"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." - Dorothea Lange

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

pink, black, nude, red?

Those of you who use "Facebook" know what I'm talking about, especially if you are of the female persuasion. I wasn't sure how I felt about the stream of enigmatic status postings - one short word that was simply the name of a particular color - when they started surfacing on my friends' walls. I mean, having the breast cancer experience reduced to a cute nod to a cute color of a cute bra, an article of clothing that reminds me every day of my mastectomy - how was that supposed to make me feel? I've read quite a few pieces written in response to the "game" and the following one makes a lot of sense.

"Bra Color 'game' for Breast Cancer Awareness - Insensitive?

I just had to say something about the Breast Cancer Awareness 'game' that went around Facebook where thousands of women all over the world posted the color of their bra to draw attention to the ever-remaining need for a cure. I saw a link on Twitter that said, 'before you post your bra color on Facebook read this.' I clicked over and read the post written by a brave breast cancer survivor who had no choice but to have a double mastectomy in order to save her life. The posts of bra colors reminded her of the deep physical, and equally if not more devastating, psychological, wounds that breast cancer inflicts on all the women it touches. In writing what I am about to write, I in no way have the intention of taking away from her very valid point. We all need to be sensitive and caring towards the people we know who have had to go through the terrible, life-changing ordeal of dealing with breast cancer.

And before I make my point, I want to share a little about my own family’s history of cancer. My father’s mother had a mastectomy long ago when I was just small. Had a little stuffed fake boob she stuffed in her bras and swimsuits. She used to let me play with it. My mom’s mom had breast cancer and thankfully it was in remission for about 20 years before she died of other causes. My mom also has breast cancer that’s been in remission for over 20 years. My cousin wasn’t as lucky. She got breast cancer at 33. It went into remission for 5 all too short years before ultimately taking her life at just age 39. I watched her die in the hospital when I was 20. As one might imagine, this had a profound effect on me and my attitude toward breast cancer. This isn’t even to mention my first cousin who died at 34 from Hodgkins’ disease, my father who has colon cancer and several other relatives who have died from the disease in one of its many forms. I feel like in my case, it isn’t IF I’ll get cancer, but rather when and what type. Scares the hell out of me if I think about it too much. But… and you knew that was coming… BUT…

When I saw what all the color posting on Facebook was about I was kind of excited and posted my bra color… 'commando!' as I was sick on the sofa in my jammies. Got a lot of attention and giggles from girlfriends. The guys all wanted to know what was happening and posted colors too, making it even funnier! I loved the idea. Until I read that post by the double mastectomy cancer survivor. Ugh. How sad. How insensitive of us all. But then I changed my mind. While we need to be sensitive to the survivors (of COURSE WE DO!) of breast cancer, we also need, if I may be so bold as to say it, to be just as concerned for the women who don’t do regular breast self exams and who are in denial that it can happen to them. The game was meant to draw attention to the very real issue that there is no cure for this disease yet and we need to be vigilant with ourselves to assure as early detection as possible. I’m glad I posted my 'color' and brought attention to the very serious, often deadly condition.

Want to do more? Donate your money and/or your time to the foundation of your choice! There are lots of them out there. Spread the word to your girlfriends, sisters, moms, you get it... everyone! Do a google search of organizations where you can do your part to spread the word and hopefully one day find a cure for this awful disease." - Raelinn

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