What works for her own peace of mind has little to do with the trappings of pink-ribbon sentimentalism in the survivors groups. Barbara resorts to her knowledge of cell biology, asks to see her own tumor under the microscope, and contemplates the meaning of visualizing the malignant cells even if she does not believe the exercise can help her. Posting these thoughts on a chat line, she discovers that most women berate her attitude and suggest she needs a psychiatrist. She is angry. Two disturbing ironies bring the essay to a close.
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Although at some points throughout the reading I was initially irked by the negativity, it was a refreshingly realistic approach. One of the main ideas that I felt was very strong was the struggle with identity loss. The feeling that the diagnosis was replacing the person that she thought she was. This is what I am now, medically speaking. No, this is not my sisterhood. For me at least, breast cancer will never be a source of identity or pride.
Even from the moment of diagnosis, Ehrenreich harbors more anger and resentment than fear and sorrow. Continuing with the loss of identity, Ehrenreich feels that the nameless doctors and radiologists have more to do with the entire process of diagnosis and recovery than she does herself. The pressure is on, from doctors and loved ones, to do something right away — kill it, get it out now.
As my cancer career unfolds, I will… become a composite of the living and the dead-an implant to replace the breast, a wig to replace the hair. They found it, let them fix it. Although she left us with some sense of certainty, it was not the type that I was expecting.
It was certainty that she would not fall prey to a false sense of security and would not be reassured by a plush toy.
Barbara Ehrenreich’s – Welcome to Cancerland
What she found online was endless blogs, sites, and groups dedicated to helping calm the nerves of other patients. Ehrenreich noticed an overall positive mood that people promoted; as she got deeper into her treatment she was directed towards a lot of support groups and came across countless programs that worked with companies who were advocating breast cancer awareness. Ehrenreich discusses how this is more of a way for people and corporations to help women without being a feminist. Ehrenreich brings up very valid points throughout her essay, but for me it was not effective in making me want to believe her.
Welcome to Cancerland
Although at some points throughout the reading I was initially irked by the negativity, it was a refreshingly realistic approach. One of the main ideas that I felt was very strong was the struggle with identity loss. The feeling that the diagnosis was replacing the person that she thought she was. This is what I am now, medically speaking. No, this is not my sisterhood.