Raising awareness shouldn’t be a secret

shh…don’t tell the boys (image from google used on multiple sites)

As the title of this blog suggests…I may need a shot of scotch after this…

warning:  I am going to try to be as dignified as I can with this entry…however, I make NO guarantees (so, any family reading…I may cuss…I’m sorry, but this is heavy on my mind)

It’s that time of the year…

where we ladies of facebook are sent out some asinine meme to “raise awareness about breast cancer”, one year it was our purse color, another year something implying sex in various places of the house.  This year it will be

“I’m traveling to ___________ for __________months” (your birth month has some random as destination…and your birthdate is the number of months.

Oh, and don’t tell the guys. tee hee.

I’m sorry, but…what??

I expose these bloody things every year, in the hopes that I dunno’ maybe this fad will stop?  Maybe, just maybe, people will listen.

I simply do NOT COMPREHEND how this RAISES AWARENESS.  How is posting some random as thing in your status and NOT explaining it tell ANYONE about breast cancer??  Oh, wait…we got the memo on facebook.  so, those who are included in this silly thing know?  But never the guys…

let me say this.  guys are affected by breast cancer too…they can get it, it’s not as common as it is in women, but they can.  Even so, they’re affected in seeing a mother go through treatment, their partners, sisters even daughters.  You can’t tell me this is a girls only club.

“Stop being such a spoil sport”

“It’s just a silly thing”

“You’re no fun”

I’ve heard this from multiple people multiple years when I respond back with my usual “there are better ways to raise awareness, I won’t participate in this”.  you know what?  You’re right.  I’m not “fun” on this.

Breast cancer isn’t fucking fun!

My Grandmother was a breast cancer survivor…

My Great Uncle is a breast cancer survivor…

My Mum is a breast cancer survivor…

(do you realize, this puts me in an incredibly scary position in life?  I check myself every other week or so and in the past year have had 2 breast exams during my immigration physicals)

I lost a dear friend and mentor to breast cancer…

Seeing my Grandmother’s chest (she’d had a double mastectomy during the 60’s), wasn’t fun as a kid.  Seeing her cope with troubles from radiation later also wasn’t “fun”.

I didn’t realize my Great Uncle had breast cancer until I was an adult.  He is one of the funniest men I know, thinking that he and his family went through that..isn’t “fun”.

Seeing a woman who I considered a second mum, a month before her death…she was so different, then having to hold onto a friend while we both cried in the car park of the hospice centre…wasn’t “fun”.

1.11.11 I received a call while I was at work, I knew my mum had a biopsy schedule, but the next 3 words completely devastated me “I have cancer”.  I had been in the process of checking students out with their parents, I went to get a pen when my phone rang…after the news, I hung up on her (I couldn’t fucking handle it), I nearly dropped my phone and was shaking uncontrollably…I went to my boss and tried to remain calm and tell her I needed to be in the office until she asked if I was ok…I broke down in front of dozens of kids and their parents as she took my clipboard and ushered me into the office.

Once in the office, I couldn’t stop crying.  I nearly vomited from how much I was crying.  I was scared, I was sad, I was angry.  None of which was “fun”.

my friends and coworkers came in to comfort me, I was told to leave my car at the theatre as I was in no shape to drive.  I was driven to my friend’s house where she and her boyfriend loaded rum into me, let me talk, scream, cry and get puppy kisses.  I had plans to meet with a friend who didn’t make it to my side of the city very often, I called him and said what had happened.  We still met up at a pizza shop, like always, only as I got there he immediately sprang up and hugged me tight wherein I began bawling again.  in the middle of the shop.  I was also bought lots of beer….I got home and drank even more…and showered, I had a tough time standing up I was so drunk.  I’m surprised I didn’t throw everything up into the toilet.

…then again, I’m Scottish and can handle my liquor fairly well.

…no, seriously…I am actually surprised I didn’t vomit all that liquor back up.

much as I had friends there for me….that night wasn’t “fun”.

I picked myself up the next morning, exhausted and hung over and went back to the theatre to teach.  I didn’t do any makeup..my hair was a mess…I think I was in the same outfit I’d worn the day before.  When my students asked what was wrong.  I sat them down and was honest “My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday” there were gasps and lots of sorries…we talked a lot about emotions in my group and how to show them and I was very candid saying “I’m sad, I’m angry and most of all I’m scared…and what I need from you guys today is to help me forget for a bit and be happy”.  they did just that.

The next few weeks, we faced mum’s ops, and what was next. My step dad and I had to put on brave faces (when we were both fucking scared). none of which was “fun”.

All of these things were scary.  I admitted to my partner today that I hope he never has to go through any of that with me.

So, when the girls only memes go around and we talk in hushed voices, giggly at the no boys allowed shite…it really feels like a kick in the teeth to those who I know that fought and survived breast cancer.  even moreso, to those who lost the fucking battle.  and it’s a bit of a mockery of the emotions the family members who had to put on those brave faces and be happy while being terrified went through.  men and women.

If you want to raise awareness…TALK ABOUT IT! send care packages to families in need, donate money to the cause. Don’t make it a silly thing…it’s NOT a silly thing.  You know what’s a good way to say you want people to know about it? “hey, you know something?  Breast cancer really sucks. Guys, did you know even you can get it?  Whatever the case, we’ve all been affected in some way by it and it sucks!  You know what? we should donate to the cause”

don’t make this a girls only club.  don’t make it something we laugh at.