Overwhelmingly pink…

There have been many Octobers in my life… Every other October I probably bought some atrocious China made junk item, a tshirt here, a travel mug there and retreated with a pseudo warm fuzzy feeling of having done my bit for Breast cancer. With my altruistic quota of month complete I returned to my seemingly perfect life not giving the disease a thought till the next October rolled by. This October is different. Having cancer changed everything. My outlook to the pink ribbon the symbol of Breast cancer has changed. The whole deluge of pink products from junk key chains and fleece blankets to ridiculous pink hair extensions and bedazzled iphone cases all seem to be making a mockery of every breast cancer patient and survivor out there. The whole concept that once a year by donning a pin, getting a string of pink in their hair or changing their phone case they support breast cancer seems to trivialize the grimness of the disease and hardships every breast cancer patient has to go through daily just to survive.

Breast Cancer Awareness cannot be just people being aware that the disease exists; it should also be being aware and compassionate of the trial and tribulations someone with cancer goes through. It is not my intention to make this a sob story but of doing my bit to bring a few cancer truths to the fore. Breast Cancer affects the mind as much as it affects the body. There is nothing more that induces that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach than when someone is diagnosed with breast cancer. While facing your own mortality you also face the treatment where every hair from your body disappears not just the one on your head but your eyelashes and eyebrows. Facing the mirror everyday crushes your body image. Add to this fact that the skin darkens and dries out during chemo. No amount of makeup hides that. Then comes the surgery where you are mutilated and no amount of nip and tuck ever makes you whole again. The trifecta ends with radiation with burnt skin. The whole process is accompanied by tiredness and a lot of self doubt.The constant dependence on friends and family to help you do routine stuff. Drop your kids off, cook a meal, be out with the kids when they are playing. Ends up with you feeling lacking and imperfect in every sphere of your life.

While all this is happening with the body comes the double whammy; the bills. Even when someone has the best of insurance there are a lot of things that is out of pocket. Copays, deductibles all add up.  It is not fun fighting tooth and nail with insurance companies, keeping up with the gazillion bills that land in the mail every day while still having a mortgage and every other bill that existed before. I envy the security having money to spare can buy.  I look at the Romneys or the Kardashian bimbos or the Bacchans for that matter and what I see are families barricaded against financial ruin. There is almost no circumstance that will leave anyone in that family at a loss for food, clothing, shelter, or medical care. They are not living – will never live – one pink slip or one medical diagnosis from ruin. That cannot be said for me. I imagine it cannot be for most of my friends.  But this is a reality for most breast cancer patients. While it varies a lot statistically the out of pocket cost for an average breast cancer treatment cycle at the minimum is about $8000 -$10000.

So be aware and beware of where you spend your money buying pink stuff. Most of it is just people making a tidy profit in the guise of the Pink Ribbon. Most of the proceeds never reach the actual cancer patient. There are a lot of great organizations out there who actually help patients or better yet help someone you know who has cancer. Every ride, every babysitting, every call of concern is appreciated and cherished.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 10:11 pm and is filed under Discovery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.