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Fighting Breast Cancer

By Tig2 ·
We have just celebrated Mother?s Day. Where I live that is also the day that we run and walk the ?Race for a Cure? to benefit the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Another event upcoming- again in my area anyway, is the Breast Cancer 3 Day, a 60 mile walk with the intent of raising awareness of breast cancer and, of course, raising funds. It is sponsored by the National Philanthropic Trust and benefits the Komen as well as the NPT?s ongoing breast cancer research.

Today I walked the Komen. In August, I will walk the Breast Cancer 3-Day. As a survivor. Scary- at least to me.

What has me on my personal soapbox is two-fold. First that these organisations have been so bombarded by people wanting to participate but not wanting to take on the more distasteful task of fund-raising that the organisations have been forced to take the step of setting registration requirements- $25 for the Komen, $90 for the 3 Day in order to insure that they do not experience losses. In the case of the 3 Day, there is also a fund-raising minimum requirement, fully disclosed up-front.

What irritates me is that folks are choosing to participate in the ?cool event? rather than embracing the goals that the sponsors are promoting. And that has resulted in losses and break evens for both event organisers.

When I made the decision to participate in the 3 Day, it was with the knowledge that I would be required to do two things- raise a minimum of $2200 and increase my endurance to insure that I was physically capable of walking 20 miles a day for three consecutive days. Truthfully, my last tan was acquired from too many hours in front of a monitor. I can now manage a 10+ mile walk without killing myself. And I have 14 weeks of training left to go. The litmus test will be when I get to the 18 mile/15 mile back to back walks.

Raising $2200 was never my goal. Raising $5000 IS- based on an average for a single chemotherapy treatment for an uninsured/underinsured individual. I am halfway there.

The focus of events like these is to raise AWARENESS and funds to benefit those organisations that are committed to finding a cure to a VERY curable disease. I am daily amazed by the number of women who tell me that they have NEVER done a self exam. Or that thought that since there is no family history, they aren?t at risk. Or tell me that they would rather slit their wrists than live with the loss of a breast. Or the men who tell me that they don?t have to worry about it- men don?t get breast cancer.

Holy Moley people! Is this really indicative of the thoughts people have about breast cancer??? More than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year and more than 40,000 American women and MEN will lose their lives to the disease. Yes, American. We KNOW that Asian communities are hit harder. It just hasn?t been fully quantified. One person is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes. Every 13 minutes, the disease claims another life in the United States. If you are interested in learning more about the disease, go to

The statistics are overwhelming. Even more so when you consider that there is the face of a man or woman behind every single number.

I have been hearing about the importance of self exam and diligence in this regard for over 20 years. I find it hard to believe that we are still so uninformed.

I don?t care if you are male or female, belong to a risk category, would really rather not consider it. Take a moment, find out how the disease can impact you, find out how to mitigate your risk. Choose to communicate that STOPPING the STOPPABLE is important to you.

The reason this ended up in discussion instead of being a blog is that I am interested in hearing your opinions. Why is it that the only support traction that these organizations can get is being the ?cool event?? What preconceived notions hang out in the back of your brain about breast cancer? What can you choose to do that will help to increase someone else?s awareness? ARE you willing to increase someone else?s awareness???

I can tell you one of the reactions I have gotten that I was totally unprepared for. In conversations with people I have known or worked with for several years, I discovered that my peer was having the conversation with my bust line. A couple of people were honest enough to ask which one isn?t real. Curiosity kinda misplaced if you ask me?

If you have feedback that you feel you don?t want public, please feel free to PM me. If there is additional information that you would like, also PM me- I have all sorts of fact links.

Please- take a moment for awareness. This disease does not have to claim more lives.

I believe that a committed group of men and women can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that has.
Margaret Mead

Anyone interested in supporting either of these organisations, please PM me for details. I don?t think that it is appropriate to use this site for fund raising efforts so have chosen to not provide direct links.

Editied for sanity and to prove to myself that I am not barking. Thank you for your patience :)

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And the fight is on

by jdclyde In reply to Fighting Breast Cancer

A good write Tig. I was waiting for a pm on this?

Exams, serious as a heart attack, yet still not done. People just are too afraid of knowing it seems like.

Most of my time has been to the Cancer Society in general, but do support ALL branches of research.

I didn't know about the M&M program for breast cancer until about four months after it was over.

Good luck with your walk. Hope the weather is good. Hard to get a good turnout when it is raining.

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ARRRGH! Rain!!!

by Tig2 In reply to And the fight is on

So I walked 10 miles on Saturday. In a track suit and multiple tee-shirts, and "temporaray rain gear".


The hard walk is in August (60 miles)- even in the Midwest, we MIGHT get decent weather. But training in the rain is the PITS!!!

You're right. No one wants to know. But cancer is most curable when found early- the earlier the better.

I think that Breast Cancer got singled out at about the same time that it was realised that no one will talk about it. They are an "element of one's sexuality" after all. And this is the hardest part.

When I lost one, I assumed that I would never again have a personal life. I was wrong, but it was very hard. Still is. My partner is a great guy and had been behind everything I do 100%. I still feel guilty for introducing him to something he never had to deal with before me. That's tough.

It rained cats and dogs today. An estimated 50,000 people came out to walk, anyway. It was great to be able to see the people who want to fight this disease. If you are interested, I have pictures- just awesome.

And I thought I did send you the file via pm- Spam filter??? Always gets me.

If you want to be on the front edge of what is happening, let me know. I always find out...

Thanks JD. Great to hear encouragement from a friend.

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At least you were moving

by jdclyde In reply to ARRRGH! Rain!!!

Boys had soccer game, so I had to SIT in the rain....

So, are you going to have a running tally of how close you get to your goal?

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Not sure if moving was so great...

by Tig2 In reply to At least you were moving

I have come to understand that temporary rain gear means "glorified garbage bag". I don't know that moving was so great but I don't know that sitting in it is any better...

I will very cheerfully post a running tally. As of this morning, the Komen raised $500 between my partner and I. I have raised $2351 for the 3 Day. I am $2649 away from goal. The total for the Komen sits t $2.2M and they are still counting- Rock for the Cure presented $12,000 yesterday but will run the campaign until the end of the month so their final check will be larger.

The greatest thing was seeing the vast number of folks that showed up to do the walk. We were cold and wet but we WALKED! The downside was that after walking 5K we still had another 5K to walk to get all the training miles in. *sigh* At least we were already wet!

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It's hard to realize that this is still not taken seriously enough.

by sleepin'dawg In reply to Fighting Breast Cancer

Maybe it is a little different in the US but in Canada the survival rate for breast cancer after 1O years is reaching 90% and radical mastectomy is no longer the treatment of choice. A Dr. Margolies has led the way , in Montreal, of perfoming lumpectomies and has been amazingly successful with survival rates well over the twenty year mark. The next option is simple mastectomy, the feeling being that the less invasive the procedure the greater the rate of long term survival.

More attention needs to be paid to HRT in the treatment of Menopause as well as the use of Tamoxifen for estrogen blocking tratment of breast cancer. If Tamoxifen treatment is being taken, the patient needs to consult her gynecologist twice yearly, due to the increased risk of cervical cancer.

I am sorry to be so blunt with this warning but see no other way of expressing it politely. Too many women have successfully survived breast cancer and underwent Tamoxifin treatment only to succumb to cervical cancer.

The thing with cancer, all cancers, is to stop treating the symptoms and demand treatments that prevent the disease so that perhaps one day we will be able to view cancer the same way we regard smallpox.

Dawg ]:)

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Dawg, as I do hope the same

by rob mekel In reply to It's hard to realize that ...

There is quite a difference between smallpox and cancer. As smallpox is due to a virus (Variola major/minor) cancer is a mankind owned cell that (can) evolves to a life threatening disease.
That is why there can't be an overall healing proces that could eleminate cancer.
As much as I do hate that that isn't possible I do hope that there will be enough money to do the right research and help people to cure from cancer. This is why we (me and my gf) do support the Dutch KWF (Koningin Wilhelmina Fonds) that supports all cancer-research in the Netherlands. This not only because of the loss of my GF's sister to breastcancer and her own recovering from a chondrosarcoom, what is a cartilage cancer. But what is more important, the early discovering of a cancer and supporting the research on this as early discovering gives much more a chance to survive the disease.

And yes I do hope that once we can see to cancer as we do see smallpox, as being a non killing disease.


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And won't be for awhile, I'm afraid

by Tig2 In reply to It's hard to realize that ...

Without question, lumpectomy has improved tremendously a woman's ability to survive and to rebuild in a shorter period. This has been a huge break-through as it reduces the possiblity of a woman chosing to not have life saving surgery because of disfigurement.

I agree, the life span has dramatically increased. But early detection is still the best way to that longer life span. Believe it or not- there is a rise in women choosing prophylactic mastectomy- choosing life over having breasts. But the scars are more than skin deep.

I think that part of the driver is in how women think they are perceived. I know for me, I was single when my little saga started and I assumed that I would be so forever, especially after surgery. I still have a difficult time with being nude. I spent almost three years in denial so I am not really surprised that I am still having "issues".

We need to understand that our bodies do not define us. And we need to stop building and supporting a society that requires our bodies to define us. My skills, knowledge, abilities, spirit have NOTHING whatsoever to do with how I appear. Those things are elemental to WHAT I AM. But that lesson took many years to learn. And truthfully, I am still learning.

You are absolutely correct. My surgeon keeps telling me that he "practices" medicine. In his words, "I'll let you know when I have it perfect". The drugs available today pose all kinds of risks. You must be informed about your choices as well as the risks associated with them. And then take the action required to mitigate the risk. I don't like the quarterly mammograms or the battery of other tests that I must take routinely in order to fight this. But I do it.

Never be sorry about being blunt. I appreciate and value your input BECAUSE you are blunt. It is good to know that mine is not the only voice in this particular "howl". In order to cure it, we MUST be able to say it. I think that GG would agree with me on this.

I spent some time on this, not wanting to just **** off your very considered comments.

I would like to see the day when preventable cancers are a thing of the past. I hope...

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I do agree, Tig2

by gadgetgirl In reply to And won't be for awhile, ...


If we don't howl, we don't get noticed. If we don't do it, who will?? It's amazing the number of people who are slightly startled by my "casual" use of the word "cancer".

If you think back a few years, "cancer" was almost a swear word in its' own right - remember when John Wayne was diagnosed? (sorry, big fan) his way of telling his family about it was not that he had cancer, he had "The Big C". My mother told me my grandfather was dying by saying he had " You Know What"; my paternal grandmothers' doctor told her she had "The C Word". How many ways were they trying to hide this?

I was personally taken to task (or, rather, the attempt was made) when my daughters friends mother displayed absolute disgust that I had told my daughter, at the age of 12, that I had had cervical cancer. How dare I? At her age? Was I trying to frighten her? Would I die early? Would she? She totally missed the point that as a daughter, she needed to know the medical history, well in advance of womanhood, to enable her to make the correct decisions on, for example, types of contraception, sanitary products, etc., not to mention the importance of smears; in her case, with my medical history, sooner rather than later. Needless to say, the person who tried to tear me off a strip ended up in shreds herself.

Sorry that ended up as a bit of a rant, but I think by now that you know this is another of my few, but exceptionally high soap boxes.

Thanks for the sound off, Tig2.

~steps down from box, trips, falls, giggles~


Edited: because ranting makes my spooling go reel weeerd

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GG, You do my heart good

by Tig2 In reply to I do agree, Tig2

Believe it or not, even in this "enlightened" age, I still get crap from some people because I have gotten so PO'd about feeling like I had to hide in a closet. I am sick of feeling like I can't have a voice about something that changed my life. I am tired of feeling like a freak because something out of my control took a swipe.


I am so sorry that some idiot thought you were being inappropriate because your daughter was given key information BY YOU- the only person capable of giving her the info she needs- because of THEIR hang ups. That woman needs a grip, followed shortly by a clue, if you ask me. Nice to know that you gave her one.

I found a pink ribbon graphic on line that I believe was used in Canada that reads "Breast Cancer, Say It, Cure It, D@mn It!" About right if you ask me. It is time for the stigma to go away and unfortunately, no matter how many races, walks, telethons, whatever- no matter how "accepted" the awareness ribbons are- the stigma is still there. "You have/had cancer? What's wrong with you?" Or like my earlier observation- people now have conversations with my breasts- which one isn't real? As if that is important.

Even on the team I am walking with I get some of it- one woman is just so thrilled about the way a friend of hers is dealing with her cancer- "And she can have reconstruction right away and she is so excited to be able to choose her breasts!" Guess what? She won't be excited by the mastectomy scars that run through them. And the idiot woman (my team mate- I'm embarassed now) spouting this doesn't understand that her friend is probably NOT excited- she's likely scared out of her mind.

And reconstruction is a subject that I had best stay WELL away from. I will only go as far as this- It isn't an option available to everyone. For some people, it isn't a choice.

You keep ranting, GG. We need the voices of strong, intellegent women to break some of this down. From a casual view, we may look enlightened. We're not. The only break-through is that "The C Word" means something a tad different...

Edited because I always leave typos when I am ranting...

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Good for you, Tig2

by gadgetgirl In reply to Fighting Breast Cancer

I'm in the UK - we have various things like this, including the Race For Life. I totally agree with what you're saying in your OP - a lot of people think it's clever to get a medal at the end of the race; they don't think it's that good to actually raise money at the same time... Some idiots even take a place which they have no intention of using, so use up valuable resources that way.


Having had a family, both close and extended, who have been riddled with cancer in some shape or form, just a small thanks for me for what you're doing. I know you're specifying breast cancer, but any form of cancer needs awareness campaigns and funding.

My cousin had a mastectomy in November, and, under the circumstances, is doing quite well. She has been expecting this for a while; not because of not doing self tests etc., but because she had lymphoid carcenoma in her teens. She was warned then that she was at high risk. She's still not back to work, (teaching assistant) but is attending physio and keeping herself occupied by spending all her hubby's money on Internet Shopping.....!!

I've been there and done that, too, but not with breast cancer - cervical cancer, twice. That's the "leave your dignity on the doorstep on the way in, and collect it again on the way out" type. (I know every woman reading that will know exactly what I mean ) Because of arthritis, I can't do sports etc., therefore I'm restricted in ways to raise funds. So, I opted to join the carcenoma research group at my local hospital, in order to help define the genetics of different types of cancer. I've been part of this for almost 25 years - they finally wound up the research in December last year.

As for conversations to the bust line - hey, T2, try being five foot tall with a "substantial" chest size........ I can give men a crick in the neck most days!!!

Keep up the good work, and keep us informed of your current tally.

Your sanity is fine, you're not barking, you're raising awareness. The same applies from me to any peers - pm me if you need info on cervical cancer.

Thanks for the thread Tig2.


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