Double, Double, Toil & Trouble: It’s Okay to Ignore Pinktober

[Originally published as a Note on my Facebook page on Saturday, September 30, 2017 while my blog server was down.]

PTSD: Pink-Tober Stress Disorder

There’s more than one type of PTSD. There’s the post-traumatic stress disorder that many of us develop, to one degree or another, after having cancer and cancer treatment. It’s the kind that occurs when our existence is threatened and our entire notion of normalcy is ripped apart and tossed upside down. We are never the same again.

Then there’s the PTSD that comes of having a cancer recurrence. Or the PTSD of being diagnosed with metastases. Or of having someone you love diagnosed with a recurrence or metastases. Or of having someone you love die of metastatic cancer. Or of having several someones you love die of cancer. Or of refraining from trying to list how many people you have lost from metastatic breast cancer in particular, because you’re afraid you’d probably forget some of them because there have been so goddamn many.

And then there’s this year in these United States. A lot of us here have been suffering from socio-political PTSD. Last year’s presidential election campaign was a bruiser. And the outcome, along with what that has revealed about our legislators and our citizenry, is none too savory either. If you are reading this, you probably have a pre-existing condition, which means you’ve been enduring the cliff-hanger created by the GOP, while they have endeavored to make it harder and more expensive for you to have health insurance at all. Double ditto if you’re disabled, poor, or female. Or just not white, male, and wealthy. Apparently that’s all it takes to be disregarded by much of the gang in Washington.

I used to be a bit of a news junkie. I don’t have a TV, but I’d listen to public radio news every morning and evening at home, as well as in the car as I drove around visiting my homecare patients. Not any more. I stopped listening around the first of the year. Now, I read a very whittled-down selection of online news, and not from sources that have demonstrated their inability to stick to facts, no matter what end of the political spectrum they represent.

Which leads to another source of stress this year: social media. Social media is brutal these days. A lot of us have had to do some serious housecleaning. Blocking and unfriending have probably reached some kind of all-time high. Unfiltered posting is more rampant. Forgiveness is more problematic. Acceptance of differing views is more complicated. Me, I’ve become adept at selective scrolling on Facebook. I’ve become allergic to hype, and even more suspicious of so-called “news,” too much of which amounts to pandering. I stay away from Twitter altogether. Mind you, I admire the people there who track public figures and politicians, and endeavor to keep them honest. But Twitter feels like an endless cage fight to me, and I just don’t have the stamina for constant one-ups-man-ship. Which is saying something for a blogger who has herself employed ample snark.

Then there’s my personal life. In January, my beloved fifteen-year-old kitty developed cancer and died, after a month of misery. At least I got to stroke her head and kiss her face before the vet started the IV that ended her suffering. [How to Be Loved by a Cat] But I was shattered. After 35 years, I had no more fur babies in my home, a chasm I eventually filled with two rescued feral cats from a local shelter. Meanwhile, I developed some alarming symptoms — neuropathy, pain, muscles spasms, weakness, loss of balance — that were caused by spinal cord compression in my neck, and I had to have surgery to fix it. Not fun. At all. Still recovering. But, heck, at least I still had job-based health insurance, which the nimrods in Congress could not repeal away. And my leave of absence from work was covered by paid sick time. And I was able to return to work eventually. And it wasn’t cancer. But let’s just say it’s been a rough year.

I’ve been blogging for nine years now. I’ve published over fifty posts, and created countless memes, that have to do with the pointless, puerile merchandising and fundraising extravaganza that we skeptics call Pinktober. There’s even a tab on my blog, called “Pink Peril,” that lists them all. [Fighting the Pink Peril] If you don’t know by now that pink is not a cure; that breast cancer is not a game; that there is only one day set aside in so-called “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” to acknowledge metastatic breast cancer; that only 7% of breast cancer research funding goes specifically to metastatic breast cancer; that Fancy Pinker (thank you, Katie) has yet to keep her promise to find a cure, the promise she made to her sister Susan G. Komen before Susan died of metastatic breast cancer, yet she continues to draw a six-figure salary as Komen chair while not fulfilling that promise; if you haven’t figured out by now that it’s not about our breasts, but about our lives, then WAKE THE HELL UP! And read this, right now: 13 Facts about Metastatic Breast Cancer

As for the rest of us, I hereby grant us all permission to do what we need to do to maintain our sanity. And if that includes ignoring Pinktober, then so be it. We have enough shit to deal with. After nine years, and the loss of too many friends to this cruel disease, while several more suffer endless treatment with the sword of Damocles hanging over them, I’m as aware as I’m ever going to be. And more than likely, so are you.

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This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at 01:09 am, filed under Fighting the Pink Peril, Metastastatic Breast Cancer and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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