Sunday, September 25, 2016

Real Breast Cancer Awareness


Pink merchandise
Me in 2010 
in October seems fun.
Cute little trinkets
to display, and to wear,
promoting Breast Cancer Awareness.

By spring there’s the tintinnabulations of joy.
People donning pink boas,
pink shirts and pink socks.

Walking and running,
raising money for research
racing to end this disease.

Celebrating survivors,
the months passing quickly,
some 5, 10, or 20
years in remission.

Year after year
the excitement continues.
You can beat this!
You’ve got this!
Encouraging words
for each new diagnosis. 

Mastectomies, lumpectomies,
radiation and pills,
chemicals rushing through veins,
will this save me?

Treatment now ending,
nurses harmonizing in song,
“Hey now, hey now,
the chemo’s all done.”

Smiling while taking
the balloons you are given,
ending the hugs,
heading for home.

Releasing balloons
sending them into the sky
lightening a burden so heavy,
saying goodbye to your cancer.

Saving the ta-tas,
touching your tits,
sexualizes, trivializes
your cancer--it hurts!

Harming the cause of
Breast Cancer Awareness.
Down-playing how serious,
making people complacent,
keeping their money instead of donating,
paying little attention to tax payer funding,
thinking breast cancer is no longer killing.

The hushed, dying voices
of those now stage 4,
ruining the party,
knowing the reality,
not everyone is saved.

Education, elucidation
must be an integral part
of the awareness campaign.

Reaching and teaching,
so everyone knows,
more money is needed
spurring research ahead
creating more drugs,
allowing more living.

Please know that breast cancer
is not always a lump,
could be dimpling,
a firmness or thickness of skin,
any redness, nipple changes,
or discharge of yellow.

Thousands upon thousands
will die every year.
Not only women, men too!
of all different ages,
suffering—mentally, physically,
unimaginable pain.

Mechanisms inside,
mechanisms outside
of breast cancer cells
untamable, unexplainable.

Groupings of ER’s and PR’s
and HER 2 neu’s
-- estrogen, progesterone,
human epidermal growth factor 2.
Positives, or negatives, and combinations thereof
providing fuel
for an unruly beast.

Ducts and lobules, receptors,
proteins, hormones and genes,
sarcomas, inflammatory, Paget’s, Papillary,
breast cancer is not one disease.
It is many, you see.

Mutating cells from the breast break away
taking a ride on the river of life,
delivering their package of death.

Landing in organs where conditions are right
to grow, to mutate, to reproduce, to sleep.
Not dying
--like normal.

Outwitting, outmaneuvering,
unstoppable it seems.
Check point inhibitors,
immune system trickery,
blocking, resisting,
the chemicals infused.
Indefatigable, unreachable, undefeatable,
it thrives.

Breast cells in livers, in bones, in lungs, and in brains,
consuming each organ ‘til no longer working.
It’s still breast cancer;
it is always the same.

Metastatic, late stage, advanced cancer,
whatever the name,
killing all of the people
caught by surprise
--de novo—
stage 4, from the start.

Despite what is thought
early survivors don’t always survive
this wretched, disfiguring,
debilitating, insidious bane,
becoming a part
of the INCURABLES
--like me.

Hope floating away
with the helium balloons
falling and crashing,
back down to the ground,
when hell came knocking
upon my front door.

Life derailed from its course,
stepping into the darkness,
causing memories lost,
by the merciless disaster
of metastatic cancer.

Rendering me sightless,
the pain deep within,
my tears will be falling
for the rest of my days.

When earth opened up,
I stood on the edge,
falling into despair.
The party of pink
for me is now dead.

I’m terminal now,
death found in my lungs.
Threatening to take
my unfinished life.

As the disease spreads,
it continues to change
into millions of cells.
Some working one way,
others another,
in the same tumor.

Which drug will work?
Is anyone’s guess.
Why one patient responds
while another advances
is a scientist’s torturous affair.

The happiness thief,
stealing mothers, fathers,
daughters, sons,
brothers and sisters.
Killing the body
loved by another,
in one to three years.
Sometimes it takes longer
--if you’re lucky.

Can we all be survivors
wearing of pink if we choose?
Can side-effects lessen
from treatments not ending?
Can remissions remain,
no longer fearing progressions?

Our stories continuing
stepping out from the darkness,
no longer invisible,
no longer dying,
but living, YES LIVING!   
with cancer
no longer out of control.
And, maybe, just maybe,
one day living
without.

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