For breast cancer awareness month, we asked an incredibly inspiring lady to share her experiences with having breast cancer with us. Here, she has written a letter to cancer itself.
It's been a 7 long years since you set up residence in my body without permission, not only stealing my life but wreaking havoc in as many ways possible. 7 years of forcing me to accommodate you and your idiosyncrasies, from your love of inflicting pain to your unrelenting desire to teach me how to find humour in the darkest of situations. We've begrudgingly shared our space together amidst a chaos understood only by those who've been unfortunate enough to have a squatter like yourself. During this time, I've careered between denial, acceptance, despair, fear and hysterics and back again - never finding my equilibrium and never quite coming to terms with each emotion before moving on to the next.
"So, why write this letter to me now, after all this time?" you ask, confusingly rubbing your bald little head that you're determined we should all be sporting. Why indeed. Because 'that' time of year has come back around, the time when the world turns pink. It's October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, or Pinktober as some like to call it, and now seems as good a time as any. Besides, it's time I told you exactly what I think of not just you and everything that comes with you, but also this baffling phenomenon of using the colour pink to raise awareness of your presence that is somehow become so firmly associated with those of your persuasion.
Let's face it, pink is a pretty colour. Little girls adore it and want to live their lives dressed head to toe in every shade of pink imaginable. Pink occurs in the natural world all around us from stunning sunsets to the cheeks of newborn babies as they breathe their first breath of life. It's a gentle, nurturing, life affirming colour.
And then there's you. Ugly and abhorrent, casting fear into the faces of all who come into contact with you or hear your name. You hide sneakily in the tiniest crevices of our beings waiting for the opportunity to go on the attack and shatter the lives of millions of women (and men). But you don't stop there, do you? Not content with stealing our self esteem by taking our health, hair and body parts you dig deep. Families are torn apart by the sheer unrelenting strain of dealing not just with you, but the fallout from having you in their lives for however long you choose to impose. You're a financial disaster, draining monetary resources in ways we never would have imagined before being touched by your evil.
Back to why pink? There's not a single nod to sweetness that could possibly be associated with you and your kind. Why are key rings emblazoned with pink ribbons being produced around the world in an effort to remind us of you? What possible use is this in extinguishing your nasty little reign? Workplaces are holding 'Pink days' during October where the staff take the opportunity, whether for the cause or not, to escape their uniforms for a day and dress head to toe in so much bloody pink you would be forgiven for thinking you've stepped inside a giant meringue when popping out to buy a loaf of bread in the local supermarket. Social Media sites are full of inspirational pink themed messages and teddy bears on motorbikes making their way 'across the world' to see how far they, waving their pink ribboned banners can be spread. I bet you're cackling away in the background at our society's attempts to eradicate you, aren't you? I can picture you now - a clump of pure bog eyed ugliness hissing in delight that however much pinkness we can dream up, you ain't planning on giving up your quest to destroy anytime soon.
Well guess what cancer? I know you. I know you're beyond being afraid of a colour favoured by 3 year old little girls, but what YOU don't know is that I'm not taken in by it. I know that filling the shops with expensively marked up limited edition pink products in aid of breast cancer isn't going to do very much more than line the pockets of the CEOs of the companies who are fooling us into thinking they're donating huge wads of cash to the cause. And as a stage 4 breast cancer patient with metastases to the spine I can categorically state that I'm more than aware of you and what you're capable of, thank you very much. I personally believe that pretty much the entire Western World are very much aware of you. I don't buy pink products in October anymore, even though pink has been my favourite colour probably from the age of 2. I won't give you the satisfaction of believing I've been duped by it all. I will however, do whatever and give whatever I can to support research for a cure. A cure for ALL cancers.
And that, you evil, corrupt dollop of viciousness is why I have written you this letter. To ensure you beyond any doubt that you're aware that me, and people like me are on to you. One day - you will be beaten.
You can find Dawn’s fabulous blog about going through cancer(Lenny), with her beloved cat Lola here: http://carryoncancerivegotmycat.blogspot.co.uk/
Make sure you check it out.