i ran, but i couldn’t hide

Yesterday, as usual, I stayed home while the college I work at held their annual “Pink Out”. As you can probably guess, this involves everyone’s wearing pink to support breast cancer awareness. I don’t work on this day because I cannot handle this; it gives me panic attacks. So, I stay home and do things I would do if I were on vacation.

This year however, I had panic attacks anyway. This stemmed from an innocent conversation with a co-worker. Let me say up front that I know this person meant well and is just concerned for me. When I said that I would not be in on Wednesday, s/he asked why. I explained that it was too painful for me and that it caused panic attacks. S/he asked, “Have you sought professional help for this?”. I felt as if someone had slapped me across the face. The “correct” way of dealing with breast cancer has so worked itself into the collective consciousness that my reaction to it is seen as a “problem”. If I had announced that I could not attend a meeting about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) because I had lost a child in that manner (I did not, but I feel great sorrow for those who have), no one would have said a word. But, because I don’t want to be pink and cheerful over having my quality of life permanently damaged; I need help.

I do NOT need help. I need people to get that there is something wrong with this entire process. In the 1960’s, when I was born, the main treatment for this cancer was removal of breasts. It is completely ridiculous that, almost 50 years later, that is still the standard! Seriously!? FIX THIS! We are not impressed.

If I were to start a charity, I would call it FixThisNow. There would be no t-shirts, mugs or other merchandise. Every penny not needed to keep things running would go straight to independent research not funded by anything but those monies. No corporations, no hospitals, no drug companies. Then, maybe we could get somewhere because no one would have a stake in keeping this disease around.

Women who have had breast cancer are not the problem, regardless of how they chose to cope. Cancer IS the problem and we need unbiased people trying to solve it.–TSG

2 Responses to “i ran, but i couldn’t hide”

  1. 1 Elizabeth
    October 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I think the Pink is less extreme in the UK where I am ( I think you are in the USA, right) but I still feel angry about the focus on mammograms – which never cured anything – and on the feel-good stuff, when what we need, as you so rightly say, is quality research, well-co-ordinated and unbiased.

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