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, from keychains to t-shirts to vibrators to flip flops, new cars and cupholders, panties and 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 scheduled and 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. No one ever mentioned that it was even possible the touted mammogram could completely miss my rather large, multi-focal tumors.
Never am I informed a simple, non-invasive ultrasound was superior in finding cancers like mine, early on and with great accuracy. Certain events stay with a person. The shiny mammogram machine at the breast center, surely having cost millions. The nurse musing, after that fancy tit squashing, that it looked like a cyst. How everything changed the very second that ultrasound was applied. Grim medical faces replace friendly ones. Chippy chatter slips into business-like, hushed tones. Medical terms and talk of “masses” fly back and forth from tech to Radiologist. How that fucking core biopsy needle sounded just like an industrial hole punch as it bored into me. Nor can I forget how my Oncologist shrugged her shoulders at my incredulousness of it all, primarily, that fucking useless mammogram. It happens all the time, she says, not 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.