Friday, September 28, 2012

So Now It's Hearts

I've received the same message in my Facebook inbox a few times in the past few weeks:

Hello, Beautiful Ladies: Without replying to this message, put a heart on your wall; no comment, just a heart. Next, post a heart on the wall of the person who sent you this message. Then send this message to your women friends, only women. If anyone asks you why you have so many hearts on your wall, don't tell them. This is only for women, because this is breast cancer research week. One small act of solidarity between women. P.S. To type a heart, first type < then 3, it will turn into a heart!

I'm sure many of you remember the rant...but for those who don't, it went something like this.

REALLY??!!  Are you frickin' kidding me??!!!

When I wrote the rant, I was newly diagnosed with cancer and had only just had my mastectomy. Now that I've finished chemo, radiation and am nearing the end of my maintenance treatments I can speak a little more clearly and eloquently on this.

REALLY?!?!  Are you frickin' kidding me??!!

Let's break this apart.

How are hearts the least bit significant to breast cancer? Less offensive than the cryptic fake pregnancy symptoms status that was used last year that I found especially insulting since the treatment for breast cancer can often leave a women infertile.  But still stupid.

Why are we sending this message to women only? Men get breast cancer. In fact, roughly 200 Canadian men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. (Canadian Cancer Society)  22,700 women will be too. Of those nearly 23000 women, I wonder how many have husbands or sons who might want to be informed.

The next part is funny. If anyone asks why you have hearts on your wall...don't tell them.
I have no words. Really. How is this serving any purpose at all if you're not telling anyone what you're doing?? Is breast cancer a secret? Is breast cancer research a secret? And if it is, WHY?? It should out out there loud and proud so that every woman (and man!) knows the possible causes, the symptoms and how to detect it early. Because if you don't have early detection your chances of beating it just plain suck. And dying from cancer is neither pretty nor dignified.

I don't find secret hearts in a status supportive. I find them insulting. Supportive was the people who called, emailed, wrote me letters, sent me cards, said prayers, brought me dinner, took care of my kids, drove me to treatment, made donations to the Canadian (or American) Cancer Society in my name or in the name of Papa's Pride.

I found solidarity with the people who turned their Facebook profile pictures into Pink Ribbons (or in the case of my PP sisters - Pink Pumpkins!! Or teal ribbons for ovarian cancer or gold for childhood cancer or  white for brain cancer.....) because cancer of any kind should not be kept a secret. It should not be cryptic. We shouldn't be hiding it or hiding from it. We should be fighting it. Together. Hard.

Otherwise, we'll never win the battle.

I am a PROUD breast cancer survivor. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I will be turning my Facebook Profile picture pink. I invite you all to do the same - in solidarity with those who have fought the battle, in memory of those lost and in the hopes of finding a cure.

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