that magic 5-year mark with relatively minimal complications.

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    1. My heartiest best wishes to your mom! I’m glad she came through with minimal damage!

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  2. i have a small round pink button bout the size of a nickel and it says

    “SAVE THE TITTIES”

    My wife says it is ok to wear it some times!

    Cole

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    1. As long as the wife says it’s OK!😉

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  3. Thank You!
    As a lymphoma and melanoma survivor (in remission), I do appreciate putting ‘the message’ out there in front of the public,
    HOWEVER,
    How much money all this generates for legitimate research is another matter.
    Bet wishes to your mom and you.

    gfa

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    1. Best to you as well!

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  4. Part of me understands and agrees Ms. Nicki… commercialism one way or the other. The other part misses my wife that cancer took a long time ago so regardless of what color the Sheeple’s under ware is… or what the Washedupingtons or Hellyweirds say, do, think, or cares…for one day this 56 year old retired MSG goes to work sporting pink hair. She’s laughing…. I hear her every time one of the Vets sees me and giggles… kind’a puts off my second (and last) wife… but she ends up laughing too…

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    1. I am so sorry for your loss. I understand. I really do. Your reasons are your own, and you’re definitely entitled. I just feel the crassness outweighs the pure thoughts.

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  5. You know Ms. Nicki… it struck me as I thought about this topic driting off to sleep (yeah, a actually do that kind of end-of-day sweeping)… one place I have to admit you are dead on the money 100%… every time I see one of those pink rubber wrist bands I immediatly think of Lance Armstrong’s Live Strong bands. Good – maybe even great idea that went to shit because of lies, greed, and basically… a lack of honor or the understanding of the concept itself…. “Armstrong” = “weakethics” or “nohonor” or just plain criminal.

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    1. The stupid rubber bracelets, made in China for 5 cents each, strike me as a way for some people to show off how “civic minded” they are. “Look! I support *insert cause here*! Aren’t I awesome?” As usual, I find the silent folks are the real heroes, not once who prance around with a dozen rubber bracelets and no bra.

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  6. Lord and Lady you got me torn between two answers AGAIN Ms. Nicki- I LOL’d at the mental image of some of the sheeple I see at these rallies “prancing around” Then the simple minded male in me comes out about the bra thing – I admit it, I laughed even louder. Best thing you can do – laugh at these fools…THEN VOTE when the time comes…

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