• Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Where’s the Pretty Ribbon for “Shit Happens”?

    I love October. October means Halloween and fall. It means pumpkin spiced everything. October is the gateway to the holidays and all the fun family gatherings and good food that comes with it.

    But October brings something else with it. In the coming days there will be an onslaught of pink everything. Because October is breast cancer awareness month. And I haaaay-te breast cancer awareness month.

    At the end of September, I started eyeing my wardrobe, painfully aware of every pink shirt hanging in my closet. It is something of a curse to this breast cancer survivor that pink is a good color on me. For most of the year I don’t mind. This time of year, though, my closet suddenly looks like a wearable shrine to breast cancer.

    October doesn’t feel like it’s so much for me. Instead it seems like October is about me. As in, here, kids, this is a story of what happens if you don’t catch breast cancer early.

    And everyone knows that October is breast cancer awareness month. I bet damn few people can tell you without Googling it what January’s awareness topic is. But October…? That shit is everywhere.

    October feels like a celebration of boobs. People love boobs. They love talking about boobs, looking at boobs, showing off boobs. And October gives people a chance to be more aware of boobs. Now that I’m missing one now I don’t really feel included in the festivities. I’m standing outside the fun pink party looking in, wondering why there’s a party at all.

    Oh and the advice. *pinches bridge of nose and sighs deeply*

    In the parade of pink is all the same damn advice we hear every year. One in eight women will get breast cancer. Talk to your doctor. Know your family history. Get mammograms. Do self exams. Exercise. Eat right. Watch your weight. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink alcohol in excess.

    In none of that seemingly good advice do I hear cases like mine.

    I did all of those things (or in some cases, like smoking, didn’t do those things) and I still got breast cancer. Where is that in all the October medical advice? Where’s the pretty ribbon for “shit happens”?

    It doesn’t exist. And I’ll tell you why it doesn’t exist. Because “shit happens” is

    1. a) terrifying and
    2. b) doesn’t sell nearly as well as “save the ta tas”.

    From this side of treatment October feels less like breast cancer awareness month and more like a giant marketing scheme encouraging you buy pink stuff you don’t need.

    Women and men (yes, men can get it, too) with breast cancer don’t need pink socks or shirts or lunchboxes. They need a cure.

    So I’m taking back October.

    I’m going to do my own breast cancer awareness month. During October I am going to run a series of blog posts giving you real awareness. The awareness you’re not gonna hear on the news or see printed on pink t-shirts. I’m going to show you what breast cancer awareness month should be.

    Breast cancer isn’t pretty. It isn’t sexy. It isn’t pink. It’s learning the hard, hard lesson that sometimes shit. just. happens.

    This is the awareness October should bring. And I’m going to do my part to fix it.



5 Responsesso far.

  1. Tina says:

    Love this. A better breast cancer awareness is needed. Besides, buying the pink stuff rarely goes to breast cancer research.

  2. Sabrina says:

    Thank you, Meghan.
    I got my diagnosis on July, 27 and just finished the first part of chemo. I tried to figure out why I got breast cancer. And the only reason I could find was bad luck. Yes, shit. just. happens. And most days it still feels so unreal. This isn’t something that can really happen to me!
    I read your whole story back then because I wanted to get a clue of what my sister in law was going through (her diagnosis was 4,5 years ago and she lives), and re-read almost all your blog posts after my diagnosis. It helped me a lot, so again thank you for writing it all down and sharing your story!

    • Meghan says:

      Sabrina, I am so sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Yes, I remember the unreality very well. I know this is a difficult time, so I’m glad my blog posts could be of any help at all. *hugs* ~Meghan

  3. […] ps. ICYMI, part one of this series can be read here. […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.