Saturday, February 4, 2012

Keeping abreast of things

This is Nancy Brinker, CEO of Susan G. Komen Foundation.
She's had a VERY long week.
Note: I started this blog Tuesday night as the Susan G. Komen-Planned Parenthood kerfuffle began to unfold. Of course, life dropped in and I'm only getting back to it today. My, my. So much has happened since then. . . .

Tuesday, Jan. 31

I am speechless, breathless and furious at the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

This will be my first -- and last -- "political" blog. Oh, I've got opinions, boy do I, about the general social order of things, but I tend to keep them to myself here in the rarified air of "Bermtopia." At the end of the day, I'm much too happy to write about dogs, food, travel, my garden(s) and how I hate winter. I'll be back to documenting Ben's exploits and what I had for dinner last night tomorrow. But, right now, I have a dog in this fight, as they say.

You see, I've had breast cancer. Twice. I've had a mastectomy. My other breast is just a titch lopsided thanks to a lumpectomy. But I'm lucky.

Surgery resolved my breast cancer problems. It was not necessary to fill my body with toxins and zap it with ridiculously intense doses of radiation like my beautiful 34-year-old niece, mother of two; book group buddy Gail; co-worker/golf apologist Patci or neighbor Peggy. That's why I don't usually put myself in the "survivor" category. My breast cancer boiled down to some pesky cancer cells who could go this way or that. They opted for the "that" so the surgeries were necessary -- and nothing else.

But the fact is it was cancer, and it changes your life. And I am blessed to face these changes with the Wonderfully Patient Spouse along with my amazing sons, daughter-in-law, family, friends and medical professionals.

So here's where I'm totally chuffed:  I've supported Komen's Race for the Cure. I walked it the first time four weeks following my mastectomy -- because I believed Komen, a nondenominational nonprofit,  stood behind the belief all women should have unconditional access to health care that would keep them healthy and whole.

Seems that's not exactly true. Seems like there ARE conditions. Seems like a public policy officer who should advocate objectively and transparently for ALL women brought her pro-life agenda to the Komen table and persuaded the organization to turn its back on 750,000 women, many low-income and/or uninsured, who had Planned Parenthood breast exams last year.


And then Komen reversed itself.

"We want to apologize to the American public for recent decisions that cast doubt upon our commitment to our mission of saving women's lives."

Sorry. The damage is done. Trust was broken. Doubt WAS cast. And there's no going back. At least, I won't.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation and Planned Parenthood will survive as organizations. They have the human and financial capital to weather this week and the weeks to come. But Komen showed its stripes -- thoughtlessly putting politics before people and mission.

And I'm sorry. That's just not acceptable.


  1. I am very happy for your outcome. We all know someone who has suffered with this terrible disease. And yes, women everywhere have felt their trust was broken by the overtly political move of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. PP has provided for me (since the 70's) and my daughters, and numerous friends the preventive care they needed for their health and well-being when often they (and I) had no insurance or anyone elese to turn to. The reputation among women of PP resulted in a very loud response to the SBK Foundation.

  2. Sounds like a reasonable rage. Glad to learn that you're now in a good place, cancer wise.

  3. I'm totally with you on this one. I just hate it when politics tries to play with our lives. Cancer is no fun....mine was kidney. I'm just glad we are still around to be outraged!!

  4. Not to downplay the political, medical, charitable and social commentary (which is by far the most important dialogue)...this is a PR blunder that rivals the Tylenol days. Oh my. They just birmed themselves in the driveway. Can you say United Way???

    1. PR wise: Best summary ever -- birmed (bermed;-) themselves in the driveway. Good luck with that, Komen, Not sure the snow is going to thaw appreciatively in the next few months/years.

    2. Duly noted...bermed.

  5. Well are still a survivor. You had access to care that removed the cancer. Don't sell yourself short! You are amazing for sharing your story too. The more I learn about you the more I *heart* you!