Scar Tissue

It is possible I’d become less anxious about mammograms now that I’m 3 ½ years out from diagnosis. I’ve said a few times on this blog that I’ll never be “over” cancer—that fear of recurrence will always be with me. I know I am not the only person who thinks like that. That great Slate article published last year quoted Dana Jennings: “Even though my health keeps improving, and there’s a good chance that I’m cancer free, I still feel stalked, as if the cancer were perched on my shoulder like some unrepentant imp.”

Well, that nails it.

Medical facilities still grate on my nerves, so, I was only a tiny bit less anxious for my recent experience a couple of weeks ago. So it was a bit upsetting to be shown an image with a new, large white area on the chest wall under the place where the original cancer had grown. It was more upsetting to get hauled back to meet with the radiologist to discuss it, although I do appreciate that he did meet with me. Of all the imaging I’ve had done at various locations throughout this whole cancer mess, this was the first time I’d ever met with the person reading the images. Usually, my interaction is limited to the person putting me or parts of me into machines, and the radiologist is hidden like the Wizard of Oz or something, issuing directives and proclamations.

“Probably” scar tissue from the surgery, he said, but he’d like to do a MRI. I handed him the disc of images from my last MRI, from the summer of 2012. That was a year after the surgery (April 2011). No white area. “Still,” he said. “Probably”, he said. “Scar tissue.” How about that new MRI? Well, at least I got through 2013 without getting an MRI. 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, not so much.

The MRI was ordered, scheduled, and approval from new insurance company obtained (because I refused to have the MRI unless approved—I’ve fought that rejection-after-the-test-is-done battle before, and I cannot afford the MRI, period). For 6 days between the mammogram and MRI I went down that cancer road again, assuming the worst because I already know “bad”—I don’t want to know “worst”. The dread, paralysis, and everything just overtook me like it did before. Maybe worse, because my financial and job situations are different now. Even though I did not have all the puzzle pieces—like an actual diagnosis, treatment plan—I was still trying to come up with a strategy for how to handle the worst.

Words like “probably” and “unlikely” or “the odds” now scare the crap out me. As mentioned in the previous post, my initial diagnosis was a sucker punch—I was just being proactive, following the “rules”, when I decided to get a mammogram after my aunt’s diagnosis. I thought it so unlikely I’d have it so young, while another family member was having cancer. But when symptoms presented, I got another mammogram, two ultrasounds (one with biopsy, one without), and the MRI which finally established just how large the tumor was. Each new test result just seemed to yield worse news during those first frantic days of cancer. So my take away has been: test = bad news, and more tests =  wait, it gets worse.

Fortunately that wait-it-gets-worse streak ended back then with results proving cancer was confined to the breast. And the streak stays at the end now—within 24 hours of the MRI, I learned at least that there is still no evidence of cancer.

Obviously, I’ve experienced a gamut of emotions. Upon getting my good news, relief was the most prominent. My week-long headache went away and I was finally able to sleep. In fact that is kind of what I’ve done since then—sleep and do mindless things like watching movies, reading, wandering the internet. My ability to focus, never great since I was always hyper and easily distracted by shiny things, was destroyed by cancer. This new, mere threat sent me right back to the cancer days when I was utterly incapable of focus (hence the lateness of this follow-up post). Of course, the whole time I was processing this incident.

Physical scar tissue is what caused all this upheaval, and it re-opened the scars on my psyche. They were healing, and now they are not. This is not to say I was not fully aware that this sort of thing would and could happen. I even wrote about this a few months ago (My Reality and Your Fairy Tale), and heck, even before that (I Can Pretend).

This is the scar tissue, the reality, I wish more would see and understand. This is a reality I think is sorely under-represented in the media. Before I got cancer, I believed what I saw: get cancer, go bald while getting treated, then: all better! Somewhere in the midst of being overwhelmed by the diagnosis, I began to grasp the lifelong effects in store for me. As I said above, and in past posts, my cancer experience has been a sucker punch. The current and ongoing sucker punch for me is this refusal by others to even comprehend the scars—physical and mental—that linger after cancer.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about why I blog, or even the nature of this blog, about navigating social interaction with others who do not know or will not accept what I think are incredibly obvious truths about cancer. Whatever the word truth means anymore—everyone has their own version, right? I’ve been thinking especially about this absolute refusal by society to think there is only one story of cancer: get cancer, fight, and either win (patient recovers and cancer never comes back and all is well) or lose (patient dies because of poor fighting skills). Scars are never considered. But I will continue to write about the scars—not just the physical ones on my body—the scars caused by this cultural myth of cancer.

Er, as soon as I can force myself to focus again, that is, will I write these things.

But in the meantime, I remind everyone I’m a Cancer Curmudgeon, and I am indeed socially awkward. Usually sarcastic, rarely sincere. But I do sincerely thank all of you that sent good vibes and well wishes in comments and in private messages. I am humbled and grateful.

 

“Scar tissue that I wish you saw

Sarcastic mister know it all”

-“Scar Tissue”, Red Hot Chili Peppers

 

Until next time, then.

Complicated Relationship with Hope

My relationship with the word—and the concept—hope is complicated, like a love/hate thing. For the longest time, during cancer treatment, I hated the word hope. There. I’ve said it.

The reason for the hate is pretty simple: for me, it got tied up with all that Pink and Cancer-is-Positive goo that dripped from the walls of the treatment center. While the small (small-town) infusion room served patients with all cancers, most of the patient artwork on the hallways leading back to the infusion room must’ve been done by breast cancer patients. The framed poetry and artwork had all the familiar Pink signifiers, and “hope” figured prominently. Framed poems with pink squiggles surrounding the words, pink abstract paintings (with detectable words like “hope”, “strength”, and “courage”, of course), pink, pink, PINK. So, like a science experiment in which a subject gets a painful shock each time she encounters something normally considered “good”, I began to react to the word as if experiencing a painful shock. The word to me meant those beatific smiles, bald heads, feather boas and pinked out clothes. And I just did not fit into that oversold image, and never will.

I used to gripe about the word during support group meetings. The passivity of the word, in its verb form, just made me nuts—it still does. I don’t want to sit around “hoping” for scientists to come up with better treatment and a cure for my cancer. I want to push, scream in their faces, demand it—for all the good that would do (none, duh). I don’t want to hope people “get” how the reality of cancer is so different from that smiling Pink image, I want to tell the truth up front—again, for all the good that will do. My militant anti-Pinkness was beginning to form back then, out of my pre-cancer mild annoyance with Pink hype and selling. While I could not grasp and articulate what pissed me off exactly, I just knew something was off. “Hoping” was just not active enough. And I already knew that doing what actions I could do, was supposed to do—the eat right/exercise/don’t drink bundle of individual cancer patient responsibilities so we can later be blamed—were no absolute guarantee against cancer’s threat to me—just a way to make odds slightly better.

Having the noun version of hope is a little trickier. Everyone needs it, should have it. This rant is in no way criticizing or belittling folks who have it. It’s just that my hope has always been tempered with reality and a desire to avoid the delusion I think is harmful in the Pinkification of the cancer story. But here I have to question myself. I went for a mammogram at age 38 because my 48 year old aunt had just been diagnosed. “She’s too young,” I thought then. When my nipple inverted a month later, I told myself that despite the fact that family history meant a higher likelihood of my own cancer, it seemed ridiculous that I would get cancer at the same time, and at my younger age. “What are the odds”, I thought. Or was I hoping? I still don’t know what the odds are in my scenario. Doesn’t matter anyway, because I did have cancer, right then and there, 5 days shy of turning 39 years young. Back then, I did not know my chances were 1 in 233, rather than the ballyhooed 1 in 8. Still, as much as that 1 in 8 is used in fear-mongering marketing tactics, I would think, well, I’ll be 1 of the other 7. Or did I hope it? Does everyone think/hope they’ll be one of the other 7 (or 233)? I’d guess yes. Fear can drive us to mammograms of questionable usefulness, but the whole time we figure we’ll be one of the others, not a “1”, at least, not just yet.

So my reality-laced hope, or hope-laced reality, comes with thinking about odds and likelihoods, and yet I still seem to draw the short straw. Against hope and odds, I was a “1”, not one of the other 232. This fact was and is an effective destroyer of hope for me. To be fair, it is not just in matters of cancer I’ve drawn short straws. There’ve been many times of getting that short straw in other areas of my life that have taught me to hope that things will go the way of the bigger odds—but look out for that unlikelihood off to the side. It can happen, it did happen too many times to me, and I learned that hope is not so useful to me. Preparing for the worst, bracing myself, serve me better. 

mybrand

But I sit here today, waiting to get an MRI that will tell me if my cancer has returned, or if I’ve got a new one. I am utterly helpless, powerless, to do anything about it. The only activity I can engage in is to hope that I’m not joining the smaller number again, in this case the 30% of mets patients. Granted, my brand of hope is not the smiling Pink kind. My brand has a black rock group t-shirt, tattered jeans, black nail polish, greying hair, and a snarl. Because that is who I am—not an effen feather boa in sight.

What else can I do.

Turned Up To 11, Always

Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner): Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top number and make that a little louder? 

Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest): These go to eleven.

From “This Is Spinal Tap”

This is just another hissy fit post, similar to Did You?, but sillier. Well, sort of. I’m also serious, but don’t take myself too seriously.

In Did You?, I listed some questions people ask a cancer patient to find out if there was something the patient did or didn’t do that caused the cancer. That post is me complaining about the way folks love to blame the patient, so they can assure themselves that by doing the opposite actions, they will be safe.

But what is troublesome is that some of the items I listed that might cause cancer are pleasurable. For example, drinking, smoking, getting a tan, are indulged in for fun by some. And I’ll admit I find great pleasure in sweet foods, like chocolate and cheesecake.

My point is, with all the “advice” tossed off in the media and from well-meaning, but-won’t-shut-up-with-the-advice types, I sometimes twist it in my head into: never have any fun—it causes cancer or other damage. I get overwhelmed sometimes and grumble to myself, great, I think I’ll just ingest a leaf of lettuce and a gallon of water each day—nothing else, and maybe that will keep me safe. Except it won’t, because the lettuce was probably treated with some chemical and can I even trust where water comes from? Well, I suppose if I pay an arm and a leg for it.

I could extend the list of killer/fun behaviors, and extend the list of negative consequences to health problems beyond cancer. Nearly all the cancer-causing items cause heart or other disease. And I’m causing myself all kinds of harm by constantly being attached to some electronic, internet connected device. Hell, even my mobile has started to berate me.

I attach a speaker to my mobile via the headphone jack, and as I turn up the volume, a message appears about prolonged high volumes and headphones causing hearing loss (“you dumbass,” I wanna scream at the phone, “other things get hooked into the headphone jack, not just things that go directly into my ear!!”).

But the truth is, I already have quite a bit of hearing loss and it is my fault. As those who’ve read other posts on this blog o’ mine will know, I write a bit about music, and my tastes run to the loud and aggressive—lots of screechy guitars. I love punk, grunge, hard rock, hip hop, all kinds of ear-splitting stuff. I’ve loved that sort of music for over half my life and don’t foresee a change.

I’ve been going to concerts to see the bands that make this music for about 20 years now. Well, I haven’t gone much in the past ten years. But I did see quite a few bands, in small places, where loud music reverberated off the walls. And no, I did not wear anything to protect my ears, as many musicians and concert attendees do these days. So, that is how I’ve caused hearing loss. That, and turning it up loud in the car, windows up, singing along, and I’m told my music can be heard as I pull up in driveways. For me there are few pleasures better than the music being turned up so loud I can feel it in my bones.

I have difficulty on telephones when people do not speak clearly or speak too quickly. And why do so many people insist on talking to me when I am far away, walking away, or running water or doing some other noise-producing activity? I cannot hear any of it!

So, all this said, it would be reasonable for me to have learned a lesson, to turn it down a bit.

No.

sdbn.org
sdbn.org

I’m so tired of doing the “right” things. I am so tired of an extreme healthy culture that I feel like I cannot have any fun doing “bad” things. Yeah yeah yeah, exercise is fun, and I’m sure there are many healthy activities for me to find—please, don’t send me suggestions. Because nothing can replace as good as loud feels for me.

I have, of course, reduced some of my indulgences—I drink much less, eat better, exercise more, since cancer. I still get annoyed when I see health or money saving advice start with: quit smoking and give up soda (carbonated beverages, whatever they are called in whatever region). I never smoked and hate soda, and beer for that matter. So I cannot get a quick obvious start to getting healthier or saving money. And as much as I say I love cheesecake, I love veggies just as much, and have always eaten quite a lot of them, so the veggies are already added to the diet—they were always there. Just not at the same time as the cheesecake, ha ha.

I’m going to keep turning my music up as loud as I want. I will go to my grave—whether it is cancer that sends me there or something else—deaf as post and I will not care. Please don’t take this one last bit of bad fun from me. I need it to keep the fear cancer has introduced into my life at bay.

“Something else is hurting you – that’s why you need pot or whiskey, or screaming music turned so fucking loud you can’t think.”  — Charles Bukowski

Get There Faster!

TV Re-Runs: Part II – “Friends”

A/N: This is the sequel to the previous post and was supposed to appear a couple days ago. But…I got a nasty head cold in between and am still a little out of it. So, that is why it seems late.

Tired of Pink pushers acting out the SNL “Mr. Short-Term Memory” sketch, I change the channel to another TV re-run: the ever popular, always-on show, mammography. What real TV show seems to always be on some channel? “Friends”! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Yes, I’m referring to another popular syndicated sitcom. I’m happy both are often on, I like them very much. I cannot say the same for the constant mammogram debate always in re-runs.

I always have a difficult time when the mammography and over-diagnosis debate rears its ugly head. I was under-diagnosed. I received a false negative for my very first mammogram at age 38, which I requested because my 48 year old aunt had just been diagnosed. About five weeks later I was falling down the cancer rabbit hole with a 5×6.6 cm tumor. I’m left distrustful and bitter on the subject. I find it difficult to think about.

So when mammography gets discussed on a wide scale as it has been recently, I lose my temper quickly. The same old nuggets pop out: it is not a 100% accurate method of screening, it results in over-diagnosis and over-treatment, it makes no difference in mortality, blah, blah, blah. Then the articles written about a report pick it apart with paragraphs of numbers and what they mean, to show why the report is to be believed…or not. And so readers have to be wary and recognize that all that is written comes with biases, and as one article implied, some minds will never be changed.

source publicsq.tumblr
source publicsq.tumblr

My emotions make me just register white noise, so the science and evidence is difficult for me. It all sounds the same, and I think, wasn’t this just discussed? One recent article I started to read kind of had the same been there, heard that attitude, pointing out this controversy rises every few years. I was thinking it more frequent—like just last summer? But I think that controversy was removing the word carcinoma, reclassifying screening results—those things that may or may not turn into cancer. There is a real problem with over-diagnosis, I get that. I also get that last summer’s fuss was more about semantics and classification. But, mammography (and other screening methods, for other cancers as well) is still to blame in the matter, because that is how the may-or-may-not-be cancer results are discovered. So in my mind it is just part of the same old mammography story.

chandler

This is when I change the TV channel from SNL re-run to a re-run of the sitcom “Friends”. Remember loveable, cute, not-so-smart Joey Tribianni? He was always a few steps behind Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Monica, and Phoebe. Everyone else would “get” a joke or a point, and have to wait for poor old Joey to catch up. Late in the series’ run, there is a great episode in which Chandler and Joey are in the apartment belonging to Monica’s ex, Richard (sadly Tom Selleck is not in this episode). They find tapes, presumably sex tapes, labeled with female names. They find one labeled Monica. Chandler is instantly mortified, but Joey, well, he takes a bit longer to connect the dots. After waiting a beat, Chandler finally yells what viewers had thought for years: “get there faster!”

“Get there faster” is what I want to scream at researchers and reporters regarding this. Or maybe I wanna yell “get there faster” to everyone because I know the people involved in the endless studies done on effectiveness of mammography have nothing to do with other aspects of cancer—like why it happens, what to do about it, how to make not happen at all. As for those mammograms that find things that never turn into cancer? I guess the people crunching the numbers aren’t involved with solving that problem. I’m left thinking no one is even trying to find that solution. I’m sure it is being researched, it’s just the way that tidbit is mentioned as just one or two lines every time I hear this story, I’m starting to wonder why it isn’t THE story. I’ve read of a similar issue in testing for thyroid cancer. Seems to me determining if something is or is not cancer before treating is certainly a “get there faster” kind of problem.

I know how unfair I’m being with my frustration. I know demanding a solution RIGHT NOW is pointless.

Discoveries and breakthroughs don’t just happen on demand, or just because enough money is thrown at the process. I guess I’m just tired of this particular story grabbing headlines every few months or years…I really cannot tell how frequent it is anymore because I’m just so tired of it. Just like some TV re-runs.

I know other work is being done, in fact I recently saw interesting pieces about treating/preventing recurrence in the area of HER2+, very relevant to me. But that was certainly not broadcast in the mainstream media, as was the case with this mammogram study. Mammography always grabs headlines because it is the only thing the general, non-cancer public knows. Guess that is what happens when something is oversold.

And I know researchers work hard, and cannot think about the individual cancer patients, or potential patients, as they execute tests, analyze data, and all that.

But here’s the thing: I am one of those individual patients and as much as I try to see the big picture, some days I can’t. Some days I can only view everything through the lens of my own experience. So here is my view.

It’s true mammography did not work for this patient, diagnosed under the age of 40. It’s true I’m bitter about that. It’s true that this bitterness is a tiny part of my resentment toward the Pink message (but there are soooo many more things wrong with Pink, just dig around this blog). It is true I am NOT on the “a mammogram saved my life” bandwagon. Rather, I tend to snort each time I get a letter of “no cancer present” after my bi-annual scans: “yeah, heard THAT before.” So there is my bias.

But when the number crunchers start talking about how screening just finds disease earlier and does not change how long a person lives, the person is just sick for a longer portion of life, it is hard to hear. Even though it totally makes sense, it just seems such a hopeless statement to me. I don’t know why.

It is hard to hear these reports without a suggestion for a better method to replace mammograms. I know there are other screening methods debated in health media, but are they affordable and covered by insurance, available to even poor women, myself included? Regarding those options, if they are effective that is, I say get there faster.

While the two incidents have nothing to do with each other, it is difficult to put up with yet another onslaught of Pink rah-rah, this time in the form of the Kohl’s & Komen campaign, right after the latest repeat of another mammograms-aren’t-all-that story. Both just remind me that everything still seems to be in the same stagnate place as it has been for years. I had cancer, there is no news telling me of a reduced chance I’ll get it again. All will remain as it was before. I wonder if there even will be any changes in my lifetime. I don’t want to have cancer again. I don’t want to keep having the same Pink conversation over and over. Everything is just too slow. I want to change the channel from the cable networks that just show re-runs in syndication. I want the current season, but it does not exist.

All these years and it all sounds the same. GET THERE FASTER.

Short-Term Memory

TV Re-Runs: Part I – “SNL’s Mr. Short-Term Memory”

I’ve got cancer controversy fatigue.

It is only the beginning of March and already 2014 has had too many breast cancer controversies. The bizarre Keller attacks provided an interesting silver lining in that so many people defended the right of cancer patients to tell whatever blunt truth each deems appropriate to their experience, not just the media approved story, without getting hassled for it. I’d hoped the infuriating Pancreatic Cancer Action PSA controversy would provide another silver lining in the form of a general realization that 1) Pink has deceptively sold breast cancer as a desirable disease 2) patients with other cancers are so tired of the attention given to breast cancer that push back has begun. I still think push back will continue, see here and here, but the jury is still out on that one.

Are the voices challenging Pink Rule getting louder? Maybe, but it is business as usual according to the dominant voices in the breast cancer conversation. The most recent two controversies (is it just 2, did I miss something? I’ve been a little otherwise engaged lately)—the here-we-go-again-arguing-about-the-usefulness-of-mammography fuss, and is-it-October-again-already return of Pink commercialization—are just old and tiresome. They seem like TV re-runs. Or, more accurately, remind me I watch too many TV re-runs.

I’ll get to that mammography thing later, some other post maybe. Right now I just want to rant about the latest Pink hi-jinks.

Remember the iconic recurring sketch on Tom Hanks-hosted Saturday Night Live episodes, back in the late 80s-early 90s, “Mr. Short-Term Memory”? The little song at the start of the sketch said something like: he got hit on the head by a fruit, he shouldn’t have sat under that tree, he’s Mr. Short-Term Memory, he’ll drive you crazy when you talk to him but he’ll never know it, because he cannot remember anything. Hanks as the titular character would repeatedly forget why he was on the game show or why he was in the hospital, right in the middle of a conversation. The other characters had to repeatedly explain the situation to him, resulting in everyone having the same conversation about 5 times, to the exasperation and irritation of the other characters. Meanwhile, Hanks cluelessly acted like each time he heard the repeated story, it was brand new information! I loved that sketch, I still do. The sketch is funny, which is good since SNL is a comedy show.

Komen, Kohl’s, and any other Pink sellers acting like breast cancer is some kind of undiscussed elephant in the room reminds me of Hanks in those old Mr. Short-Term Memory sketches, but it ain’t funny. I picture all the marketing flunkies at both Komen and Kohl’s as Hanks/ Mr. Short-Term Memory, shouting “all these women are getting breast cancer?! Oh my gosh, we need to let people know about this!” It’s as if Komen is inexplicably ignorant of its own history and efforts. This is mind-boggling , until I consider the alternative. Maybe the flunkies think we, the shopping public, are plagued with short-term memory, and we forgot that barrage that just happened a few months ago. Impossible! Pink ribboned items hang around in my local stores up until at least the holidays, or after!

color pink

What the hell is talked about so much that folks with other cancers applaud that recent pancreatic cancer PSA, because they are so sick of pink ribbons being waved in faces (yes, that is an actual comment, scroll down to Martin, here)? As recently as a few months ago I was complaining about how so many folks—in real life, in comments sections, on social media—like to point out that 30 years ago breast cancer was only whispered about, and now…isn’t it great? Komen and other Pinked out groups have made it so we can talk openly about it! As if this is some kind of triumph! As if being able to talk openly about it was the end goal all along. Sometimes when people claim that all the talk of breast cancer shows how effective Pink has been, I have to shove my hands in my jeans pockets so I don’t grab their shoulders and shake them and scream: “don’t you get it?! I don’t want to TALK about breast cancer—I want to makes sure it doesn’t come back in me—I want to have never had it at all!”

But I did get breast cancer, and I’m stuck repeating myself (I’ve noticed I keep re-posting old posts lately, geez, I guess I’m not just watching re-runs on TV, I’m putting out my own re-runs!). I feel stuck listening to the same conversation over and over, because the biggest Pink gorillas cannot seem to move forward. Komen & Kohl’s awful Pink website page filled with conversations starters are just the same old warmed over topics that’ve been discussed to death. No mention of Stage IV, the misguided idea that cancer is beatable with no mention that it is so likely to recur (as Stage IV, again ignoring that reality, duh), and of course, other pretty pink-i-tudes, like the notion cancer is a gift, something desirable (gee, no wonder those silly pancreatic cancer patients got confused—YES I’M BEING SARCASTIC). There is even the chance to win $50 from Kohl’s by sharing a personal breast cancer story. Even this idea is old news—it is just another version of the “only the positive stories get to the podium” phenomena so ever present in cancer tales. (Because a Cancer Curmudgeon-y story is unlikely to get a podium or prize.)This really burns me up, but I have to submerge that anger for some other day.

Using these proffered conversation starters that have already been discussed into the ground will just make the conversation about breast cancer look as silly as Mr. Short-Term Memory’s rants. Coming so soon after the pancreatic cancer PSA fuss, a marketing campaign that encourages folks to talk about breast cancer like such a conversation has never happened before is beyond tone deaf. I realize that this campaign is the result of too much time and money to simply cancel it after the pancreatic cancer PSA, but if Komen and Pink pushers had been paying attention to the growing grumbles in social media and even the mainstream (I guess that Orenstein article was just TL;DR for those involved with this campaign), maybe they’d have thought twice before developing this travesty.

So many have already eloquently spoken about the Komen & Kohl’s theft of elephant concept from METAvivor there is nothing to add. I was outraged at first, but now I step back and find I’m not even all that surprised. Pink pushers are so unable to move forward in the conversation regarding breast cancer, of course they are out of new ideas. Realizing this, I think to myself, is it any wonder they had to steal? Last I checked, METAvivor is still disappointed that K&K are Unwilling to Do the Right Thing. Too many resources stand to be wasted pursing legal action, but given Komen’s litigious history, perhaps “lawsuit” is the only language they speak?

I’m not suggesting that all the #talkpink turn into #STFU. It’s just that breast cancer is still such a huge problem that has not decreased in proportion with nearly 30 years of “talk”. Nothing has improved in terms of death, of mets patients. Doesn’t that seem like a conversational shift is needed? I’m not as specifically anti-Komen as some folks. Rather, I tend to get so incensed by nearly all Pink/rah-rah entities, or hell, ribbon and disease-of-the-month culture as a whole, that I sometimes cannot discern the individual pieces of the puzzle. Then my knee-jerk reaction is: “it all sucks!” But Komen really is The Worst this time round.

I think Kohl’s reached their goal—sorry, I cannot linger on that site enough to even understand how the shopping/donation process works, I was just too grossed out. I have not shopped there in years—as a pet/house sitter, I simply do not require their goods. So it was easy for me to boycott, and because it was so easy, I feel strange or hypocritical suggesting others boycott. I’d like to NEVER buy anything with a ribbon on it but it is damn near impossible in the case of some foods I like. I wonder if the backlash directed at K&K is enough to alter the next big Pink selling bonanza surely in the works? How many serious missteps like this will it take to end Komen? Part of me wishes someone would take them aside and clue them in, and that they’ll listen—simply because it is so hard to watch Komen embarrass themselves even though I cannot stand them. But the imp in me says, “hey, give ‘em enough rope….”

I wish I knew a solution to the over-abundance of Pink and all that comes with it. I only know I can no longer watch all these Pink re-enactments of the “Mr. Short-Term Memory” sketch.