06 February 2012

Not quite vindicated

My sister sent me a text on Thursday asking if I felt vindicated by the backlash against Komen. I responded by saying that vindicated wasn't the right word. What I am is finally relieved that maybe now I won't be alone in thinking that Komen isn't the world's greatest organization. That I won't be the only person in the store in October thinking that purchasing pink can openers and pink cookie packages won't stop breast cancer. And I won't be the only one with a bad attitude towards the Komen walk/run registration tables at the mall.

My hope from the Komen PR fallout is that 6 months from now, I won't be the only one who remembers.

I would also like to use this post as an opportunity to promote Breast Cancer Action, who is on the forefront of the raising awareness about the environmental causes of breast cancer. I should have mentioned BCA in my last post, but if you are looking to donate to or get involved with a nationally-recognized breast cancer organization who actually tries to help women, BCA is a good one to look into.

P.S. I hope this post makes sense. Insomnia does not help my writing.

31 January 2012

Keep the Money Local

If you've been following the news tonight, or been on Facebook, you've probably stumbled across the announcement that the Komen Organization has stopped providing grants for breast exams to Planned Parenthood affiliates. If you have no idea what I am talking about, here is a link to NPR's version of the story. I have strong opinions about Komen. For now, I will just say, that I am not a fan and leave it at that.

But I do have a message for everyone (at least those ranting on Facebook status updates) who is attacking Komen for cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. If you really care about women with breast cancer, and want to do something for them, put your money where your mouth is, and donate to local organizations. The walks, runs, and pink merchandise raise money towards keeping the the Komen machine running smoothly. But how much of that money is actually helping the woman (or man) who has been diagnosed with breast cancer and going through treatment? Cancer patients need caretakers, drivers, meals, and a clean house. They don't need another stupid ribbon. They are already aware of the cancer. It bit them in the ass.

Almost every community has local organizations which exist to help ease the life stresses of cancer patients. In my small, rural town I can name two. One group provides wigs; the other arranges drivers to take patients to a doctor or to the chemo clinic. Save your energy and don't passive aggressively attack Komen. Find a better organization in your local community to give your time or money donations. I bet the organizers will be pretty darn thankful.

17 October 2011

You Don't Know What You Would Do

USA Today published an article titled, 'Preventative breast cancer surgery has some docs alarmed." The article informs readers about the growing trend of prophylactic mastectomies. The article didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to have their breast(s) removed. I had my first breast removed because the cancer was starting to spread inside of my breast. I had the second breast removed the next year. I don't regret my choice.

I am writing this post in response to the commenters on the USA Today website who are judging women who chose to remove a breast or two prophylactic-ly. Y'all suck. Until you have been diagnosed with cancer, don't mock or judge or know that you would never do what I and other women have done. You don't know what you would do.

16 June 2011

New Fertility Resource for Cancer Patients

SaveMyFertility is a new educational resource on preserving fertility for cancer patients (men and women) and their doctors hosted by The Hormone Foundation, The Endocrine Society, and the Northwestern University's Oncofertility Consortium.

For more information, see article published on 6/7/11 on HealthCanal.com, "SaveMyFertility is the First-ever, Comprehensive Bilingual Resource for Preserving Fertility for Cancer Patients."

If you read this blog, you know that I am now dealing the infertility after effects of chemo. I wish resources like this one had been available to me prior to chemo. If you know anyone who is about to go through chemo, please make sure they (male or female) are aware of the potential effects to their fertility and that there are doctors and scientists who want to help.

10 June 2011

Graduate Student Study on Cancer Survivors and Post-Treatment Life

Reposting from Facebook: Cancer survivors -- help with my master's research! Read the note below & email yacancerstudy@gmail.com. Please repost! 
Posted on 5/27/11

If you are a cancer survivor between the ages of 18 and 50, could you please take five minutes to fill out an anonymous online survey for my master’s thesis? I'm a cancer survivor myself and an Occupational Therapy student at California State University, Dominguez Hills.  I’m trying to improve the quality of life for those who are experiencing long-term side effects of cancer treatment. My research team has already completed phase I of the study where we interviewed young adult survivors about their experiences with post-treatment life. For phase II we have developed a survey, based on those interviews, that will attempt to see how widespread these experiences are and eventually develop a plan to help survivors improve their quality of life and successfully engage in meaningful activities. The requirements for participating in the study are a diagnosis of cancer between the ages of 18 and 50, chemotherapy and/or radiation as part of your treatment, and completion of your chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment within the last five years. If you or someone you know fits these requirements, please send an email to yacancerstudy@gmail.com with your age and the details of your treatment (surgery, chemo, etc…) and we will send you a link to the online survey. Please repost this on your Facebook page or email to any survivors you know. The more participants we can get, the more we will be able to make a case for this important type of treatment!