It started with her: Porcupine Girl. She’s one part Russian icon, maybe, and one part X-Men Mutant. Or something like that. Actually, she started as a photog self portrait after a buzz cut, and then became a linocut, and then a sticker and then a tag and then thinkpunkgirl, and then she was handed to a few people, and then up she went. She’s where all this began, I guess. That was summer 2012.
Then came these. I had breast cancer 11 years ago and while I get the whole pink ribbon thing, I also think that it (+ all the pink teddy bears) is infantilizing to grown women. As is the part where people tell you that maintaining a ‘positive outlook’ is vital for your recovery. It’s not — there are even studies out there showing that people who growl and curse and grumble their way through treatment do no worse than people who meditate and look on the bright side (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17955501 – here’s the link to the abstract because you may not — or you may exactly — know how good it can feel to stumble upon this study). Cancer really kind of sucks, and sometimes stompy boot energy is what you need to still feel like you’re you and not just a patient with a meds routine and a fear as vast and roiling as the surface of the sun. So, thinking about all that we made these tags. And handed them out. And they went up too. And…well, let me know if you need some personal stompy boot energy – I’d be happy to send you some if it helps.
and this – because it belongs here: http://www.oncotypedx.com/ in all seriousness. this. 11 years ago. a new gene expression array designed to assess whether chemotherapy would provide additional benefit beyond radiation and 5 years of hormone therapy (for pre-menopausal women that means Tamoxifen). 21 tumor – specific genes from a tumor sample. A retrospective study at that point – how did assay results compare with outcomes for patients already more than 5 years out for diagnosis and treatment. I’d read about it in the NYTimes and asked my doctor about it. She’d never done one. EMMC had never done one. We did one. Mine. I’d read the study and trusted it. And then trusted the results and made my decision. Coming off Tamoxifen 5 years later the world went all bright with fear again. But now 6 years after that, and I’m still here. And through that bottleneck. and a lucky little punkgirl. ❤
This one was for you, Petra. Holy f*ck, woman. You. Just you. And at the time, an act of personal honesty and bravery like I’d never seen. All these years later, it still resonates.