This is a topic I’ve been thinking about on and off ever since the video of the woman who danced before her mastectomy went viral last month. I was going to write a post then, but decided against it. The wonderful Lisa Bonchek Adams wrote one and she nailed it as far as I was concerned. I commented on her post and thought to myself – okay I’m done. Move on.
Then last week I saw an ad on TV which said the woman in the video, Dr. Deborah Cohan (she’s actually a doctor – an OB-GYN no less), was going to be a guest on ABC’s Good Morning America last Friday. I planned to tune in. But of course I forgot. Over the weekend I stumbled upon the Good Morning America interview and the video again and I just couldn’t get it out of my head so… of course I thought time to write a blog post!
I could have included this video story in my 2013 year’s end wrap-up post, but I specifically chose not to for reasons I’m getting to.
I realize that it’s highly probable that I’m in the minority here, but I was not inspired by the video. I did not find it be a shining example. I did not find it to be empoweirng. I did not find it to be awesome, as it was called by some.
For me it had the exact opposite effect.
I found this video to be condescending. I found it to be trivializing. I even found it on some level to be hurtful, dare I say it, even offensive.
You see minutes before I was wheeled off into the OR for my bilateral mastectomy, dear hubby and I exchanged one of the most intimate and private moments of our entire marriage, communicating much just by looking into one another’s eyes. As I was wheeled off, he had tears in his and a look so full of concern and emotion that I will never forget it. And let me tell you, dancing around the OR was the last thing on my mind. For some reason this video seemed to minimize those and other feelings I felt at the time. For me, it seemed more like something I’d see on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. It’s hard to explain I guess…
But this video wasn’t about me, it was about this other woman. I get that. I do.
Rest assured, I believe this woman had every right to dance before her surgery. More power to her. I mean that. If that’s how she wanted to handle things, fine. To each her own. No one handles any part of cancer in exactly the same way.
But what did puzzle me was the reaction to this video.
So many people were so quick to watch it, share it, talk about it, praise it, call it awesome and celebrate the way this one woman chose to handle her surgery.
Why was/is this?
What about the rest of us?
What about those of us who did not feel at all like dancing in the OR?
Did we not handle things as well? Ludicrous and completely not true I know, but…
There was a subtle message being sent; a message that seemed to say cancer isn’t that bad. A mastectomy isn’t that bad. You’ll be fine if you just stay positive. Maybe that wasn’t the intended or the entire message meant to be sent, but it’s the one I received.
That message bothered me and still does. Maybe a few of you have been thinking like me since that video first came out and have been bothered too. Or, maybe not…
When I read that the dancing doctor/patient said the following during her Good Morning America interview: I was more nervous about my dance than my surgery... I knew this blog post was getting published.
Cancer is a big deal.
A mastectomy is a big deal.
Positivity can be a wonderful thing, but it isn’t the end all, nor does it assure things will be fine.
As I’ve said many times before, this blog is my safe place where I get to state my honest viewpoints and frankly, I found this video and the attention it received to be darn right bizarre.
If you disagree with me, that’s fine; in fact, I’d love to hear from you.
If you want to sing, dance or throw a party in the OR before your mastectomy; more power to you. As for me, that’s a party I would want no part of.
And one more thing just for the record, I find women like Lisa Bonchek Adams to be far more inspirational than a patient who dances before her mastectomy. I’d like to see Lisa’s story and the stories of so many other women like her who are living with metastatic disease, get more attention. Those are the stories that inspire me. Here’s a link to my mets page. You’ll find a list of some inspirational mets bloggers there. Check out their stories and be truly inspired.
There, I said my piece.
I feel better now.
What about you?
Did you feel like dancing before your mastectomy or your partner’s mastectomy?
Did you find this video and the attention it received to be at all bizarre?
Facing a mastectomy soon? My ebook can help. No sugarcoating. No dancing. I promise.