Beyond pink

By Laura Wells, Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer Fighter

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I found it hard to embrace the “Pink Ribbon” and all it stood for.  I was not happy to be joining the club, but I was also uncomfortable with becoming an instant advocate for a cause, simply because I would now benefit from it.  It seemed selfish and hypocritical.

I began to truly identify with “Pink,” when I recurred at stage IV, for I would have breast cancer forever, be in treatment for life.  I finally, fully embraced “pink.”

Ironically, with advanced, metastatic disease, all the great things “pink” stood for, no longer applied to me.  I was beyond “prevention,” beyond “cure,” beyond “survivorship,” beyond “pink.”

I learned that many women feel left out, each October, during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, knowing our stories will not be told.  No one will hear of the stage IV women who had died that year, except perhaps, the rare celebrity, or as a matter of statistics.

But, the average metastatic woman will be nowhere. There will be no article about her in the newspaper, no story on the news.  There will be no TV special, introducing the world to a lifetime patient, who gets up every day, facing constant tests and treatment forever.  We will not hear of the fear that an aching back means bone involvement, which causes a woman to start literally breaking, or the worry that a headache may be caused by brain involvement, and not merely stress.  There will be no speakers, at the numerous awareness walks, to tell about conversations with their children, which begin with, “Will you still be here when…?”

The stories will be of “survivors”, women diagnosed “early”, and  “cured”.  We will hear about famous women who fought the earliest stage cancers and SURVIVED.  And the speakers at the walks will promote awareness, and prevention, and survivorship.

I understand the need for this cheerfulness, and these stories of survivorship.  I know how important, how necessary it is to be told that, especially in your case, there is hope for a cure.

But, I am beyond that definition of hope.  My hope is for clean scans, and new treatments that work so well, I am still alive to attend my daughters’ weddings and meet my grandchildren.  I hope to put off as long as possible, leaving behind a husband, who is grieving the loss of his wife.

My breast cancer is no longer just pink.  It now, includes gray, the color of nothing – the nowhere land where I live, no longer a survivor, but a fighter, never giving in, never giving up.  And, black, the color of death, for surely, one day, my fight will end.

And the problem with “pink” is simply that, with all the awareness it generates, no one is aware of stage IV cancer, the cancer that kills.  And no one is prepared to join this club, which is beyond pink, because it will not be spoken of, for yet another year.

Laura Wells lives in Costa Mesa, CA, with her husband and two of her three daughters. She is writing a book about her experiences with metastatic disease and working to raise awareness of the unique needs of metastatic breast cancer patients. She blogs at www.Mystage4life.blogspot.com.

Dr. Miller has his doctorate in clinical psychology and is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine where he is the Director of the Office of Integrated Healthcare Research and Policy. His core task is to integrate mental health across all three of the department’s core mission areas: clinical, education, and research. Opinions expressed here are his own and not those of his employer.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/ennisoconnor Marie Ennis O’Connor

    Laura, you have touched on something that many of us in the breast cancer community feel strongly about too. You might be interested to read this essay on the pinkifaction of breast cancer, which was written by a group of breast cancer advocates http://journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com/2011/02/15/miss-pink-elegance/

  • Kennebec

    Thanks, Laura, for this serious note. While my cancer is ovarian (think teal) I share your thoughts. I belong to an online forum of ovarian patients and many/most of us are stage III or IV. Members often rejoice at having clean scans and call it “remission”, but each time I see “remission” I know it is most likely not true remission…just a temporary reprieve from ongoing chemo, one drug after another. When ovarians have “teal” events, we pray for research that will give us early detection…early enough that there never again need be a stage III or IV.
    P.S. We are not unaware of our breast cancer sisters. Some of my fellow ovarians have breast cancer as well. During clinic visits I’ve personally become acquainted with stage IV breast cancer women. I know that, in spite of the success stories, the “pink” struggle is just as serious as the “teal”.
    Bless you!

  • Nancy’s Point

    Laura, I hear you about the “pink.” It does often feel as if those with the greatest need for support are the ones most often left out. Something is terribly wrong with this picture. Thanks for speaking out. I’m listening, as are many others. The voices of those living with metastatic breast cancer have been ignored for too long. We need so much more than pink ribbons.
    http://www.nancyspoint.com

  • Stephanie Zimmerman

    Laura,

    myHeart would love to tell your story through our blog as so much of what of those of you with metastatic breast cancer feel “beyond pink, beyond cure, beyond survivorship” resonates with those of us who have survived childhood cancers, yet now face the late effects such as heart failure requiring transplantation as in my case.

    Please let me know if myHeart, yourHands can help give those living the daily of metastatic breast cancer a voice in this go pink world.

    ever so simply
    Stephanie Zimmerman

    • Laura Wells

      Of course. I visited your website briefly. I saw your stats about ongoing health problems. Your cure isn’t quite cure, either, but extra life is worth the suffering, isn’t it. Good luck.

  • Deb D.

    You write a very compelling post, Laura. On behalf of my mother who passed away from cancer last December, I assure you that many feel fighters and their families the way you do. I have often felt that the “pink” campaign is nothing more than a marketing gimmick, something for advertisers to latch onto for mostly their own benefit (and only a portion of it going to actual charity). If we could surround those fighting Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer with new research, new tools to fight, that would be a real win for all concerned. Good luck with the new book – it is sorely needed!

    • Laura Wells

      I know a lot of women who feel left out, when Pink is supposed to be all about them!

  • http://chemo-brain.blogspot.com/ AnneMarie

    Dear Laura, I want you to know there is a growing contingent of early stage BC patients who have picked up the challenge of being #FearlessFriends to everyone with a Stage IV diagnosis. I am one of those people. I will NOT let your voice be buried beneath a sea of pink. I will NOT continue to allow the ribbon to be such a vision of “hope” that metastatic patients are looked upon as sullying that ribbon. I just wanted you to know “I got your back on this” and I’m not alone. There are MANY who are beside me… maybe I should say “WE got your back” Much love, AnneMarie

  • http://www.facebook.com/candace.m.carlton Candace Marie Carlton

    so eloquent Laura, as a MBC patient, thanks for speaking out for us.

  • Laura Wells

    Thank you, so much, everyone. This is my first article, and I am so touched to have my ideas validated by you. Please feel free to share if you’d like. We all really need to be heard. All of us :)
    Good luck to you all, with your struggles. And, I pray, so I hope it’s ok if I pray for you.
    Laura

  • http://www.facebook.com/sanne.vansoelen Sanne van Soelen

    Hi Laura,
    I want to let you know that your first article also has been read by breastcancer patients in the Netherlands. A group of a hundred young women with breastcancer or with a breastcancer genetic mutation met each other in a “secret” facebookgroup and unfortunately a number of them is also stage IV. Since we don’t understand why so many (young) women die of breastcancer and since all the early detection (on time?) and screening didn’t affect the decrease of the number of deathts, we say that there must be a search for thát reason. Prevention and screening don’t help… so skip the loss of all that misleading energie, money and spend it to find a cure…
    We started a foundation Borstkankeractie (Breastcanceraction at http://www.borstkankeractie.nl if you want to take a look – all in Dutch) to ask questions to fundraisers, researchers and other organisations involved in breastcancer and try to change the view on breastcancer and on Pink since we all raise allergies for October.
    We could’nt agree more with your point of view and spread the same word!
    I have a blog myself http://www.sanpunten.wordpress.com where I announce my critics on Pink and other breastcancer related issues. I would like to add your story to it, maybe also in translation… only if that’s OK with you ofcourse…
    I wish you luck with everything you will be facing and especially joy in your new found talent of writing.
    SAN

    • Laura Wells

      Of course you can translate it. Thank you so much. I will visit your website (and not understand a word?) :)

      • Laura Wells

        Thank you. One of my favorite pictures is with a pink rose, one string of beads, pink turban, and pink survivor tshirt at the only walk I ever did. I think SGK has done great things for breast cancer awareness (and such) and just wish they would extend some of that support to stage IV women and organizations. There is so much more to breast cancer than we’re seeing. I didn’t used to know that, but I sure do now.

  • mustain1

    Laura, I am so grateful for your post. Your voice is what I feel but am not able to vocalize and say with such eloquence. I especially relate to your hope, for that is my hope and the hopes of the other many wonderful women I meet everyday living with stage IV. Thank you so deeply from my soul for expressing and sharing your thoughts. We need all of the voices we can get, especially ones with such grace and purpose. Thank you!

  • Savannah Linda

    Just the other day, the thought occurred to me that if I had a stage IV recurrence, would I still do the October walk? After all, it’s all about the survivor years, beating the big C…. They hand out strings of beads for each year you are cancer free. What happens if I know maybe I’m not cancer free, but I’m still here? Isn’t that an even more amazing accomplishment? Thanks for your blog and your perspective. Be well.

  • Bestbird

    Laura, your words strongly resonate. I started out with Stage II breast cancer in 1993 and recurred with metatsatic disease 18 years later. There are no support groups in my state (Utah) for Stage IV breast cancer patients, and little support and hope overall.
    If and when I decide to emerge in October among all this “pinkness,” I will shred my perfect, pink breast cancer ribbon and wear it tattered. I believe this is appropriate, as we who have Stage IV are the Cinderellas of the breast cancer world.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/bskaryak Becki Skaryak

    Thank you so much for your words, I have been feeling this way for about 15 years now with my stage IV diease. When I was dignosised in 1993 at the age of 32 with breast cancer, my babies were 6 & 7. Then 4 yrs 8 months later I was in for the big battle, the cancer had completely destroyed my right pelvic bone. Since that time the cancer has reoccured 3 more times, I have done around 90 rounds of radation and about every type of chemo that there is. My biggest fear is not dying, but becoming a burden to my children. I may be 51 years young, but my bone stucture is about 70 or 80 yrs old. The month of Oct with the “pink haze”, is a time that I really really dread. I scare the newbies and my issues are so different that most of the stage IV groups. I just feel even more alone. I have asked God many times, why am I still here? I feel deep in my soul that maybe I can help educate the public that we are not cured but we still have this cancer everyday for the rest of our lives. Due to our battles we are scared and weary with so many different treatments that have saved us, but these same life savers may caused lifetime damage. I am hopeful that now the public can embrace that cancer has become a chronic diease not just a life and death diease.
    Becki Skaryak

    • ANURADHA

      Dera Becki, while reading your comment, I though this is coming from my heart. I am also an advanced breast cancer patient since 1998 with several bony mets. The most powerful part of your comment is- ” I can help educate the public that we are not cured but we still have this cancer everyday for the rest of our lives. ” Yes, awareness among others is important. As we are not at a stage of cure, but we can still inspire and educate others so that they don’t suffer. Thus, I do wear pink ribbon and participate in public speaking on breast cancer as much as possible. I am still alive and walking, despite all not-so-clean scans and nagging pains all the time, thats because of many other patients of older generations’ contributions. contributed , we must remember that.

  • http://www.mightycasey.com/ MightyCasey

    Laura, I agree with every single word – and I’m one of the early-dx beneficiaries. The celebratory pinkification of … everything hasn’t had any kind of real impact on cancer occurrence, and certainly not on cancer survival beyond Stage II. The Pink PomPom set would have you believe that all that pink means that we’re winning. We’re not. We’re barely holding the line. Until there’s a better understanding of what *causes* breast cancers, and until there are more effective treatments – for all stages – cancer (breast, ovarian, lung, pancreatic, liver, all of ‘em) will continue to cut a wide swath through communities all over the world.

    **** pink. Go PLAID. Better prevention, detection, and treatment. That’s what we need, not a damn ribbon.

  • Laura Wells

    I am reading all your responses, and just want you to know that I get it. I understand what it’s like to be the newbie afraid of the stage IV women and what it’s like to be the stage IV woman everyone is afraid of.
    I am really trying to “be a voice” for us all, pestering everyone to listen to me, because I am only one small person in a sea of “us”.
    And, there are too many of “us” to go unnoticed, anymore.
    Thank you, everyone, for responding, and making me feel like what I wrote matters. You have no idea how uplifting that is to me.
    Laura

  • http://twitter.com/AMPRINTMAG American Printer

    Laura–will you be attending the Oct 13 Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in Chicago? You would be an AWESOME panelist! Hope to see you there!

    Some scholarships are available: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e64s818m861f3487&oseq=

    KOB

    MBCN is an all-volunteer, non-profit group that serves the 150,000 US people currently living with metastatic breast cancer.

    The 2012 conference will be hosted at Northwestern
    University’s Lurie Center and will feature expert oncologists and other
    speakers from Northwestern, Loyola, University of Chicago and Rush
    University. About 300 attendees from across the country are anticipated.
    Some scholarships are available to help defray travel and hotel costs.

    Contact

    Metastatic Breast Cancer Network
    888-500-0370 (voice mail)
    mbcn@mbcn.org

    Registration:
    https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07e61xsijna19bd1a5&oseq

    When

    Saturday October 13, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM EDT

    Where

    Robert H. Lurie Medical Research Center

    303 E. Superior Street
    Chicago, IL 60611

    Agenda highlights include:

    Understanding MBC
    When to Use Standard Care vs. Clinical Trial
    Hormone Positive MBC (Dr. Ruta Rao)
    HER2 Positive MBC (Dr. Virginia Kaklamani)
    Triple Negative MBC (Dr. Funmi Olopade)
    Brain Metastasis (Dr. Lorenzo Munoz)
    Research on Treatments to Contain Metastatic Growth (Dr. Pat Steeg)
    Following and Treating Bone Mets (Dr.William Gradishar)
    Acupuncture and Chinese Herbology (Virginia Burns)
    Improving Daily Functioning (Dr. Gail Gamble)
    Living with MBC for those under age 40 (Roz Kleban)
    How Do I Find a Clinical Trial? (Elly Cohen)
    Targeted Treatment for Patients with Isolated, Distant Mets (Dr. Steven Chmura)
    Treating Pain and Neuropathy (Dr. Judy Paice)
    Role of the Caregiver (Dr. Sarah Rosenbloom)
    Living with MBC for those above age 40 (Roz Kleban)
    Emerging Research (Dr. Steven Rosen)

    • Laura Wells

      Katherine- Please, if you read this, contact me at StageIVLife@aol.com. I am hosting a small fundraiser in my area (SoCal) on Oct 13th, and am donating some of the proceeds to MBCN. I would LOVE for you to consider inviting me next year, but do, please contact me. Thanks!

  • Suzanne

    Laura,
    Being a french speaking Metastasic inflammatory breast cancer patient, I sure feel the lonelyness of being stage IV in a pink world.
    Thank you for sharing your story, if you don’t mind I will post it on my french blog and also translate it in french (if I can find time between appointments):
    http://cancerinflammatoiredusein.wordpress.com/
    Take care,
    Suzannne
    Quebec, Canada

    • Laura Wells

      Thank you. Would love that, and please let me know when you have done so. Daughter taking French at school, and it would be a great “lesson” for her.

  • Laura Wells

    Just wanted to say – In my area, Orange County, CA – the local paper “The OC Register” is supposed to run a story about my early breast cancer experience, mostly as it relates to the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, but will mention the fact that I am stage IV. To what extent they will cover that part of my story, I don’t know. And, I know Stand Up 2 Cancer discussed metastatic breast cancer (as well as including a lot of cancer, which I think is so great), on tv last night. I do want to acknowledge them with appreciation, and I hope there is more coverage, in more areas, in the future.
    You know – I used to think I got the “good” cancer, because it could just be cut off. That is so naive. I didn’t know how serious breast cancer was, and I have been stunned to hear about stage 0 women who recur at stage IV.
    Until I reached stage IV and met so many brave women (and more men than I expected), who fight and fight and fight, I was truly UNAWARE of what breast cancer really was. At first diagnosis, I was more concerned about my breasts than my life.
    I don’t hate pink (believe it or not) and truly wish that somehow, pink could just include our group more,as the dying ones are all from this group – the group that really does need a cure.

  • Grazia De Michele

    Laura, thanks for this post. I’m translating it in Italian (I’ve seen you already gave your permission to have it translated in Ducht). I’ll post it on my blog
    http://amazzonefuriosa.blogspot.co.uk/ In Italy, more than in other countries I suspect, metastatic breast cancer doesn’t exist in the public discourse. We are surrounded by ‘survivors’. I wonder what that word means considering that we’re talking of a subtle and completely unpredictable disease. I wish to express my deepest solidarity to you. Lots of love, Grazia

    • Laura Wells

      Your welcome, but thank you. I think we are becoming a little more aware over here in the States, but I love the thought of ‘being heard” in Italy. My mother is full Italian, so it’s a “homeland” for me – a few generations back :)
      Thank you so much. My article may be my only “visit” there :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jill.young.7330 Jill Young

    An excellent piece of writing, I will be sharing this on Facebook. I have a Breast Cancer Support Group on Facebook and, I suppose because people know this, my personal profile is being bombarded with requests to turn Facebook Pink to raise awareness. I have declined and have taken the time to message the people personally to explain why I cannot support this. If they had asked me 6 months ago I probably would have willingly agreed but now after joining some other groups and reading more about stage IV Breast Cancer (I was stage III), and also due to the Scar Project (cancer is not a pink ribbon) I just cannot promote this pink fluffy view of cancer.
    Having said that I have always, right from my diagnosis tried to raise awareness and reduce fear of the dreaded ‘C’ word. Personally when first diagnosed I spent time considering the possibility of my death, talked to God about it, accepted that it might happen sooner than I had expected and then got on with living.
    Thank you Laura for your story.

  • Susan Zager

    Thank you Laura for your candid look at how much those with MBC have been ignored in the sea of pink. I like AnneMarie am among the #fearless friends that care deeply about those who have MBC and we are trying to bring about a change in the public perception. I started looking at the numbers and about 1 in 5 or 20% of women (or men) who get breast cancer will go on to get MBC and die over time. This is not to be ignored and we have got to make the public aware of the truth. I want you to know that I have your back and am doing everything in my power to see that this changes. I hope you live a long time and especially see a big change happen to exposing the truth about how deadly breast cancer is.

    • Laura Wells

      Thank you Susan and Carmen. Hoping to just make people aware that women (and men) are still dying. I have lost several support group friends (from Inspire.com) this year. There is something wrong, when we can’t even acknowledge them amid all the pinkness. I don’t hate pink, but I think stage IV fighters need to be included. The dying ones, need to be seen. Thank you so much, for reading this – and caring :) .

  • http://twitter.com/crgonzalez Carmen Gonzalez

    Laura,

    What an enormous gift you have provided to our #OccupyHealthcare community. Stage IV cancer is a terrible menace that must be dealt with demonstrable scientific studies. Thanks you for articulating what so many others know needs to be done.

    Warm regards,
    Carmen

  • Laura Wells

    If anyone is still reading this article…. :)
    There is a story in the Orange County (CA) Register covering my early experience with finding my cancer. It can be read at
    http://www.ocregister.com/news/-187722-ocprint–.html

    If you are a “financially challenged” person with possible breast/cervical/prostate cancer, please look into the BCCTP program run by your state. It could save your life!

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  • BlondeAmbition

    Laura, your post has not fallen on deaf ears. I know many of the other commenters here (including the infamous Chemobrainfog) and we do indeed have your back. We disagree with the message that has been shaped by pink ribbon culture and have banded together to take it back and redefine what breast cancer means. It isn’t pink, it isn’t sexy, and it isn’t cured. The dirty little secret can no longer be taboo; no one knows the secret behind metastasis and early detection and early stages have no guarantees. In addition to changing the dialogue, it’s also about holding ALL organizations and companies that raise money in the name of BC (or any other disease) accountable and demand their transparency. Companies that market under the pink ribbon (sadly, I don’t think we can get that genie back in the bottle) should have mandatory minimum contributions and not be allowed to “cap” proceeds of pink products sold. I like to think that social media has leveled this playing field and people, companies, or organizations who exploit a disease for their own gain will be publicly called out.

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  • aztwit

    Laura, thank you for opening my mind on this. I have been confused about October, wanting to support those battling the disease, but deploring the commercialization of Pink. Why can’t we talk about those who have died or are dying? It seems there should be a time to openly discuss the truth.

    • Laura Wells

      I am amazed that this article is still finding readers. I assume I should thank MSNBC.com for sharing the link.
      I’m glad this article is speaking to your needs. I am seeing much suffering from this disease (and doing some of it, myself :)
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      And, I will look into how abortion may affect breast cancer possibilities. Especially as, I am pro-life myself. Especially, when it is affecting the mother’s life down the road, too. I wish everybody well. Those in treatment, I pray for healing of body. And those who have lost loved ones, I pray for healing of heart.

  • Pakmule

    I can not believe I am reading this. I thought I was alone in these feelings. My wife died in ’96 at age 44. We have three boys. Pink is all about the early detection (which is great) not those who have gone or the affected parties. even though my birthday is in October, I can’t wait for it to end. While I think about my wife every day – it is just too painful to be reminded of the loss for the entire month every place you go. Thank you for your posting.

  • Allan Busenbark

    How fortunate we are to have a courageous woman like Laura who is willing to share her experiences and be a spokesperson for others who are in the same boat. Folks diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer need a voice. My whole family (as well as a tribe of friends) was a part of the pink brigade for years in support of my mom (who survived her early diagnosis of breast cancer and treatment, but has since passed on for other unfortunate medical reasons). We also had a dear friend who shared a similar diagnosis as Laura, and she died after a long and valiant fight with the disease. Mary deserved someone to be an advocate for her and her specific needs. Unfortunately, I am becoming increasingly angry of the corporatized and profiteering PINK campaign — and the fact their misleading slogans imply that we have somehow gotten ahead in this fight. The reality is that cancer has not gone away and the rates of the disease are rather alarming. Why!? Call me cynical, but there is a lot of room for profit in disease. Why would CORPORATE AMERICA wish to cure something that makes so much money for the entire medical industry as well as all for the so-called good-will associated organizations who are trying to raise awareness and find the cure. Early detection is not enough. Sometimes living a healthy life-style is not enough to avoid disease. I suspect that there are environmental reasons why the incidence of cancer has increased. It is definitely not going away — and nobody wants to address the source. Sure, we could all eat better and exercise, and that would improve some health stats. However, what is it in our consumer products we buy OR in the air, water, food, etc. that we ingest that is impacting the disease and death stats!? Moreover, the media, Planned Parenthood, other pro-choice proponents, and even “SKG race for the cure” as well as other related breast cancer awareness and support groups purposely neglect the scientific research that supports the credible link of abortion and breast cancer. Since such an alarming number of pregnancies are purposely terminated every year in this country (and at great profit to the abortion industry I might add), is it any surprise we have so many women getting breast cancer? Shouldn’t this component of abortion/breast cancer risk be broadcast loudly to the world? I think it ought to be a part of breast cancer awareness and education for all ages. Maybe some parents and/or partners would not press the procedure if they knew their loved one faced a greater risk of being diagnosed with this disease later in life (or even the difficulty of her carrying a child to full term later — which accounts for our high infant mortality rate in this country). Women who are contemplating an abortion ought to know the truth about their increased risk for disease and medical difficulty (after under going such a procedure), and they deserve to be advised WELL BEFORE they find themselves in such a stressful situation. The truth is clinic counselors are more interested in selling abortion services, and give little regard to a woman’s future health. It’s not enough that risks associated with abortion are listed in small print on some clinic or hospital release form. These women deserve the truth before they make the choice. The bottom line is that doctors and scientists have figured out excruciating ways to torture people in the name of health once they contract cancer. They know how to diagnose horrific medicines that poison a person’s system and procedures like lopping off diseased body parts. Sometimes those insane methods work, but all too often they don’t. Meanwhile the person (and family) with the disease has to endure clinical hell on earth for any hope of recovery — as they drain bank accounts and empty health insurance reserves along the way. Now PINK is supportive and helpful to some people, but it is still not the answer to what we face. [Written by bb using dad's gmail to post because I don't hold any of these related accounts.]

    • Susan

      The so-called “credible” abortion link as been debunked by numerous studies done by researchers from reputable institutions like Dana-Farber and MD Anderson. Please stop spreading lies from the pro-life agenda. There are 1,000′s of women (and men) who have or had breast cancer and never had an abortion. Breast cancer should not be part of the platform against abortion. It’s insulting. In fact, it’s the same thing as using Breast cancer to sell a product during Pinktober.

      I am extremely happy the excruciating and horrific treatments were available to me. Hopefully science will advance and they will come up with something better. Corporate America is not hiding the cure for cancer.

      I wish you well Laura.

  • Brian Clark

    Hello Laura! My sister in law Carol, past away last Oct. 22nd having stage IV breast cancer after fighting a 7 year battle. She heard many sad stories from women in the “chemo” room who spoke of losing their careers, their medical coverage, their homes to foreclosure because of loss of income and some of them lost their spouses due to the tension and hardship of this horrible disease. Please read Carol’s story and what her dream is for women who have lost everything due to the ravage’s of breast cancer. http://www.thecarolhouse.org or The Carol House on facebook.

    • Laura Wells

      I will. I’m so sorry.

      • Laura Wells

        What a fabulous way to help in your sister’s name! I don’t know how you are accomplishing that! I hope you are finding healing. October must be especially hard, since I see it’s the anniversary of her death. But, her memory lives on with great significance, because of you and those who love her. Thanks for sharing with me.

  • Leonidas

    Ladies I highly encourage each and every one of you to look into the Gerson Therapy.

  • susanne marie

    Laura…I admire your strength and courage! Good for you for writing a book about your experience…I look forward to reading it. God Bless you!

  • Dorothy

    I am now a 10 year breast cancer survivor. I have purchased pink ribbons and other things that most of the proceeds go to research. I know I am one of the lucky ones, but I have not let it go in vain. I have had friends that have passed on due not only to breast cancer, but other cancers as well. NO ONE dies in vain. They live on through these Cancer Awareness Months and many woman have had their lives saved because of them. Not all cancers are caught in time, I know this all too well, but getting the word out and sharing experiences, good and bad, are not forgotten, and help us find strength in the stories of those who fought the fight, passed on or not and keep us going to someday find those cures and remember those who through their words or actions will never be forgotten.

  • http://twitter.com/VeeMD Vandana Bhide, MD

    As a physician and breast cancer survivor, I thank you for opening my eyes to the (sad) truth you speak. Thank you for sharing your story and those of other stage IV patients. You are not forgotten.

  • mckennah

    my mom was one of those women. we lost her 2 months ago. and im pissed! i miss her. my daughter misses her. my son will never remember her. my dad is lost without her. im beyond pink and beyond mad.

  • Sandra Spivey

    Although written last year, this continues to ring true. My recent blog entry “#$@*-Off Breast Cancer Awareness” at sandraspiveysite.wordpress.com is a little less reserved than Laura’s eloquently written essay. I feel the tide is turning on all the October Pinkwashing and after all the fundraising and hoopla, most people are still unaware of the real face of breast cancer.