Dear family and friends,
First of all, THANK YOU for helping us get our project Breast Cancer Pink: The Video off the ground! Your donations and your help getting the word out has been phenomenal. We’ve got ten days left, and we need to raise $2,600 more! As we begin this last push towards our funding goal, I wanted to share a little bit about why this song and the music video we hope to make are so important to me, even though I have already completed all of my cancer treatment.
On Friday morning, I put on my headphones. And then I listened on repeat, to a very early version of Breast Cancer Pink. It’s not the gorgeous professional version I normally listen to- it’s an acoustic version, a version in which I can hear Kate’s little birds tweeting in the background. It’s a version that is comforting because it’s so not produced, and it’s so imperfect, and it’s so intimate. When Kate and I wrote the song, I felt so very visible- finally, someone was honoring my experience enough to really listen and make something beautiful with me, for me. Each time I listen to the song, those feelings flood my body, and I know that my story matters, and I know that people care, and I know that I’m gonna be fine. So it’s no wonder, that when I feel a little cancer-lonely, or when the anxiety about getting cancer again surfaces, or when I have to go to an appointment in the building that smells like chemo, I need the song to drown out all other sounds, and I need the song to remind me I am more than just another cancerous body.
I’ve been through so many procedures now, that even walking through the doors of the cancer agency causes my heart to squeeze and my toes to curl. I can immediately smell the hand sanitizer, which reeks of the alcohol swabs they used to clean my port before each chemo. And then they hand me one of those blue gowns, with the little ties on the side, and anyone who walks into the room is allowed to fling it open and examine my breasts. Most of the time, they don’t even ask. Given that this is the world one inhabits after successful cancer treatment, you might be able to imagine just how badly I need Breast Cancer Pink, blaring in my headphones, and the way it makes me feel wrapped up and warm, real and acknowledged, visible and heard.
After my mastectomy last May, I was declared cancer free. Suddenly, there were no doctors actively involved in getting rid of my cancer, and it was terrifying to be out of care. What if something happened? What if it came back, and they didn’t even know until it was all over my body? What if there were errant cells lurking in my nodes or other tissue, just waiting to grow enough to be called a recurrence? What if I had a recurrence, and died? That was all I thought about.
I know now that it’s better for me to focus intensely on the present, and what is true right now. I can’t get too far ahead into the future, because then I become plagued with worry. A cancer friend said to me yesterday, “I just can’t imagine retiring or getting really old or anything too far into the future.” I’ll always live with the fear of recurrence. This last week, I had to stare down that fear, look deeply into her eyes and acknowledge she is real. You see, Friday I showed up at the clinic to have X-Rays of my sternum and ribcage. In an attempt to discern what it is that is making my sternum painful, and why I seem to have random, shooting pain in the center of my chest bone, the doctor ordered X-Rays. I plugged the song into my headphones and pulled on the blue gown. I worried that the X-Ray radiation would cause cancer in my remaining breast. I held my breath as directed, the song in my ear-buds, and wondered how long it would take for an answer. How long until I knew, cancer or no cancer? With the song blaring in my ears, I took a deep breath, left the X-Ray area and got dressed. I let the song remind me that I have an incredible community, that I am loved and heard and visible, and that ultimately, it’s gonna be fine.
So you can see, how wildly important the song is to me, and also, to other folks dealing with breast cancer. It allows me (and others, I hope) to see ourselves as something more than a pink ribbon or a sad story. It sustains a hope for something other than what is- a hope that we can really reckon with the toxic environment that is linked to breast cancer, and a hope that we can acknowledge each others’ experiences of the world with care, compassion, and kindness. I am so incredibly excited to make the video and share it with all of you and every person I know who is dealing with cancer.
So many of you have so generously donated to our Kickstarter campaign to make this possible- and I want to reach through my computer screen and say THANK YOU, and give you a big, giant, warm hug. I want you to know how much your generosity means to both Kate and me. We’ve raised $3,925 out of $6,600 and we still need to raise $2,675 more dollars to make this video- and we’ve got ten days to do it! If we don’t reach our goal of $6,600 by Wednesday, March 18th at 5pm, we won’t receive any of the funds already earmarked for the project, that is, all of the money donated so far will get refunded to the people who have pledged, and the project won’t happen….that’s how Kickstarter works. So, if you haven’t already donated, please donate today! Every single cent counts! Can you help us by sharing, urging your friends and family to donate, or sending out a link to the Kickstarter page to your networks?
Here is the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1864457835/breast-cancer-pink-the-music-video. If the link doesn’t work, simply google “breast cancer pink kickstarter” and it will come up!
So much love,