I recently got into a conversation with someone in which I once again talked about my surgical history with the bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. I share my story often and openly in the hopes that it may help someone else. I am typically met with some amount of shock followed by questions which are usually the same. Interestingly one of the first tends to be “was it painful”. Other typical questions surround BRCA testing, family history and what lead me to make the radical decision I did to have the mastectomy.
So, back to the most recent conversation. For the first time I was asked the question, “what if you made a mistake and the surgery was not needed.” I found that to be an interesting question especially since lobular carcinoma in situ(LCIS) was found. Even after discussing the pathology this person stuck to the yeah but “what if” question. A quick reply was what if I did not and 5 years down the road I was diagnosed with Breast cancer?
I do not live in “what if”. This is why I had the surgery. I never wanted to look back with regret. SO to help land my point I tossed out a few other what if questions.
What if the Declaration of Independence was never signed?
What if Martin Luther King had never been born?
What if women never gained the right to vote?
What if we had never pushed the norms of technology?
All of these questions sound just ridiculous. Life is all about decisions. They are not always easy or comfortable and there will always be someone standing off to the side just waiting to second guess or challenge. I am not sure if I swayed the person’s opinion nor do I really care to be honest. You make decisions everyday, at the end of it all you can only hope you made more good than bad.
Not too long ago I wrote a post, Sensory Overload, in which I implied my distrust for all of the pink that we all must swim in for the entire month of October. I made the following statement, Don’t misunderstand, I think it is wonderful that everyone is raising money to hopefully one day put an end to Breast Cancer. But let’s be honest here, would the NFL be repainting lines in bright pink if it was not profitable?
I love capitalism and I love the freedom that allows those who work hard to make lots of money. I do not love vagueness, ambiguity or implication. Sure money is needed to research for the cure. If you would like to donate please research to ensure the money is actually going to where you would like it to go. Even better call the women you love and ensure they are having mammograms and talking to their doctors. There is nothing wrong with pretty pink hoodies supporting your favorite sports teams but like everything else in life make sure you are buying the for the right reasons.
Pumpkins and pink items. Everywhere I go there they are. Pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin coffee, pop tarts, bagels, waffles, oatmeal, marshmallow, beer, potato chips and even vodka. Virtually anything you could imagine now available in pumpkin flavor or scent, most for a limited time of course. People everywhere are gorging themselves all in the name of the season.
When not bombarded with all things orange and pumpkin, my eyes are overwhelmed with all things pink. Walks and rallies, sports events at all levels and all products imaginable marketed in pink for Breast Cancer awareness month. Watching football this week is giving me a bit of a headache with the pink shoes, gloves and towels flying around. Don’t misunderstand, I think it is wonderful that everyone is raising money to hopefully one day put an end to Breast Cancer. But let’s be honest here, would the NFL be repainting lines in bright pink if it was not profitable?
All hype aside, maybe you do not have the extra money to buy that cute pink whatever. Maybe things are too tight to send anything in the envelope this time around. What you could do is something much more impactful, maybe pick up a phone and call a woman who you love and ask if they have had a mammogram recently. This week I shared my own bilateral prophylactic mastectomy story with 3 of the women I work with. Two of those women have breast cancer in their own families. I encouraged them to be proactive talk to their doctors and possibly get tested for the BRCA gene. I wasn’t even wearing anything pink.