Thursday, January 31, 2013

Plea from the Infusion Room

My friend Christine and I were sitting around, getting our infusions like we do every Wednesday.   I was trying to think of a creative way to obtain votes for the Healthline Best Blog contest, and I came up with the idea of doing a video.  Christine agreed to help me and another patient held the camera.

We came up with the "on the pole" idea because supposedly, a lot of people pay for college "on the pole."  After we came up with that, we had the whole room giggling and involved.  

Most touchingly, one husband came back and thanked me after his wife had finished her chemo, saying that our silly event had made his day and made his wife's first terrifying chemo experience a fun one.

That right there was worth a thousand dollars.

Here is the result:

All money is to go to my son's college fund, and the race is very close.  I need every vote I can get!  Please go here and vote for ButDoctorIHatePink.    Please show them how strong the breast cancer community is, and please help support my son in his quest to go to college.

You can vote from either facebook or twitter, and your twitter account must have a photo attached to it and you must be following people.  They disqualified over 70 twitter votes because there was no photo with the account, even though I know the people who own them.   I understand that they want real accounts and not "fake" ones, but they don't seem to have an appeals process, so be careful!   They will NOT use your information for anything but posting that you voted, and if you use facebook, you can vote and then click the X to stop it from going on your wall.   So, there is no reason not to vote.

You can vote once a day and the contest ends February 15th.

Thank you!   We had fun doing this short little snippet, and I am very grateful for everybody who votes.  If I win, maybe I can get the entire infusion room to say "Thank you!"  Maybe the nurses will participate! (Hear that girls?)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

"You can do it, look at Lance."

There is hardly a more awkward thing to drop into polite conversation than, "I have terminal cancer" so if somebody asks me how I am,  like the rest of you, I say "fine." I do sometimes run across people who know I've got cancer and who ask specifics, and in that case, I tell the truth.  I don't have anything to be ashamed of, but I like to be sure they really want to know.  If they use the word "prognosis," I spill.   I usually soften it a bit,  "I'm terminal but my doctors don't give time estimates."  That way they won't feel like I might drop dead before they've finished their coffee.

The most common response I get to that news is, "Well, don't give up, look at Lance Armstrong.  He was near death and he went on to win the Tour de France and now he's cured."  That response is so predictable it might as well enter the Cancer Cliche book, along with "New Normal" and "Battle with Cancer."

I am not here to bust anybody's hero or rip their yellow wristband off, and I know that having cancer - any cancer - is a bad and frightening thing.  But, Lance Armstrong did not only lie about performance-enhancing drugs, and did not only (cruelly) sue people who told the truth about him. Lance Armstrong, World's Most Famous and Inspirational Cancer Patient, exaggerated his cancer story too.

He admittedly perpetuated the story that he was on death's door with metastatic testicular cancer, and only by sheer grit, determination and will to live is he standing today.  But in the end, Lance was not only standing; that is for mere mortals. After "battling" a near fatal cancer, Lance comes back to win the Tour de France.  That's an amazing story.   And in creating that comeback myth, he inadvertently made it even harder for us who actually do have unbeatable cancers and are facing that hard fact, because now, hey, if Lance can do it, why can't we?

Didn't you know that overcoming cancer is merely a matter of willpower, like giving up your nightly ice cream?

In his book he asks, "The question that lingers is, how much was I a factor in my own survival, and how much was science, and how much miracle?"

It's a good question. Lance, I have the answer for you. The main factor in your survival was your luck in getting one of the most survivable cancers known to man.  You can call that a miracle if you want; all I can say is I certainly wish I'd had testicles.  (Although, I really don't know how you guys walk around with those things.)

(Quick cancer lesson:  when cancer metastasizes, it is still the original cancer.  Lance had mets in his brain, but it was still testicular cancer in his brain - I know, it seems every guy has testicle cells on the brain, right?  I have mets in my liver, but I don't have liver cancer, I have breast cancer in my liver. Although this is simplistic, it helps to know.  Type of cancer matters, even when it spreads. Some can be cured, no matter where it decides to live, and some cannot.)

Metastatic testicular cancer of the type Lance had has a poor prognosis for that type - which means he had a more than 50% cure rate.   Many men with metastatic testicular disease have a 70% cure rate, but Lance's was aggressive so he had a 50/50 shot, as he has admitted.  People who catch it early have an almost 100% cure rate.

A 50% cure rate sounds like heaven to me, although I've not a doubt it was a scary number to Lance at age 25. Personally, I would have found those odds to be excellent.  Back in the good old days, when my odds were 70% chance of survival, I never doubted I would survive.

Now though, I have metastatic breast cancer (to the liver).  It has a 0% cure rate.  The average life expectancy for me is 3 years.  Five year survival in women with mets to the liver is 8% but survival does not equate to cure.

Lance had two surgeries, one to remove his testicle and one to remove a lesion in his brain.  He did four rounds of chemo. The entire experience apparently took four months. He was diagnosed October 1996 and was declared cancer-free in February 1997, start to finish.   He is considered cured, and held up by everybody as the ultimate cancer survivor, the one who Lives Strong - the Standard Bearer for Cancer Patients, the one we should all look to for hope and inspiration.

In his book, he has allowed this myth to be perpetuated, and according to what I hear, what people have taken from that, and from what I've heard from Lance's own lips is that strength of will and determination is what it takes to survive cancer.  When somebody says to me,  "Hey, if Lance can do it, you can too" it implies some sort of failure of spirit and will on my part if I happen to die.

Which I will.   Die.   I am not going to live through this, no matter how good my attitude is, how much I want to, how much I fight.

No, I cannot do what Lance has done.  I don't have the cancer he had.

The real question is: could Lance could do what I have done?  Rather than 4 months from start to finish,  I have finished my third year in treatment.   I am on my 7th chemo and my 3rd targeted treatment.  I had 3 surgeries.   I have been on chemo for pretty much three straight years in a row, I have had half my liver removed, recovered from sepsis and c-diff pancolitis.  And, I still pick my son up from school every day, I make dinner when I can, I do chores if possible.  I am declining, I'm tired, I sleep a lot, but I manage.  I laugh with my family, I try to be with friends, I blog and I find inspirational stuff to post on facebook to try and keep other cancer patient's spirits up. I do my best without hurting anybody but while facing that fearsome reality.

I don't ride bikes or do athletic endeavors because I cannot, and in my place, neither could Lance.  Walking and breathing at the same time is hard now, as it would be even for Lance.   I would like to see Lance Armstrong, or anybody else, live in my shoes for a few days and then write about willpower and miracles and mental strength overcoming cancer.

I'm not here to beat up on Lance.  I don't care about sports, and the media has him now.  He can use this "outing" to turn into a good guy or not.  I don't care.  I'm truly glad he survived his very survivable cancer.   I am just using his name for one reason - anybody searching for Lance Armstrong and Cancer and finds this blog should know one thing:

Don't tell your terminal friend to "look at Lance" for inspiration.

We can't see him, relate to him, or be him. When you say that to us, what we are hearing is:  "My friend thinks Lance is stronger than me.  That he has more mental power than I do.  If I die, I am lacking. I just am not trying hard enough. I did it wrong.  It's my fault."  When the truth is, we were never on the same cancer plane.  He had a curable cancer.  Many of us just do not.

When we tell you we are terminal, believe us.  Validate us.   Tell us you are sorry.  See if you can help.  Don't push us away and tell us that it is survivable because some remarkable athlete survived a very survivable cancer.  It doesn't help - it hurts.  It invalidates our real and painful experience.

Lance's survival story has impacted the dying experience for many of us.   People - many people,  perceive it as a failure of strength when we don't beat cancer, as many of us cannot, no matter how positive and wonderful we are. Graves are filled with positive, strong people who died of cancer.

Remember, my friends,  it is possible to "live strong" and with a sense of humor and sense of strength - while knowing you are dying.  It is also possible to face your disease and your treatment and your death with grace.  I am doing that every day, or trying to.

Bottom line:  Living strong is not the only way to handle cancer.  Dying strong, when there is no other option, is powerful too.  And, life, Mr. Armstrong, is not all about winning and losing.  Sometimes, it is about how you play the game, even when you are destined to lose.


Please vote for me in Healthline's Best Blog Contest.   You all have done a remarkable job helping me stay at the top and I'm very grateful as the underdog to still be in the lead!.  Keep it up and tell your friends!  This money will go to my son's college fund since I won't be around to help with that.  Vote here:

Friday, January 18, 2013

Perjeta, Gemzar and Dogs and My Week

These days, I sleep the sleep of the dead.  Okay, not quite, maybe that was bad taste.  But I sleep heavily, deeply and dreamlessly, and it takes a lot to wake me up. I can't move or turn over in bed due to my bad shoulders and general mid-section discomfort, so I sleep all night on my right side, in the same position, my cat a few inches away.  I am not an early-to-bed girl - I stay up until about midnight watching what my husband calls my "freak shows." (Hoarders, Honey Boo Boo, Intervention, etc.).  After whatever show I watch, I go to bed and fall asleep instantly.

I sleep late, until about noon, which gives me a good 12 hours, and when awakening comes, as it still does,  it creeps upon me slowly.  My eyes open, I take a few deep breaths, I take stock of where I am, my pain level. I gentle my body like a horse, soothing it, making slow motions,  until I can grab my phone on the nightstand.  Still resting, I check the time, check for emails from my husband, check the status of Tapped Out (yes, I'm addicted).  I look at the weather out my window.  Is it sunny and cold?  Raining?  I take a moment to appreciate the beauty, and the simple fabric hung by my friend, and the shining crystals above.   The cat gets up and stretches, she knows the bed is only hers for as long as I'm in it.  If I get up, a dog may jump in any time. She hops out, tail up, running to the bathroom.   Finally, I am able to sit up, get out of bed, let these weird bubbles near my liver rise, and then walk stiffed-kneed to my coffee pot.  I still drink coffee before I hit up the bottle of pain meds.  Coffee was my first addiction, and it will be my last.

The lateness of the start of my day may surprise those of you who follow me on facebook, because posts appear from me beginning early in the morning.   They are ghost posts - facebook allows you to schedule them in advance.  I like to have something cheerful in the morning for my friends who do get up - even if I am still asleep.

I don't do it too far in advance, for obvious reasons.   Would it be good to have a funny cartoon appearing from me with some sarcastic saying after I'm gone?  I am not so sure it would:  the dead should stay dead.  At least online.

Wednesday morning I was not treated to my gentle routine.  About 10:30, I was awakened by the sounds of my dogs barking.  I ignored them thinking  it was the mailman or a salesman.  But, they got louder, more insistent. Trista started howling,  Cherry was barking and hiccuping in fear and I heard scrabbling and jumping at the door.   The whining and barking and howling went on forever and began to make me nervous.  Was somebody getting in?  I had to get up and go see.  I hauled my not-ready body out of bed and stumbled to the door, breathing heavy all the way.

If it had been a bad guy inside to rob my house, I was ready to be knocked to the floor.

Instead, it was my Cleaning for a Reason Housekeepers, on the porch with a vacuum, which the dogs, of course, felt was the enemy.  They were going to chase that vacuum away and use every vocal power they had to do so.  

I let the housecleaners in, holding my jumping bean dog down, a miracle with my bad shoulder.  I explained that I had scheduled them for the 22nd.  They normally give a warning call when they are on the way over, but my phone has been broken for over a week and isn't scheduled to be repaired until the 21st.  During this conversation,  I got dizzy and had to sit down - suddenly.  I had not gathered enough air to walk to the door, hold the dog and have a conversation at the same time.  I can still do it, but it takes coffee and a period of wakefulness to achieve. 

I told them they could stay or go, but normally I liked to pick up the bigger chunks before they got here so if they wanted to stay it would be messier than normal (which is saying a lot).  They spoke to each other in Spanish than told me they would come back, that I didn't look well.  At least one appearance surprised them - me or my house.  I was dizzy and in my PJ but didn't think I looked that bad.  I didn't feel that bad, just morning cancer-ish. So, it was probably the house.  Truthfully, as much as I enjoy the results when they are done, I was glad for them to go; I was not prepared for all the dog-controlling I was going to need to do with them in the house with that armed and dangerous vacuum cleaner.

I went back to bed, and the cat appeared from the bathroom and hopped back up with me.  But, the dogs were still excitable, and I'd forgotten to close the door. Trista jumped up on my bed and lay over one leg, quite nonchalantly like she didn't know she wasn't supposed to be there.  She would not, however, look at me.  That left me with a dangerously hissing cat, and not being able to sit up because of my shoulder, I was left trying to push/kick the dog off the bed.  My kicks are about as strong as a kitten's these days and she didn't even notice, so I had to wiggle my way out from under her, turn over, get up, grab her collar and make her get down.  She is not allowed on the bed, and I never allow her to stay on the bed.  Why she continues to test me is a puzzle.

I need you, Dog Whisperer.

I got back to bed, still hoping for more sleep.  But then my cell phone rang.  It was AT&T, who offered to come and fix my land-line early.  I would be at doctor's appointments all day, so I had to say no.  Few people use my land-line phone and if it was up to me we'd get rid of it, but my husband's cell is paid for by the state so he won't use it for anything but business.  He's such an honorable man.  The State of CA wastes a lot of your money but not because of my husband.

Wednesday, I had another cortisone shot in my left shoulder.  I am really hoping that this one does the trick and at least allows me to turn over in bed or reach for something with my left arm. It's now Friday and seems a bit better but it's early yet.   It has been years since this frozen shoulder nonsense started, and I no longer think I am capable of healing from it.  I just want minor improvement:  a lessening of the pain and the ability to sleep on my left side is all I ask.

I also started a new chemo protocol.  The chemo is Gemzar, which has been used in many woman.  I also am going to be allowed to try a new anti-HER2 agent, Perjeta.  Perjeta has had great success in women with HER2 disease; but that has only been shown in women who have not been treated with other chemos - chemo newbies, like I once was. (Um, Gemzar is my 7th).  It has also only been tested in conjunction with docetaxol (taxotere) and herceptin.    I am using it off-label so there is no information as to whether it will work with me, in combination with gemzar, or anything. Still, it is worth a chance. And, I have to thank my fantastic insurance company, who has yet to deny anything.

Perjeta, being brand new off the R&D line,  is $10,000 an infusion.  Just sayin'.

I got Perjeta and Gemzar on Wednesday and Herceptin on Thursday.  So far, I am not feeling any unusual effects.  It's the same old, same old.  Chemo is chemo.

A friend brought by some delicious food the day of my first gemzar/perjeta cocktail   Truthfully, I have no appetite and have no interest in eating, unless somebody brings me something.  Then I will eat it.  I don't have the feeling of hunger anymore and nothing sounds good enough for me to bother to spend time preparing it - but if it is in front of me, I will eat it and even enjoy it.    And, have I enjoyed this food, oh my.  One of the items was a mandarin orange caramel cake.  Fabulous.

So, we shall see.  Maybe my shoulder will get better.  Maybe my cancer will go into remission, or at least stay stable.  Maybe my dog will stop jumping on people.

One can always hope.


Don't forget to vote for me in the Healthline Best Blog's Contest.  Here is a video of me  begging asking for your vote.  See, I am working for the win.  :) .

Here is the link to vote, make sure you vote for But Doctor I Hate Pink!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cancer's Bitch

Life, in all its beauty, morphs.  We begin as innocent children, counting the spots on a ladybug, climbing trees with friends, laughing at cartoons.  We become teens, worried about our place in micro-society, understanding a future is coming but not sure what it is.  Young adulthood arrives, with the many mistakes and trials we are given along with that famous sense of invincibility.  Marriage and parenthood brings with it some settling, a deep understanding of responsibility.

People have different paths, and different choices lead them to have different outcomes.  But, the one certainty is that the purpose of life changes as we live it.

And, in a small way, so has the purpose of this blog, which started as a documentation of a particular aspect of my life.  When I first began it,  as a convenience for friends, family, and myself - I was writing about a cancer that would end.  I was going to be that cancer asskicker that I called myself all over this blog, the one who takes this disease by the horns and shoves it where it belongs.  I knew the odds for survival, which were long in my favor, so I wrote with confidence and laughter at each thing thrown my way, knowing whatever hardships I faced, they would be overcome.

When treatment was over, I had decided to put down my keyboard.  In fact, I was in the process of writing my good-bye post, explaining that I was moving on to my version of cancer survivorship and a renewed life.  I'd decided I was not going to live cancer when it was gone, was not going to spend my days in fear of each new ache, and was not going to continue to discuss or write about what was in the past. That was my way of recovering,  and the only way I could think to do it - leaving it all behind.

Cancer's ass, I'd decided, was kicked.

But it didn't happen.  I was very quickly diagnosed with metastatic disease - so quickly I suspect it was there all along.  But, my doctor said I was still "salvageable," and I was given the chance for a rare liver resection and to be one of the 5% who live five years past a metastatic diagnosis.  Heck, maybe even ten, or twenty.  I was dreaming, sure,  but it was a possibility, there was hope.  I was still a cancer asskicker, or still had the chance to be.  From that point on, this blog would be about living with metastatic cancer, beating those terrible odds and showing it could happen.

Which, it didn't.

In less than a year, cancer was back in my liver.  At that point, I knew.  The fight was over.  From salvage to wreckage, in one scan.  Instead of trying to save me, now my doctors make sure that my Advanced Directive is done. I am not going to kick cancer's ass, in fact, I am cancer's bitch.  It will take me when it's ready, and I have little say in the matter.  The point of this blog changed again.  Now it is to describe my life as a terminal patient.  I hope it can be about how one prepares their family, manages time and fears, and demonstrates a renewed appreciation for what is left of life.

Because I believe death is natural and know life is full of small tragedies, I have been able to accept this without denial.  I am a nobody in the grand scheme of time and human history, an eyelash that falls unnoticed, a drop in the ocean, important only to those who know me, and who will be forgotten in less years than I've lived, except I hope, by my children, who will think of me when they are old.  It is sad that I will die before "my time" but it is not unique in this world.  Children lose mothers, husbands lose wives, and it happens every day.

Why do I clarify this?  I am in a "Best Blogs" contest on Healthline. The grand prize is large, $1000.00, so I have been active in the process of winning.   I am grateful for every vote, for every person who has taken time out of their day to help me win, and for whoever nominated me as Best Blog in the first place.

But as I see the facebook and twitter posts from people who encourage their own social networks to vote for me,  I notice that many write,  "Vote for my friend Ann, who is blogging about her fight to beat cancer" or tweet, "vote for Ann who is kicking cancer's ass."  I receive many comments wishing me well in my "fight" or telling me to never give up,  saying they hope things will turn around for me and that miracles happen.   I realized that while I have changed my thinking about what is going on with me and what this blog is now about, some around me have not.

I am not fighting to beat cancer.  Cancer has won.  I continue to write, to share what it is like to have a cancer, to have a terminal illness.  I am still a cancer blogger, but the fight is gone.  I say this not in defeat, but in acceptance.

There is no magic that will change this, no hidden medicine or miracle treatment.  My ending is written.

Yes, I still have hope.  It is not the same hope you might have, or the hope you think you would have in my place.   Hope never dies, but as with life (and blogs), it morphs.  I don't hope to beat cancer.  I just hope for small amounts of time.  I can still hope to see my son graduate high school.  I can still hope to feel well enough to visit a newly born family member.  I can still hope that I see another spring, and summer. Mostly, I hope to appreciate every day I have.

I also hope to die with dignity, not become too dependent on others, and not cause suffering to those around me.  I hope I can prepare them, I hope I get a great hospice team, and I hope all are able to look at death as natural, as I do.

The final phase of this blog arrived, and I think the beautiful Soul Pancake video about my family and me has ushered it in..  The fight is over, but I'm still here.  And, as long as I am, I'll tell my stories, make some jokes and hopefully, show that one can leave this world peacefully, gratefully and with love.


To vote for me in the Healthline Best Blog contest, you must log in from a facebook or twitter account.  You may vote once a day.  Healthline does not use your account for anything other than posting to your wall that you voted, and you can stop that by clicking the "X" after your vote.

 Here is the link:

I would be very grateful to win, as the money will go towards my son's college costs.

For daily updates, jokes and inspiration, like me on facebook:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

PET results

True Story:  on my way to the doctor's office today to get my PET results, I saw THE biggest dog I have ever seen. At first, out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was a pony and did a double take at people walking a horse down a Sacramento street.  Eyes wide,  I realized that pony was a dog: a huge dog, a monster dog.   This dog could the winner of the biggest dog in the world contest.  Its shoulders were nearly as high as the shoulders of its owner.  It was not one of those long-legged Great Danes, it was thick, husky as well as tall, with one of those faces that has the sagging lips, like a Mastiff.  You just know his owners have drool rags all over their furniture.  He was brindle colored, but it was clear that he wasn't pure mastiff either.  His ears were floppy and his feet were huge.

Perhaps he was a combination between a Mastiff, Great Dane, and Shaquille O'Neal.

It was really something to see a dog of that size.  I stopped my car in the middle of the street and thought about you, my wonderful blog readers, who would have loved to see that gargantuan dog.  I rooted around in my purse to try to grab my phone and snap a photo, but alas, there was too much junk for me to grab it quick enough.  (Why can't I ever remember to put my phone in the little pocket designed for it?) The dog was turning in a direction the people walking it didn't want to go.  They were half-heartedly tugging but they knew they had no choice but to follow the animal's lead, so instantly, they had their backs to me, leaving me with a view of a tail the size of a Python, whipping around happily.  As I watched the massive dog move off to sniff something down the street, somebody behind me honked.  Options gone, I left the colossal canine without taking his picture and drove into the hospital parking lot for my news.

The results of the PET scan were exactly as I expected.   There has been "significant increase in size and activity" of the tumor in the liver since the last scan.   It is now the size of a golf ball, and the SUV (for you cancer nerds) has increased from 3.9 to 9.7.  Speaking of big PETs.

There is also bilateral dependent atelectasis of the lungs (lung collapse) which is preventing them from evaluating whether cancer has moved there.  However, no cancer was ever seen previously and many things can cause atelectasis, including not taking deep breaths due to pain, and unchanging positions (perhaps due to laziness - you only need one position to post to facebook), so I am not worried about that part.  I also have diverticulitis, which explains some of the mid-section symptoms not covered by cancer.  

I really need to get out and take some walks, I think.

My brain, as they always say, is "grossly unremarkable." Why they have to rub that in after every single scan, I don't know.  Isn't the fact that I have a growing cancer bad enough without a reminder about how boring my brain is? Really, radiologists, try to think on the bright side.  May I suggest the wording, "superior brain untouched by metastatic disease" instead?

Sometimes, we need all the good news we can get.

So, next week I start my 7th chemo: Gemzar.  I may also get to do Perjeta, although it is only approved for use in combination with docetaxol, (taxotere) which I've already had.   So, my doctor is going to see if we can convince my insurance to approve it for use with Gemzar.   I think it's time I add another HER2 agent as clearly, herceptin is not working as intended.  Or, maybe it is and without it I'd already be gone.  I know one thing - I don't want to find out.

Right now, keeping this cancer under control seems like a mastiff, er, I mean, massive task.


Don't forget to vote for me in Healthline's Best Blog contest.  The prize is $1000.00 and you can vote once a day. I am ahead but am not safe by any means, the competition is fierce!  Should I win, the money will go into my son's college fund.

Don't forget to like me on facebook.

If you have not yet, please watch SoulPancake's video and see my wonderful family - and me.  Leave a comment on YouTube for the SoulPancake crew (Rainn Wilson and Oprah Winfrey are the bosses) letting them know you admire this uplifting use of the internet  - and lack of cats.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nekkid Awareness

Today, I have my 8th, or perhaps 9th, PET scan. I no longer remember the number.

I do know that my symptoms have gotten worse: I'm exhausted, in pain, bloated, unable to eat more than a bit without feeling full. My entire right side aches, and I get stabbing pains in the liver area. I suspect that cancer is causing these symptoms and the Halaven isn't working, rather than it being Halaven side effects. I hope I'm wrong, and I will find out Thursday but this, my friends, is the way it goes when you have metastatic breast cancer. You get sick, you get sicker, you die.

Last night, as I glanced at the twitterverse, I saw this photo being passed around among some survivors.  It is every single thing wrong with the Pink movement, all tied up with a not-so-pretty pink ribbon.

Is this supposed to make me feel loved, supported and cherished as a mom, sister, daughter who is dying of breast cancer?

Do you see what it is?  It is a nude woman, one who has clearly had plastic surgery.  The photo is obviously retouched (we all know that middle-aged women don't have 19 inch waists).  Her golden locks shining, her perfectly manicured hands covering her perfect (fake?) breasts, her teeth just a bit too white, holding up a pink bag.  The text and iGoPink branding leads us to believe that portions of the sale of this purse will go to yet another new awareness charity, one that will no doubt (like Komen) make huge profits and end up with their corporate officers riding around in private jets.  But wait!  Ann!  There is the ubiquitous pink ribbon awareness logo in the corner that tells us that it's all good.  Sssshhhhh...there, there now honey, it's all for YOU.

What do you imagine I, a woman dying of breast cancer, am supposed to think when I see that?  

"Buy that bag, please.  Buy that bag and save my life?"

"Wow, she cares.  She really, really cares."

"Awww. How sweet, this lady got nekkid to try and help me live."

"Yay, I had forgotten what it was like to see a whole woman!"

"What is the expression on her face?  Is that lady thinking 'Neener neener, I have my breasts and you don't?'"

What is the brand messaging of this advertising trying to tell us?

The first message that I see is that this sad woman is striving for a perfection that cannot be achieved, clearly not in herself, and certainly not in the bodies of breast cancer patients. So why chose nudity and photoshop for your messaging?

The second is that she is trying to sell purses, and she thinks the best way to do that is to get naked and slap a pink ribbon on it.  Why not exploit the belief that awareness is cure, that pink is good, that the money will go anywhere useful.  Hell, maybe we can use that false information and guilt to add a few hundred bucks to the cost of the bag.  That way, people can justify buying this overpriced, pink product for themselves, and she can have more botox, lip injections and brow lifts.  And, hey, if it provides some masturbatory fantasy to somebody, that's okay too.

Win, win.

In reality, she and the "charity" are using the decay, disease and deaths - the real suffering - of other woman to make herself some more money.  If people weren't ignorant and afraid, they would not buy this pink junk.    Fear, guilt and desire.  You can't go wrong with marketing tools like that.

Slap a pink ribbon on it, and it's all okay, whatever you do.  After all, it's for the Godly Cause of Awareness and as we all know, catching cancer early stops it from spreading (oops, no it doesn't) and if you buy enough crap from enough naked women, you can save the world. 

Awareness:  teaching our 13 year olds that breast cancer can be shopped out of existence.

This is sad and pathetic.  Please don't buy one of these purses, and please, tell your friends not to either.  This pink madness has to stop.

I will update you Thursday or Friday with news of my PET, probably on facebook, so be sure to like my page at


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