checking in / a rant

we’ve been lucky to have so many friends and family in town the past few weeks–for laughter, seeing how whiz handles a 1-year old (best friends!), meals in and out, polished floors, tears, backyard sunshine, and shaved heads (my brother lucas, pictured here with me and my thinning dome. we are both slightly paranoid our respective hairs won’t grow back). we feel like we’re leading a super rich and full life. i was really worried about that when handed the diagnosis, what would it all mean. so those fears have subsided…

treatment #6 is done. it went so smoothly–bloodwork, solid (my white blood cells are even on the rise! and i have low sodium, which requires eating something salty like a bag of chips. easiest Rx ever). nurses, outstanding. benadryl, coma-inducing. so we had lift off mostly, except for the morning spent at the dermatologist because my new fantastic NP didn’t quite know what to make of my leg rash. was it an undocumented side effect of the taxol? was it something that came about because of my weakened immune system? or was it just a ho-hum leg rash that has nothing to do with anything, except maybe a lingering side effect of a virus i had months ago? the four dermatologists who paraded through the exam room all had different thoughts. the biopsy results will come back in the next week or so, but best news is that it’s not likely serious. and probably has nothing to do with what’s happening with my butt. and with my last shred of dignity, i will share no further information on that.

new side effects otherwise include tingling in my feet and hot flashes. double bummer, but it means the treatment is working, especially at shutting down all my hormone producers (i.e., ovaries) and hormone receptors (i.e., cancer). i probably need some advice from the menopausal women in this crowd for the hot flashes, so have at it.

when we were watching the notre dame game yesterday, i learned that the coach brian kelly is super into raising money for breast cancer research. his wife is a survivor. the players were all wearing hot pink somethings on them. that’s all great. then, it seemed like every commercial was selling some pink piece of crap that donated a tiny percentage of their net sales (i.e., after they break even.) (i’m not in business school for nothing) to breast cancer organizations up to some relatively small total, if you read the fine print.

if you’re over the age of 18 and haven’t heard of breast cancer, you probably are an idiot. or a bad listener. or color blind. yeah, i said it. breast cancer awareness month and seeing everything awash in pink has been tough, and i’m still sitting with a new diagnosis. i’ve met women breast cancer survivors who want to run far, far away until november. because every advertisement is a reminder of a horrible, scarring experience that they went through. or maybe are still going through. and the last thing they need is a reminder–especially a demure, super feminine pink ribbon that somehow implies we should all just accept life chin up with hope, grace, and strength and without a full on cure–about the likely toughest experience of their lives.

i get it.

on top of that, i feel like i’m a revenue generator, and someone somewhere is making money off of me because of your compassion, your wanting to do the right thing, your awareness because breast cancer awareness month has been so damn effective. sadly though, i think awareness and prevention has been turned on its head for a consumer spending spree. all of us breast cancer patients and survivors are raising money for such wonderful (note dripping sarcasm) products, like 5-hour energy drink, a personal grooming kit, a wristlet purse, mayonnaise, sneakers, nail files, gum, a power drill, glittery flats, and even thong underwear. how lovely.

and on top of that, many of these products have in them the same toxins that contribute to the horribleness of breast cancer. i attended two nonprofit-hosted events in the last two weeks–both wonderful, fabulous, supportive events for women living with breast cancer. each of them gave away corporate donated make-up and skin-care products as part of the experience, to look good and feel better and embrace the new you while working and trying to stay on top of your stuff. and learn how to draw on eyebrows too. those who know me well know that i love products. love them. but as i pawed through these marvelous bundles, not one–NOT ONE–of the products are free of all the nasty stuff found on the environmental working group’s cosmetic database of known carcinogens or those chemicals not yet tested.

f*ck the world!!!!

you might say, “but look at all the good this is doing! all the money being raised for research! all that awareness and preventative self-breast exams happening this month!” i don’t deny the importance of funding research and improving early detection and survival, but i do object to how it’s being done. and i don’t want it done on my back. if you really want to purchase some pink products, this group, Think Before You Pink, has a set four questions to ask beforehand:

  1. does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? how much?
  2. what organization will get the money? what will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?
  3. is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? has this maximum donation already been met? can you tell?
  4. does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast cancer? what is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

you might not always agree or like what i share here, but please don’t be pink-washed.

whew. ok, i can take a deep breath. i know i’m not perfect on all my purchases, and maybe when i’m well i’ll try and more formally crack this nut.

but for now…i’m not quite sure how to end this post. hugs? saludos? cheerio?

it’s not always pretty, but if you’re reading, you’re still with me. so, a big thank you and xom.

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