Friday, October 2, 2015

Ribbons and Whatnot

I have obviously taken a very long vacation from posting.  As a short explanation, my husband decided to run for a local political seat earlier this year.  I locked up my personal Facebook page, the blog's Facebook page, and my blogs so there would be nothing that I said a human...that could be used against him.  He ran a very positive and honest campaign, which makes me very proud, but that did not stop others from choosing to do otherwise.  So I am exceedingly glad I took those precautions.  He was not chosen, but I had such a horrible taste in my mouth from the attacks, I literally had panic attacks when I thought about unlocking my security.

I have still opted to keep some security on the comments...forgive the flippancy...but "It's me, not you."

I spent 75% of my Childhood Cancer Awareness month worried for the health of someone I love...and wondering if I had breast cancer.  So I was not really in the mindset you have to be to revisit cancer.

I will be 40 in November, so I did my duty, spurred by several friends who are breast cancer survivors, and had my first mammogram.  Because I have had several bouts of mastitis while breastfeeding each of my kids, I fully expected dodgy mammogram results.  So I paid extra to have the 3D mammogram.  However, instead of the quick results they promised me, they didn't call me for almost a week and a half.  There are some results that "no news is good news"...stuff like this is less so, because it means it wasn't a quickie when I was called and told that I needed an ultrasound, I was already a smidge stressed.  However, I wasn't really worried, because I figured that they had found scar tissue from the infections.  I kind of blew it off.  But the nurse kept stressing that it wasn't "That kind of call back.  It's the kind that is no longer a diagnostic call back." to the point that I was genuinely strung out by the time I had the ultrasound scheduled.

And then, yesterday, I was informed that the spot was a cyst that was "The wrong color on the ultrasound." And that I needed to have an aspiration/needle biopsy. 

I typically have a "DON'T Google the symptoms." stance on things because you always have a tumor by the time you read all the hyperlink options.  But in this case, the nurses had gone to so much trouble to tell me how atypical this was, that I figured that the odds were bad.  Ironically, when I finally got the guts up to Google it, because, really, what's a worse WebMD outcome than cancer?  There were way more assurances that these come up cancer proportionately less...which led me to really question "Why all the medical cautioning?"  Which only left me nauseated.

This morning at about 8:00, they emptied the cyst, and it was benign and that there was no need for pathology.  So I am left with a hefty hospital bill, but a release to normal life...which looks way sparkley and brighter today.

BUT as I looked over at my friends who have fought this beast, because I wondered if I would join yet another club in the Awareness Month, I was struck at how the white washing of breast cancer is mainstream just like the glossing of childhood cancers.

And it really makes me mad.

Breast cancer awareness is not all pinks and cakes and 5Ks with balloons.  It's ugly, it's vicious, it's destructive to family life, general health, and it has long term impacts.  I know several survivors that have beat it, only to have it loop back and attack another system.  I hear all the funny games of what color bras you are wearing to bring "awareness", but it's not kosher to point out that even those who have survived and have something to put in their bras and had reconstructive surgeries have aggressive scarring and permanent damage and suffer long term effects.

It's not about the boobies, People, it's about saving lives.

Childhood cancer awareness is also not all about the beautiful, shiny bald heads on the St. Jude commercials.  It's not the beautifully written books/movies of Nicholas Sparks or John Green. 

It's about kids who have DIED.  Or those who have survived with long term losses, brain damage, and lost childhoods.  It is an ugly monster that steals what you take for granted.  It steals things that you simply don't "deserve because we live in the world we live in".  It destroys things that are hauntingly beautiful.  Things as basic as your family being together. It steals futures.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is always a kick in the teeth to know how resilient kids are, how their bodies fight like wild animals against cancer, but that the funding for new treatments for a cure is virtually non-existent.  It's about 4% of the cancer research allotment, and it stands to do far more good and offer more saved futures as a unit. 

For me, it doesn't matter how long it's been since Elise was on treatment.  I feel its impact regularly, but I don't despair in what was ravaged, I treasure that she was given a future.  And the kids that are still fighting don't stop when September is over.  If you ever want to pass on an over-priced coffee, there are lovely organizations that would love your dollars to make a difference for kids and their families.  Even if you missed the publicly prettied-up window.

I am posting 31 for 21 posts for Down syndrome this year on my personal Facebook page and this blog's Facebook page:  At the end of the month, I'll collect them all up and post them in a single post on here.  So do like us and follow to check and see what hits me as important to share this month...I am always just as surprised as you.

P.s.  It's good to be back, I've missed our little chats.

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