The American Cancer Society sponsors lots of “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” this time of year. I hadn’t given it any thought, but a colleague at work asked if she could name the office team after me. Sure, I said. Then I realized that meant I would actually have to go to the event and walk with them. Oh, well, no bike ride for me this Saturday morning.
There are many women who have been treated for breast cancer who loathe the pinkwashing of the disease, and I can understand that. I can’t help but wonder how much of the profit from the sale of pink-filled Oreos is donated to breast cancer prevention and research. In my experience, breast cancer has not been fluffy pink tutus, wild pink wigs, or fluorescent pink fairy wings. For me, breast cancer has been a red scar where my breast used to live. A red, painful radiation burn on my back. Nevertheless, the people at this morning’s event were celebrating life and doing their best to contribute, and I was touched.
Jerry and I walked next to a very nice woman who was still wearing her wig while she was waiting for her post-chemo hair to sprout. Of course, we shared our cancer stories. Hers included a lumpectomy, no node involvement, a choice whether or not chemo was given (“I wanted the extra insurance,” she explained), and a short course of radiation.
When we got home I pulled my sweaty tee-shirt over my head and dropped my wet brassiere, one side filled with a couple of pounds of silicone, on the washing machine. I surveyed the wreck that is my torso.
To Jerry I said, “I would like to just talk with someone whose breast cancer was as bad as mine.”
Jerry said, “My breast cancer was as bad as yours.”
“My lover is mine, and I am his.” Song of Solomon 2:16