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And Now on Opposing Opinion on Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Jen Dinoia, who dealt with breast cancer in 2010, is no fan of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. "Awareness did nothing for me," as she puts it. Jen Dinoia writes The Dinoia Family blog while running her happily crazy Foreign Service family household. Currently in the U.S., the three kids, two parents & cat are eagerly anticipating a move to Nicaragua in 2013. So here with a different take on Breast Cancer Awareness Month is guest poster Jen Dinoia.

I walked into my new favorite coffee shop today,and was hit with the realization that it is once again that time of year. No, not Halloween or Christmas, or even just lovely fall decor... I was lightly slapped with the pink.

If you remember from this post, I am not a fan of a certain large corporation (let's face it, that is what they are) that claims they are racing towards a cure (while suing small non-profits that dare to use the word "cure" in a campaign and giving their top dogs rather inflated salaries). It dismayed me to be diagnosed with bc during the month of "Pinktober" (now apparently an official Hard Rock Cafe term - triple vomit) and have to deal with not only the pink crap being thrown at me right and left, but the stuff being sold everywhere in stores in the name of a cure.

The only problem? The stuff being sold is junk...t-shirts, pens, mugs, "Pink Ribbon pasta," pots, pans, Kitchen-aid mixers (really?!, okay, the mixer isn't junk, but the color...) and all are huge reminders to those of us who have dealt with this issue, that we are nothing more than pawns in a giant movement and poster children for a few CEOs.

When I was diagnosed, I was in the opposite camp already. I was predisposed to loathing the "K Kulture" and figured I would deal with the whole thing and go back to my normal life. This is great, except that then the Pink Ribbon business started to ramp up even more. More junk appeared in stores, I received more requests for money (cause we weren't paying enough for treatment and other related issues?!) and I realize that many were blinded by the whole awareness thing.

Here's the deal: if you have even thought about this issue, you are aware.  The whole awareness thing, excuse my French, is a load of crap. Awareness did nothing for me. I still lost part of myself and spent 3 painful surgeries getting it back. It took me 8 months to go from feeling like I didn't want to get out of bed to realizing that my life was not over. You know what have really helped? Not more awareness of bc, but more awareness that the best thing you can do for yourself is to get back to what makes you tick, what makes you happy, what makes you...YOU. For me, that is not bc...not now, and it never will be.

I think if I had to guess, there would be many out there who feel the same way. I am fairly sure if I had to deal with any other type of cancer, I would not have had to feel like I was supposed to be part of a new and sexy (vomit...it's hardly sexy, trust me), cause. There  wouldn't have t-shirts with insulting sayings bandied about everywhere (own a Pink Ribbon t-shirt with any slogan and you want to support me? Turn it into a dustrag!), items made from cancer-causing ingredients and you know who (the leader of the K culture) standing up saying how much good her corporation is doing (wow, last year they spent a whopping 15% on research awards and grants according to Reuters...and how much was on pink porta-potties and t-shirts?).

Now, I must admit today I was not nearly offended as I could have been. Instead of being assaulted by the Pink (like in last week's trip to Bed, Bath & Beyond), I was only lightly slapped. Caribou coffee did have a few items, but not shockingly pink and the display was dedicated to employees who have dealt with the issue. Even better? Last week, Caribou announced they were splitting with the K Kulture and will be donating to CancerCare instead. Go, Caribou, and many thanks to Sarah Novak for introducing me to the fabulousness that is the 'Boo!

So, in light of all of this, what should you do if you really feel you need to do something? Well, put the money back in your wallet unless you feel like donating to an organization that truly cares (like CancerCare). Do what my friends did for me and just help take care of someone dealing with bc, whether by cooking dinner, taking them out for coffee or just calling them on the phone and not discussing the pink elephant in the room. 

Even better? Get out, enjoy the month and the changing of the seasons. Enjoy October for what it should be...leaves, hot cider, pumpkin patches and warm sweaters... not the massive consumerism mess it has become, thanks to the Kulture.

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