October: Breast Cancer Awareness and Memories of a Mother’s Fight

The following guest post was written by Catherine Crook, who is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and interning at Planned Parenthood Arizona in the communications and marketing department. A lifelong Arizonan, she has spent every October promoting breast cancer awareness and taking part in citywide events in Phoenix since 2001.

mother_and_daughterWith October in full swing, your calendars are probably already filled with costume shopping, haunted house visits, and drives north to see the leaves — all things we can’t help but love about October.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to share our stories to raise awareness of breast health.

For me, October is a reminder. When I was 13 years old, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer, marking the beginning of a long and difficult road ahead. I don’t remember everything, but I do remember that it did not feel fair. My mom is so compassionate; she will cry watching TV for the loss of someone she has never met. Few things make her happier than making new friends on planes and dancing to Aerosmith or Darius Rucker. Starbucks is her only addiction and she takes better care and a deeper interest in her hair than most professional stylists.

At the midpoint of enduring four months of chemotherapy, she lost all of her hair, which I was sure would destroy her. To my delight and surprise, she found a place that sold nice wigs almost identical to her blonde, preppy, shoulder-length cut, and tried to work her way back into the world. At this time, I was still fearful of becoming a victim to my own optimism regarding my mom’s disease, and there wasn’t a day that passed that I didn’t worry about a phone call that would take all of us to our knees. Continue reading

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • Because Planned Parenthood is so committed to women’s health and providing the best preventive care possible, we’ve just pledged to dedicate $3 million to launch an initiative to fight breast cancer with expanded screenings and education! Woo hoo! (MSNBC)
  • Dear Todd Akin, Your assertion that a woman’s body can “shut the whole thing down” to prevent herself from being impregnated by her rapist is the biggest crock of $&*% we’ve ever heard. Sincerely, Legitimate Ob/gyn Professionals (NYT)
  • You know who’s more extreme on abortion than Todd Akin? Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan! Boom. (The Daily Beast)
  • Please take a look at this fantabulous video extolling a myriad of benefits of contraception. It is so worth your time. (Guttmacher)
  • The tone deaf GOP is going all in on a plan to abolish abortion, and they could give a friggin’ crap if you were “legitimately raped” or molested. (Jezebel)
  • Remember that one time when Paul Ryan co-sponsored legislation with Todd Akin using the language “forcible rape” instead of just plain “rape” — as if there were different categories and classifications of rape? Well, he now insists “rape is rape” and pretends like this is just basic common sense that he’s always embraced! HA! It’s unfortunate that rape wasn’t “rape” when he insisted upon using the “forcible rape” phrase in the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act. (RH Reality Check)
  • The Daily Beast has an epic slideshow detailing the history of abortion rights in America. (Daily Beast)
  • It’s time to panic: Gonorrhea is becoming resistant to the only medical treatment left. (The Grio)
  • Isn’t it interesting that anti-choicers have taken extreme interest in a black woman’s death following an abortion (which is extremely rare), rather than the much higher rate of mortality among black women after childbirth? (Double X)
  • The Catholic Church: a long legacy of protecting the pre-born from not being born, but not protecting post-born children — from rape. (Gawker)
  • In related religious news, the Christian right’s affinity for the notion of fetal personhood has absolutely no scriptural basis. Whatsoever. (Role Reboot)
  • The scary world that awaits us if the GOP wins their war on a woman’s right to choose. (Mother Jones)
  • Medical science has proved that circumcision has significant health benefits, including decreasing the risk of cancer and lowering HIV transmission rates. However, circumcision rates are plummeting, which is probably going to cost the United States billions in health care costs. (USA Today)
  • Sadly, a young pregnant leukemia patient has died due to the failure of the Dominican Republic to allow her timely access to chemotherapy — all because because abortion is illegal in the DR and life-saving chemotherapy treatments are likely to terminate a pregnancy. (CNN)

Pro-Choice Friday News Rundown

  • What Arizona’s asinine abortion ban means for Roe v. Wade (Salon)
  • Well, this is depressing — in less than a decade, Arizona has gone from a state that abortion-rights groups viewed as friendly to one that’s hailed by abortion foes as a national model in their fight to protect the unborn. (Bloomberg)
  • Teen Cancer Patient Can’t Get Chemo Because She’s Nine Weeks Pregnant — But She Can’t Get an Abortion, Either (Jezebel)
  • The good news: Risky sexual behavior is down among black teens. The bad news: The rates of these sexual risk behaviors are still higher than desired, despite the progress made. (The Grio)
  • South Dakota doctors must warn women seeking abortions of suicide risk associated with the procedure — even though no reputable scientific evidence shows a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and suicide. Like, none. (Star Tribune)
  • House Majority Speaker John Boehner has a message for the GOP: Chill out on all the debt talk and temporarily suspend “Operation Keep Birth Control out of the Hands of Women Because Their Rightful Station in Life Should Be Perpetual Pregnancy” until the election is over. Then we can resume where we left off. (TPM)
  • The United States is one of 23 countries where maternal mortality is on the rise. (Women’s eNews)
  • American teen births at a historic low, but still higher than in the rest of the developed world. If you’re guessing that’s due to our prudish attitudes about talking to teens about sex and empowering them with birth control and knowledge, you’d be correct! (WBEZ)
  • A vaginal ring designed to protect women against HIV infection is undergoing a large, multinational trial. Cross your fingers!!! (Toronto Sun)
  • Careful, ladies! Women who shack up before marriage have more unintended pregnancies. (USA Today)