Pinktober – guest post

Happer times...(before breast cancer)

As a blogger I have always appreciated “attitude” in posts about cancer.  By “attitude” I mean a certain edge, a definite pluckiness in approach.  The following Guest Post shows how attitude combined with wry humor can make for interesting reading.  While in an active battle with the “beast”, it is sometimes difficult to feel celebratory.

I hope that folks respond to today’s blogger with shows of support.  Her anger is legitimate and palpable.  Despite her claims, I still see her as a survivor, brave and strong.  If you’re breathing, you are surviving.  If you’re breathing and shouting out at the world, you are, in a very real sense, thriving.

Our guest blogger, Shelli writes at The Dirty Pink UnderBelly.  Her blog title says it all.

Breast Cancer Awareness slogans I Hate and why I am Cranky this month…

October. I knew it was coming. Things started turning pink round the edges, and then BAM, full pink bloom. Pinktober.

Personally, and yes, it is usually all about me, I hate the constant reminder that I am no longer a “survivor”. I was stripped of that title when the cancer came back and branded me with a big ‘IV’. Yesterday I was asked if I’d hit my ‘5 year mark’ yet, and how far “OUT” was I? My reply was that I barely made it three years before being thrown back in, and there’s no getting “OUT” of this one. I’m ONE year IN.

As far as the Pinking of October goes…yes, it’s all over the top; all the questions…where does the money really go, how much of it goes to research, etc (check out Women should be aware, women should get checked, and more money needs to go to research. A cure? Not holding my breath for that one. More effect treatment that is not so toxic to the patient would be a good start. Prevention opens a whole can of worms that we really can’t solve unless we go back to the pre-industrial age, IMHO. There are things we can do, but there are no guarantees still.

I HATE “Save the TaTas”, “Post a Pink Bra” on your profile, and all the things that draw attention to boobs, jugs, melons, golden bozos, Winnebagos, or even Hooters (thank you Steve Martin).. .because not everyone who has gone through this wretched disease was ABLE to “save” their breasts!!! “Save the TaTas” is a slap in the face to anyone who had to have a mastectomy, single or double, who lost all or part of what our culture serves up as the shining beacon of femininity!

I know some of us are more attached to our breasts than others. The decision to lose them or try to keep them is easier for some than for others, but I digress…

The PINK is out of control.

To me, someone who has “been there”, what does the PINK RIBBON mean? I do think the pink ribbon has merit. I do still believe that there is power in the pink ribbon. (Gasp! yes, I said that.) When one has just received the devastating diagnosis of breast cancer, when one is facing the new myriad of treatment options, testing, scans…when one is in the middle of this horrifying disease, for which no one signs up…

A pink ribbon on a bracelet, or a blanket, or a brooch says “others have walked this way and many are praying for you”. It is courage to face those wretched treatments, knowing that there is an end and better days ahead.

So yeah, there isn’t an ‘official’ color for Metastatic Breast Cancer, which is still technically breast cancer, but we’re mostly too sick (though we often don’t look it) to be at the Susan G. Komen walk and parade ourselves around as ‘survivors’…I’m not dead yet, but I know right now that I have NOT survived breast cancer. (big run-on sentence)

I’ve voted for Dirty Pink…dragged-through-the-gutter-and-stepped-on pink. It hasn’t yet caught on much, other than with me, and really, that’s what matters, right?

I would like to opt out of Pinktober. I do have friends who ARE still cancer-free after breast cancer, and this month is for THEM to celebrate.  But it’s not for me. And we don’t need a whole month. Unless someone stumbles upon the cure this month. Maybe at the Komen walk, if someone keeps their eyes open. You never know what you’ll find under a bush, or next to a trashcan. They are, afterall, “Walking for a Cure”.

~ The Dirty Pink UnderBelly


About Dennis Pyritz

Dennis W. Pyritz, RN, BA, BSN, has been a cancer nurse since 1987 and a cancer and bone marrow transplant survivor since 2004. In December 2001 he was diagnosed with t-cell prolymphocytic leukemia (T-PLL), a rare aggressive form of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dennis was treated with the then new monoclonal antibody, alemtuzumab (Campath) as this disease has a median survival of 7.5 months. He achieved a 26 month remission but relapsed in February 2004. He was retreated with Campath and went into a second remission. In August 2004 he underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant with his brother, Mark, as donor. Dennis has remained in remission since - a near miracle. Throughout his career as cancer nurse and patient, Dennis has had the opportunity to speal to both lay and professional groups. Dennis has spoken on cancer topics and survival issues across the country as well as in the United Kingdom, Norway, Austria, Portugal, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Trinidad, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Cyrpus, Israel, and India.


Pinktober – guest post — 3 Comments

  1. I have been reading this wonderful woman’s blog for a while. She is the voice for all that don’t know how to put it into words. We need a “Cancer Awareness” day, week, month, what ever, but not just for Breasts. We need a cure for all of it. Don’t forget the rest that need help just as much. Way to go Shelli. You are amazing, and yes, you are still surviving!

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