Friday, October 30, 2009

Boobbook. . . I Thought It Was Facebook??

I have to say I was unaware that women are joining Facebook to show off their boobs and men are only on there to check them out.   This  according to actor Kevin Connolly is the reason Facebook should just be called Boobbook.  I thought I was on there to meet up with friends and network.  But alas I was wrong.  
 Celebrities like Jack Black and Kevin Connolly are starring in ads to raise breast cancer awareness as part of the Men For Women Now Campaign.  If you haven't seen these ads head over there and check them out.  In one ad Jack Black is shoving his man boob into a mammo machine to show just how "easy" it is.  In another ad Kevin Connolly is asking  men to save some boobs cause "who doesn't love boobs right?"
Who cares about saving the woman lets just save some boobs cause that is the only part of a woman that matters right?  Maybe I am just sensitive about this subject but I am disappointed that some people feel that the only way to get men on the bandwagon to support women with breast cancer is to promote saving the body part in trouble vs the woman.  Women are more than their breasts.  To  face losing one is such a hit to your self-esteem and sexuality.  But it just seems to go along with how women have been exploited by men for many years.  

I like to believe that men are better than that and smarter.  I look forward to the day a campaign to raise breast cancer awareness led by men does not involve talking about just saving the boobs!

Have you seen these ads?  What do you think?  Do you think there is a better way to get the message across to men without exploiting women's breasts?  Are you sensitive to these types of ads?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do You Feel Exploited By The Pink Ribbon Campaign??

I read a recent article in the Boston Globe titled "Sick of Pink" and it got me to thinking.  I began to wonder how many survivors felt exploited by the pink ribbon campaign and dread the month of October as I have begun to do in recent years.  It is no secret for those that read this blog how I have questioned the motivation of some companies who slap the pink ribbon on their products. I do feel exploited as a survivor and think that some companies use the pink ribbon to increase their sales.  Let's face it...the pink ribbon is much prettier to look at than the reality of breast cancer.  Some of the products are so ridiculous it makes me laugh at times.  Ranging from the pink snuggie, smartwater, sharpie pens, and recently this year the pink swiffer it has gotten to be out of control.  

Some companies even make you go through hoops to get that minimal donation from purchasing their product to the bc organization they support.  I recently found out that when you buy a pink swiffer the company will donate a whopping 2 cents and that is only after the consumer sends in a coupon.  There's a nice loophole.  Spend 44 cents to donate 2 cents if you even remember to mail it in.  At that point the consumer should just donate directly to the organization of their choice and call it a day.  

And then there's Yoplait who for years included the hormone RBST in their yogurt which has been linked to breast cancer.  I am glad that Yoplait has cleaned up the cows they are getting the milk from and are now hormone free but why do you have to require the consumer to mail in the lids?  More leg work for the consumer and stamps to waste for a 10 cent donation.  

To close this rant I have saved  Jingle Jugs for last which are posted in the above images.   Jingle Jugs are plastic breasts mounted on wood that jiggle to music picked by the consumer and they even have  a slogan for breast cancer month..."Jingle Jugs For Life".   How much more tasteless and raunchy can you get?  A company that is exploiting women's breasts and then hoping to use that to cash in on the cause marketing frenzy.  As a survivor this is just offensive to me.  I am all for raising money for the cause but to me I would rather pick the organization and donate money directly to them.  

As a survivor do ever feel exploited by the pink ribbon campaign?  Do you question the motivation of some companies who slap the ribbon on their product?  Do you purchase pink products or would you rather donate money directly to the organization you choose?  If you are not a survivor how do you feel about cause marketing during breast cancer awareness month?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Posing Topless After Breast Cancer. . . Would You Do It?

I came upon this story on MSNBC about a 49 year old UK woman who turned down Playboy 30 years earlier and recently posed nude after her mastectomy and reconstruction. She is wanting to raise awareness and give hope to other survivors. This got me to thinking about whether or not seeing another woman's breast cancer scars is necessarily the best way to do that.

A couple of years ago I was contacted by a freelance writer who was working on an article about young survivors who had breast reconstruction and wanted to share the stories of how they felt about their breast cancer scars. I gladly went through the interview and was excited to be able to share my emotional experience. My excitement quickly turned to anxiety when I found out after the fact that the writer wanted me to pose topless for the article. I decided not to do it. I had enough trouble looking at myself in the mirror and just wouldn't feel comfortable sharing that image with strangers who would be seeing my scarred boobs at their local newsstand. Now that is not to judge those who do choose to do just that. It was not the right choice for me. And I also question other than the shock factor to sell magazines how much that could help other women. To me I felt as though the story and emotion I could bring forth through words could help just as much.

I was very disappointed to find out that said writer decided to not include my story in her article because I would not pose topless. It made me feel as though my story was not as important as the shocking boob images she wanted to include possibly to garner attention for her article. I couldn't help but wonder whether other survivors felt the same. It made me wonder whether seeing those types of photos was crucial to raising awarness and whether it could give hope to other women with breast cancer. I felt as though it was exploiting breast cancer survivors just as magazines like Playboy have exploited women for many years. I think that a woman choosing to pose topless after cancer and using it as she sees fit is a personal choice however when magazines seek out survivors to pose topless for their articles it just comes off exploitative to me.

During breast cancer month I have see many a glossy with topless photos of women with breast cancer and wonder if it is really benefiting other women or serving to increasing sales for that magazine. If a woman gets diagnosed with breast cancer she will most likely see a plastic surgeon who will gladly show her before and after shots of women who have had mastectomies and reconstruction. That is what my doctor did for me. I just don't think it needs to be in a magazine at the local newsstand.

Would you ever pose topless after breast cancer? Do you think that topless photos of survivors gives others hope? Do you feel as though magazines are exploiting breast cancer survivors by doing this? What do you think motivated this woman to pose nude after she had breast cancer?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

So This Is What It's Come To?? How Far Would You Go For Health Insurance??

Have you all heard this story about the husband who joined the army for 4 years to get health insurance for his wife who has ovarian cancer?  It makes me feel sad that he had to go to those lengths just for insurance coverage.  Now he will have to be away from his family for years while his wife is going through treatment for such a devestating disease.  Bill Caudle was laid off from the company he had worked at for 20 years due and could no longer afford health insurance for his family.  His wife is currently going through chemo for ovarian cancer.  Now she will have to be left without the support of her life partner during one of the most awful times of her life.  Like having cancer isn't stressful enough.   It should never have come to this.  

I was very lucky to have had good health insurance 8 years ago during my surgery and treatment for breast cancer.  These days my insurance is not accepted at the facility I choose to go to for my followup visits and 2 years ago my annual breast MRI showed a spot which lead to a biopsy costing about 12k.  My insurance covered 70 percent of what they thought the facility should charge and I had to pick up the tab for the other 30 percent plus the difference.  This  took me many months to pay off.  Of course the most important thing was the benign biopsy results however the added stress of medical bills is enough to make you crazy.  

While I was going through my treatment I accumulated a pile of bills and insurance statements I couldn't even stand to look at because it would spin me into a panic attack.  I was lost in a daze of surgery, chemo, and trying to get myself to work everyday so I could keep my insurance.  At times I felt like I needed someone to sift through all my paperwork and help me decipher it all.  Through not paying attention I actually screwed myself out of 4 thousand in charges for breast reconstruction that should have been covered.  I found it too late and of course missed the time frame to file a grievance.  And now because of my cancer history I have to be careful not to let my insurance lapse because I would have to wait months to begin new coverage.  

Check out the article about Bill Caudle and share your thoughts here...

Did you have insurance coverage during your illness?  Have you ever had to go to great lengths to get health insurance?  What do you think about this husband joining the army for the health care coverage?  

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Blogging For Boobs

I am guest bloggin today over at Talkin With Teenie for her first annual Blogging For Boobs Breast Bash 2009.   Tina is the daughter of a breast cancer survivor and is having guest bloggers share their breast cancer stories all month long to raise awareness and funds to support those with breast cancer.  I am sharing my own story about dating with cancer and also giving away a copy of my book Breastless in the City.  

So head over to her blog, check out my post and please share the link!

Are you single and going through cancer?  If so are you continuing to date?  What has that experience been like?  Has your cancer diagnosis stopped you from continuing in the dating scene?  

Friday, October 9, 2009

Secretly Wishing You Had Breast Cancer???

This picture is from Post Secret.  My first thought was WTF?!!  And then I got angry.  As a breast cancer survivor I am especially appalled that any normal healthy person would ever wish for a disease that is killing young women!  Breast cancer is NOT the way to get skinny and get a boob job!!  How about trying diet and exercise!  That is the healthier way to go about it without risking death! 

I had a mastectomy and TRAM flap reconstruction where they took a piece of belly fat and muscle to make a new breast.  It was 10 hours of surgery that I was afraid I would never wake up from.  When I finally did I wished I hadn't I was in so much pain.  Although I joke about getting a "free tummy tuck"  humor is my way of dealing with the emotional pain and fear I live with as a cancer survivor.   I feel as though I have earned that right.

I think the person who wrote this should spend some time with chemo patients who are going bald, vomiting, in early menopause,  have chemobrain and then decide if breast cancer still looks enticing.  Then take a look at a young woman that has just had that so called boob job with scars, a fake nipple, and no sensation left in that breast and see what you think.

I would never wish breast cancer on my worst enemy nor would I ever wish it on myself.  Although I try to take away the positives from a bad experience like how stronger I am from having gone through it, a postive has never been my fake left boob or the huge scar running across my belly that I have to see every day when I look in the mirror.  A constant daily reminder of what was taken away because of cancer.

Have you seen this pic?  What do you think?  Does it make you angry?  What would you tell this person if you had the chance?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breast Cancer PSA or Beer Commercial?

Have any of you seen this new "Save the Boobs" ad campaign? I was totally out of the loop until the other day when I read a blog by my friend and fellow cancer survivor Kairol Rosenthal. She is the author of Everything Changes: The Insider's Guide to Cancer in Your 20's and 30's a fabulous book for young adults with cancer. Her post "Using Sex to Sell Breast Cancer" is worth a read.

I got so fired up about it that I wanted to share my opinion of it her on my own blog. My first thought was that it came across more like a beer commercial rather than an ad to raise breast cancer awareness. As a young woman who dated through breast cancer treatment I was angered by how it was soley focused on gawking on a young woman's boobs. It actually was a reminder of what I was up against while dating bald and boobless! It is all about the boobs and directed at young men. It is sending the message that if you still want to be sexy and gawked at by men you better hold on to your most important asset...your boobs. So what then is a young woman to do when she is faced with losing one or both? Is she left to feel that she will never be worthy without her breast?

I feel like there already is too much out there affecting young women with regards to body image and self-esteem. All of the size 0 girls in magazines who's images have been air brushed bombard us each day at newsstands and bookstores. I don't think that a young woman strutting her stuff and bouncing her boobs in a video will bring awareness to the plight of young women with breast cancer. I am sure that young men will enjoy watching it but they may be the only ones.

Have you seen this ad? What do you think? Do you think this will help increase breast cancer awareness?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Do You Think Before You Pink??

Pink has always been my favorite color ever since I was a little girl.  My room was painted pink, I had pink bedding on my white canopy bed, and when I got older pink was my favorite choice for nail polish and lipstick.  Little did I know that when I was in my thirties I would never look at that color the same again.  Although it is still my favorite I have to say that during October I get sick of seeing it on almost every product from bottled water to Sharpie highlighter pens. 

As a breast cancer survivor I don't want to come off as ungrateful or bitchy about the bc awareness campaign.  Its just that I can't help but wonder as I do every year if some companies tag themselves with that pink ribbon to increase their sales.  That is why I was glad to find out about a campaign looking out for just that.  Its called Think Before You Pink.  A project of Breast Cancer Action, it was launched in 2002 in response to an increasing concern about the huge number of pink ribbon products and promotions on the market.

This campaign also focuses on what they call "Pink Washers".  These are companies that say they care about breast cancer and promote its awareness but produce products that are linked to the disease!  Many cosmetic companies put out products with known carcinogens in the ingredients that have been linked to cancer.  This is of special interest to me as I try to avoid using products with bad stuff such as parabens and other chemicals/toxins.  

Something else to consider is where the money is going.  If you are a young adult survivor is the money from that product going to organizations that support your age group?  I say to ensure your money goes where you want it to the best way is to donate directly to that organization.

Be sure to check out this campaign and let me know what you guys think!

Do you ever think before you buy pink products?  Do you ever get tired of seeing the pink ribbon slapped on tons of products?  Ever think about where the money goes?