Disconnected. Slog. Resentful.

This October I feel more disconnected than ever from the Pink noise. And yet, I feel more burning resentment than ever, too.

Before I got online this morning and saw all the posts about submitting 3 words to GMA for some Pink crap they are doing, I was already thinking about how the words and phrases about to fill all media are so damn meaningless (just like I thought this last year: Some Word Problems). I saw silly grocery bag (pictured below) with the ribbon and the words “inspire hope”, and all I could think was, “what does that even mean?” I snapped this picture while I was waiting in the checkout line, and naturally my gaze fell onto the People magazine with Jackie Collins on the cover—barf (I am sorry she died, but completely disagree with her views and am so jaded about ALL celebrity cancer stories that I just always want to barf when I hear of them).

What do these words mean? What have they to do with my every day slog?
What do these words mean? What have they to do with my every day slog?

I am so tired of all the slogans surrounding cancer, and even all illnesses. They are so disconnected with the everyday slog that is the very nuts and bolts of treatment. This is why I’ve been especially touchy this year about the showy symbolic activities, such as wearing a bald cap, for “support”. How does this bald cap, or taking off a bra, and then maybe hanging it on a mailbox, do anything for that every day, minute to minute, nitty gritty, SHIT that is treatment?

I don’t write often about my primary client; I take care not only of her pets (since, technically I am a pet sitter), but also I am a secondary caregiver (her husband is the primary) for her Chronic Lyme treatment. First of all, hers is not my story to tell exactly, and secondly, there is so much controversy surrounding Lyme and I am unwilling to wade into it. Chronic Lyme patients will read this and know the everyday slog of which I speak: the IV treatment regime, the schedules, the horrific side effects. Cancer patients will know some of it, and can take an educated guess about the rest.

This is only the tip of the iceberg in describing my daily life. I won’t go into the scary dark places: the reminders of my own experience as the receiver of caregiving, the horribleness of side effects. Just know that the past few months have been especially difficult. I’ve been super busy and often so tired when I finally sit down to my laptop that I can barely read the many posts by my favorite bloggers (my saved links on Facebook and bookmarked web pages to read later “when I have a minute” are now out of control).

When I see “inspiring” slogans on t-shirts and what-not, and smiling crowds in races or on idiot morning TV shows, with those little clips detailing the same old story, I just think—is this the real life? No, it is not.

Patients face disease and treatment alone, ultimately. Yes, good people do lend real support—not the fake, symbolic kind exhibited by head shaving, but real stuff like listening, holding, cooking, cleaning, etc. But no one can experience the nausea, the constipation, the diarrhea, the exhaustion, the FEAR, and so on, for the patient. And people holding up signs in a video clip don’t help me when I have a relapse of cancer panic, or when I nervously, fearfully, watch my client to make sure she stays awake long enough to not choke on her food.

THAT is my everyday slog. How can I help but feel resentment when I see all this we-are-fam-i-ly sign-holding, waving, smiling, on TV? I did not go into warrior mode and kick cancer’s ass while I was in treatment. I slogged it out taking each day as it came. I do the same now. Lyme’s ass is not being kicked; we’re just taking one day at a time, slogging it out, doing the best we can and working toward better days. Cheering crowds make me feel so disconnected with the realities of illness and treatment.

That is what illness, cancer and Lyme, are to me: a SLOG. And the celebrations about to ramp up for Pinktober make me feel DISCONNECTED and RESENTFUL.

And those are my 3 words—but they won’t be the last words I speak.

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Author: Cancer Curmudgeon

Oct 2010 diagnosed with Stage 3, HER2+ Breast Cancer. Completed treatment Jan 2012. Waaaaaay over pink. Applying punk rock sensibility to how I do cancer.

13 thoughts on “Disconnected. Slog. Resentful.”

  1. excellent thoughts and a lot of stuff I’ve been mulling over., I’ve had two cancer diagnoses 25 yrs apart. The first one 1990, sort of almost pre Komen and all the pink shit, the second last year with benefit of the internet, social media, etc. The things that drives me nuts and gets me all ragey is the sexualization of this disease. The Save Second Base, Save the Tatas, Sacks for Racks etc. Where is the fucking world is sexualization of any other life threatening illness. They don’t do that for ovarian cancer,or prostate cancer, we don’t see signs saying Save the Teabags for ball cancer, there is no jokey, sexy bullshit over AIDS. Breast cancer is not a joke, funny, sexy, fluffy or pink. It is all the stuff you pointed out and more. It kills people. It is not the “good cancer” the “easy cancer” nor the “curable” cancer. It’s just plain old cancer, yes early detection is great and helps..but not always and to lull people into thinking if they’re “aware” whatever the fuck that means, and wear enough pink or show their bra straps or whatever FB code is rampant this year they’re safe. No. Just no. It’s a disease. Treat it that way, not like Womens’ History Month or whatever. Find a cure, or find a way to make this merely a chronic survivable illness similar to diabetes, or high blood pressure, or the friends I have who are HIV positive, for those diagnosed with Stage IV. Otherwise they can take their pink crap and shove it where the moon don’t shine.

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    1. Well poke around most posts on this blog and you’ll see I mostly have the same thoughts. I don’t write much in the way of enumerating the reasons I dislike Pink–most other bloggers have done that so I don’t feel the need. I simply proceed on the idea most everyone knows my stance and mostly agrees. I’ve mostly remained unchanged in my views since I began this blog 3 years ago. But yeah–shove the pink crap somewhere.

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  2. About a year ago I was in the Delta lounge in JFK. Delta goes pink a huge way and, when checking in to the lounge, the woman asked me if I’d like to donate a dollar in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. To which I smiled and showed her my black “Fuck Cancer” bracelet and said, “I’m aware; I have cancer, too.” She just kinda looked at me, dumbfounded, not exactly sure what to make of me.

    I love doing that to people.

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  3. I believe the real message has been lost. BC has turned into a marketing tool everyone takes advantage of. Pinktober makes me feel misrepresented. It leaves out so many of us. It even excludes the truth about the disease. My cancer was caught early and I never felt like celebrating because it isn’t over for me. As far as I know, it isn’t really over for anyone.

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  4. Oh, CC – I am completely with you though you may not feel it since I have gone silent for so long. Who gives a fuck about all the blather about pink shit, and all the other “causes” that do nothing to make a dent into cancer and so many other serious illnesses. Having 2 types of cancer has made me so cynical – no one outside of our community ever even asks me how I am doing – not even my own family! like death, they must think it’s contagious. So I am not only in disconnect mode, but am also made to feel like I am someone’s worst nightmare. Rant over. Carry on.

    love you, OXO,

    Karen

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  5. Jeesh, what is it with grocery bags this year?? I think you saw the photo I posted online of the ones I saw at my local market. Oy. You know how I feel about it all. I wish we didn’t have to keep saying the same things over and over again. I like your three words. I don’t know what mine would be, but yours would definitely work. xoxo, Kathi

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    1. It was just that I was in the store buying for my client, food that I would prepare for her–and to see the ribbon bag–well, even if I were not so fed up with the Pink already, I would’ve become fed up. It just hit such a wrong note in my head that morning.
      Yeah, I hear you about saying the stuff over and over. I never really wrote a definitive list or post about all the reasons why I dislike Pink–I think I express aspects of it in each post. And each year I see more and more essays on what is wrong with. Now, maybe it is just my confirmation bias, but I cannot help but think–why is the message not reaching and sticking with a more general population?

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  6. Thank you for your truthfulness. I am always IN-spired by YOU. You have a masterful way with words and express yourself so skillfully. I appreciate you allowing me into your real world. I could feel and see you moving about through the words you wrote. Thanks again for a glimpse into the REAL WORLD….LOVE YOU

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