Monday, January 16, 2012

The Reality Of Pink

I dedicate this note to my sweet sister Amy and my three cousins who have battled or are battling Breast Cancer. I also dedicate it to my two aunts in heaven who both battled this disease.

I am spurred to write this as a response to a blog post I saw posted by my sister that talked about how we are "pinked out". The article is a fantastic blog post written by one who is doing their part to raise funds for the prevention, cure, treatment and awareness of breast cancer. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your efforts to that very special and dedicated person.

The "pink" movement has gotten a lot of attention. Just about anyone in the US who saw a pink ribbon would probably have some recognition with it in regards to breast cancer "awareness". It is a good thing that people know that breast cancer exists, and that they should get mammograms and do self checks. But simply being aware of it is not enough. Pink shouldn't just be seen as a pretty ribbon, a cute water bottle, or a trendy bracelet that has caused an uproar. Pink shouldn't just be limited to one month for people to be "aware" of breast cancer. Pink doesn't stand for something that happens to other people. It doesn't stand for a bonding experience you may have with another person on a fund raising walk. It doesn't stand for something that affects a certain sex.

The thinking needs to change. Pink should stand for reality. The reality that this could happen to you.

This is what pink should stand for. It should stand for the scars that women AND men carry on their bodies from surgeries to remove lumps, lymph nodes, and breasts. It should stand for the pink port-a-cath entry point where drugs are injected, that often themselves can have side effects. It should stand for the previously untouched by the sun skin on women and men who have lost or chosen to take control and get rid of the hair on their heads and the rest of their bodies. It should stand for the red, dry, cracked skin that may be a side effect of chemo for some. It should be for the radiation burns that can happen as a result of radiation therapy. It should be for the scars and the pain that the families, friends and loved ones have if they have lost someone to this disease. It should be for tired and hurting feet on the long road to treatment and recovery.

I get that people may read this note and think that I sound angry. I am. I am angry at cancer. But I am also angry at the watered down attitude that people have about this. I was one of those - until it happened to my sister, and three cousins -and untill there was a total of three out of five women in this generation on ONE side of my family with breast cancer.

Instead of a pink pretty ribbon, would a photo of a pink lumpectomy or mastectomy, a pink burn, a pink port, a pink scalp, a face pink from shedding tears, would those things get the attention and make people snap into reality? Instead of the recognition of pink as a breast cancer awareness marketing tool (and I use that in the sense of recognition) when will we snap into reality? Pink isn't a cutesie marketing and fundraising tool. Pink stands for WAKE UP PEOPLE! THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU!