It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and suddenly the whole world has turned pink. Ok, ok, ok, that's an overstatement. It wasn't suddenly. It has been building up for a while.
Several weeks ago there was an advertisement in our local newspaper for readers to (pay to) honor and remember those have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This weekend the newspaper insert from one of the big box office supply chains featured pink merchandise. There was another insert with lots of product coupons giving discounts for buying pink--soup, toothbrushes, toilet paper, shampoo, yogurt, and so on. The morning news shows all featured stories abut Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And when I went to the grocery store this morning, there was a "Think Pink" sign next to the green beans suggesting that I buy more vegetables and fruits.
I'm a survivor. But to be perfectly honest (and at the risk of coming off as a crotchety old biddy), I have mixed feelings about the entire event. Oh, sure, I understand the need to raise awareness and to remove the stigma of any kind of cancer. Times have changed since Betty Ford went public with her breast cancer. Education, screening, and treatment--even prevention-- have saved many lives. And we need to continue to find more ways to save more women (and men).
But as a survivor, I sometimes find the relentless pinkness of October just a little too much, especially when it coincides with various scary medical check-ups. I admit it, I'm a wuss. During my first couple of years as a survivor, I felt blindsided by the media's emphasis on the pink month. I was concentrating on getting my strength and my hair back, and there it was. It was a little like Jaws 2, "Just when you thought it was safe..." there would be another breast cancer story. Several survivor friends were also disconcerted, bothered, unsettled. I was surprised and relieved to find I was not the only one who felt that way. It's easier now because I know what to expect in October, and I know I am not so weird after all (at least in that way). I also wonder why we need a soup coupon to make a contribution to charity. What if I bought a less expensive kind of soup and contributed the difference? What if I donated a dollar for every pink story or advertisement?
I thought I "ought" to do a pink page for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ought, schmought! I don't want to do it. It just would not be relaxing. So I decided to make mine not quite pink. Here are the beads I will use:
They're a pinkish peach and salmon, an all together prettier color.
I would be interested to hear what other survivors feel about the pink month.
And has anyone participated in the Bead Artists Against Breast Cancer, the Bead it Forward quilt part?
Final note to others: Get your mamogram!
Final note to self: Embrace your inner wuss!