Pinktober! Queue Another Stupid Facebook Meme

photo by Jörgen Viberg [courtesy flicker / creative commons]

There’s a chill in the air. That used to mean leaves turning yellow and crimson, but now it means everything in sight turning pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

October means a new Facebook meme that allegedly raises “awareness” of breast cancer.

In years past, female Facebook members would post – without explanation – where they put their purses when they got home. “I like it on the kitchen counter.” Wink, wink.

The year before that they posted the colors of the bras they wear wearing. Red. Nude.

This helps raise awareness? Really?…

[read my entire “She the People” column at The Washington Post: Pinktober! Queue another stupid Facebook meme]

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Poem for My Mother

I’d been wanting to write a thank-you note to my mom. I guess this poem is it.

Poem for Her
by Donna Trussell

I wish I could see myself
through the eyes of the child
I never had. The wrinkles
softened by gauzy memories,
the excess pounds excused
by comfort taken there —
no safer place than the circle
of those arms.

But nothing so vivid
has come from my imagination,
from the land of wishes.
The Texas sun beating down,
the tall, unhindered grasses
swishing all around us.
Too real. I recognize.
It’s you I see.

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Amelia Earhart: After 75 Years, She’s Still Trending

Amelia Earhart

Seventy-five years ago this month, Amelia Earhart took off from New Guinea in her bid to finish her trip around the world along an equatorial route.

The trip started in Miami on June 1, 1937. Earhart and her navigator stopped in South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia. From New Guinea, Earhart was headed for Howland Island, which was halfway to Hawaii.

She never made it, and a mystery was born. Did Earhart run out of fuel, crash and sink into the Pacific Ocean? That’s what most experts believe.

Or did she land on Nikumaroro (Gardner) Island and survive for a time as a castaway? This blurry photograph of supposed “wreckage” could hardly count as evidence, but recently discovered artifacts, including a glass jar, perhaps for anti-freckle cream, could…

[read my entire “She the People” column at The Washington Post: Amelia Earhart: What happened?]

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‘Pink Ribbons Inc.’: Patients Need Help, Not Hype

Pink ribbons. Pink food. Pink trash bins. Pink feather boas. Pink blenders. We’re drowning in pink, and not just in October. Everyone with eyes knows that Breast Cancer Awareness “Month” starts in spring and keeps chugging along until Thanksgiving.

Between the corporate marketing opportunities and the sheer number of people who want to do something — anything — that might alleviate the suffering they’ve seen, pink is big business.

Continue reading

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The Best Women of Our Lives

With our war in Iraq officially over and the one in Afghanistan finally winding down, military men and women are struggling to return to civilian life, often after multiple combat tours. Yet to me, the best cinematic representation of that effort is still “The Best Years of Our Lives,” the 1946 film by director William Wyler about World War II veterans returning to civilian life.

Wars have come and gone, our culture has radically changed, and the role of women in both the military and on the homefront has, too. Yet this story still hits a nerve. Joe Pantoliano of “The Sopranos” fame chose “The Best Years of Our Lives” for his night of co-hosting Turner Classic Movies, calling it “the best movie ever made.”…

[read my entire “She the People” column at The Washington Post: The best women of our lives]

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The healing path of dresses and waffles

I recently bought a sewing machine.

Yes, I know that these days it’s cheaper to buy finished clothing than to buy cloth and sew a dress yourself. But I bought a sewing machine.

Compounding the horror, I also bought a waffle iron.

[read my entire “She the People” column at The Washington Post: The healing path of dresses and waffles]

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Dying mom makes breast cancer video, begs the FDA to have a heart

Darlene Gant is dying of breast cancer. She’s been writing a decade’s worth of cards — birthday, graduation, wedding — for her 11-year-old son. Plus one extra envelope, sealed. That card is to be opened upon her death, which she believes will come before Mother’s Day.

In addition to writing cards to her son, Gant made a 20-minute video in which she rages against the FDA for not allowing compassionate use of the drug Pertuzumab.

In February drug maker Roche announced that Pertuzumab was given priority review by FDA precisely because of its promising effect on HER2-positive breast cancer.

A phase III clinical trial revealed that metastatic breast cancer patients increased their progression-free survival from 12.4 months to 18.5 months longer when Pertuzumab was combined with two other chemotherapy drugs, Herceptin and docetaxel.

However, the earliest date Pertuzumab would become available is June 8, 2012. Gant knows where she stands, and she’s trying her best to parent from “the beyond.”…

[read my entire “She the People” column at The Washington Post: Dying mom makes breast cancer video, begs the FDA to have a heart]

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