It’s Cancer, Not A Stubbed Toe!
All this breast cancer awareness is very nice; all the pink ribbons are very pretty. It’s nice that people are becoming aware of the need for early breast cancer detection and treatment. It’s a relief that people can say the words “breast cancer” out loud in mixed company.
An unfortunate effect of all the tee shirts and posters and cute bumper stickers is the trivialization of breast cancer. “If you have to have cancer, that’s a good one to have.” “Oh, no one dies of breast cancer any more.” “It’s not like a really bad catastrophic illness, after all.”
Are you serious?
I do my best not to harp on it. I work very hard at being cheerful and positive to the world at large. Why can’t people attribute that to my character, to my efforts at being a kind and considerate person? Why must it so frequently be interpreted as “how wonderful! She must be getting better!”
It is hard to tell people who love me that I am not going to get better, bar an act of God. It is even harder to tell them so again and again. I know it’s hard for them, but it’s hard for me, too. I know I’m being unreasonable in expecting people to be tuned into my mood all the time. I know that. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect people to wait for cues from me before they start skipping along down the (pink) petal-strewn garden path.
Caught early, breast cancer is more easily treated. (But may still recur at a future time.) My cancer was not caught early. I was at Stage III (of four stages) on diagnosis. Now I have distal metastasis – Stage IV. These days people can live for years with Stage IV cancer, but that is not the same thing as health. Living with a maimed body, pain and weakness is still life – and I’ll enjoy it as long as I can. But it is not health. The cancer will kill me. It will kill me sooner rather than later.
I don’t go around with a long face and I rarely expose my frustration and anger to other people like I’m doing now. Sometimes it just boils over.