Weekly Round Up – The Pinktober Edition

girl_with_lassoTime for this week’s round-up of the best of the blog posts which I’ve read over the past week. These are the posts that have moved me, taught me something, inspired me, and which I’ve wanted to share with you. Don’t forget if you have written a post which you would like readers to see, just leave a comment below. 

Well it’s here. Pinktober. The annual turning pink in the name of breast cancer awareness raising – or as Lisa puts it “the pink onslaught”.   And you have lots to say on the topic.  In Tangled Up In Pink (great title!) Jackie makes a pertinent observation:

When you blog about breast cancer, October is a land mine just waiting to be stepped on. Do you jump on the pink bandwagon and blog about breast cancer awareness and support, as if it’s the one time of year you can talk about it? Or you resist, lamenting the avalanche of pink products and specials and events that have hijacked the month?

Lori has reposted Over The Line – depicting a nude celebrity (with perfect breasts) posing with a pink handbag (what else!)  to raise awareness of a mutilating disease. As the Telling Knots blog starkly reminds us  “cancer isn’t cute. It is a mortal illness. It disfigures. It kills.” (Check out a wonderful alternative to society’s views of what constitutes the perfect breasts, on the Cancer Curmudgeon’s blog and how she succeeded in redefining beautiful breasts). Another repost from Kathi Kolb which just goes to show that, sad to say, what many of us have had to say on this month last year, the year before that and the year before that hasn’t changed.

Many of you reading this don’t need your awareness raised about breast cancer, as Lauren points out to her daughter in a store this week. For some of us the month is a very visceral reminder of our first steps with cancer. This month marks 9 years since my own diagnosis, 4 and a half since Lisa’s, and 4 years since Philippa’s, who writes:

The cancerversary is a strange beast.  Not a day for celebration. Rather a day of recognition, quiet reflection and gratitude for a present which is precious and fragile.

Anne Marie strongly suggests we change the emphasis from awareness to action and education, and Lisa De Ferrari  agrees that is time to change course:

Meaningful awareness, followed by relevant, responsive action, is what is needed now. We need to insist on more coordinated efforts to find less toxic treatments that really save lives. And we must develop much better screening methodologies for breast cancer and other cancers that can enable us to intervene in the disease process early enough to prevent actual cancer from developing.

Lisa uses the phrase “meaningful awareness” and I’d like to draw your attention to this, as there is another form of meaningless awareness which also appears at this time of year – Facebook memes which, while well-intentioned are irritating, not to say downright meaningless. Lisa Adams has some good advice for those who want to engage meaningfully at this time of year with breast cancer awareness and action.

Meanwhile, a casual observer would be forgiven for thinking that breast cancer is the only cancer women get such is the pink attention it receives. Not so, Nancy reminds us:

Sandwiched right in there during the last days of September and first days of October is the week known as National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week. It’s strategically assigned to this calendar slot – a bridge of sorts between September’s Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

And in post entitled Timing Is Everything, let’s welcome a new voice in the blogosphere, Linda whose first blog post this week focuses on National Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Week.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere…

Debbie writes about the controversy surrounding renaming some cancers such as DCIS to reduce the fear associated with the word cancer and for an interesting take on this, read Sarah on another controversial topic – so-called attention seeking cancer.

Living the good life and raising chickens is on the menu at the Franco-American Flophouse.

An incredibly honest post by Diane on starting a relationship after cancer.

Elizabeth on why she writes about depression.

Why young people deserve better cancer support in Chris’s Cancer Community.

Love the quote shared by Audrey on her blog today:

 “Transforming healthcare does not empower people or patients but empowering people does transform healthcare.” 

A powerful testimony from Ann on living with playing the “whack-a-mole game”of metastatic breast cancer.

Dr Kathleen Hoffman shares the inspirational story of cancer survivor Sarah Thebarge.

A beautiful tribute by Eileen to her friend and chemo angel, Ellen.

And why not step into the role of chemo angel online for Nicola who has just one more chemotherapy session to go before starting on the next leg of her cancer journey with radiotherapy.

And finally…

I leave you with my quote of the week featured on Wendy Nielsen’s blog, from the remarkable Catherine Brunelle, who is facing a second round with cancer, but not letting that get in the way of following her dream of becoming a published novelist.

I am here today. And today I would rather smile, than cry.

Wishing you more smiles than tears in the week ahead.

Yours with much love

Marie xxx