At the end of September I went to a local store and they were totally decked out in pink – ready for the Pinktober onslaught. My first thought was, “I won’t be able to come to this store for the whole month of October.” I knew they would be asking for money for awareness, for research and to support non-metastatic survivors. But knowing what I know about stage IV and the lack of funding and support for our disease, I knew I would not be able to keep my mouth shut. And the total lack of estrogen in my body can be verbally ugly.
Thirty years ago this month, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (now Susan G. Komen for the Cure) was founded. This October will mark the 27th National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It has been 20 years since the now-ubiquitous pink ribbon first showed up at Estee Lauder cosmetic counters. Thirty years of breast cancer activism and awareness-raising. Thirty years and counting … but counting what?
Early April – Opening Day, April 6th actually – I wake up with really bad back pain. I figured that it was related to sleeping funny the night before, one kid had slept on one side of me and the other on the other side and I couldn’t move. We walked all over downtown that day and it was all I could do, and this was after taking Tylenol or Motrin or something which may not seem like a big deal but I never was one to take much medication. It wasn’t better within a day or so and I then attributed it to picking up my children and working in the yard etc., all the things we attribute back pain to.
Between “moment of silence” and “prevention of cancer from spreading,” exists the land of the forgotten. Who resides there? Those for whom I am a #FearlessFriend, those hoping their names will not be mentioned with the former, and, yes, those who have already been kicked out of the ranks of the latter. Their cancer has already spread. Where do they fit into the current breast cancer paradigm? Do they fit in at all?
Ellen Moskowitz, Director of Metastatic Breast Cancer Network from 2006 to 2010, passed away from cancer on June 7, 2012. I had known the end was near. Ellen had been in Hospice for some months and we had spoken by phone on a number of occasions. Last week when I called, Ellen was unable to hear my voice over the phone so the nurse repeated my words, phrase by phrase, in her ear.