Pink. It's Complicated.

Nothing is simple in a free-market society. Even causes. Take breast cancer (– please! — to paraphrase an old Henny Youngman joke). The numbers of us who are diagnosed with it are staggering. More of us survive now. But still — one in eight? That’s how many of us womenfolk are likely to develop the Scourge in our lifetimes. If I were one of those conspiracy theorists, breast cancer incidence would give me a lot of food for thought.

Personally, I don’t believe the Pink Takeover is a conspiracy. It just seems like it. Capitalism at its finest. The American Way. Lets commercialize everything to death. Look what we’ve done to Christmas, for heaven’s sake! However, it is really difficult not to feel excessively ambivalent about October and the ubiquitous rosy-hued merchandise floating around right about now. October has always been one of my favorite months. Up until I was diagnosed anyway. I’ve always associated October with orange, one of my favorite colors, the color of pumpkins and autumn leaves. Pink has never been one of my favorite colors. So, I resent the Pink Takeover. I mean, did it have to be pink? And did it have to be during one of the most beautiful months of the year in New England? Nope. Pink is just wrong.

I do like purple. Well, look around the blog — that’s hardly a hot news flash. I do offer my blog tee-shirt in pink, but really, it looks better in purple. They’ve been selling like hotcakes, by the way, which is very gratifying. It’s a little difficult to plunge wholeheartedly into the entrepreneurial spirit when you’re saddled with Cancer Related Fatigue. So I got a little behind on my orders. But I made a whole bunch of shirts yesterday. Thus it was that earlier this evening, I had to go to Staples and get some more iron-on ink jet printable transfers. And lo and behold, Avery, whose printable labels and postcards and business cards and whatnot are strewn haphazardly all over my art studio, is doing a little pink thing this month. If you buy one of its “Personal Creations” products, you may be pleased to know that Avery is donating $25,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Naturally, being the suspicious, cynical, latter-day feminist-socialist-pinko-hippie pain-in-the-arse that I am, I looked up Susan G. on the Charity Navigator site and was pleased to discover that Susan G. Komen is well-rated as charities go. The CEO is paid close to half a million bucks a year, and being a feminist-pinko-hippie, I’m already quite disgusted with executive compensation. But the organization does spend more than 86% of the money it raises directly on its programs. Very respectable. Good thing, because otherwise I would have felt smarmy making my Accidental Amazon tee-shirts with Avery transfers.

After replenishing my office supplies, I went to the grocery store and had a field day, whipping out my cell phone and, in true feminist-socialist-cynical-pinko-guerrilla fashion, taking photos of various items of pink crap. One of the sillier items, I thought, was toilet tissue, followed closely by paper towels. However, in the interest of full disclosure, I did examine the paper towels closely, and discovered that the Kleenex Corporation is donating a large pile of dough, up to $200,000 this year, to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Naturally, I looked them up, too. And they are also highly rated by the Charity Navigator, granting over 91% of their funds directly to the research projects they select. I started poking around BCRF’s website, and recognized the name of a research doctor from my recent desperate quest to figure out why I was so bloody tired a year after finishing radiation. The name I recognized was Patricia Ganz, M.D., who has done quite a lot of research into quality of life issues in cancer survivors, particularly Cancer Related Fatigue. She was involved in an important study that found a high correlation between long-term fatigue in breast cancer survivors and the presence of high levels of certain cancer-fighting cells in the immune system, a correlation that effectively defines a way to measure CRF. To translate all this, what’s exciting about it is that it means that there is tangible, physiological evidence in our bodies of the reasons why we have chronic fatigue after breast cancer. We’re not crazy. We’re not lazy. We’re not demonstrating poor coping skills or crummy lifestyle choices or poor nutrition or lack of exercise or any of the other glib, inadequate, accusatory BS explanations that get tossed at us by the people who have treated our cancer in the first place and really ought to know better.

So, I can’t make fun of the paper towels either. Which is okay by me. I don’t mind being wrong about this sort of thing. Besides, there’s plenty of other stuff out there that makes me nuts. And you’ll be reading about it here, no doubt. Stay tuned.

Speaking of research, here’s a few links. Susan Love’s Army of Women is a registry of women who are willing to participate in potential research studies into breast cancer. You don’t have to have had breast cancer to sign up. They need all kinds of women, and the goal is to sign up a million of us eventually. I belong and I’ve done a study through them. Visit The Army of Women.

I’m about to take part in a study into a potential treatment for Cancer Related Fatigue at the UConn Health Center in Farmington, Connecticut. They are still looking for participants who have had either breast cancer or prostate cancer, to take part in this Phase II study, and they need just a few more to qualify for funding for the Phase III follow-up study. They are nice people and you’ll be very well looked after. You can visit this link for more info, Cancer Fatigue Study, and there’s an email address if you scroll down the page. Or you can email me at if you have questions about what it entails.

Oh, and one more thing. Please visit my friend & cyber-sister Teri’s blog post about Clinical Trials. There is info there about other research studies that need participants.

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This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Wednesday, October 07, 2009 at 02:10 am, filed under Fighting the Pink Peril, Making A Difference, Research and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

2 Responses to “Pink. It's Complicated.”

  1. I think that’s great that you researched what percentage the charities actually get. I guess pink is on a lot of our minds lately. Where did you go to find that out…the percentage’s and whatnot? I’ve been wondering about that too.


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