Maybe it's just me but I feel like I'm constantly dodging the Pink Ribbon Brigade since my diagnosis. No matter how much I explain to them that I'm not interested in the marketing of breast cancer, people still send me pink ribbon swag. My response is "If you want to really help someone with breast cancer, it's a lot less helpful to wear a pink ribbon than to just go over and do that someone's laundry or housework."
I understand that people mean well, but holy crap - I really don't want any part of it and I can't seem to to make people understand that when they bring it up.
Additionally, my identity is not "breast cancer survivor". Why do people do this? I have athlete's foot every year but you wouldn't call me an athlete's foot survivor. I also had flesh-eating virus when I was fifteen which made me far sicker than the cancer (four weeks in the hospital, thanks!), but it's also not part of my identity. I actually get viscerally angry when I hear people refer to me as a "survivor" as though it's part of my name. To me, breast cancer was just a sickness I had. I am being treated for it and I had the sucker cut out. It might come back but until it does, it's simply not who I am.
I've had to stop talking to some people I've met online who had breast cancer because - DEAR GOD - it is all they ever talk about! One woman I know - it has been FIVE YEARS! Surely she has had other things happening in her life since then. I just couldn't take it anymore.
When I was first diagnosed, the very second thing that happened to me after I spoke with my breast surgeon was my being dragged into a room at the hospital where I guess they hold support group meetings, and meeting someone who started lecturing me about meditation and visualization and pink ribbon walks, and being handed a giant totebag full of cancer swag. I'm totally serious. The friend who accompanied me to this meeting was a little bit horrified on my behalf, especially since she knows me well and knows that this approach was something i would run screaming from. I felt like I was being mentally assaulted. Surely a better approach would be to not assume that everyone shares the same feeling about support groups and pink ribbons, etc.
Does anyone else feel this way? Am I the only one? I really don't mean to be insensitive but I feel like I can't be the only one who feels this way about the marketing of breast cancer.
6/30/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+, HER2-
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