Pain Meds and Laughter: The Lighter Side of Palliative Care

Late Saturday night, I received a lovely email from a woman who explained that her step-mom was a regular reader of my blog. The email went on to read that her step-mom, Karin, was currently in palliative care after being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and that she didn’t have much time left. Karin and her step-daughter, Marsha, wrote the following piece together and I am honored to share it here.

Please keep Karin and her family in your thoughts.

I didn’t want to write this blog! Partly because I wanted to keep what my family has been going through for the past month private. I also thought that people might take offense to some of the things and Karin and I have laughed about during our daily visits – things that have helped me see that palliative care and dying aren’t that scary. But, Karin asked me to write this, so it’s with a heavy heart that I dedicate this to her memory and to the staff at Riverview Health Centre. Cancer sucks, but palliative care helps everyone cope just a little easier.

I have spent the past three weeks in Winnipeg to be with my family following Karin’s (my step-mom) stage IV breast cancer diagnosis. It’s not the first time my family has heard the dreaded “C-word” – that happened almost two years ago. But, that time Karin’s chances to beat this thing were great. She would have to undergo chemo, a mastectomy and radiation, but afterwards all of our lives would be back to normal; or so we thought. Flash forward one month ago – no that’s not a typo – in the last month all of our lives have drastically changed. One month ago, Karin started complaining about flu-like symptoms, aches, pains, headaches, and then she fainted…That’s when she ended up at the hospital. It’s there that we learned that her Inflammatory Breast Cancer was back, but not it had metastasized in her brain and spine. At first we were told the prognosis was six months to a year, but a few days later the doctors decided that transferring her from the Victoria Hospital to Riverview’s Palliative Care Unit was her best option with the short time remaining. There’s a longstanding joke in Winnipeg: “No one comes home once they go to Riverview!” For a lot of people, palliative care is a scary world, because it is a place where loved ones go to spend their last days. But, there’s another side that is not often talked about. Palliative care units, such as Riverview, allow patients to maintain their dignity while caring for the patient and the family members, but letting us know that it’s okay to laugh. Basically, they help all of us to see that dying isn’t that scary. My past three weeks in palliative care have at time been hard, but many of my afternoons have been filled with joy, laughter and a lot of heavy narcotics! Ok, the narcotics were for Karin – but I sometimes had to press the button – until the doctors upped her dosage. I’ve tried to capture the lighter moments of this situation because these are the moments that our loved ones, like Karin, want us to hold onto when they pass and what the staff at Riverview have managed to give us these past few weeks.

Something that has stood out for both me and Karin is the fact that both the geriatrics and palliative care units share the same floor. We figured that it makes the transfer to the dark side, oops…I mean East Wing, a little quicker! Comparatively, the palliative care wing is much quieter than the geriatrics unit. The only exception is that there are more call bells and IV poles buzzing every few minutes than on the other side. In fact, geriatrics seems to be the party wing with their daily walks, occupational therapy sessions and rowdy games of bowling and miniature golf! Needless to say, Karin and I have decided that the palliative care unit needs a social director, or at the very least, a representative at these daily outings. Maybe it was the pain meds talking or the side effects of the brain mets but we have spent our afternoons dreaming up ways for Team Palliative Care to complete and dominated against the geriatrics unit! When Karin got her head shaved, a side effect of the four days of radiation treatment she had, we talked to the nurses about hosting a fashion show where we’d decorate her “beautiful” hospital gown and IV pole. Let’s be honest, all of these grandiose ideas are nonsense, but boy, does it make us laugh. Actually, we have everyone laughing, from the occupational therapist who works with Team Geriatrics to the nurses we’re trying to enlist for our fashion show. Heck, even Karin’s parents were laughing when we talked about the need to get her campaign for Social Director off the ground because we didn’t know how much time Karin and the voters had left to make this happen! All of this might sound random and a little awful, but these inside jokes – or possible hallucinations – is what allows us to cope with the fact that Karin is dying. It also helps us have fun, so that the final days don’t seem so painful.

Besides the caring staff and the individual attention that is given to each patient, the best thing about palliative care would probably be the drugs – I mean, the “prescribed pain medication.” A good part of my three weeks has been spent making sure that Karin gets her fix whenever she needs it. In normal circumstances, doctors would be hesitant to give patients the amount of med that Karin is on because, as few of the student nurses pointed out to us, they are “addicting forming.” Really? Is this really going to be a problem? They shouldn’t have told us about that because between dreaming up social committee activities for the wing, we also started exploring the possibility of opening a Detox-Palliative Care Unit, you know…to help the terminally ill patients that have developed a drug addiction, detox in their final days. Once again, the nursing staff were kind enough to humor us by jumping in on the nonsense. At least once a day, we would joke about Karin’s newly developed drug addiction and the fun stories, hallucinations, and great rests they bring. These jokes not only helped lighten the mood and the heaviness of the situation, but sometimes they helped numb the pain a little – for both Karin and us loved ones that would otherwise have to watch her suffer. The doctors and nurses can’t take the pain away but they do give us tools (i.e., medication and gentleness) to help manage or numb it a bit. In many ways, the laughter has also been a way to manage the pain for all of us.

Apparently there’s two things that happen when you become a Palliative Care patient: 1) You start worrying about trying to take care of everything and everyone with the time you have left and 2) You pretty much get a Free Pass to say, eat and do anything you want! Karin quickly understood this rule and took full advantage of it! In the early days of this diagnosis, let’s be honest, it was 3 days before I arrived in Winnipeg, Karin made sure to take care of the nitty-gritty details! But, when I got there she realized that there was one more piece of “unfinished business” that she had to take care of – finding me a husband! She quickly made it her daily mission to try and convince Super-Tony, her day nurse, that I was a super catch. In the real world, this would normally lead to very awkward moments. But, not when your a member of Team Palliative – that’s because you get to say, do, and eat anything, without worrying about social faux-paus and embarrassing your loved ones. Despite Karin’s efforts, I will be returning home to Quebec single and without Super-Tony! But everything else is taken care of – Karin has made sure of that! We have said our goodbyes. We have laughed and we have cried. We have said everything that needs to be said and then some! My dad, little brother, her two teenage kids, and everyone else that has loved her will get through this and will be alright – Karin has made sure of that and she has done so with grace, dignity, love – she hasn’t needed to use her Free Pass!

I came to Riverview three weeks ago, and on Monday, I will be defying the odds by going home, but sadly Karin won’t! The doctors and nursing staff can’t cure Karin’s cancer and one day soon she will lose this battle that she started almost 2 years ago! But what they have done is managed all of our pain, given her the respect and dignity that she deserves, while reminding us they it’s okay to laugh and continue to make new memories; all of which make death less scary. Thank you Riverview!

Sleep with angels my friend!

{Edited:  Karin’s battle against breast cancer ended peacefully. Marsha thanks everyone for your support and encouragement these past few weeks.}

Be A Resource: Margot Saharic

Margot Saharic shares her best advice on how to get through a breast cancer diagnosis, including the best breast cancer resource book available.

Margot Saharic is a mom to two daughters and lives in the Pacific Northwest. She was diagnosed with HER-2+ breast cancer in 2008 and has appeared here on my blog several times over the years. As I was combing through her previous posts, I noticed a trend I hadn’t before. She really wants to take all the fear out of having breast cancer. She’ll agree with you that it is life altering but not impossible to get through.  I love that she is so passionate about being a resource to her friends and community.

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Margot Saharic

Read Margot’s 2013 submission here.

GIVE US AN UPDATE ON YOUR HEALTH

I celebrated my 6 year mark in March of 2014 – woohoo – but sadly still haven’t lost that nasty 10+ pounds I gained in chemo. Overall not a bad price to pay, and I’m just happy to be here to still complain about it.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PRESCRIPTION?

Embracing your hair loss makes it bearable, and I don’t mean by going all “bald is beautiful.” Get a wig, hell, get a couple in colors and textures (straight or curly) that you always wished you had but never did and have fun with it. Scarves, headbands, and other hair accessories help distract from the telltale signs of wearing a wig. And for when you just can’t handle styling, pull on a wig and a baseball hat and call it good.

Still the best book – The Breast Cancer Husband by Marc Silver. I send it to everyone newly diagnosed.

Get a stuffed animal to love on in the hospital and when you’re feeling like crap through chemo. I remember wishing my girls – then 4 and 6 years old – would make me one at Build A Bear but they never picked up my hints. Finally, last week I went with the younger one and made a stuffed bear for myself. So wish I’d done it earlier!

Tell us something AWESOME, something completely out of the box.

I was at a bourbon tasting party last week – a school fundraiser, it’s all for the kids, right? – and a friend said “you know, you’ve got the best boobs at the table.” Yes, I love my perky new disease-free rack, thank you for noticing.

Read Margot’s 2012 guest post Little b, Little c

Margot Saharic shares her best advice on how to get through a breast cancer diagnosis, including the best breast cancer resource book available.

Photo Source:
“Reading” by rosmary is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Text added to original
Personal photo courtesy of Margot Saharic
This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

 

Her Own Way: Jenn Lyke

Jenn Lyke shares her best advice on how to do cancer treatment in your own way.

Jenn Lyke is a 37 year old mom of two boys ages 10 and 12 and wife to a calm, cool and collected husband. She spent the early years of her adulthood studying to become a Catholic nun. After six years with the sisters, she left to begin a career as a non profit fundraising professional having worked for national and local organizations including the American Cancer Society and the largest homeless shelter for women and children in the state of Missouri. While at ACS, Jenn planned the first Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in her community – nearly four years prior to her own breast cancer diagnosis.

Jenn believes her mission in life has always been to use the gifts and talents God gave her to help others. She currently serves as the Development Director for a local Catholic high school, which fulfills her purpose and allows extra time with her boys. Jenn blogs at LYKEHEARMEROARDUDE and I’m crazy about her passion.

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Jenn Lyke

HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU WERE DIAGNOSED?

I was diagnosed with stage 2A ER/PR+ IDC on January 14, 2013. I completed chemo on June 21, 2013 and radiation on August 28, 2013. I celebrated one year since my last chemo by delivering roses to my chemo nurse and one year since my last radiation by delivering breakfast to the radiation staff along with my sons. At the radiation center, during my treatment, I raised money from my friends and family to buy a celebration bell for the center as they didn’t have one. My boys currently make “little celebration” bells as a reminder for the radiation patients to celebrate little milestones along the way leading up to the day they’ll be able to ring the big bell.

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT?

On December 14th, 2012 my family was out hiking on an unseasonably warm day. After the hike I took a shower like I normally do and my hand ran over two small lumps side-by-side.

TELL US YOUR REACTION.

After visiting the doctor, I was reassured that the lumps were very likely benign. An ultrasound was scheduled the lumps appeared benign, but just to be sure a surgeon removed them for biopsy. After seeing the lumps the surgeon felt 99 percent sure it would be nothing. So when I got the call I was in complete and total shock.

My twin sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer almost a year to the day that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. We are not carriers of the BRCA gene. She was 35 and I was 36. I went to my OB/GYN immediately after she was diagnosed to get checked out and everything looked good. I was, and still would be, too young to get a mammogram.

From the moment I felt the bumps to my diagnosis, it was like taking a walk into a dark, scary place – a haunted house.

Not knowing what to expect, being jumpy and full of fear, but still having hope that I’d be able to run the other way and not go any further into the house.

About a month later I felt like I entered the haunted house again, all alone, and the door slamming behind me.

There were scary things lurking around every corner, especially in that first month. A place so lonely, so dark and so terrifying. I was poked, prodded, scanned, and parts of my body were cut off.

I was faced with the fear of not knowing if they caught it early, or if it would be a more advanced case. Would I be alive to see my children grow up? What would losing their mother at such a a young age do to them? How would I tell them I had cancer?
The walls were caving in, the house was dark and loud.
Even though I had my family and friends, I was never more alone.

WHAT WAS YOUR TREATMENT PLAN?

I underwent a bilateral mastectomy with tissue expander reconstruction, six chemotherapy treatments along with 33 rounds of radiation and DIEP flap reconstruction. I am on tamoxifen.

HOW HAS TREATMENT AFFECTED YOUR WELL-BEING, IF AT ALL?

I am blessed, extremely blessed to have no impact on my well being.

HAS HAVING BREAST CANCER INSPIRED YOU TO DO SOMETHING GREATER WITH YOUR LIFE?

Not really because I was already working hard to make a difference since the age of 17!

My biggest messages: not everyone loves PINK, take control of your own journey, drink green juice, avoid meat and alcohol. BE WELL!

SHARE YOUR BIGGEST STRUGGLES AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE THOSE?

My biggest struggle has been worrying about recurrence. There’s a 20-30% chance my cancer could come back. I’ve focused on healthy eating, drinking green smoothies and have taken up running. All of that along with Tamoxifen and ovarian supression (per my request) makes me feel in control and like I’m taking care of that 20-30%.

YOU’RE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT PINK. TELL US MORE.

I am a survivor who does not gain comfort from the pink ribbon. In fact, I honestly despise the whole pink washing thing.

Read more about Jenn’s views on pink washing here.

FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN DIAGNOSED?

Do cancer treatment YOUR way!

For me, at my first treatment I showed up in sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt. I cried like a baby walking into the chemo room and seeing “all those sick people” – I didn’t want to be in that club. For my 2nd-6th treatment I wore animal print heels, skinny jeans, a fun top, full make up, sunglasses and walked in with my ear buds in and a theme song such as “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys or “Diva” by Beyonce. This helped me feel so in control and so much better about myself and my journey to wellness.

Jenn Lyke shares her best advice on how to do cancer treatment in your own way.

Photo Source
“Stripey Knee High Socks” by erin.rickard is licensed under CC BY 2.0 / Text added to original
Personal photo courtesy of Jenn Lyke

Hope is Reason Enough

September 5th, 2008 was the debut of Stand Up To Cancer telecast. I clearly remember sitting on the floor of our family room, entertaining my 8 month old baby girl and wiping away tears as I watched big name celebrities plead for donations. I cried that night because I mourned the loss of a childhood best friend who died from the disease when we were sixteen years old.

I didn’t know it would be only weeks until doctors told me of my own cancer diagnosis.

This time of year plays tricks with my head. I celebrate as I inch further away from my diagnosis date but there is always worry behind my smiling eyes – at least through the end of October and breast cancer awareness month is shelved until the following year.

So why the heck would I plan to watch the 2014 SU2C telecast considering it might reopen old wounds? Well, it’s one of the few cancer organizations I support. To date, the telecast has raised $261 million to support SU2C’s innovative cancer research programs. There are 12 “Dream Teams” of researchers and young scientists working to eradicate the leading cause of death worldwide. All of that makes me feel hopeful.

Hope is why I watch, why I donate and why I use my space on the internet to tell others about the telecast.

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Plus, Dave Grohl is one of the many stars who will be on this year’s show.

The SU2C fundraising telecast will air on all major and many cable networks Friday, September 5th at 8pm PST/EST and 7pm CST.

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Baby After Cancer: Miya Goodrich-Phillips

Today’s post is from Miya Goodrich-Phillips. A writer and stay-at-home-wife, a breast cancer diagnosis disrupted this newlywed’s plans for a baby. She’s been chronicling her journey to motherhood and shares with us what has changed in her life since being diagnosed two-and-a-half years ago. Read and share.

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Tell us about your diagnosis.

I found a lump in my right breast. I had just checked myself a month before and there was nothing there. It kinda came out of nowhere and grew pretty quick. The official diagnosis was stage 2, grade 3 ER/PR+, HER-2 negative with 2/10 lymph nodes.

Aggressive cancers in young women tend to be fast growing. What was your reaction when you learned it was cancer?

I had to wait almost a week for the results of the biopsy, so during that time I tried to prepare myself for bad news. Nothing can prepare you for those words, “You have cancer.” I was shocked. I couldn’t breathe. I was scared. I was sad. I didn’t feel too certain about anything anymore.

What kind of treatment options were presented?

Because I tested negative for the BRCA gene mutation, I decided to have a single radical mastectomy and a total of ten lymph nodes were removed. I followed that surgery with chemotherapy, radiation, and two reconstructive surgeries. I also have to take Tamoxifen for 10 years.

What kind of challenges have you faced with either your surgery or ongoing treatment?

I’ve been pretty vocal about my fertility issues. That’s truthfully been the biggest problem for me. Breast cancer has put many restrictions on my ability to conceive a baby. Other than that, I have some trauma on my ribs from all my surgeries, it flares up now and again and can get very sore and uncomfortable. I also can’t move my right arm as well as I used to.

How has having breast cancer changed you?

The way I look at life has completely changed. All my priorities changed in an instant. I was depressed most of my twenties and allowed that to become my identity. A lot of my personal relationships suffered because of it. Having a life threatening illness lifted that fog and weight off of my shoulders. I feel I was given a second chance at life. I’m grateful to be here and thankful everyday. I have renewed relationships with my parents and have a wonderful marriage now! Adversity brought me to a higher sense of self and led me to my spiritual life.

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Do you foresee any roadblocks?

Currently, the only road block for me is having to wait to have children. I’m hoping that everything goes well with the embryos we froze.

You can follow Miya’s journey to becoming a mom after breast cancer at Baby After Cancer.

Parenthood Returns

Hey, look!  Kristina Braverman has a full head of hair in the season premiere of Parenthood.

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So, I’m not trying to be annoyed by this but those of us who have lost our own locks from chemo know that it can take months before your hair starts looking like a normal head of pre-chemo hair again. I kept a hair diary as proof!

If you are a regular reader, you might remember that I wrote extensively about Parenthood last season and Kristina’s experience with breast cancer. The storyline had some ups and downs for me personally. I also got a lot of hater comments here on the blog about it, too.

But that was last year.

This season it looks like Kristina is writing a new story. In an interview at The Daily Beast, Monica Potter talked about how Kristina is “seizing the day and wanting to go after her dreams.”  She also mentioned that Kristina’s experience with breast cancer is referred to but that this season is “the year of celebration.”

I’m conflicted though. Part of me definitely wants to see a storyline where Kristina is moving on with her life post cancer. It’s a place a lot of survivors want to be. However, in my experience, many of us are frozen in fear after finishing treatment. Some are afraid of what’s next or waiting for the other shoe to drop. The area is very gray and I think for the most part we muddle through it trying to figure out our new stories.

Interested in reading my posts from last season’s Parenthood? You can find links to each recap post here. Are you planning on watching the season premiere of Parenthood tonight?

photo source: Monica Potter, Twitter

Lifescript.com Breast Cancer Health Center

This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.

I consider myself to be a research nerd. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 2008, I sought out every book and website about the disease; facts about breast cancer, symptoms about breast cancer, breakthrough news, articles about the best foods for fighting cancer, and survivor stories from celebrities and women like myself who have faced the same life-changing diagnosis. One of my most rewarding takeaways from blogging about breast cancer is being able to couple my personal experience with my love of research and then being able to share that with readers looking for the same answers I once was looking for. This is truly the catalyst behind my popular Breast Cancer: 101 series.

Credible and concise information is the foundation for a great breast cancer related blog post. I make sure to pull together news and facts about breast cancer from reputable sources. One of my newest resources is the Lifescript.com Breast Cancer Health Center. Lifescript.com provides medical information, tips and advice written by professional health writers, experts and physicians. It’s an excellent comprehensive research tool for any breast cancer patient, advocate and caregiver.

#lifescript

Visit www.lifescript.com for useful information on breast cancer and other prevalent medical conditions related to women’s health.

I am currently curating facts and information about a vascular condition called lymphedema. Lymphedema can often plague women who have had lymph nodes removed during breast cancer surgery. Many are unfamiliar with this condition, the symptoms, or even how to treat it. Lifescript’s Breast Cancer Health Center had a pretty great all-inclusive explanation about the condition with some excellent images illustrating the lymph system. I hope you’ll come back to read my 3-part lymphedema post when it debuts on my Breast Cancer: 101 series later this month!

Want to find more posts relating to breast cancer? Then be sure you do not miss these articles:

Become familiar with your risks for developing breast cancer. Do any of these apply to you?

Is there such thing as an anti-cancer diet?

• Chemotherapy commonly used to treat breast cancer makes your hair fall out. It grows back. See my hair diary for proof.

lifescript-breast-cancerLifescript’s Breast Cancer Health Center features tips, quizzes, recipes and articles – all by professional health writers, experts and physicians – covering new breast cancer breakthroughs, best antioxidant foods, interviews with famous women who have struggled with breast cancer and more. Please visit the Lifescript Health Center on Breast Cancer for more information.

And to check out this free website, click here!

This is a sponsored post by me on behalf of Lifescript.com.
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Act with Love

It’s been in the works for a couple of weeks now but today is the day!  I am thrilled to be featured on the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation website today.  I was asked to write about being diagnosed with breast cancer shortly after becoming a new parent and how that experience has made me Act with Love!

I encourage you to click on over to DSLRF.org and read why I proudly Act with Love, what that means, and how you can get involved!

With that, I’d like to say hi to the readers clicking over from DSLRF.org or from the DSLRF Valentine’s Day email campaign.  You can get to know me better by clicking on this About Me link or read more about my breast cancer profile and treatment plan.  Or just click around and see what I’ve got to say.  I’m not all-cancer-all-the-time.  I like to say I’m much more than a survivor!

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Have a great Wednesday and go Act with Love – now!

You don’t want to miss my gems.  Click the highlighted links to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.  Also, never miss a post.  Get my updates in your email!

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Parenthood Looks to Add Some Dramatic Oomph

I’m worried, y’all.  I’m worried Parenthood might be looking to add some dramatic oomph with Kristina’s breast cancer storyline.  I think you might know what I mean if you saw next week’s previews for the episode titled “What to my Wandering Eyes.”  A bedside vigil and the discovery that Kristina recorded messages for her children?  I’m worried Parenthood is trying hard to work the heartbreaking side of this disease.

Yeah, cancer can be heartbreaking because its surprise arrival disrupts life and best laid plans.  But, it doesn’t always have to be so damn dramatic.  There are a lot of women living fairly normal day-to-day lives, getting up, going to work, taking care of their families, getting treatment, and moving on with life.  So why is Parenthood trading in their exceptional storytelling for a cliched cancer tragedy?  I guess because being able to successfully manage breast cancer treatment makes for boring television.

Hrumph.

Now, I’m only making an assumption based off of the preview I saw.  Of course I’d be happy to eat my words if NBC or Jason Katims want to send me an advanced preview of the episode to prove me wrong.

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Did Mark overreact to seeing Hank and Sarah?

So, what did you think about Mark dumping Sarah after he saw she and Hank together?  Talk about overly dramatic, right? Seriously, she wasn’t doing anything.  But, this opens the door for Hank to pursue Sarah.  Do you think he will?  And is it just me or is it hard to watch Ray Romano play anyone other than Ray Barone?

Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC

I’m Already Over Breast Cancer Awareness Month

It’s October 1st and I’m already over breast cancer awareness month.

You did know that today kicks off national breast cancer awareness month, right?  Well, it also marks the four-year-anniversary of my own diagnosis.  Believe me, the irony is not lost on me.  So, consider yourself warned: I will be writing a lot about “the big C” throughout the month.

I’d like to welcome the readers from She Knows!  The fabulous Jessica Watson (she also writes at her personal blog Four Plus an Angel) featured me along with nine other awesome bloggers who have battled breast cancer.  I’m proud to be amongst some exceptional bloggers and cancer advocates, including Nancy Stordahl from Nancy’s Point and AnneMarie Ciccarella from Chemobrain!

Now, the reason I’m already over breast cancer awareness month.  Maybe it’s the pink merchandise in every single store I go into.  I saw an old high school classmate ask on Facebook where she could find some cheap, pink, breast cancer trinkets.  I wanted to reply “Um, everywhere” but alas I refrained.  I certainly don’t want to sound bitter.  Ha!

Uni-Ball-Pink-Ribbon-pen

.10 from Uni-Ball and .10 from Staples.

Anyway, this is what really set me off this year.  A sign at my local Staples advertising pink Uni-Ball pens.  Ok, Uni-Ball pens are nice and I might have a few of the pink ones laying around the house.  But, Uni-Ball’s financial commitment is what kills me.  They are donating .10 from every sale of the 207 Pink Ribbon Gel pen to the City of Hope (Staples is matching the .10 donation).  Ok, there is some good and some bad here.

  • Good: City of Hope – a not-for-profit clinical research center and hospital in Los Angeles, CA.
  • Bad: 10 cents.  A 2-pack of the pens sell for $5 plus change.  I wish I knew how much it costs Uni-Ball to make gel pens.  It’s gotta be pennies, right?  .10 is a joke.  Their commitment is up to $50,000 so that means 1/2 million pens need to be sold.

The Uni-Ball situation irritates me but that’s just the tip of the iceberg I’m afraid.  I posted about   I heard about a documentary called Pink Ribbons, Inc. and I encourage you to watch the trailer!  I’ve got to get my hands on a copy.

 

Featured in the documentary is Dr. Susan Love of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation.  The goal of DSLRF is to find out what causes the disease and to find a cure for it!  This month they are launching the HOW study.

From the Executive Director of DSLRF:

HOW is not only for or limited to learning more about breast cancer in the United States. HOW is the first-ever global online study designed to examine causes, treatment, and prevention of breast cancer. 

So what’s involved?  Clicking the HOW (the Health of Women Study) link which is an online questionnaire for ALL men and women.  This is a first time study of this size and magnitude and they need YOU – regardless if you’ve had breast cancer or not – to complete the online survey!

I’ve participated in the HOW study and it took about 15-20 minutes total.  Register today at thehealthofwomenstudy.org

One day down, thirty to go.  Now go sign up for the HOW study.