Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I'm 12 weeks and craving pickles

****You've undoubtedly stumbled across my blog in an effort to find out why people are posting all sorts of cryptic messages on Facebook. You will find the answer here.

And now that you're here I encourage you to stay and read on. Read it all. Start reading at  My New Journey and read forward. Take the opportunity to hear from someone has been through breast cancer and all it's ugliness and lived to tell about it.

Because Facebook games are all well and good but taking the time understand what's really going on for someone battling breast cancer....that will really raise awareness. ****

For you Facebook users, do you remember last year when this trend went around in which people (women) posted the colour of their bra as their status and the idea was that it was supposed to bring awareness to Breast Cancer.

So yesterday, I got a message on Facebook. It was from a woman I know casually. Her kids go to school with mine and we once, many moons ago, had some mutual friends. For the most part though we don't know each other very well at all and unless she reads my blog and hasn't said anything (I don't think so though) she has no idea about my current situation. Anyhow, this was her message:
OK BEAUTIFUL LADIES!!! It's that time of year again in support of Breast Cancer Awareness! We all remember last years game of writing your bra color as your status? or the way we like to have our handbag handy?
Remember last year so many people took part that it made national news and the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we're doing this and helped raise awareness!
DO NOT tell any males what the status' mean, keep them guessing And please Broadcast this to all ur female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year
I did my part... So now its YOUR turn!
The idea is to choose the month You were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and lets see how far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round the world.
So you'll write... I'm (your birth month) weeks and I'm craving (your birth date) !!! as your status
Example: Feb 14th= I'm 2 weeks and craving Choclolate mints!!
Days of the month:
1- Skittles
2- Starburst
3- Kit-Kat
4- M&M's
5- Tomatoes
6- Ice Cream
7- Dairy Milk
8- Lollipop
9- Peanut Butter Cups
10- Meat Balls
11- Twizzlers
12- Bubble Gum
13- Hershey's Kisses
14- Chocolate Mints
15- Twix
16- Cheese
17- Fudge
18- Cherry Jello
19- Banana's
20- Pickels
21- Chicken Wings
22- Skittles
23- Gummy Bears
24- Gummy Worms
25- Strawberry Pop Tarts
26- Starburst
27- Mini Eggs
28- Kit-Kat Chunkie
29- Double Chocolate Chip Chrunchy Cookies 30- Smarties
31- Chocolate Cake

I read this message one big thing came to mind. How, exactly, does this raise awareness of Breast Cancer? Implying I'm pregnant in my facebook status has very little to do with breast cancer. Actually, even less than very little. It has NOTHING to do with breast cancer awareness.

The catty, bitter part of me wanted to message her back and let her know this, and to say something to the effect of I don't need to post an asinine, nonsensical status to be aware of breast cancer, I just need to look down at my missing tit (or, as it's becoming known around here - my boob hole) but I didn't. Because I've learned a few things. It could be that she's just blissfully ignorant. Maybe she's never had anyone in her life have breast cancer. I was blissfully ignorant once. Or, maybe she has had someone in her life who's had breast cancer and this is her way of dealing. We all deal in different ways.

So because of that, and because I am not drawing attention to myself to those who don't already know (she'll know soon enough when she sees me at the school sans hair) I didn't reply to the message.

I did however, have a stroke of genius. If one wants to raise awareness of breast cancer in their Facebook than one could, perhaps, change their profile photo to a Pink Ribbon. Everyone knows what a pink ribbon represents and you can be assured that if you post a pink ribbon on your wall or as your profile picture it will create awareness. It's not an ambiguous status update that no one gets unless they've been privy to the message to post said status.

So, that will be MY Facebook campaign to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Only I won't be sending out messages to all my FB friends to do the same, to each his own. I learned a valuable lesson from my brothers this past summer that everyone deals with things their own ways - I chose to remember, to embrace and to fight. Others might not do it that way. So by all means, be 6 weeks and crave skittles or post a pink ribbon on your wall or say a little prayer or do nothing at all. Because the fact of the matter is, I don't think there is anyone out there who is NOT aware of breast cancer. It's just that sad a world.

I go see the surgeon in an hour and a half. She'll give me the pathology from the mastectomy. I'm hoping they were able to find it and that we can finally get some positive news (I don't say good news, the only good news I'll ever get in this situation is when the Dr says "You are cancer free." but that will be a while yet.  But positive news would be that they found the source and we can move on with chemo now.

Oh, wait, some good news would be if she tells me that I can go to the chiropractor soon. I've over compensated for the joint pain on the left side on my back that I'd pinched a nerve on my right and now I've got sciatica so badly on my right side that my right foot is numb and I actually cry in pain. Honestly, giving birth didn't hurt this much (and Mary was born au natural)

I'll end on a positive note. Three wonderful things happened yesterday. First, I had a shower.  My first since August 19th, it was heavenly. I get to have another one on Friday (I still have dressings so I can only shower when the nurse is coming to change the dressing so it doesn't fester with moisture) Second, my beautiful and talented daughters were chosen as semi finalists in a contest on Family Channel. They stand a chance to win an appearance in a 'webisode' of a show they watch on Family. And Third. I had beer yesterday. Two of them. I've missed beer so very much. It was soooooo good.

Yum yum.


  1. Yay for showers!

    I agree with you. Why demean a cause to pretend you care about 'awareness'?

    Jean you are in my prayers and thoughts always. xoxo, Jody

  2. ok, I agree that everyone deals their own way but I also see nothing wrong with the occassional reminder that other people are dealing with things that you may not be. I like the ribbon idea much more than some pointless crap-which is why I'm getting them tattooed on my foot after the wedding (I have not time or money before)
    that's "my" way. Pink and teal.


  3. I just did a google search to figure out what was going on with my Facebook friends...I guess I missed the memo! I came across your post - thank you for the explanation, but better yet, thank you for expressing your feelings as one who is walking this path now! I didn't do the bra thing last year and have no plans to do the craving thing this year simply because I feel it just makes light of a very serious and devastating illness! I don't know anyone who has had breast cancer, but I can imagine the fear, pain, and devastation it can cause to individuals and their families. Why would I want to make light of that??

    If I was struck with this illness, I would want to raise awareness by shouting to all who could hear...including the men who have women in their lives that they dearly self exams, go see a doctor, don't ignore a symptom, be aware of your body!! Not silly status that keep the secret from our husbands, brothers, sons and life partners!

    I don't know you at all, I just came across your blog, but I am thankful I did and could hear your perspective. I am so sorry that you are struggling with cancer, but I hope you hear those positive words soon - "You are cancer free!" Thank you for being so real and honest!


  4. Thank you so much Rhona! The second part of your comment couldn't have been better said - the idea of awareness is to make people aware!

  5. I had to google that myself last night and frankly, I was appauled by it. I am all for bringing awareness to cancer but I think think theme crosses a line and detracts from breast cancer awareness and mocks it. If people have to search to find out what it is all about, they aren't learning anything. It is just another one of those trending things to me.

    I did change my profile picture in support of YOU though. I am looking forward to being able to brag that I have 2 friends who kicked Breast Cancers Ass!

    You go, Girl! Cancer has nothing on you! I KNOW you will beat this.

    Much Love and support,

  6. Jenn, I saw your picture and thank you so much! (and it's super cute, I might steal it!)

  7. I found your blog as well through google and posted a link to it in my facebook.
    I posted a comment saying that I am going to go donate money instead of posting a status that I received in my inbox.
    I think fund raising is better than words and games should never be mixed with cancer awareness.

  8. I happened across your blog as I was googling what I was seeing on statuses lately. I too am appauled by it and think like others that its making a mockery out of it and making light of the situation. A year ago I went to the ER with what I thought was really bad bronchitis. The doctors were worried about a blood clot in my lungs and requested a CT scan. I got the all clear while I was there but two days later got a call that scared me. They found a mass in my right breast. I immediately made an appointment for a mamogram and followed it up with a biopsy. I did get good news, it was nothing more than a cyst. However, it brought awareness to me and now I know the signs and symptoms to check for and make sure I do my self check exams at the same time every month. In honor of YOU I too am putting a pink ribbon on my facebook. You are a strong and courageous woman and you will beat breast cancer!

  9. If no one would have posted those weird comments, then most of you would not have done the research that brought you here to this site. As much as I don't like the FB status changes, it does seem to bring people together to talk about breast cancer.

  10. Ah, slacktivist campaigns. I do them to confuse people, but it's really not doing ANYTHING for awareness, raising funds, and research. That, I do on my own, and if people ask me about it, I'll let them in on it, but I'll also tell them to donate, too. I've lost too many people to ALL forms of cancer.

    I wish you luck with your personal battle; I can only imagine how hard it is for you. Keep smiling, keep fighting, keep posting; it gives others hope.

  11. As someone who has lost a few loved ones to breast cancer :( I will not be doing this as I feel its not making anyone aware, just like "pink washing" was something to make peopel aware. I'm pretty well sure that about 99%of ADULTS are aware of what breast cancer is. Do you know how I support it, I wear a pink bracelet from brighton and I donate what I can to one of the breast cancer foundations in memory of those I have lost. I speak about them frequently and miss them dearly. I hope u hear that you are cancer free soon! My grandmother has been for 10 years and has survived it twice!

  12. Anon. you make a very valid point. Perhaps this FB status business did do a bit of good - if at the very least my diatribe about it brings people here and hearing the viewpoint of someone knee (boob) deep in it. Now there's some awareness.

  13. I do not think the whole mini-social-Facebook-game for raising awareness is a good idea. Although it does inadvertently raise awareness by making people do research...inspiring people to donate. However, like you said, a pink ribbon as your profile picture is far more effective.

  14. These are all proven on as false for supporting breast cancer. They seem to go on and on and this one inparticular is cruel to those of us who have lost a child and are wanting another one and can not get pregnant!

  15. YAY!!! Jean!!! You go girl!! I have watched several folks I love battle with breast cancer, my Mom being one of them. She survived it for several years even after radiation and chemo. Such nasty stuff and chem is even worse as a treatment. I won't go into any other details but I have added you to my prayers and hope the next news is good news indeed! Enjoy another beer - you deserve it!! - Wanda

  16. Anon. as someone who has walked the road of secondary infertility I couldn't agree more.

  17. This had me confused so much I thought all the girls on my facebook were all the sudden major sluts.

  18. i, for one, will not be joining in on that silly post to FB. i applaud you for your blog and wish you the very best ... hoping that you get lots of positive news and ultimately the good (best!) news very soon.

  19. Thanks for posting this! I found it, like many others, trying to figure out why some of my obviously not going to be pg friends were posting something that implied that they were so many weeks. My mom is a breast cancer survivor (14 years and counting), but we lost 2 aunts to this disease. I don't know you, but I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Take care and fight! (I'm posting as Anon, cuz I really can't figure out the other options!)

  20. I wish you well and a healthy prognosis. I lost one grandmother to breast cancer, the other to uterine cancer, an aunt to throat cancer, and (so far) I've escaped cervical cancer. This is what I facebook posted: I'm 1 week and craving cheese. Now click this please. (link to) www. /clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=2 .

  21. agree that the "I'm x weeks and craving x" is pretty stupid though but gotta say, without it i won't be reading this page - googled the phrase up cause was mightily curious ;)

    the purpose to raise awareness? it worked for me, as now I am aware of a strong lady who's battling that sickness even as of now.

  22. Thank you for the wonderful post. I hope you get better. Your writing really brings home the realities of cancer. So I guess the FB trick worked since it brought me to your blog. I am a man with sciatica whose battled this pain for over three years. Your few words at the end really bring me comfort. Thanks again.

  23. Another googler here. Thanks for explanation. I whole heartily agree with you. I will be putting up a Pink Ribbon instead. I'll have to stop by and catch up on your blog too. Know I'll be praying for a speedy recovery and good news!

    All the best!

  24. ummm September isn't breast cancer awareness month. October is... the person who started this trend is a month early. I am not saying that breast cancer awareness isn't important, but still the whole thing is stupid just like the bra color was stupid

  25. Thank you for this post. While I am not personally affected by breast cancer directly, I am affected by child loss, and have had a loss of my own. I feel that this is a horrible and down right offensive way to do absolutely nothing. It does not bring awareness to breast cancer in any way shape or form. I was wondering what the breast cancer community thought of this one. I wish you the best of luck as you walk this journey and pray for health.

  26. Hi,

    I came across this blog as someone posted this on facebook. I understand why some people don't agree with this, and yes, maybe it would be better to just post a profile picture of the pink ribbon but raising awareness of anything these days is quite tough to do. It's probably likely many people will take part in posting the message on fb, and a few will genuinely post it because they want to raise awareness and only have good intentions. I for one received the same message as you, and came across this blog, and I have donated money towards one of the charities so I don't believe this fb message is completely a negative thing, but I do understand why people may not agree.

    Also, I think it is irrelevant if breast cancer awareness is in October. Awareness is awareness in my opinion, and if it gets even 1 person to donate then isn't it a good thing?

    It may be "stupid" but it got my attention..

    I wish you all the best!

  27. I came across your blog after googling, "I'm 12 weeks. . ." as a friend had posted on FB and was curious. Just wanted to wish you the very best and a complete recovery. I'm a little nervous right now as I had some post menopausal bleeding and my doctor told me, "Well that's uterine cancer until proven otherwise." Sometimes Docs can be so sensitive can't they. Ultrasound next week. God Be with you and your family.

  28. I was actually wearing my pink Help Whip Cancer shirt 2 days ago. Today I'm wearing teal in support of my friend Karen who lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer. But you are and will always be on my mind and in my heart. Love ya girl! ~Sheila

  29. Was referred to this blog by a friend through FB...I don't generally play any "post this" games on FB (or any of the other games for that matter) and generally don't care if others do. Whatever blows your skirt up.

    I just wanted to stop by as a survivor to offer you my prayers and support. My diagnosis was 10/94 so for me Oct as 'awareness' month is appropriate...not that my awareness needs any outside stimulus. I view it a personal celebration of an anniversary - each year a victory. I had a mastectomy and the best feeling of all was getting those tubes and bandages removed. I had adjuvant chemo and while it was an experience I'd volunteer for, it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been told by others, and I survived. Thrived, even. All the best to you for good results and speedy healing. Peace, Pearl (this'll show up as anon because blogspot is being it's usual PITA and won't let me post under my blogger account.)

  30. I don't think playing games help with breast cancer awareness and could be insensitive to many. I feel for you and others and wish for recovery. Here is my side of things....I can't have kids anymore and wish that I could have a baby with my husband and no such luck!! I found it insensitive to all the women out there that can't have kids either anymore or ever. I'm not going to pretend to be pregnant no matter what it's supporting!! Just my thoughts.

  31. Thank you for the explanation I was really confused about everyone's status. Although I don't agree and think it is silly it did bring me to your story and I sincerely hope you get good news soon.

  32. I feel the same way... kinda. I guess I was a little offended on the other side. As someone who has never been able to get pregnant, I didn't really appreciate seeing everyone taking it so lightly... What would everyone think if I put "I'm 12 weeks and craving M&M's"?!?!?! I'd have everyone posting "Congrats", and I'd just feel like a ham and further point out my inability to conceive.
    Praying you get a good report and beat this horrible disease.

  33. Several of my female friends posted "I'm 12 weeks and craving pickles". I added to the confusion by posting: "Has 11 pickles and is craving leeks."

    How does this raise awareness of breast cancer?

  34. Sorry for what you're going through. I've had several friends and family members struggle through breast cancer - and other cancers.

    RE: the FB games - I think the cancer angle is just to guilt people into participating. You get the email and think, "Oh man, am I a jerk if I don't do this?" So thanks for showing the other side.

    I changed my status to a pink ribbon, watched some breast cancer PSAs and MOST IMPORTANTLY...I did a self exam. THANKS!

  35. yep...I like the way you think. I'm sorry for what you are going through, and you sound like a fighter. Thanks for being you and for speaking your mind. Momma Cat

  36. Posting a link to your blog and changing my profile pic to a pink ribbon. Go You!!!

  37. i agree with you! but am still glad to have found your blog. i co-founded a non profit project that explores the self esteem issues and obstacles that come with a breast cancer diagnosis - and helps create a community of support. that's how i'm raising awareness about breast cancer. sending healing thoughts your way - thanks for speaking honestly and openly.

  38. Found your blog, and i hope and pray you soon hear the magic words you need to hear.. I am a male, soon to be 61.
    I have an ex s-i-l that fought breast cancer, she had to have a double.
    My oldest brother died of cancer.
    When I was 12 or so, my mother fought and WON against colin cancer...
    A very good friend of mine posted the status--18 weeks and craving skittles.. well several comments latter I thought, must be an underlying theam to this..
    I googled it, and yes , Plain as day..
    I posted on her wall,in a discrete way, that i knew the message,, she lol and said good try, but sorry, i could not know..
    A few nights latter we met at a square dance and it told here the 18-skittles answere, she laughed and said yes.. but Did I know the story?
    Yes I replyed, To raise awareness of breast cancer... shocked look, then a smile, then a GREAT big hug...she was very surprised, but very glad that i had taken the time to find out the meaning... by my doing so, when i see other posts as this, i smile, and say a short silent prayer for all women... If anyone cares about friends or family, such a post should cause them to find out the meaning.. just saying..
    Amd as i said, i am a male..
    I am 13 weeks and craving chicken wings.. and proud to post.
    Wayne Henry, a proud and try to be informed man.
    p.s. since i took the time to understand her comment, we have become better friends..