Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness, newly diagnosed illness, overcoming adversity

Dead Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea…Pink Sea?

You may be wondering is there really a pink sea; Google it and see what comes up. The truth is there is no Pink Sea, but today is October 1st and you may be experiencing a Sea of Pink. Today begins Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The use of the color pink has brought enormous attention to the Breast Cancer community. It has become defining, creating a community of those diagnosed with breast cancer, those living beyond breast cancer, and their families.

I was in Houston in April at the annual conference of the Arts and Health Alliance. While I was in town walking the main road an army of pink passed me. They were in the midst of their annual Avon Walk for the Cure. Women, men, and children all wearing pink to show their support for the Breast Cancer community.

The color pink linked to the breast cancer community has created a link and a way for community members to show their connection to the community. It becomes more prominent this time of year when buildings change out their white bulbs for pink bulbs shining a pink glow against their buildings in support. Pink ribbons are in full bloom like a field of wild lavender. It’s truly amazing that an illness has gone beyond the diagnosis and has created a community of hope, inspiration, and education.

The breast cancer community has created a culture and that’s not an easy thing to do. They have brought together the medical community, the corporate community, and individuals for a common cause. We’ll see a month filled with news stories about mammograms, treatment updates, and news of new medications such as Perjeta (a drug given FDA approval this past week).

You may not be a fan of the pink culture. Barbara Ehrenreich, noted author, is anti-pink. On an NPR interview she was clear that she didn’t want to be buried with a pink Teddy Bear. She doesn’t want to be defined for having an illness. She may not want to be defined by the pink culture, but it has served many raising money and pressure to find a cure and new treatments.

It doesn’t matter if you support the pink culture. It does matter that you support those facing Breast Cancer and all other illnesses. Perhaps we can find ways for other illnesses to find a culture that will help make their need more notable!

Are you or a loved one facing Breast Cancer?  Looking for education, support, and inspiration?  Visit

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Posted in Having a Voice, Living with Illness

Medicine is Not Separate From Money

If you live in the United States you’re well aware of the ongoing debate about healthcare.  There is talk about Universal healthcare but if we’re talking about socialized medicine I’m not sure the insurance companies would allow that to happen.  There is no doubt that those with insurance and those with premium insurance are getting more costly procedures.  This became even more apparent to me this weekend on news reports of Christina Applegate’s diagnosis of breast cancer.

First let me say that I’m thankful that Ms. Applegate’s cancer was detected early.  What confused me was the method of diagnosis.  The news agencies all report that Ms. Applegate’s cancer was detected by a routine MRI.  I’ve been in the medical field for a very long time and I can assure you there is no such thing as a routine MRI.  Insurance providers try and hold off on paying for such procedures.  There are other tests that would have been completed first that are less costly, unless you have big name doctors, a great insurance plan or are willing to pay for the test out-of-pocket.

I guess the real concern is where is the truth in the story.  If there was another problem they were looking for and that was what instigated the MRI then say so, but don’t call an MRI routine.  How many individuals are going to their doctors asking for a routine MRI just like Ms. Applegate.  News agencies are reporting what they’re told, but they don’t seem to be questioning the MRI as long as they got the story about the cancer…isn’t that suspicious?

This is the reason that many need to have an advocate who will serve to empower you when going through a health challenge because unequal medical care results in death.  What will you do to request and if denied then demand certain procedures?  Are you willing to use your voice to get the healthcare you need?  I’d love to hear how you advocated for medical care of any kind?  Be an inspiration for the rest of the world!