My girlfriend and I used to have four breasts between us. Then 16 years ago, we lost one. Then another last year. As of December 21, we are down to one.
Quite honestly, breast cancer is not the worst thing that ever happened to me, but it is painful, time consuming and expensive. I doubt this cancer is going to kill me―though several of my friends have not been so lucky.
Because I had weeks to sit around and think about it, I connected even more dots than the last time I blogged about this topic. My cancers were caused by all the toxic chemicals I’ve encountered in my lifetime. As a woman, I’m at a huge disadvantage in a toxic world. As one of my radiologists said to me “I hate to break it to you, but breasts are mostly fat.” Get it? Fat = storage. My breasts were like bank accounts for a ready flow of chemical cash.
Okay, that’s gross, but do you want to hear something super ironic? This from Barbara Ehrenreich in her brutal essay “Welcome to Cancerland”―one chemical company that manufactures carcinogenic pesticides is the same company that makes one of the most common treatments for breast cancer. Causing and curing cancer―flip sides of the same profit.
Profit. Corporate greed. Follow the thread.
Sitting in twelve clinic waiting rooms last month, I also got a big dose of magazine popular culture. All I can say is &^@*$. One ridiculous manifestation of a woman’s image after another selling absolutely nothing that anyone really needs. Profitable images. That’s all. Profit. And again women are paying the price.
Enough diagnosis. Let’s get on to the treatment plan.
The main thing I want to say about this is that there is absolutely NOTHING you can do as one lone individual to create the level of change our world needs. Individual actions serve as a reminder of the immediacy of the problem, but they don’t solve it.
The other main thing I want to say is that you as an individual are the ONLY person who can create the change our world so desperately needs. Yes. You. And you. And you. All of us―together.
Editor’s note: We are remembering Ellen Pence, who died last week of breast cancer. We note with sadness our growing losses.