50 million

I just found out about this site. Some of us are lucky enough to be insured. According to a recent U.S. Census report, more than 50 million or 16.7 percentof our fellow residents are not. They might not be able to afford insurance, but hey, they can always buy the wristband, for $3.99. How can we call ourselves a civilized country and not have public health care for all?

Cancer Bitch in the news

It's hard to complain about Pinktober (well--I want to complain about that neologism) when I'm one of the beneficiaries. The Trib picked five breast cancer memoirs to describe and listed The Adventures of Cancer Bitch first. So, get out there and buy cancer memoirs. If you don't, the [fill in the blank] will have won.

For people with Stage 4

If you have Stage 4, consider taking part in this study.
The Cancer Support Community is conducting research to learn more about life after the Stage 4 diagnosis. TheCSC says: Your responses will lead to better programs and services to help you and women like you along the way. Please learn more and get involved. With one more, we know more. To start, click here.

Metastatic awareness day

[Info on image here

It's official. Today's the federally-designated day to be aware of breast cancer metastasis. You could argue that there are two kinds of cancer, the oh-it's-gone/it's-gonna-be-gone, and oh-it's-never-gonna-be-gone. Metastasis, of course, is the latter. Stage 4, out of four stages (not out of 10, as Brian Fies writes in the graphic memoir Mom's [Lung] Cancer. That's why Mom wasn't upset--at first--to hear that she was at Stage 4.)
For people with Stage 4, cancer is not a wake-up call that you can hang up on. It's a constant companion, the stalker that you can't keep out with an order of protection. It doesn't wake you up. It puts you to sleep, forever.

Stage 4 is what we all fear, and perhaps that nervousness feeds into the frantic pom-pon pinkness of breast cancer awareness and all the pink swag that's available.
"We are definitely out of the pink spotlight," Ellen Moskowitz, president of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network, told Elaine Schattner of the Huff Post. "All the stories are about survivors, 'rah, rah,' who everyone applauds."

“I always wanted you to admire my fasting,” said the hunger artist [in Kafka's eponymous story]. “But we do admire it,” said the supervisor obligingly. “But you shouldn’t admire it,” said the hunger artist. “Well then, we don’t admire it,” said the supervisor, “but why shouldn’t we admire it?” “Because I had to fast. I can’t do anything else,” said the hunger artist. The analogy between those with "mets" and the hunger artist breaks down, so I won't pursue it further. But I think that we admire Stage 4s who get up and go, though it takes them, say, three hours to get out of bed and prepare for the day, which is filled with bone and other pain. But they do it because they can't do anything else. Except give up.

Eat your vegetables

A new study shows that African-American women who ate more vegetables--especially broccoli, mustard and collard greens and cabbage--were less likely to develop double-negative breast cancer than African-American women who ate fewer vegetables. Carrots, too, were helpful.

African American women are more likely than white women to be diagnosed with estrogen receptor-negative tumors, which have a poorer prognosis than estrogen receptor-positive tumors, according to Science Daily.

The study was based on the Black Women's Health Study, which followed 59,000 African-American women, starting in 1985. Investigators from the Boston University School of Medicine reported: The incidence of ER-/PR- [estrogen-negative/progesterone-negative]breast cancer was 43 percent lower among women consuming at least two vegetables per day compared with women who ate fewer than four vegetables per week

Seen any good scars lately?

[Catherine Money's photo of her mother, "Survivor," "One in Eight: Pasadena (CA) Portraits"]

Devon Williams had a mastectomy to remove her stage 2 breast cancer in 2006, and afterward noticed that she never saw images in the media of scars from breast-cancer surgery. "I had no images available to me," she told the San Gabriel Valley (Ca.) Tribune. "I had nothing on the Internet that gave me any comfort or inspiration. They were all frightening images, displays of diseased breasts."
She found women to photograph, found a photographer, and organized an exhibit of the photos, called "One in Eight," which is the chance that an American woman will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. The photos went on display in September in Pasadena, Ca. Williams hopes the exhibit will travel around the country.

Rowing on the radio

[Rowing on the lovely Chicago River. WBEZ photo by Kyle Weaver]

Our Recovery on Water rowing team was featured on Chicago Public Radio today. Listen here.

The Trib wrote about us earlier this week.

[Tribune photo by Terrence James]