Friday, October 26, 2012

Sexy Cancer Campaigns -- Sexy Prostate Cancer Campaigns?

I listened to The Current on my way to work yesterday, and wondered what it would be like if prostate, or testicular, cancer campaigns were sexualized the way the breast cancer campaigns have been.  The big question was if the campaigns are saving lives or saving breasts.  I listened to the story with a mindset focused on Tom, who is dealing with metastasized prostate cancer.  I wonder what would happen if similar tactics would be applied to cancers that have a more male focus -- such as prostate or testicular cancer.  It would be great to raise awareness -- no one should be ashamed of the kind of cancer they have when they start to work toward regaining health and getting rid of the cancer.  

Would a similar approach for the more male focused cancers resonate (or "swing", or "stand up erectly", if I can put it where it is) with men and their partners?  The sexy breast cancer campaigns include voice-overs by men talking about breasts and photos of attractive female bodies, focused on female breasts.  We live in a society that celebrates and reveres female breasts but doesn't celebrate prostates, testicles or penises as openly.  ... or at all.... The Movember movement has created a vehicle to raise awareness, raise funds, and create new ways to think about prostate cancer and mental health. And we get to see a lot of men with more hair on their faces than usual... at least until they have to take the anti-androgen drugs that are the first line of defense against the spread of prostate cancer.  Then one of the side effects is hair loss... oh well, that sounds bleak. 

Tom needs to talk about his particular "ish" (as he calls them), although not all the time, and he has found a local support group through CancerCare Manitoba.  It's more than important to get all the issues out into the open.  We could save lives that way.  Any way we can help people feel less embarrassed about any cancer that has links to our bodily functions is good.  I think that getting it out there will make people feel more like they still belong to a world that celebrates sexuality.  As adults that's an important part of our being.  People might feel neutered (in the words of the prostate literature), or less feminine, because of things done to remove cancers; we all want to feel sexy and real and engaged.  Healthy.  And alive.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Giving Thanks

I am thinking about why I should give thanks, given the season we enter.    

This has been a miserable/grumpy week for me, if I can be so personal.  This is how it felt: There is nothing that happened in the last while that is about my life, about me, or is helping me progress to something I want.  There... it's out.  And it's completely selfish. I spend my time driving people from here to there.  I wait while they do things. I slog away at homework for my courses. The second I enter the house, there is a demand.  The dog follows me around, waiting for more love.  And don't get me started on work.  Every time I think things have progressed to a new stage, or we work on new ideas, there's a roadblock.

And then I took a step sideways -- this is life.  The life that I wanted.  The life that I got.  And this life is rich enough that there are the demands, there are the requests, there is the dynamic of ongoing relationships, and yes, there's the dog who is loyal, faithful, and demanding. The three kids continue to progress in their own areas -- they are making excellent choices, they are supported by teachers and schools who care about them, they challenge things where they need to be challenged, and they love us right back.

Someone in Cancer Care Manitoba listened to Tom and took his case to a group meeting where they discussed what to do about the pain in his acetabulum (big word for pelvic girdle).  They see this situation as urgent, given that it has been eroded by cancer cells, causes him serious pain, and could degenerate enough to be dangerous for his physical stability.  So they are recommending a hip replacement.  This is a big step.  But they have to do it first before they can radiate the area, as once radiation takes place, the bone is effectively killed.  And then you can't do the replacement. The fact that this physician listened is something we can be thankful for.  

We have plans to drive to our cottage to enjoy it for one last weekend with running water -- the water gets turned off some time after the Thanksgiving weekend.  And then it's a bit less fun, even though we go.  Thanks for that little cottage in the bush.  It's beautiful, and it's cosy, and it's where the kids have grown up, from babyhood onwards.  What a wonderful escape for us.

It's all about my perspective.  So I will take this with me as I go through this day.  I give thanks for the richness of my life.