Breast Cancer Bonanza: Stop the Greed

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Health, Politics | 23 Comments

“Angry Poop Bunny” by spidercamp on Etsy

“Angry Poop Bunny” by spidercamp on Etsy

Cathy Fischer is wondering how a month dedicated to something so important, could have become so irritating.

I don’t know what irks me more, being accosted by Christmas ads before Halloween, or being hit by the big pink tsunami that is…BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH.

Dancing reindeer or pink teddy bears? I’ll take the caribou, thank you.

The brilliant Barbara Ehrenreich, also a breast cancer survivor, is passionate about pink. In her new book, Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, she writes about how she’d rather get “hacked to death by a madman,” then suffocated by the “pink sticky sentiment” embodied by ribbon-wearing teddy bears.

I’ve noticed that I don’t’ wear pink very much. Not that pink doesn’t look good on me, it’s that I’ve had an aversion to the color ever since my diagnosis. A year ago, I voiced my not-so-rosy point of view in “My Big Pink Protest,” where I shared my dismay about October’s pinkness, and how threads of hypocrisy are woven throughout the fabric of many a “pink” product. These so-called charitable campaigns are about as authentic as a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake. Read more

Could Gray Hair Be My Silver Lining?

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Cathy Fischer, Reinvention, Style | 29 Comments

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

December 2007, photo by Michel Bocande

Cathy Fischer’s third and final installment of her “hair trilogy”

I thought of writing about a topic other than my hair, but my dear friend and chemo companion Wendy (who accompanied me to all four treatments, where we’d yak for a few hours, leaf through magazines, then go out for a fabulous lunch) insisted that I update those who are anxiously waiting to know if I’ve gone gray or returned to being a slave to color.

First, a quick recap/update:

In January, I posted “Wigging Out” which chronicled my going from hirsute to hairless, in just three days. It started when my hair began falling out after my first chemo treatment for breast cancer. I shaved my head, preemptively, to avoid the horror-induced depression of finding clumps of hair on my pillow or even worse, having a head resembling the cruelest of all male baldness patterns—the Franciscan monk look.

In hindsight, the quote about the “joy” of being hairless was true. It was a relief not having to shave or pluck, cut or color, for a few months. I’m pretty sure that most of the money I saved on hair maintenance went directly to shoe purchases. “Do what makes you feel good” was my motto, which often manifested itself in the form of new shoes, dry vodka martinis or extra crispy french fries. Read more

Wigging Out

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Courage, Health | 23 Comments

Breast Cancer update: I had donated my breasts to science last June, got new ones (no they’re not bigger), went on Tamoxifen and thought I was back to the “new” normal. But, things have changed. I’ve since decided to go the chemo route, based on second and third opinions, and to cover all my bases. I’ve had one treatment thus far and, as predicted, my hair started falling out precisely two weeks after my first chemo blast. I kept a diary of sorts: from hirsute to hairless, in just three days.

Hair Fall-Out: Day One

I’m taking my wig for a test drive today. My hair is starting to come out. It’s much shorter, since I cut it a couple of weeks ago to the nape of my neck; so it’s not as bad when I see a sink full of hair. But, it’s no frickin’ picnic.

I’ve long been a shedder. Lots and lots of hair: hair to spare. How long until bald patches happen? When do I go for the military buzz cut? When my part resembles parting of the Red Sea?

I put the La Charme wig cap on my head. I pulled the nylon (as in pantyhose) cap down over my face, and looked like I was ready to rob a bank. I really didn’t want to draw that much attention to myself on my first outing, so I pushed it back, which reminded me of the actresses of days gone by—Gloria Swanson, Garbo, those true glamour girls of Hurrell’s Hollywood portraits. I was ready.    Read more

Breast Cancer: My Big Pink Protest

Filed Under All Posts, Cathy Fischer, Health, Rants | 15 Comments

The White House pinked

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple of weeks, you probably are well aware that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. With one out of every eight women in America diagnosed with the disease, either you or at least one friend or relative you know has had it.  I became “aware” of my breast cancer on May 23, this year. It was the day my life changed.

Most of my friends and family know, but I haven’t wanted to blog about it. I really don’t want to be the poster child. When my friend Ilana sent an email with the subject line that said, “Free Yoga Classes for Cancer Survivors,” I thought, why is she sending that to me? Oh yeah, right.  Read more

Hope Chest: Finding Comfort in a Recycled Life

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Environment | 4 Comments

Recycled art by SNIFF, Albany Bulb, 2007

In 2006 when I surveyed the mountains of boxes and items that filled the small house I had just moved into, I became overwhelmed with the amount of “stuff” it took for me to live. I started downsizing. The kimono stand went to a local Asian school, beds and couches were scooped up by college students, and sundry kitchen items disappeared into the trunks of passing cars whose owners had spotted the “FREE” sign on my open garage door. I felt lighter, and very grown up.

Last year, my personal improvement movement took on a more “green” aspect. I use my own cloth shopping bags. Plastic bags are banished from my existence. My cat is previously owned. Read more