Spoiler Alert: If you do not want to know the meaning behind the symbol of a heart being shared on social media, do not read any further. Stop. Turn back. Do not pass go. Read no further.
Disclaimer: If you have posted a symbol of heart, shared one, and/or invited me to share one, please, know that I mean no disrespect or offense by this blog. I truly don’t. I am simply sharing my perspective on a subject near and dear to my heart, or rather, my breasts.
When I begin a blog with both a spoiler alert and a disclaimer, you know that it’s got to be good, right? Well, I don’t know about the good part, but now that you have been dutifully warned, here we go.
By now, you probably have seen symbols of hearts appearing on social media sites, such as Facebook. Remember, if you don’t want to know what they are about, this is your last warning. Apparently, it is part of some sort of Breast Cancer Prevention Awareness campaign, but I had never heard of it until messages from some of my friends began filling my inbox asking me to post a heart on my wall and theirs, but without any public explanation as to the meaning of the heart. The instructions include the statement, It’s for women only to remember it’s the week of breast cancer awareness. Where to even begin . . .
- With each request, I had to laugh, as I thought to myself that I am the last person who needs to be reminded about breast cancer prevention. One, I did everything I was supposed to do to prevent breast cancer, but I was diagnosed with it anyway. As my surgeon said, The only two risk factors you have are your breasts. Two, every day, I am reminded of breast cancer when I see my scars, when I swallow a little white pill from the bottle pictured at the top of this page, and when I think of, and miss, my sweet friend who died of breast cancer last year. I also am watching other friends battle breast cancer and other types of cancer each day. So, please, save the reminders, as I have quite enough already.
- I found it rather odd that people would be asked to share this only with women. I understand that the vast majority of those diagnosed with breast cancer are females, but there are men who are battling breast cancer, too. More importantly, breast cancer does not affect only the woman or man who is diagnosed with it. It impacts everyone. I may have been inducted into this stupid club, but my family and closest friends were honorary inductees, as well. Why wait until someone is diagnosed with cancer to involve family and friends; include them in prevention and awareness campaigns, as well.
- If you want to raise awareness, the caveat about not providing a public explanation for the meaning of the heart seems to fly in the very face of raising awareness. Yes, I know that the argument can be made about it creating a buzz, as people inquire about the hearts that are suddenly appearing, and yes, I also know that I am writing a blog as the result of those hearts. That said, it reminds me of those people who post vague status updates on Facebook. If you want me to know something, come out and say it. If not, I tend to stay in my own lane and not inquire any further. So, an awareness campaign really should provide actual awareness, especially about something this important.
- I assume that this was meant to be a simple and fun way to raise awareness for a good cause, and perhaps, I have become too sensitive or pessimistic for my own good. I will conclude by saying that breast cancer is not all about pretty pink ribbons and hearts. In fact, I will never understand why or how this horrible disease began being paraded around in its Sunday best to the point that some people refer to it as the good kind of cancer and do not realize that people continue to die from this disease. If you want to post something to raise awareness, post pictures that depict the physical, emotional, financial, and spiritual toll that breast cancer introduces into the lives of patients and their families. Scars left behind by surgeries and ports. Medication bottles. Bald heads. Tears cried by family and friends who worry about loved ones in this stupid club. Checks being written out for insane amounts of money to pay for treatment. The caskets of those who lived in age of prevention and awareness, yet died in an age of no cure. That’s part of the reality of breast cancer, but it’s not the sanitized version that makes us all feel good.
Again, maybe, I have taken this heart thing too much to heart. As I sit here wishing I could text my friend about tonight’s University of Kentucky men’s basketball game, like I used to do, though, I think that, in this case, it’s okay to be heartless.
That’s another story . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day