Western education 2013

Thursday, October 17, 2013

..... Pink October....

..... is in full swing and I just want to hide....this is the one month of the year we can see the phenomena of 'pinkwashing'.  With 30 years of fundraising and the pink ribbon awareness campaigns come many parasites who take advantage of those who want to help the cause by selling 'pink' items that in many cases serve to pad their pockets.   There is the belief that bringing awareness through the purchase of pink items is somehow helping to fund research or helping women in need..... but it is a buyer beware and many people will not read the fine print that is provided on items that are 'pink'.  Some companies will only offer 5% of the proceeds of the sale of their product up to a maximim of what usually amounts to a relatively small amount.  Once this ceiling is met, there are no laws stating that they must remove the pink ribbon.  This has opened the doors to tremendous abuse and taking advantage of well meaning people.  I have chosen to not wear the pink trinkets I purchased at a fundraiser in my first journey.  The one trinket hangs from my mirror and with its now exposed copper under the shiny coating.... it is symbolic of the cancer lurking under my pink skin.  Breast Cancer is anything but sexy and now this year, there are a few more 'awareness' campaigns such as 'save the tatas' and 'motorboating breasts' and 'I love boobies' which are disappointingly disrespectful of those women who no longer have breasts from the cancer that has threatened to take their lives.  If a campaign truly was putting the best interests of the women they say they are fundraising for, they would respectfully run them with a deep sensitivity for their journey.  For those of us with a metastasis, the shine of pink has tarnished like the cheap trinkets offered by many fundraisers..... don't get me wrong, I am grateful for the desire for so many to help those of us going through the journey and those about to get a diagnosis this year..... please spend your hard earned money directly to research or support a woman you know by providing a cleaning service or bringing dinner. Somewhere along the way, we have learned to expect something in return for donating money, perhaps just knowing that every cent you donated will go towards a brighter future when we no longer have to fundraise.  I look forward to November when I will hopefully be done my chemo treatments and move forward with my life..... and the next awareness campaign of movember.... which I do support without expecting to receive a plastic mustache to hang on my rear view mirror...... For my friend who is a colon cancer survivor.... I am still on the fence about hanging a plastic poop or car 'freshener' on my car air vents to signify a reminder to get a semi annual colonoscopy.  My rearview mirror might not actually be able to accomodate the plastic nuts for testicular cancer..... I guess you get the point....

Today I am at a CT scan appointment at UH.  It is Thursday, I have called the dentist office before getting ready to head out to the CT scan.  I am on hold so I am watching a quick video on FB which surprise scary ending has me screaming into the phone just as the secretary picks up the phone..... she is tenative as she asks me what she can do to help me.  I can sense in her voice that she wants to asks me what is going on but  I don't miss a beat as I ask her to book Lydia for a pre-determination for braces.  I am hoping that the dental insurance I have signed up for at work will kick in before we head into the summer break and then pick up again in the fall.  We will be living on a shoestring budget by then.....

I am afraid of the IV and the tech comes out to speak to me.  She is gentle and we talk about using the vein that has begun to harden in the crook of my elbow.  She says she will try it and if it doesn't work then she will look to finding another vein.  She is successful but before she can hook up the saline syringe the blood is running out and takes us both by surprise.  She asks me if I am on blood thinners and I am not.  She pushes a second saline syringe into the IV port.  Well that is certainly a first.... I look up and I can feel the sting of the IV where it entered and the emotions begin to well up quickly and unexpectedly.  I assure her that I am fine..... just that I have had enough pokes and prods.  I take a deep breath...and am relieved that this part is over.  She is still mopping up the blood from my forearm with a gauze and then washes it down with alcohol swabs.  She looks into my eyes and says that I have the right to be emotional because no one knows what I am really going through.  Some days I don't either.  There have been some very trying days along this journey but I am truly grateful that I am still journeying and still with my family.  

I will have to scoop in a few teaspoons worth of the throat contrast in the form of what has the consistancy of facial cream in a small plastic pot.  The tech lets me know that the lady before me thought it tasted good??  Good grief!!!  I choke the 3 teaspoonfuls down and rotate my feet to face the scanner.  The tech will click the IV for contrast into the IV line in my right arm.  The first scan will be done without contrast and the consequent scans will be done within seconds of the contrast running through.  A prickly warm sensation fills the arm and just as quickly is felt in the bladder.  I always think I have peed myself but the sensation goes as quickly as it came.  The whole proceedure only takes about 10 minutes.  Max is in the waiting room doing a puzzle on his iPad and finishes up as I return to the cubicle to change out of the gown I have borrowed for the proceedure.  I just want to leave but have to hold down on the vein for 10 minutes to make sure it closes OK.  When I go to change I push the door closed and wow, that door looked heavier than it was and I startled everyone in the waiting room when it slammed hard against the door jamb.... oh dear!!!

A lunch date with my husband at Jack Astors and a quick run into the local Chapters store afterwards completes our morning errands. I love buying books for the kids as a treat and they are excited when they come home to find their treasures on the counter.  They are not spoiled and appreciate the occasional surprises,  They are great kids who always try to help us.  

I should mention that Mary came to sit in on a class last week. I conduct lectures on Wednesday and she tucked herself into a desk off to the side of the classroom.  She is a retired VP at the highschool I taught at during my practicum and a true survivor.  She likes how I engage the students and that means a lot to me. I admire her and always look forward to her visits. Thank you for travelling to see me. xoxo My journey has put me in touch with some truly amazing people who have touched my soul with their own life journeys.  My friend Adrienne, who teaches at the University will come and visit with me in one of my labs to see how much fun we have.  

Today was hysterically funny in class!!  One late student walked right in front of me as I was lecturing so I simply walked with him to his seat in the back as I continued to lecture.  I sat beside him and continued.  The class thought that was marvelous and offered a rousing clapping for each consecutive late student.  For the one chatting in the back, I sat beside him and asked him why he was talking.... he quieted down and stayed quiet for the remainder of the class.  It was a good humour break in a long week.  They took notes and asked great questions as they head into their first test of the semester.

There have been so many really and truly great and wonderful people who have come into my life.  some of them I have yet to meet.  One of them, whom has been so supportive of Megan (met and connected during a chemo at the cancer unit 4 years ago) and I since our first cancer journey, has been through so much and recently lost another family member.  I have vowed to make the time when I have done my next chemo to get together and have lunch.... there are many hugs waiting Reinhart when I finally get to meet him face to face.  I am truly blessed.  I dedicate this blog to all my friends who have been through so much and yet, have the strength to go on and show support despite the difficult path they sometimes travel on.  I am sending love and hugs.

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