Awareness Fatigue

Tell you what, dear readers, the self-proclaimed Queen of Snark is tired of this breast cancer shit.

As of last Tuesday, July 24th, it’s been four years since I heard the words, “I’m sorry, Kathi. Your biopsy is positive.” About a week ago, I started writing a philosophical, seeing-the-glass-half-full sort of post, in an attempt to ease gently into how I’m really feeling lately. I don’t know why I even bothered. I got up this morning, came to my senses, and said, “Screw the ‘gently’ crap.”

There still is a glass-half-full part, sort of. Finally, after “only” four years, I am starting to feel sort of normal sometimes. So now, when I look around at the laundry, the dishes, the lawn I have to mow, the pile of bills I have to pay, the continuing ed I have to do mostly on my own time in order to keep my physical therapy license so I can keep my job and my health insurance so I can pay the bills and get my mammogram next month, I don’t feel instantly overwhelmed. Now, I’m beginning to feel that perhaps I am somewhat equal to the task of living what used to be my ordinary, daily life.

What I’m not sure I feel equal to is keeping up my usual snark-for-the-cause. It’s not so much that I can’t cop the requisite attitude. It’s more that I can’t stomach the fact that it’s still needed. I’m not sure I can stand to read yet another misleading, hyped-up headline about a flawed research study. A recent example, Breast cancer metastasis to bone driven by stress, researchers report, was posted by a few friends on Facebook, with comments indicating that the headline itself was taken seriously enough to create more stress. Meanwhile, the report’s second paragraph revealed that the study was conducted not on actual women with mets, but on mice.

Nor can I endure another press release about yet another cutesy, pinkocentric fundraiser or social media meme disguising itself as awareness. Nor am I interested in “catching up” with Nancy Brinker in Europe as she admits over the phone to Oncology Times the degree to which Komen still doesn’t get it. In fact, I found it a tad irksome that OT even wasted space to report on catching up with NB. Who gives a rodent’s derriere? Not I.

I’m tired of hearing yet another woman report that her breast surgeon, her radiation oncologist and her medical oncologist all confess to being ‘mystified’ by her continuing fatigue. Doesn’t mystify me. What mystifies me is that any doctor involved with cancer patients could still be mystified by the long and late-term side effects of cancer’s current scorched-earth treatment protocols. They do still learn to read in med school, don’t they?

And I’m really tired of people dying. The list just gets longer all the time. I’ll tell you the god’s-honest truth: I really haven’t been the same since Rachel died. I think part of my heart is just permanently shredded. Makes me want to revive the Victorian custom of wearing at least a black armband for at least a year. So I don’t have to explain myself again. ‘Course, that would mean we’d all be wearing black armbands all the time, wouldn’t it?

And finally, I’m tired of repeating myself. I’ve been noticing for some time now how often the things I’ve been blogging about, since I started this blog on New Year’s Day, 2009, keep coming up again and again. I’m usually heartened when some articulate, righteous blogger or activist or journalist writes passionately about something I’ve written about myself. But then I think, hell, I’ve already said all this. Several times. Ad infinitum. Ad nauseam.

I know it’s the nature of news media, in this age of instant online access, that the same stuff gets reported a gazillion times over, for good or ill, not always well, not always accurately or insightfully. And that perhaps readers of online media seem to be at risk of becoming unable to think for themselves, to perform some genuine research about a subject, or to absorb anything that requires more than thirty seconds’ worth of their attention. But I’m sick of that, too. And at the end of the day, has the breast cancer conversation really changed? Enough?

When do we just ‘get it’ once and for all?

So, here’s the thing. I’m taking a break. No idea how long a break it will be. But I’m going to just live my life for a while — you know, that life I used to have before cancer. That life that has, in very large part, been on hold for four years.

In the meantime, my blog will still be here. And if you have a yen for a nice, astringent dose of amazonian snarkitude, here’s a page that lists all my posts categorized under Fighting the Pink Peril. Counting this one, there are thirty-nine of them. In fact, I’ve given the page its own tab at the top of the blog — ‘Pink Peril’ — for easy access. Because evidently, the fight’s not done. Yet. And to my fellow grumblers, my sisters in snark, my compatriot bitchbloggers and righteous ranters, carry on. I’m still with you in spirit. Always.


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This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 05:07 pm, filed under Fatigue, Fighting the Pink Peril, Survivorship and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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