I am weary down to my soul right now. It's hard to be an advocate 24/7 and it's a full time job to talk, record, write and post on a daily basis. It's hard to do this when healthy, much less, when sick.
"Oh, but you don't look sick!" Remember that? No, I don't look sick. But this week, I most definitely feel sick. I am exhausted. I've been fortunate to be mostly pain free since being diagnosed with metastatic disease, but the problem with having tumors in every single vertebra of your spine is that they can irritate nerves which can cause muscle contractions and then the rest of the back tries to compensate for whatever is messed up and irritated. That happened to me this week, resulting in lack of sleep and lack of normal function. Fortunately, a new medication to my growing mix, a muscle relaxant, did the job and my back is feeling much better. I'm still tired, though, even after sleeping more than 12 hours.
Cancer fatigue can't be described. It's not the kind of fatigue that rest can deal with. Yes, I feel better than if I didn't get as much sleep, but I don't feel refreshed and renewed like most people would after so much rest.
Cancer fatigue cannot be corrected by exercise. I tried that. I had to drop from running down to walking and now to walking only a third of what I used to do. As I told a friend yesterday, I have to accept that I'm not going to get better in the amount of exercise I can do ... I am only going to continue to get worse. Walking only a mile or two instead of four or five is hard enough as it is, without my thinking that maybe next week I'll be able to walk more. Oh, I'll have the occasional "more" days, but they won't be regular, daily events anymore.
I'm weary because I know that starting tomorrow, breast cancer will be the last thing on society's mind. We will be wrapped up in Halloween and the pink will be pushed aside in favor of black and orange, gray and purple, Elsa blue and Cinderella white. The only pink that will be seen will most likely be on Sleeping Beauties as they go from door-to-door, trick-or-treating with friends and family.
And that's okay. Except that tomorrow, I'll wake up and I'll still have cancer. I'll still have it the day after that as well. As November moves into December, the ribbons will be pushed even further back on the clearance racks and will be removed from inventories around the country.
It seems somewhat fitting that breast cancer awareness month ends on the Day of the Dead. But that's another post for another time.
In the meantime, the disease that is ravaging my body continues its ruthless march to shutting me down, all the while sales and profits from that same disease are calculated. How much money was made during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the name of "awareness"?
Why am I on the clearance rack? This proves what has been said about the effectiveness of Breast Cancer Awareness Month ... that it has become a seasonal event for retailers, no different than Back-to-School, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Is it any wonder that I feel like a non-entity during this month? That, for most, including many non-profits, October is merely another way to make money? It's not about me. It's not even about the multitude of survivors and survivor stories that flood social media. It's about money, plain and simple.
Breast cancer is killing me all the while the money changers count their profits.
Color me cynical.