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May 4, 2011 06:57AM
I view the situation from the opposite lens. When I was first diagnosed with stage III IDC, I was astonished at the outpouring of love and support from family, friends, and colleagues. One thing I noticed was how awkward most men, including my sons (ages 20 and 16) were in expressing their concern about my having breast cancer until they realized that I was absolutely okay with the conversation.
My husband immediately asked me if I minded if he wore a pink bracelet during my chemo and radiation treatments, and where did he think I could get one. I found the "Save the ta-tas" website and saw their bracelets and car magnets. I thought they would be a way to remove a little of the awkwardness, since I was the one initiating the idea of buying those rather than the traditional ones from the Komen website. I never considered them trivializing - simply using a more comfortable expression.
My 16 year old asked if I would order him one as well. I ordered 20 bracelets and a couple of car magnets. Two male co-workers immediately asked where they could get a car magnet. Both had lost their mothers to BC years ago. They both felt that this particular slogan was one that could be expressed by anyone, not just the patient or survivor herself. My teenaged nephews all wanted a bracelet once my younger son posted a picture of his on FaceBook. I think they believed it was a "cool" way to show their love and support for me. I ran out of bracelets within two days of receiving them.
No, the slogan, bracelets, and magnets did not trivialize my cancer. I can truly say that because I purchased them in December of 2009 and my husband still wears his to this day, my two co-workers still have their car magnets on their cars (although one lost his in the car wash and replaced it), and my sons and nephews wore them until they broke. Had they considered the slogan or symbolism trivial or silly, the novelty would have worn off rather quickly, don't you think.
This journey is much to short to be offended by people whose own story or motives are not known (as in the case of the magnet on the stranger's car). It might be that this person is walking in similar shoes or simply watching in their quiet pain from the sidelines. Cancer simply sucks and we all deal with it in the best ways we can muster.
Diagnosis: 11/23/2009, IDC + Pagets, 4.5cm, Stage III, Grade 3, 3/21 nodes, ER+/PR+/HER2+, BETH trial 1/2010-1/2011,6-TCH + Avastin 12-Herceptin + Avastin, 33 rounds of rads, 3/21/2011 DIEP flap bilateral reconstruction, 5 years tamoxifen