So since I deleted this post, I have had several friends, family members, and strangers tell me that they did not view my blog journal as negative, but honest and from the heart. My dear friend even called me a “chicken” and reminded me that if everyone kept silent there would be no awareness. She is exactly right. So, I’m going to put on my big girl panties and repost my original entry. We all have to share our stories, our fears, our joys, and our blessings to save lives!
I have been tip-toeing about posting a blog journal about this topic. I told myself when I started this blog I would write about how I am feeling even if it means I might not be seen in such a good light or my words twisted. I’m going to be true to why I started this blog and write how I feel. I apologize in advance if I hurt feelings or offend anyone. Bashing or sympathy chasing is not my intent, awareness is.
So I’m going to open with a quiz. How many of these ribbon colors do you know the cancer that is associated?
Lavender, Yellow, Grey, Pink, Teal/White, Gold, Dark Blue, Periwinkle, Burgundy/Ivory, Orange, Purple, Emerald, White, Lime, Black, Burgundy, Teal, Purple, Light Blue, Orchid, Teal/Pink/Blue, Peach
I‘ll be honest first, up to a month ago I only knew 2. Pink for Breast Cancer and Purple for Pancreatic. I only knew purple because my grandmother died from pancreatic cancer. Breast cancer not only from public awareness, but also from loved ones who have battled breast cancer.
Since being diagnosised with Thyroid Cancer and now entering October as Breast Cancer awareness month…I would be lying if it doesn’t sting a little bit to see pink everywhere you turn. Where was the teal/pink/blue last month? With that said, I do think advocates for Breast Cancer awareness are doing an awesome job and you would have to be hiding under your bedroom comforter not to be aware of breast cancer. Sure, I do think that sometimes there are unethical companies and even organizations out there that want to capitalize on our heart strings. I know I have participated in some of these activities and cringe now after the fact. But even with that, I applaud the groups and organizations for getting the awareness out there for Breast Cancer.
Unfortunately, the awareness and lack of education for many other cancers is really not as out there in your face. How many Yoplait yogurt lids, egg cartons, surgical gloves, stickers, retail merchandise, etc do you see for let’s say bladder cancer. Did you know that according to the American Cancer Society that 69,250 people in America are estimated to be diagnosised with bladder cancer this year with 14,990 deaths. Or according to the National Cancer Institute SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2007, 274,330 Americas in 2010 were estimated to be diagnosised with digestive related cancers (102,000 being colon) with 139,580 deaths.
Since being diagnosised with Thyroid Cancer I have felt like I don’t have the right to talk about Thyroid Cancer or what I am about to go through. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told, “you have the good cancer”, “if you are going to get a cancer Thyroid Cancer is the one to have”, “you are lucky you have Thyroid Cancer”. I met a Thyroid Cancer warrior in one of my support groups that was telling us a story about what happened to her when she went to Relay for Life. She was greeted by different people, asked what type of cancer she had, and then got the “oh that’s not a big deal” face and comments, and then they turned around and walked away leaving her there to stand alone.
Well, I have come to the realization that these people are not trying to be mean, they might just not understand, might not be aware of everything that encompasses Thyroid Cancer, or trying to be encouraging but don’t know what to say. I think this is true for a lot of other cancers and we need to get out there and educate. No one with cancer needs to be made to feel like it’s not serious. It’s serious. It’s cancer. Cancer is Cancer. Each type of cancer has their own prognosis and treatment methods, but in the end we are all fighting the same battle. We are battling cancer. We all need to tell our stories and not live with the thoughts that people don’t care. It’s not true, we just have to speak up and make people aware.
Let’s start painting the town lavender. The ribbon color for Cancer.