Three years ago today. Three years ago, I first discovered my lump. I recently shared my story with Tanya West of Go With West and she is featuring it on her blog. You can find it here: http://www.tanyawest.ca/survival-stories/Katie-leadbetter/
As this is the week of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and September being Ovarian Cancer month and October being Breast Cancer month, I though I would take this opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings on everything turning pink. But first a little background.
About 10 years ago, when the yellow livestrong bracelets came out were such a big thing, I jumped on the bandwagon. Shortly after I had the livestrong bracelet, I found a pink breast cancer bracelet too. I rocked my bracelets (and many other “cause” supporting bracelets). Then I must have stumbled upon a website that sold pink ribbon paraphernalia because I can remember buying many “pink ribbon” items, pajamas that were so cute with ribbons all over them, a purse to support breast cancer awareness from Vera Bradley, and more. At some point I stopped buying all those things and I stopped donating at Safeway and the like during Pinktober. I also stopped feeling guilty for not making donations toward breast cancer awareness. I thought, “Pinktober is everywhere, there’s not much need for breast cancer awareness.” I still stand by that decision today. There isn’t a need to spread “awareness” in America. There IS a need for breast cancer education (especially in middle and high schools) and for breast cancer research. Those are still quite worthy causes to donate money to. And places like Bay Area Cancer Connections which provide support, resources, and education are amazing. Sometimes I think we all (myself included) get caught up and think we’re doing something great, when in actuality, the money isn’t going where we thought it would.
Besides the money not going to its intended home, many of the companies that make these pink products are actually companies whose products are known carcinogens (does that make your head spin, like mine?!?!). Companies like KFC with their pink buckets o fried chicken and a fracking company that has made their drill bits pink. Here’s a great article about pinktober.
My final two cents: if you want to make a donation for breast cancer, chose somewhere that 1) does research to help improve treatment options and survivorship, or 2) supports those in treatment, or 3) educates people on early detection and treatment information.
Surgery update: Surgery is still scheduled for next Wednesday Oct. 7th, but it has been moved up to 9:30am. Luckily it was moved from 12:30pm to 9:30am and not pushed back later. I would have had a FIT! Fasting for 12 1/2 hours is brutal for me! I think 9:30 will be more manageable. My plastic surgeon has no concerns and even said this is an outpatient surgery. He ordered me 3 different pairs of implants. These are “gummy bear” or solid silicon implants (think jello instead of honey). I currently have 500 ccs of saline in my expanders. He ordered different sized pairs from 550 ccs to 650 ccs. While I’m under, he will “try” the implants on me and sit me up and my OR team will decide which ones “look best”. This whole scenario literally blows my mind, I kind of wish they would film it and I could watch afterwards, because I really want to know how they decide which ones look best on me. Shouldn’t my best friend and my husband get to make those decisions? It’s so bizarre that I can’t help but laugh as I play the scenario out in my head. I will be so happy to have these expanders out. It’s very hard to describe what they feel like, but I think I’ve finally got it: large, smooth river rocks, trapped in a VERY well fitting sports bra. Sound comfy to you??? 😉 My plastic surgeon plans to move them inward a bit, make the height of both the same, and make them both the same sizes. I’m looking forward to checking out my new rack. And you can you! If you want to see them or touch them – just let me know. (all seriousness)
(Side note: I sort of feel like I should walk around without a shirt on in public to see if I’d get arrested for indecent exposure. I have no nipples, so I feel pretty safe about the idea, but then I can just see the headlines: TEACHER GETS ARRESTED FOR WALKING AROUND TOPLESS; SOURCES SAY SHE WONDERED IF SHE’D GET ARRESTED.) HAHAHAHA!
If you’re feeling up to it, wear some pink or your #teamklb shirt on my surgery day, next Wednesday, and send me the pic!
PS – I plan to throw a big “Katie Kicked Cancer’s Ass” party near my remission day to celebrate being in remission for one year and being done with chemo, surgeries, and radiation. Stayed tuned for an invite to a party in early December.