"In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy." Brother David Steindl-Rast

Friday, May 13, 2016

Raising Voices

Today I am grateful for the colorful sky greeting us this morning as the sun comes up. I am also grateful for those who work for the right kind of breast cancer awareness and advocacy.

There isn't as much pink and misleading breast cancer awareness in May as there is in October, but there is still plenty.  For me, May marks more awareness than I care to have about breast cancer. I officially heard the words "you have cancer" on May 29, 2008, two days after an MR-guided biopsy and several weeks after a "normal" mammogram.

I am grateful the pain of my breast cancer surgeries, which I wrote about yesterday, is in the past, and I hope that is where it stays. But I am not done with breast cancer advocacy. I advocate for the real, nitty-gritty stories of what BC is and does, not the pinkified and glossed-over testimonials. I also advocate for increased awareness of and research dollars for metastatic breast cancer. MBC is the cancer that still kills 40,000 in the U.S. every year. That is a number similar to what it was 30 years ago. That doesn't sound like much progress to me.

I live near the Twin Cities in Minnesota. For over twenty years there has been a "Race for the Cure" on Mother's Day weekend in our area. There was a recent article in the Washington Post about such races. Read it here. It was written by Karuna Jaggar. She is the executive director of Breast Cancer Action. In my opinion, BCA is one of the best breast cancer advocacy and education organizations that exists today.

One of my favorite bloggers, Nancy Stordahl, who blogs at Nancy's Point, wrote a recent post along the same lines. Read it here.

It is about raising voices and being heard. It is about being genuine and true to the significant challenges facing those with breast cancer or at risk for it, and especially those with metastatic disease. Like I wrote about yesterday, a full range of emotions comes with an individual's own BC diagnosis or the diagnosis of someone we may care about. Those facing such a diagnosis should be heard and helped, not patronized.

I am deeply grateful to be healthy and have no evidence of disease (NED) today. For me, that also
means I have a responsibility to keep talking and trying to help the cause in ways that will truly matter-more research dollars and honoring individual stories. Less pinkwashing and money being wasted.

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