Fall is here. Instead of instantly igniting into flames upon walking outdoors, one sort of just smolders. Florida, a Baltic 89 degrees and nearly October.
With it, comes a still new, but creeping dread. Until the end of my days on this planet, every October is going to be an adventure in rage, apathy, disgust and awful things that I don’t want to be reminded of. Get ready...it’s time for Breast! Cancer! Awareness! Month!
What does awareness really mean? Not what it should – a cure, not for one particular kind of BC, or for early-stagers only – the cure for Stage IV mets patients too. Instead, until Halloween, we will be relentlessly pounded to purchase all things PINK and with RIBBONS-keychains, food, cars, clothing, jewelry, every single piece of it under the guise of altruistic venture. Early detection saves lives! Mammograms! Buy this and save more lives! Blah, blah, blah.
I found my own tumors 4 months after having yet another “clean” mammogram, one in a long string of them, faithfully endured under the belief in Pinktober Promises. Not one medical doctor - GP or GYN, ever advised more extensive tests, despite my very dense breast tissue. Not one ever mentioned that it was even possible the magnificent mammogram could miss my large, multi-focal tumors.
What a day it was. The shiny expensive mammogram machine. The nurse musing that it looked like a cyst. How everything changed the second that ultrasound was applied. Grim medical faces and terms. Talk of “masses”. The sound of the core biopsy needle like a nail gun.
Nor can I forget how my Oncologist shrugged her shoulders at my shock, primarily, that useless mammogram. It happens all the time, she says, not even bothering to look up from her prescription pad.
So, it takes a great deal of self-discipline and control, an ability and desire to be the bigger person when some half-wit gushes at me about something about BC awareness, a race, a benefit, a sale. They have shiny pink faces and hopeful pink hearts. Always, always, it’s someone that has never had cancer doing the gushing. They think Pinktober is terrific and helpful. They want to believe it will never happen to them.