Since I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2017, I’ve participated in quite a few events. Sometimes those events were to raise money, some were just for those of us who have breast cancer. At first, I was not sure what was best and I accepted invitations to just about anything. There’s also the flattered element–everyone wants to be wanted!
Now, I think differently.
I have not met anyone who didn’t know that October is breast cancer awareness month. I’m not sure anyone could miss all of the pink ribbons plastered everywhere. All the races. All the fundraisers. All the celebrations of the survivors. All the pink tutus and boas and bras and slogans.
I can’t do it anymore.
I can’t pretend that breast cancer is a brand, a slogan, a way to make money. I can’t pretend that the pink ribbons and rah-rah speeches and tutus and bras actually means anything. I can’t pretend that my friends aren’t dying.
That’s my reality.
That’s my October.
I often don’t want to open social media because that’s oftentimes how I learn a friend is dead. I often don’t want to even check on friends because if they don’t respond, that usually means they have died. If someone doesn’t respond one day for a bit, my immediate thought is that they must be dead.
That’s what I think about when I think about breast cancer.
I think about often my friends are murdered.
I think about how the rest of the world keeps going on like nothing has happened, still hawking the pink shit that doesn’t help anyone, painting their trucks pink, laughing and patting each other on the back, congratulating themselves that they’ve accomplished something. I think sometimes I’m screaming into the void, that the deaths of truly amazing people don’t mean much.
How much, after all, is a life worth? Are people paying attention?
116 men and women were slaughtered today.
116 men and women were murdered today.
Every day, 116 Americans die from breast cancer. Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, to be precise.
One of these days, I’ll be one of them.
Think about that before you waste your money on a race, a pink whatever.