Pinktober? THINKtober!

Amidst October’s frantic flurry of *P I N K*  in all its well-intentioned glory, we’ve instead chosen to unleash the provocative power of portraiture to get all sorts of balls rolling — whether in the arena of self-therapy or advocacy & awareness!

Selfies aside, the digital era is perfectly poised to make self-portraiture accessible to anyone with a phone — empowering us to make art from our lives, stripping away the need for formal fine art training or an expensive camera!

Check out Australia’s The SCAR Project here! What do YOU think a South African version would look like — and would you participate?

 advocates-for-breast-cancer_south-africa_australian_the-scar-project


The Self Portrait, a Powerful Tool for Self-Therapy*

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13642530902723157

“Facing the camera lens and releasing the shutter immediately takes us to our first essential process of the definition of the self: the recognition of our image in the mirror.

By objectifying our ‘dark side’ in a photograph, we can separate ourselves from what we dislike and open up a space for catharsis or renewal.

During a self-portrait session we can start a dialogue between our thinking mind and our ‘gut’ to draw from an inexhaustible source of meanings, which must be expressed. The self-portrait can be incredibly empowering.

By forcing us into the Now, it can help us perceive and express our essential humanity in a photograph. The decision to represent oneself can provide what is termed here a ‘state of grace’: the feeling of centeredness that occurs in moments of creative work in which the emotions are naturally retained because our higher self is in command.


APERTURES & ADVOCACY!

Additionally, self-portraiture holds incredible power to transform entire societies — making it an extremely effective breast cancer advocacy tool!

“The outcome implies that a reflective practice of self-portraiture focused on imagination is a valuable method of assessing the present and past, FREEing one up to reclaim a desired future, which is a powerful tool that can promote transformation in our society.” ~  Luciana Vasques Barbosa

https://researchbank.rmit.edu.au/eserv/rmit:15915/Barbosa.pdf

(*wink* Yes! We have something up our advocacy-sleeve! Are you keen to know what it could be?)

*~ by European Journal of Psychotherapy & Counselling  Volume 11, 2009 – Issue 1 | Phototheraphy and Therapeutic Photography

Survivor Day: Putting the ‘I’ in Survivor!

As we’ve been researching breast cancer survivorship online this week, we’ve been reminded just what a wide and deep subject ‘diagnosis’ really is. In fact, survivorship can almost only be 100% ‘defined’ clinically – because to each of us, it means something uniquely different. For example, some survivors believe in Pink as a symbol of hope, joy and resilient femininity, whilst others feel that Pink stinks – that it’s a blatant slap in the feminine face of their breast cancer reality. (How do you feel about Pink? Tell us on our Facebook page!)

So because we can only touch on the very tip of the survivorship-iceberg, we’ve created an ABC of Survivorship for you – and included links to more in-depth articles for you to explore!


Advocates for Breast Cancer - diagnosis


ACTIVE ADVOCACY: As a survivor, you are in the powerful and perfect position to be a voice for the voiceless. You have so much practical knowledge and emotional experience to be very effective in raising awareness and driving breast cancer education  forward thoughout our country and all its communities. (Saying that, never allow anyone to pressure you into it unless you feel it’s in your heart!) ***Connect with us on Facebook to see how we can help you get involved!

BOOKS ARE BRILLIANT! Just one example is Stealing Second Base:  A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Experience and Breast Cancer Expert’s Story by Lillie Shockney. Get browsing amongst the abundance of books out there to equip and encourage yourself!

CARE: What exactly is a ‘survivorship care plan‘?

DEFINITION of Survivorship: We want to know what YOUR definition of ‘survivor’ means! Please join us on Facebook and tell us what you think!

E:

FAMILIES & FERTILITY FACTS – and how, as a family, you can understand and embrace survivorship.

Pregnancy after early-stage breast cancer has not been shown to impact breast cancer recurrence or survival. It is often recommended that you wait for some time after completing all cancer treatments (including endocrine therapies) before trying to get pregnant since your body has been through so much. There is no magic formula of when the best time to get pregnant is after you complete treatment. You should work with your doctor to make decisions that are best for you and your family. For more information, visitwww.fertilehope.org or www.myoncofertility.org.” ~ via John Hopkins Medicine (READ MORE HERE.)

G:

H:

J:

K:

LIFESTYLE and its changes that come with being a survivor.

MYTHS (10 of them!) surrounding survivor care.

Your NEW NORMAL: ‘… you’re about to embark on another leg of the trip. This one is all about adjusting to life as a breast cancer survivor. In many ways, it will be a lot like the life you had before, but in other ways, it will be very different. Call it your “new normal.”‘ ~ via Gina Shaw for Webmd

OPTIMISE OPTIMISTICALLY: Visit CancerDietician.com to optimise your nutrition and lifestyle – and click here for a delicious resource of their recommended recipes!

PINK: Pink Ribbons, Pinktober and Pinkwashing! As a survivor, has this colour got you tickled pink? Or are you of the conviction we should adamantly think before we pink(Read more about the history of the pink ribbon here.)

Q:

REDUCING RISK OF RECURRENCE: Click here to read about 10 ways you can reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrance.

SEXY SURVIVORS: the video discusses everything as medically as you need to know about every possible issue like menopause, vaginal dryness etc. (Of course, besides the physical side of sex as a survivor, there is the heart-side to it which is just – and if not more important.)

T:

U:

VIDEOS — about breast cancer and survivorship. Click here!

W:

X:

Y:

Z:

(PS. You may be wondering why we’ve left some letters blank? Well, because today is Survivor Day, we would like to suvivors by asking you to fill in the blank letters in the Survivorship ABC with topics most important to YOU! Tell us on Facebook – because ABC wouldn’t be complete without you!)

Think about the Pink

The ‘pink’ movement. A massive international trend boosting the use of pink – pink clothing, pink cars, pink sports events, pink cereals, pink jewellery, pink tattoos and even, in the US,  pink guns – to show support for, raise awareness of and gather funds for research into breast cancer.

There is a lot of criticism.

Some feel that painting breast cancer in a warm ‘n fuzzy pink covers up the disease’s dark and painful realities. Or worry that the important messages regarding breast cancer awareness are lost in the pretty pink packaging.

Does the association with the colour pink further entrench the perception of breast cancer as a ‘women’s issue’ – even when worn by sports heroes and firemen? Is the upbeat we-shall-overcome attitude fostered by the pink movement placing undue pressure on women to be positive and resilient in the face of adversity, arguably a common social pressure already?

Does the bling alienate men with the disease? Or women who don’t particularly like pink?

Are the calls to participate in pink campaigns, pink walks, pink corporate and sporting events distracting energies which could be spent lobbying government for more inclusive breast cancer care? Or are the campaigns actually advocating  to speed up and refine research into why so many women are getting breast cancer?

Do we know exactly how much money is donated to the cancer cause from the sale of pink branded products? Do we question the ethics of companies who are possibly just slapping pink packaging on their products to sell more units to sympathetic consumers, even if those products contain known carcinogens? See the recent furore over pink Q20 industrial lubricant cans LINK (http://www.enca.com/south-africa/q20-pink-campaign-gives-company-blues)

If we’re really interested in supporting cancer maybe we should make a donation to a reputable organisation instead? There are so many worthy ones doing incredible work in South Africa.

No one can argue that the pink campaign hasn’t massively raised awareness, and this should not be dismissed. The pink campaign is largely responsible for the advances in breast cancer that we do have, it has increased awareness about the disease, the importance of breast health, provided a platform for people to talk about their experiences, and a community of sorts for thousands of (mainly) women who’ve found comfort in the pink ‘sisterhood’.

So whether it’s changing your Facebook profile to pink for October, getting that long overdue breast exam, making a meal for someone undergoing treatment, participating in a sponsored walk to raise funds, educating yourself about the disease, volunteering in a clinic, giving blood, making a donation – all of this is better than nothing.

All we suggest is that you Think before you Pink.

Do you have an opinion on this? We’d love to hear from you, please start a conversation in the comments.

Here’s an opinion from another blog: http://theconversation.com/pepper-spraying-pinktober-18943

Recommended reading:

The History of the Pink Ribbon http://thinkbeforeyoupink.org/?page_id=26

And does Pink actually exist as a colour? Check out this video: