About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

It's not about the boobs

One thing that kind of bothered me during the 3 Day walk last November. It isn't isolated to the 3 Day, not is it a Komen issue. It is a part of much of the "breast cancer awareness" hoopla. I had seen it before, but was immersed in it to a much greater degree during the walk. Walking 20 miles a day gave me plenty of opportunity to think and explore my feelings about it.

Its the emphasis on breasts.  The over-emphasis. In one way, its kind of a "duh" statement. Of course there is talk about breasts...its breast cancer.   You can see this in many of the slogans and team names for these awareness events:  save the ta-tas;  save second base; boobie crew; you name it. I've even seen pre-pubescent boys sporting bracelets that say "I love boobies." Presumably this helps raise awareness among the middle school crowd?  (As if middle school boys weren't aware of breasts, even if a little afraid of them!)  Or how about men wearing shirts declaring themselves "official inspectors," offering their "services" for women who need help with their self exams.

Is the goal of all of this is to save a pair of breasts?  Have we failed if breasts are not saved?  Does life cease being meaningful without them?

During the 3 Day walk, as well as the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, there were tons of signs saying things like this, people wearing huge fake breasts, making a joke of it.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not against finding levity in a bad situation.  In fact, I would venture to say I have a pretty good sense of humor and let a lot of stuff roll off my back.  One series of signs got to me, it said:

"Imagine a world without boobs." 

As if it were painting a picture of some worst case scenario, apocalyptic world. Yeah.  Well, its not so hard for me to imagine.  I don't have them, and I'm probably not ever going to get them. I'm flat as a pancake.  But you know what?  Its not the end of the world not to have had them "saved."  They key point is that I'm still here.  Here's the thing....even without breasts/boobs/ta-tas/a rack, breast cancer may still come back and claim my life.

You see, its not about the boobs. It's about women's lives. Trust me, you can live without boobs.  Breast cancer in the breast(s) isn't what kills women.  It is when it metastasizes to other body parts that her fate is sealed.

I know that our society will never get away from these silly slogans and over-emphasis on breasts.  It brings out a little pre-pubescent silliness in everyone. Perhaps this is the first level of "awareness."  20 years ago, people were ashamed to even say "breast" cancer. I suppose this is some form of progress.  I just hope we can move beyond this adolescent level of addressing the issue and realize that its not about the boobs....its about the women.  Finding a cure means more than saving breasts.


  1. This is something that has always bothered me too. Don't save my "ta-tas"-- save my LIFE!
    Keep up the good work!
    God bless!

  2. Tonya,
    Right on! I guess if you've been reading my blog, you know where I stand on this issue! It's sexualization of women and a disease pure and simple. It's just wrong to focus so much on saving the breasts rather than saving the lives. Like you so correctly pointed out, it's not the tumor in the breast that kills, it's when the cancer metastisizes. That's what we need to be focusing on. Breast cancer shouldn't be turned into a joke, even if intentions are good. Sorry for my little rant. Great post. And good for you for participating in the walks/runs!

  3. Yes! It's not about the breasts - it's about lives. Thanks for writing this.

  4. I was struck by the same thing when I walked in the Avon 2-Day last summer! Just last week, I wrote a similar post: http://www.lemondroppie.com/2012/01/on-my-soapbox-facebook-statuses-spin-cycle/

    I may have lost a breast to cancer, but I'm still here!