Tracie Cone has always been a trailblazer. This award-winning journalist is the former California Newspaper Executive of the Year. She shares a Pulitzer Prize with fellow staff members at the Miami Herald for coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and has twice been nominated individually. She has focused her writing on helping the underdog and empowering those without a strong voice of their own. Now she takes us on the fight of her life.
Contact Tracie

Breast Cancer Isn’t Pink

My old friends Fran and David were thinking of me today at MOMA in NYC and put this on Yoko Ono's wish tree

Who exactly came up with the color pink to symbolize breast cancer? That color is soft, gentle, effeminate, kind, whimpy even. Breast cancer is evil, painful, sinister, deadly, ugly, terrifying.

Anything but pink.

I pondered this as I was in the hospital, unable to stand or walk unaided, wearing a bright yellow bracelet that said “fall risk.” I’m still thinking about it as I sit here at home now, still too weak to do much of anything, with another round of deadly chemo just 10 days away. I can’t even bear the thought of it.

I’ve heard people say that if chemo doesn’t kill the patient, it will kill the cancer. I thought that meant people weaker than me. Now I’ve felt on chemo as if I were about to die, and I have felt that really wasn’t a bad option. Not because I saw some white light, but because the pain of all of this would be gone.

Then Michelle, my family and my friends pick me up and keep me going.

How do people do this who don’t have as much love and support around them as I do? My friends and family may be scattered across the country, but they are consistent with their contact, free with their love, and unwavering in their belief that I can get through this and live a long and healthy life. They believe it even when I’m too sick and tired to believe it anymore myself.

My medical team says the transition from the A/C regimen of two chemos to Taxatere is tough because currently there are three chemos at war in my body. I’m not sure that’s something they warned me about, but my memory is shot. If they did it certainly wasn’t in any terms that conveyed the gravity of my potential reality. None of this seems to come with much of a warning, probably for good reason. Who would do it?

“You might have some bone pain,” they say.

Translation: I felt as if someone beat me with a tire iron and left me for dead on the side of the road.

All of this is to say there’s nothing “pink” about breast cancer, chemo or having one’s breast cut off. Don’t be fooled for a minute by the cute ribbons and ubiquitous bracelets. (And fight every health committee that says mammograms should happen only every two years.)

Is there someone I can sue for false advertising?

One Response to “Breast Cancer Isn’t Pink”

  • Elaine H.:

    Brave Tracie,
    YES, We believe you can get through this and live a long, long,long healthy life. You have so many friends pulling for you because you have been such a good friend to so many people. You are loved, my friend. You have been so open and honest about your experiences during this LONG TRIAL! I wish your doctors were a little more honest about the side effects of the drugs you are taking. I just hate that you are suffering and I am really starting to hate the color pink. Have you gotten your CANCER SUCKS button yet! I’ve ordered mine! I’m thinking of trying to find you a boxing dummy, painting it pink and sending it your way so you can knock the crap out of PINK whenever you feel like it.

Leave a Reply

Meet Tracie
Copyright 2010 by Tracie Cone. All rights reserved.