Posts tagged ‘breast cancer’

My Yearly Pink Soapbox – Reposted

blue-is-next-pink

Blue is the next pink! Check out this graphic 2013 Colondar model Dawn and The Colon Club’s designer Troy Burns came up with!

Each October, I still have one or two Facebook friends post “pink parade” things on my wall. It’s not because I am a breast cancer survivor. It’s because of the post below.

In 2009, I had just re-entered the colon cancer game after 8 years in remission. At age 25, I was facing cancer yet again. Thankfully, only surgery was needed. But the emotions that came with it hit me harder than ever before. So when October rolled around that year and everything came out pink, I tried to funnel my opinion into the nicest way I could put it. And below is what came out (on my old blog.)

I wanted to make sure this post made its way to the Semicolon blog, so here it is re-posted. Also, it gives me goosebumps to see that at the bottom of the post, I had linked to a fellow Colondar model’s blog – Becca’s blog – where she wrote about the same topic. I had forgotten this until tonight. She passed away 6 months ago; I hung out with her mom this weekend. I re-post tonight in her honor. I met her only once, but her legacy ripples throughout our community.

I will say it again – I fully support breast cancer awareness. But I also support the other cancers. And hopefully one day, other organizations, sports teams, manufacturers and marketers will catch on too. Hopefully.

So with that – here it is. My yearly pink soapbox.

My Yearly Pink Soapbox

(originally posted Sunday, October 4, 2009)

Most of you’ve heard this rant before. But this year’s outrageous display of pink EVERYTHING has fueled the fire. It seems even more hyped this year. And it’s just Oct. 4th.

I’m not a cancer hater. Obviously, one is closer to my heart than the others. But I genuinely want the world to be rid of them all. I will state for the record, I support breast cancer awareness. I’ve got family and now two fellow ’09 Colondar gals who’ve fought it. But I support it just as much as I support lung cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, etc. Anyone have an idea what month brain cancer awareness is? Know what color represents lung? Understand the severity of pancreatic? Realize it’s just as important for MEN AND WOMEN to get frequent colonoscopies, especially after age 50, as it is for women to get mammograms? Shocker!

Maybe I wouldn’t be so turned off by the ridiculous pink ribbons on every product lining super market stores if I didn’t have a marketing communication background. I hardly believe it’s a coincidence that the target audience of most of those well-loved store brands are moms who manage the household and do the grocery shopping. How convenient, slap a pink ribbon on your product and give a few pennies to breast cancer research and you’ve got a loyal customer to your brand and more money in your pocket. As much as I’d love to believe it – I don’t think the pink’s there for the cancer stuff as much as it is the brand loyalty of the female customers. If that was the case, there would be blue stars all down the toilet paper aisle come March. But butts aren’t as fun nor pleasant to hype up than boobs, let’s face it.

My point is this: if you’re going to support a cause, support it through genuineness. Don’t have strings attached. Don’t stand behind the cancer cause to really make money or fluff up your brand. Don’t go get drunk with a team of people at a cancer crawl and feel better about it because you did it for “a great cause.” People are dying from this disease, it’s pretty serious. I urge companies and individuals to remember this as we use the “cause” to further our own agendas or pleasures. It can be seen as a slap in the face to many of the 10 million diagnosed each year.

You want to help promote cancer awareness? Get screened and tell somebody. Figure out your family history. Meet people who have been through it, and help them find ways to tell their story. Raise money for cancer societies. Wear the t-shirts, the bands, etc. But don’t think slapping a ribbon on something you’re trying to sell is going to cut it. Us survivors see right through it. And we’re not BUYING it.

Want more insight from another cancer survivor? Read fellow ’08 Colondar model Becca’s blog.

October 7, 2012 at 11:45 pm 1 comment

The Dairy Dilemma – Part 2

Sorry, folks! I am a triple-blog liar! But finally we have The Dairy Dilemma – Part 2.
(In case you are wondering, my bro’s colonoscopy was clean and clear! Yay for him!)

As I mentioned in The Dairy Dilemma – Part 1, dairy can be hard on the semi-colon’s sytem … and most people’s systems these days. I gave some tips that I’ve learned that have worked for me, and hopefully they’ll help you digest the yummy dairy goodness if you too cannot live without it.

The topic needed a second day because I’ve recently learned things about dairy that have made me very concerned! Once I decided I’d stick with dairy and learn how and what to eat, I became aware of an even bigger problem that affects all of us, not just semi-colons.

Mike’s aunt & uncle sent me a book this past summer called “An Unhealthy Truth” by Robin O’Brien. I dove into it a few months ago and came out as a wide-eyed and concerned consumer regarding what is in our food. In the book, O’Brien uncovers corruption between the FDA and many major food and pesticide corporations who are using genetically modified, synthetic or hormone-treated crops or livestock to make big bucks. I’m typically one who sits back to see if an issue is all “hype” or not – but when I learned that many other countries around world have banned the use of such products and hormones, I started to sense a problem. And for me, I was especially concerned with our dairy.

O’Brien explains, “Most of the nation’s leading dairy processors use milk from cows treated with the bovine growth hormone in at least some of it’s products… ” (p. 109) Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST or rBGH)  is a chemical given to cows to make them “step up milk production.” And while this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, it’s adverse effects on cows can make you wonder. O’Brien’s book says that:

“The product seems to be hazardous to the cows. The package itself warns of such bovine problems as increases in ‘cystic ovaries and disorders of the uterus,’ ‘decreases in gestation length and birth-weight of calves,’ and ‘increased risk of clinical mastitis’ ‘(a painful type of udder infection that causes cows to pump out bacteria and pus along with milk requiring treatment with antibiotics and other meds that can end up in the milk.” (p. 99)

Sorry to gross you out, but those simple truths made me very concerned. I am an individual with some sort of cancer-causing gene mutation, and so to hear that the majority of the food I’ve been eating is from genetically-modified, hormone-enhanced and possibly antiobiotic-laced cows or crops worries me. Especially when it’s pointed out that:

“90-percent of breast cancers being diagnosed today are being triggered by factors in our environment.” (p.102).

“IFG-1 has also been implicated in prostate and colon cancer.” (IGF-1 is a hormone that can be found in milk, and is found in rBGH milk up to 10 times more than the levels of natural milk, and possibly even twentyfold according to more recent studies.” “It’s been known for years that the particular hormone is linked with cancers (because of its effects) on the endocrine sysem,’ says Dr. Pompilio.(p. 102-103)

“According to CNN and a recent study published in the Journal of Allergy and Immunology, milk allergy is now the most common food allergy in the United States, having risen to the number one position in the last ten years.”(p. 100)

After reading the research and studies, I was ready to change. But the nail in the coffin for me was O’Brien’s statement about what the FDA is requiring, which to me, is so sickening because of the corruption and greed:

“If a dairy wanted to highlight the fact that its milk had NOT been made with rBGH (you know, for those of us who might have an interest in avoiding this potentially carcionogenic hormone), the FDA recommended it to also state on the label that there was no difference between the genetically altered hormone that Monsanto had developed (company manufacturing the rBGH) and the regular old bovine growth hormone that already occured in nature.” (p. 104)

And when I went to Kansas City’s beloved Shatto milk’s website. I saw that to be true – there was a small disclaimer on their homepage that although they were rBGH-free, there has been no proven difference. What a load of crap. Because of lawsuits that have favored the rBGH-making Monsanto, local dairies priding themselves for not using artificial growth hormones now have to tip-toe around just to share their story and safety with consumers.

So friends, here we are. I was overwhelmed after I read this. Mainly because 1) This is all that I’ve consumed my entire life. We didn’t know! 2) I cannot afford to go all-organic, and 3) This is too big for me!

But as I began to do some research and finish O’Brien’s book, I learned it was possible to do something! And while it’s not wise to jump in the cold pool all at once, baby steps into the water will help make the swim much easier. Here’s what I’ve done so far, and what I’d encourage you in if you’re concerned now too.

1. Read the book. It gave great advice about adopting an 80/20 policy so you don’t kill yourself over being totally hormone-free or organic. This has helped me tremendously, as I still buy regular butter and feel comfortable in restaurants and other’s homes. Dairy is just one of the foods she tackles too… read the book for the full scoop on many of our beloved brands.

2. I began researching safe brands in my area. O’Brien lists several safe brands and stores, but not many are close to me in the KC Metro area. For you who are local to KC, here are some brands that can be found in the area that are safe and rBGH-free. I’m sure this is not a comprehensive list. If you have any to add, leave a comment and let me know!

  • Any Organic Products (to be labeled organic they have to be rBGH-free by definition). Hy-Vee, Target, Wal-Mart and many other stores are carrying organic lines of dairy, and some (like Hy-Vee) even have their own organic store brand.
  • Wal-Mart’s “Great Value” milk (milk only, not cheese or other products at this time)
  • Yoplait yogurt (sneakers, they started making rBGH-free this past August but are keeping it on the down-low.)
  • Kraft’s  2% brand of cheese (only one at this time)
  • Shatto Milk Company (milk can be found at Hy-Vee, Price Chopper, Nature’s Pantry)
  • Ben & Jerry’s ice cream
  • Starbucks’ milk – as a company they vow to not use rBGH milk (or preservatives in their cookies for that matter.)
  • Chipotle – their food is hormone-free
  • I believe I read that Cabot cheese is going rBGH-free due to consumer demand.

3. I told somebody. It all starts with passing along the info. If you’re concerned too – tell somebody. Maybe together we can turn this around and one day be a country in-line with Europe, Australia, Russia and even Africa and demand that our country can prioritize making dairy (and other foods for that matter) safe over profitable. I just wonder how many more of us will have to lose colons, breasts, lungs, prostates and other vital organs to cancer to get this point across. Even if the dairy dilemma didn’t cause it … it’s certainly not helping it.

November 20, 2009 at 7:12 pm 3 comments


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