Why I’m Not a Banana

It’s back: the annual Facebook Breast Cancer Awareness drive. I have no earthly idea by whom or why this one was started, and it ranks pretty high the “Seriously?” scale.

Let me try to explain it: the idea is that during the designated time frame (now) you put a coded status update on your Facebook that, oddly, reflects your relationship as a piece of fruit. If you’re married, you post “banana.” Oh, and we’re not supposed to “tell the boys” so really this is a middle school-esque game which makes no mention of cancer. If someone would care to explain how this is breast cancer awareness per se, or how everyone else is supposed to know that it’s about breast cancer, please chime in!

But let’s suppose, for the moment that it did make sense…one still has to ask why…?

I know the standard answers.

It makes people aware of breast cancer. Ummmm…I’m pretty sure hermits don’t have Facebook. Or get mammograms. Seriously, everyone is aware of breast cancer.

It’s something everyone can do. Yes, like jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, as our mothers would point out, but that doesn’t mean we should do it. If you want to do something pick up groceries or do a load of laundry for someone in treatment, bring a movie over and keep her company while she is recovering from surgery, or offer to drive her to radiation since she has to go daily. Don’t know a survivor? Volunteer to answer phones at a cancer support center…you’ll meet lots of survivors!

It’s just fun. It is? Really? Compared to what exactly? And by the way, why are we still linking breast cancer and fun?

Despite today’s ever-rising prevalence rates, I’m pretty confident that most of the people playing the game haven’t a clue how un-fun breast cancer is.

• It is not fun to be scared for your life.
• It is not fun to wake up at three in the morning and toss and turn, wondering who will raise your children if you die.
• It is not fun to watch the chemo drip into your veins, knowing that it is among the most toxic substances we have.
• It is not fun to wake up at five in the morning, drive to the hospital, endure hours of surgery and wake up mutilated or amputated.
• It is not fun when your skin, or worse your insides, are burned by radiation…and you’re told to keep going.
• It is not fun when you can’t be held by your loved ones for fear that you’ll end up with an infection.
• It is not fun to be told you have cancer cells in your lymph nodes…which means they could be anywhere and you will have to wonder until they show up again.
• It is not fun to take medications that muddle your mind, upset your stomach, kill your sex drive, utterly exhaust you, send you into depression, cause you pain or otherwise drive you mad.

Anyone who has lived with breast cancer could go on and on, but you get the point. For God’s sake we have got to stop making breast cancer fun, cute or a joke. Seriously!


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mainelyhopeful
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 18:56:20

    Thank you.


  2. DrAttai
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 19:56:41

    Very well said, Lori.


  3. BreastCancerSisterhood.com
    Jun 09, 2012 @ 21:16:39

    I really want to ask if this is a joke, but I know it’s not. Not sure I want to go on Facebook for a while. Really sick!


  4. Janet Bishop
    Jun 10, 2012 @ 10:13:10

    Thank you for expressing my thoughts exactly. It’s interesting how everyone wants in on the “fun”, but if you need them to actually do something real they are nowhere to be found. I want to see the death of all cancer in my lifetime where my grandchildren won’t need to be “aware” of it!


  5. chemobrainfog
    Jun 11, 2012 @ 15:31:07

    I didn’t get this particular “thing” yet…. and IF I do, I will be sure to post a link to this post as my “status”…..


  6. Jan Baird
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 11:21:23

    I’m with AnneMarie, I’ll post a link to this post as my status if anyone offers me a banana on Facebook. Seriously? xx


  7. Beth Gainer
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 14:48:52

    Bravo, Lori! Your post is brilliant. And you are right: breast cancer is not fun….ever.


  8. zapladybug
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 15:13:50



  9. Jody Schoger (@jodyms)
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 15:16:34

    Yes, we have no bananas….or patience for breast cancer and “bananas”-kind of thinking. Honestly.


  10. The Accidental Amazon
    Jun 27, 2012 @ 20:52:00

    Honestly, every year we end up with this again, despite how many of us have blogged and written about its pointlessness? The thing that gets me is why breast cancer survivors themselves so often go along with this or even initiate it. They must have gotten some drugs or something that I didn’t get that cause some undocumented side effects. I may have brain fog from treatment, but I’m not delusional. Thanks for writing this, Lori. I didn’t have the patience to take it on — again.


    • Lori
      Jun 27, 2012 @ 21:08:37

      Boggles the mind, doesn’t it? Maybe the survivors who think it is a game got the good kind of chemo? You would NEVER, EVER see this about lung cancer, or brain cancer, or prostate cancer!! Argh…


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