Today on tv there was a commercial for breast cancer awareness month, which is the month of October. When my mother and I saw the commercial, she sighed and said sarcastically, “Great.” Why sarcastically? Well let me tell you a bit of my “miracle mom”’s story so that maybe you can understand. My mother has had cancer twice. The first time it showed up was before I was born. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. A nasty beast that put my mom through a lot of chemotherapy and radiation. She wasn’t supposed to have any more kids after that, then came me. I was the “miracle child” as my grandmother would say. As a kid I found my mother’s wigs and put them on, completely ignorant to the reality of the pain she had suffered from chemo. When I was twelve my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She got it from the radiation treatments from her first run in with cancer. What a mean twist, right? She had many painful surgeries and more chemotherapy, all while suddenly finding herself a single parent in debt raising three kids. She had to have a double mastectomy, which to those who don’t know, is having both of the breasts completely removed. This is an extremely long and painful surgery, and recovery. Our meals and support came from our church, family, coworkers, and friends. Thankfully my mother is now in remission and the cancer has been gone for five or so years.
Now, to my point. My mother was negative towards the advertisement because of one particular reason and growing trend in this upcoming month. Breast cancer awareness month brings about women who buy and display shirts, bracelets, stickers, whatever, that say things like, “I <3 Boobies”. It also brings about women who take off their shirts in public to show off their boobs in support of fighting breast cancer. Now I’m going to be blunt. THIS IS WRONG. STOP DOING IT. It has taken something that is meant to give strength and encouragement to women who are suffering and instead causes them grief. I want this to be clear, my family does want to raise awareness for breast cancer. We are still thankful for all the support that was given to us during my mother’s difficult time. However, doing things like what I have described are NOT helping. What you are doing instead is only flaunting and emphasizing the very thing my mother and countless other women have lost, and caused them a lot of pain and trauma.
This might be a bad analogy but, it’s like if someone had to get their leg removed because of cancer and in support you show off your own very healthy, working legs, and did the cancan for them. You just don’t do that. When my mother and other women see you parading around with those “I <3 Boobies” bracelets or with your shirt off in support, it hurts them, it does not help them. Women can have a seriously difficult time recovering physically and emotionally from losing both breasts. It’s a very traumatizing experience for them. It kills their self esteem, and can make women feel ugly and insecure. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of pain they go through. Believe me it’s hard to even watch that pain, I can’t imagine what its like to actually live with it. So when you go and show off your perfectly fine, healthy breasts to the world in support, its almost like a slap in the face to those who have lost them. We don’t want to remind women of their traumatizing experience and loss, we instead want them to feel empowered and loved, something that is not accomplished through this particular form of awareness.
So this October, instead of getting those bracelets or shirts with “I <3 Boobies” on them, or going shirtless, I encourage you to instead do something that is a bit more sensitive to those who are hurting, or have been hurt, because of their fight with cancer. Something that you don’t have to worry will cause someone who has had this surgery because of breast cancer, grief. Wear pink! Go to a fundraiser! Give a donation! These are only some of many wonderful ways you can help women who have, or have had, breast cancer.
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"Bless the Lord, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.” - Psalm 103:1 » Brittany Hope Lewton
He was a skater goat, he said see you later, goat.
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