and that means it is Breast Cancer Awareness month again. Shouldn't I as a 7 year breast cancer survivor be over the moon with appreciation when I open every mail circular and it is advertising their undying (sorry) support of the dreaded pink disease? I go to the grocery store and now see that EVERY other company carries their label with a pink ribbon proudly stating that they do indeed support breast cancer, and I see that many friends and acquaintances are walking in this run/walk for life? Shouldn't I be more enthusiastic about this? Didn't I perhaps possibly gain something from one of these large corporate sponsors and their research dollars as the decision was being made about which sort of chemotherapy would give me the best possible chance to live past 35?
Maybe, maybe not.
But I can't help looking downward and feeling slightly sad when the graham cracker company I buy from now is "on board" with their full support of breast cancer and they have the pink ribbon on the box to prove it. It's easy to fly a pink ribbon...
Do I sound cynical? Perhaps I feel a bit cynical about it. I am grateful that lots of money is being poured into research for this shitty disease. I wish more money was being poured into finding out WHY it occurs in the first place. I am also melancholy at the thought that it is taking the diagnosis of 140,000 new American women this year to get the Kelloggs and Johnson's & Johnson's folks on with Susan G. Komen to fight the good fight.
As I was picking up my graham crackers and smiling my "I beat IT" resigned 1/2 smile I thought "wait what about about all those other not so "pink" diseases?" Where is their $50 million dollar corporate campaign? What about every person who is really fighting it today? God, I hope I never forget what it was like to be fighting IT every day.
Then I almost ran into her scooter. I accidently stepped in front of a lovely lady in a ball cap. She had gorgeous skin and a sweet smile. She had only soft peach fuzz in spotty patches along her almost non existent hair line. I stumbled and apologized for my rudeness almost stepping on her grocery store issued scooter with the little basket on the front. She continued to smile and eagerly excused herself. She had taken the time to put on eye makeup. She's the one who October and all the ribbon flying is really about. *
I cringed when her scooter ran out of electric juice in the next aisle. Of all the damned indignity, needing a scooter at the grocery store in the first place when she probably was skipping through 6 errands in a morning a few months ago but then to have the blasted thing run out of juice in front of cereal?
The Muffin Man and I stopped and asked if we could call a grocery store attendant for her. I tried to make a light joke about the store not springing for the Mercedes Benz scooter. Not funny. She said she had a friend with her who could help. We quickly moved on not wanting to draw any unwanted attention. It made me think of the time when I couldn't walk 1 length of the local mall without stopping for a 15 minute rest because I'd just had 4 chemo treatments in 4 months and lost 20 lbs and had about 6 white blood cells to my name.
Later on turning the corner on aisle 16 the grocery store attendant had rounded up a new scooter for the lady in the ball cap. He was gracious and did nothing to draw attention to her needing the scooter he quickly moved her groceries to the new basket. Thank heavens for small favors.
The muffin man and I pushed Olivia to the check out lane, just as we always do. I put the mound of groceries on belt and he took 3 pennies for her pony ride. Just like normal.
That is what I wish the corporate sponsors of the world could do...give each survivor back their normal.
* I completely acknowledge that I have no idea whether this lady is a cancer survivor or not...she appeared that way to me.