Sunday, October 2, 2011

Waiting for the pink to catch up

So much of having the c-dawg kickin' around is about waiting. For the next set of scan results, for the side effects to take or not take hold, for people to stop telling you stories about the cancer relative who got away. Honestly, I know people die from this shit every day and tell a survivor or survivor-in-training that you know someone who succumbed does not help the waiting. I understand the need to share. I do. But give me more of the triumphs than the tragedies.

I'm also waiting for all the "cancer patient" references to end. When you are one, you don't want to be called one, and when you aren't one, it's like calling somebody's sister ugly. You know she's narsty-looking, but only you can say so, y'all.

It's officially pink month around these parts, and I know a big part of it is fantastic awareness-building, cure-finding, breast feeling-upping, and general boobie-talk that doesn't get discussed at other times of the year. An entire month to dedicate to telling cancer to stfu is a good thing. Sometimes, though, I think all the "we just want to pop a pill and get on with our day!" talk is only moving cancer into the realm of other diseases and giving the power to big pharma and not to women and girls.

Here comes the nutrition and environment smack talk again, right? Do I think I got cancer because I wasn't as fit, well, mindful and conscious about what went into my body as I could have been? Partly. I think I'll never know exactly what it was because it was a big ol' combo of internal and external factors plus something in my body that was hospitable to the environment of disease. What will continue to chap my ass is the generally themed discussion about the inevitabililty of cancer. That it's a natural disease of aging (hello 37! Plus, that's just ballz), or unfortunate happenstance (hello so many women I know in my neck of the woods alone - the numbers tell a different story). That talk gets us all thinking that it's the medical community's job to find us a good ol' fashioned cure and that we're not responsible for taking some control over our own bodies and feeling empowered.

This isn't about blame or karma or bad genes or randomness. It's about taking something from this disease and making good from it. About not just turning the other cheek, but now making every decision about my life like I'm finally in control of something real. And it's not about thinking that if I just become a yoga-obsessed, marathon-running, meditating veg-head,  I'll never get cancer again. It's about not hoping someone will save me. I ain't down with that mindset. And whether I die next week, in five years or in fifty, I will never count on someone else to provide me with that hope.

To Sharon, Ashlyn, Shirley, Trish, Freddy, Kathryn, my mom, my grandmother, and every other woman in my present and future who will get a visit. This whole pink thing is about you and I wish nothing but an end to all the fucking waiting. You've made my life shinier.


  1. Beautiful writing Carissa...reminds me about what a great writer you've always been. I saw the telus video on a friend's facebook page and was surprised to see your face. Sorry to hear about what you've been going through, but inspired by your courage and beauty! Keep telling your story, you're helping many!
    Your long lost friend.

  2. Hey Carissa, I can only say DITTO to the above. You, your wonderful mom and all the others are an inspiration for people like myself. Those of us at the start of this horrible disease look to you and you mom to show us how to deal with everything! Thank u. Shirley.