A confusion of pinkness, awareness and wellness.

This month is breast cancer awareness month or Pinktober.

Awareness is the only reason I’m still alive today. If I’d trusted to screening alone there’s every possibility I’d be terminally ill by now. Or dead. Thankfully I am neither of those things because I trusted my instincts more than I trusted an ‘all ok’ letter. Awareness didn’t stop cancer developing but it did make me realise something was wrong, even when the medical evidence initially suggested no cause for concern. Always trust your instincts.

This month causes me a good deal of confusion.

Pink does not equal awareness. In my mind pink equals Miss Piggy, marshmallows and candyfloss. Pink is a colour, it conjures images of trivial fluffy sweetness. It doesn’t summon visions of mutilated torsos, lymphoedema or death. Pink does not equal that kind of awareness. Always remember pink is just a colour.

Pink goods don’t equal awareness either. In my mind questions of financial awareness arise. I’m cynical. I have doubts about bandwagons and profits made from the various pink merchandise that floods the market in October. Just how much of that money reaches the researchers, support groups and charity funded nurses who make a difference to those of us fearing, faced with or hoping to stay free of cancer? Less than 20% I suspect. This lack of transparency is another source of confusion. Always read the small print.

Awareness does not equal wellness. I have always been very aware but awareness doesn’t prevent cancer. Now I am constantly aware. I am reminded every day and every day I’m on watch for any further changes, signs or symptoms that the blight that marred my life for far too long is attempting to make a return. I am constantly aware but I don’t want to obsess over it. I want to forget about it yet I cannot. I’d like to spend at least part of my time in the fuzzy soft focus of trivial fluffy sweetness. Marshmallows and candyfloss. Being aware means I am on parole and I will stay on parole for the rest of my life. One cell out of line and the gateway to hell is reopened. Nothing in that hell is any shade of pink. That place is a long way from wellness.

I sometimes struggle to overcome the conundrum that is pinkness, awareness and wellness. I can strike out pinkness but the complex relationship between awareness and wellness is something else. Awareness might equal discovering I’m physically unwell again. Lack of awareness might equal being physically unwell again. Overdoing awareness might equal becoming psychologically unwell. Under doing awareness might equal being psychologically remote from reality. Confusion reigns. Always appreciate life’s uncomplicated moments.

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8 thoughts on “A confusion of pinkness, awareness and wellness.

    • Awareness is so crucial and being self-aware especially so because today’s screening techniques are far from fool proof. I wish your wife a full recovery and return to health.

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  1. Yes, and there’s a danger of people becoming accustomed; desensitized to the message; Your struggle, as bad as it was, was given better odds due to the fact that you saw the signs and acted on them before most would have.
    I’d also like to mention how glad I am that you chose to pick on pink 🙂 Not only is it an over-used colour but it’s also not a very nice one, in my opinion. There’s lots of better choices. I’d go with black, for my own reasons.

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    • I’ve decided mobile blogging is not all it’s cracked up to be Maurice. It’s slow and I keep missing comments. Now that I’ve found it, I agree with you, black would be a better colour. I was possibly over-sensitive to the issue given family history, but what a good job I didn’t ignore it on the basis of a clear mammogram just 4 months earlier. Things would been considerably worse and that doesn’t bare thinking about.

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  2. Beautifully said. I recently read Susan G. Komen’s financial statements, and less than 20% of all the money they raise goes to research. They do, however, have board members making almost half a million dollars per year. It makes me sick to see all these well-intentioned souls sacrificing so much time and effort to make these people rich.

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    • It’s shocking, especially when some people with cancer can’t even get the medical treatment they need because their health care provider or insurer won’t fund it.

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  3. Hmm, I wouldn’t be opposed to this month being renamed breast cancer wellness month. That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it. Though to be perfectly honest . . . it was one of those facebook ‘share your bra’ colour games that came to my mind when I found my lump, and had me thinking: must go to doctor. But I still like wellness. ~Catherine

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    • Wellness would be my wish for everyone touched by this disease, though a cure would be my ultimate goal. Wishing you peace and wellness Catherine.

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