Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My one breast cancer post for the whole breast cancer month

This says everything I want to say.

But I'll say a few more things because I went on my anti-pink rant last night to a friend whose aunt has cancer and I came out looking like a real jerk.

I'm a really mean jerk, anyway. And that's lamentable, but everyone's used to it. But last night I looked like an ignorant jerk with a pessimistic streak. I don't like that.

I hate cancer just as much as the next person, if not more. Everyone has a cancer story: you had it, your mom/aunt/cousin/grandpa/neighbor/babysitter/co-worker had it. Currently have it. Could possibly have it in the future.

Breast cancer--or any other kind of cancer, really--is terrifyingly prevalent. We're all well aware by now. There's no need to commercialize it as well.

Cancer, and our fear of it, has become a powerful commodity.

I see no reason for Yoplait to profit off of my fearful memories of my mom's cancer with their laughable "Save Lids, Save Lives" campaign.

People, there's a $250,000 cap on their donations to breast cancer research.

Yes, I realize that's money being put toward a good and legitimate cause. But if every one of my facebook friends donated $100 to the Susan G. Komen foundation, it would come out to $25,000.

Which is 10% of $250,000.

Which seems paltry when you think of it like that.

And no one would make money that way.

I hate cancer. I hate all things related to cancer. The checks I write and the merchandise I buy isn't going to help me sleep any better at night.

And it's not that I'm trying to put down your efforts. If you're running in this weekend's Race for the Cure, I'm supportive of that. What kind of friend would I be if I scoffed and said, "No, don't run a dumb race"? I hope you run well.

If you're running in honor of someone, I hope she's touched. I know I already am.

If you're running in memory of someone, I'm sorry.

I can't do it.

I don't run. I can't see those "In Memory of" tags. I can't see that grief. I can't see those "In Celebration of" tags either because the joy and uneasy relief are still too fresh.

I can't do breast cancer events for the same reason I can't handle musicals--too much emotion.

I just can't.

What I can do is offer you my house on Saturday. I live nearby the event and if you want to swing by after the race to use the bathroom or grab a snack or whatever, let me know.

I can send my donation to the American Cancer Society or the Susan G. Komen foundation. That's usually the first charity I give to every year.

I can eat well and exercise and keep my weight at a happy number because these are all factors in good health.

I can avoid excess hormones because they increase my already higher-than-average risks. (I really don't think anyone wants to be around me with any more estrogen than I already have anyway.)

I can remind you to check yourself out once a month and, if you're a big girl, get your yearly mammogram.

Did you catch that? Do your self breast exams. Do it.

A google search for the term "self breast exam" yields 972,000 results. The majority of them contain instructions. You would be doing so much for yourself if you would just do that.

I really hope you're doing that.

I don't think I'm saying anything you haven't heard before, but that's okay. I know every little bit of hope, money, and knowledge helps, but I also know that none of it's going to make a big dent.

The best thing you can do is take good care of yourself, and check on the people around you.

Are you doing that? Have you asked your mom if she's had a mammogram? Your grandma?

Don't be shy. This is important.

And while I'm pretty sure my mom is vigilant about this, I don't know about my mother-in-law.

And I'm going to change that (it won't even be the most awkward thing that's happened to us).

"Have you had your yearly mammogram? Will you please get one?"

Was it so hard?

And, in the interest of full disclosure, I have already done my self breast exam this month.

I hadn't done it nearly 4 months.

I know, I know! The move and the summer and the stress are all stupid excuses.

But I did it. Everything is as it should be.

So:

Have you done your self breast exam this month?

And I'm going to ask you next month too.

Edit: I should probably be (even more) honest and stress that I think Race for the Cure is great and all, but I can't race. I re-read this and realized I made myself sound like a fragile bundle of nerves and that was the only thing keeping me from cramming myself in with thousands of women (why does the Little Rock race exclude the boys? Breast cancer affects men. See?) and running several miles in order to contribute money to the Susan G. Komen foundation and to get others to do the same.
But anyway, my main point is. I don't run. Ever.

Laine runs, and tells me about it, and then my knees hurt and I feel tired.

I'm asthmatic. No running for Jen.

Ever.

Although I don't know what's stopping me from giving the $35 to them as the entry fee and just not showing up and running.

Maybe next year.

Another edit: I'm also lazy. And attending Foodie Fest, which is taking place this Saturday morning at the Argenta Market.

I'm lazy and a foodie and I hate cancer and love you.

Go runners!

There, I'm done.

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