Monday, October 11, 2010

Where do you like it?

Are you in the know? I'm guessing since most parents of little'uns and school-age kids are Gen X-ers that many readers of the blog are on facebook. Which means that you're privy to the latest trends in savvy cyber-movements. Like how last year during breast cancer awareness month (October), we gals all told the world what color the bra was that we were wearing. It was clever, with each woman just putting a single word on her facebook status, like "black" or "pink," and then not letting out the secret of what it was. After a few days, everyone (including the men) picked up on it and the initiative got enough attention to merit national reporting. If you haven't noticed it yet, this year we're telling everyone where we like to put our purse by using a sentence in the form of "I like it [locative prepositional phrase]," for instance, "I like it on the staircase," or "I like it on the floor, in the cushy carpeting in front of my fireplace." Provocative, no? All this titillating cleverness used in order to bring awareness to breast cancer.

I didn't participate in the "color of your bra" campaign and I won't post anything like "I like it somewhere" this month. I'm not willing to risk my image in that way. And I'm not sure it does any good.

There's something about the whole thing that I can't put my finger on...

Last week my oldest daughter's best friend asked via her facebook status "what's with all these 'I like it in the...' statuses?" Two comments later she got her answer, to which she replied, "I'm already informed enough about breast cancer." BINGO. That's what gets to me about the whole thing. I feel like I've been flooded with good feelings and smiles about being "aware" of breast cancer. Yet I do nothing to help find a cure. I do nothing to make a difference at all.

My ex-husband's mother had breast cancer 20 years ago. She survived. Now she's got stage 4 lung cancer. It's not so tragic for me at this point in my life, but it's the way I first became "aware" of breast cancer. She's my oldest daughter's grandmother, so it still indirectly affects me long after my divorce from her son.

One of my sisters-in-law just got a mammogram with a suspicious lump. She's 44. She's going to have a piece of it biopsied shortly. Now I'm even more aware.

On the general cancer front, a friend just got news last week that her husband's colon cancer has metastasized and now it's in his lung. More surgery, more chemo, more heartache. He's 40. And last Thursday night, a cousin who I've known my whole life lost his battle with cancer. He was 70. A co-worker's partner has had most of his right calf removed and he's still not out of the woods.

If you're like me, none of this is so remarkable. Cancer is everywhere around us. Some people win the battle, some people don't. Still, it keeps coming and we still don't have a great way of fighting it. The treatment is still, kill a lot of cells and hopefully the cancerous ones won't survive. And hopefully no new ones will learn how to grow, go forth and multiply.

I think I've become apathetic towards cancer "awareness." The pink ribbons make me feel good and cozy, even though I'm not doing anything. I don't even know who Susan "race for the cure" what's-her-face is. Since no one REALLY close to me has suffered from cancer yet, I carry around a sense of naive immunity, like it will never affect me directly since it hasn't yet. It's a rather irrational line of thinking, yet it keeps me from having to face an ugly truth: Cancer is with us and the situation is bad.

So this October, I'm trying to find something out about the whole cause, the campaign to raise money to find a cure for breast cancer. Feeling good inside when I see pink spatulas on sale at Meijer is not going to cut it, I don't think. For any readers out there who are passionate about this thing, please give me more info, something I can sink my teeth into. Because really, I fear I'm am the middle-aged version of my daughter's best friend: trying to smile and get past the month without facing the ugly truth, trying to convince people that "I'm already informed enough about breast cancer."


Heather said...

You have indeed been lucky to have not been touched closely by cancer. I hope you continue to be so fortunate. I lost 2 grandparents to cancer. My MIL has skin cancer. I donate in memory of my grandparents during our local cancer telethon because the money stays here, where my grandparents needed it when they were fighting.

I don't know that you can really appreciate any charity without a personal connection though.

I don't do the FB games like that either. Seems pointless and really does nothing to help the cause at all.

Heather T said...

I just had a facebook friend post the following link:

This helped me appreciate the cause a bit more. I'm still looking for more information though, a personal connection, something that will make me face the issue head on. You're right, Heather, I'm lucky that it hasn't hit REALLY close to home yet. But statistics say my luck will run out. If I can care now and help someone find a cure, maybe once it hits me, the hit won't be so hard.