A Different Side of this BIG PINK MONTH

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or as we say at The Get In Touch Foundation, Breast HEALTH Awareness Month.

Last week I posted something on my Facebook page that had a bigger response than anything I’ve ever shared before. All positive, all supportive, all deeply life giving.

While putting together this monthly blog post for Generation W, I struggled with how to share a different side of this BIG PINK MONTH for those of us living with Metastatic Breast Cancer, also known as Stage 4 Breast Cancer.

And then I realized I needed to just say it, just like I did in my Facebook post.

 

October 13: Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

11 years ago today I had a bi-lateral mastectomy after 16 weeks of grueling chemotherapy. I enjoyed 7 cancer-free years while having monthly injections to keep the cancer at bay.

Until it came back as metastatic. That means it has gone to other parts of my body; it means I will never be cured; it means I will die from breast cancer.

I have now been on an exhausting treatment protocol for my metastatic breast cancer for the last 4 ½ years. And I will never be cured.

I founded and now run a nonprofit dedicated to educating girls (and boys) in grades 5-12 about the importance of getting in touch with their bodies to know what their normal, healthy breast tissue feels like so they will know if they ever notice something that is not normal for them. The Get In Touch Foundation’s mission is early detection. Early detection saves lives. Breast self exams save lives.

But breast self exam is not a cure. Breast self exam does not prevent cancer.

We still need a cure. We still need to find out what is causing this epidemic and do all we can to stop it.

Until we do those things, my friend, Dr. Kristi Funk says that “early detection is our best defense against breast cancer.”

And so, today, I ask you to please stop with the nonsense of urging women to go braless – today, of all days – Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

I have several friends in hospice care right now who are planning their final days with their young children. Instead of “saving the boobies” I urge you to instead focus your energies and your Facebook posts and your Tweets and your Instagrams on “saving the lives” of those diagnosed with breast cancer.

I can assure you, our “boobies” are the least of our worries. We want a cure. We want to live, and unless we find a cure…we won’t.

#MetastaticBreastCancer #MBC

*Thank you to the wildly talented and gentle photojournalist Christopher Capozziello for joining me on this path 11 years ago to create this very real and harsh look into the life of a woman diagnosed with breast cancer. Watch the video below:

A Diary of Healing from Christopher Capozziello on Vimeo.

 

 

 

Mary Ann Wasil

 

by Mary Ann Wasil
@maryannGIT
www.getintouchfoundation.org