One hill at a time

My head and heart are spinning. I have these moments where it feels like there is just too much to process. But I am going to start this post by saying God IS good…all the time…in everything.

I learned recently that a dear blogger friend was claimed by this beast of cancer. Jellebelle was a beacon of light and encouragement. Her writing was raw and authentic and we had a connection through the digital divide. She received my very first tree pendant and we even bridged the virtual gap over a bowl of Pho in Seattle. I’m glad I was able to give her a physical hug. Her spirit in this world will be missed.

I can’t put her passing away together with the PINK media onslaught that is October. My Facebook feed is filled with the most ridiculous awareness campaigns that are so disconnected from doing anything effective. Philips is lighting up monuments pink. The NFL has their “perfect catch” program. Corporations slap a pink ribbon on the products to sell more and then donate an extremely small percentage…even then:

60% of funds raised and donated in North America are being put back into awareness campaigns. Currently only 5% of funds raised and donated in North America are being used towards prevention research.
– Pink Ribbons Inc

Seriously, the dramatic need for AWARENESS is over. These numbers should be reversed with the bulk of the funds generated going to RESEARCH…and an actual cure rather than just better treatment. 40,000 women still die every year in America and that needs to change…but it wont the way things are currently working.

To top that off I just returned from 3 (good, intense) weeks traveling to New York, Croatia and Slovenia. It was a whirlwind of friends, food, wine, laughter, tears. It was also the first time I had seen my husband in 9 months. Emotional roller coaster is an understatement. No wonder I am feeling a bit exhausted at the moment.

In light of all this I go back to God is good. In the storm. In the emotions. In the unknown. In provision. It is hard for me to continue to let go and trust but the more I do the easier it is because I see His faithfulness.

Here is an image from Slovenia that centers me right now. There is a lot I wish I knew…but I do know my trajectory over the next hill and I have faith that I will be able to tackle whatever lies after. And I should look up and enjoy the scenery while I can. 🙂




Pink Ribbons Inc.

I got some very sweet responses to my post yesterday about why I wont claim “Breast Cancer Survivor” for myself…thank you for that. 🙂 I wanted to follow up with a bit more awareness on the Pink Ribbon Culture that surrounds Breast Cancer and swallows the month of October. I am a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity and have been around the Susan G Komen foundation and the “Pink Ribbon” for over a decade but I had NO idea what was actually happening. Here is the trailer for the documentary “Pink Ribbons Inc” that does an excellent job of outlining how corporations use my disease as a cause to promote their bottom line. I am not begrudging capitalism but breast cancer is epidemic…we need REAL research into causes and prevention. I know that if women really become aware of how the “research” money is being spent and if we get vocal enough things will change. (Note: If you’re reading this in an e-mail you’ll need to click over to the blog to watch the video)

We do not need more awareness. I don’t need the white house to become a pink house. I don’t need Estee Lauder to sell me some pink lipstick that actually contain carcinogens and then donate a penny to Komen. I would love a nuanced approach to Breast Cancer treatment rather than the current slash, poison and burn. We need to understand this thing!! SOOO much money has been raised with really not much to show for it.

  • 60% of funds raised and donated in North America are being put back into awareness campaigns. Currently only 5% of funds raised and donated in North America are being used towards prevention research. If you’re not AWARE of BC at this point, honestly, you’ve been on the moon…even there you may see the pink lights. 🙂
  • Only 20-30% of cancer occurs in women with “known” risk factors and only 5-10% of that is inherited. That’s at least 70% where we have NO CLUE where it comes from and only 5% of the research money going towards it. Tough to cure a disease when we know nothing about it.
  • In the 1940’s 1 in 22 women were diagnosed with BC, now it’s 1 in 8. That may be because of better screening but quite possibly we are polluting our bodies in a way that needs to be understood and stopped.
  • Susan G Komen died 30 years ago…and honestly her prognosis would not be much better now. How have we not made ANY progress in stage IV treatment in 3 decades with all the money raised?

There are a lot more statistics and the problem is one that is endemic of the big pharma system. This is not meant to be a disheartening message. 🙂 I know people love me and want to help me…honestly buying pink products doesn’t do that…it helps the companies. Signing up for prevention based research organizations like the Army of Women does.

I had debated whether to include the “real” face of breast cancer in this blog because it may be difficult for some people to look at…hell it’s difficult for me to live. But if you really want to see the reality…post surgery…post chemo…post radiation…pre healing/reconstruction click here. But be warned it’s not a pink ribbon. Things NEED to change.

Sorry for the heavy (but important) message on a Friday…have a good weekend. 🙂