I have a neighbor who is angry at cancer.  Angry at the cancer that she fought; angry at the cancer that took her husband just a few months ago.  Angry that I have to fight the cancer now, so soon after her loss.

Her husband’s cancer was also a rare one; it spread quickly to his bones and throughout his system, and his fight was short and hard.

Sometimes she gets angry at the pink ribbons, the happy colors encouraging us to “Think Pink!” and think of breast cancer, because she feels jealousy at the attention it gets, and that prostate cancer gets, when the rarer cancers, like his, and like mine, don’t get much attention or research.

It makes a difference.

It makes a difference in survival.

And you know what?  I’m angry this weekend too.

I have been so angry for the past two days that I can hardly think or write.  I am angry that I have to do weekly chemo now, but more angry at the thought that it might not do enough for me.  If my cancer metastasizes, I will have to do weekly chemo for the rest of my life.

And that terrifies me.

For the rest of my life.  The words aren’t coming smoothly today, but I wanted to put this out there.  That pink ribbons are lovely, but research is better.  That pink hairdryers are cute, but increasing awareness is better.  That pink tchotchkes are encouraging, but early detection and treatment are critical.

And all the pink in the world is not taking away my anger today.


60 Responses to Angry

  1. BetteJo says:

    I can not blame you for a moment. This is the fight of your life, for your life and I would be surprised if it didn’t make you angrier than you’ve ever been some days. I’ve read other blogs of women with cancer, or whose spouses suffer with it, and most if not all – express anger at the unfairness of it all – for the arbitrary way it strikes – at the universe for crying out loud! We can all sympathize, but very few can truly empathize.
    All I can offer is an ear, a shoulder, and my best hopes for what comes next.

  2. I have depression issues. I know when there is no fight left in me that there is no hope.

    I’m not happy you are angry – but I’m grateful that there continues to be fight in you.

    (hopefully that makes sense)

  3. magnetobold says:

    At the risk of sounding cheezy, I’d rather you angry than giving up.
    Keep talking, we are all listening.

  4. deb says:

    I’m so sorry sweetie and I’m sending you a hug. It doesn’t help but it doesn’t hurt either.

    How about an awful joke?

    Did you here about the frustrated cannibal? He threw up his hands.

    That one must have made you smile. Right?

    I hope so.

  5. Holly says:

    I don’t blame you, Whymommy. I’m angry for you. I hope those cancer cells feel your wrath and realize that you are not to be messed with!

  6. Becky says:

    Anger is sometimes all we have. It’s a normal human emotion. I have anger that my child has cancer and that I had to be going through cancer treatments when she was diagnosed. I am angry that my symptoms seem to be returning and who is going to hold her hand if she gets sicker? You are not alone.

  7. Kat says:

    You have the right to feel what you feel. It’s okay.

    Thanks for being real!

    Hope tomorrow is better.

    Hang in there!


  8. clifford says:

    It’s not going to beat you.

  9. MammaLoves says:

    If you weren’t angry I’d wonder about you.

    I’m sorry you’re having to feel that emotion. I’m angry you have to.

    I’m thinking of you–every day.

  10. Stimey says:

    I’d be angry too.

    Be angry, be terrified, but stay strong. And if you have times when you’re too mad or scared to feel strong, know that all of us will help you be strong.

    You have this incredible ability to articulate these feelings that are unimaginable for so many of us. I cannot pretend to know how you feel, but I will read every word. And I (as well as others) am sending love and good wishes with every fiber of my being so you know you’re not alone and so you know that you’re going to live through this.

    And then you can use your healthy body to raise awareness.

  11. Anger breeds cancer-ass-kicking chutzpah. So when it comes to how you’re feeling, you’re just as you should be.


  12. debra says:

    Thank you for continuing to open up about how you are feeling and educating me in the process.

    As in everything in life, education is the key. Thank you for helping to bring this out of the darkness and shed light on it.

    And as the others have said, we are all here for you…

  13. Binky says:

    And you are increasing awareness. More than a whole lot of pink hairdryers on many, many wet heads.

  14. jenn says:

    Honey, I’m angry for you. Hugs.

  15. Anger has its place. You’re not angry all the time. But if you were never angry, I’d be surprised.

    (And I’m angry with you. For you.)


  16. Jim says:

    we just got done with chemo #2. The power of positive living works for us. Thats not saying we are’nt angry. Keep up the fight! Sending good vibes your way……jim

  17. Kristin says:

    Anger is perfectly understandably. As long as you’re not angry all the time, it’s probably a good, healthy thing. You’re fighting. You are making a difference.

  18. Sandy says:

    I read an article (On MSN I think?) that talked about what you just said and even mentioned that maybe October shouldn’t be Breast Cancer Awareness Month but Breast Cancer PROTEST Month. It mentioned that even though there is pink everywhere now, most women still belive in old myths about Breast Cancer (for example of the have had no on in their family with the disease they have no worries of getting the cancer).

    As for me…I buy pink ribbon items as a way to help donate more than I already have to breast cancer research. My Aunt is dying with her breast cancer that has come back after her double mastactomy a few years ago. She is trying experimental drugs to fight this monster that has returned with a vengence and has attacked her other organs. She has been hangin in there for a year since her last diagnosis.

    With that said I often wonder how much money companies are making off of this wave of pink. It makes me angry that some items that you look at they only donate maybe a penny when the item costs $20 or more. Seems to me those companies are only out for a quick buck and playing on people’s feelings…to give someone a peace of mind that they “donated”. Knowing how much many items actually cost to produce, it seems like they could donate MORE…

    And then you have my other aunt who recently died with a rare cancer…it started in her intestines (though I do not believe it was colon cancer) and quickly spread. Even though they took out most of her guts, it still spread to her heart and aorta…where is the money for research and awareness for this cancer? I don’t see any ribbons for that…

    My first step mother died when I was 15…I loved her more than my own mother. She had lung cancer that spread to her bones in a year…where is the money for research and awareness ribbons for that?

    People need to be aware of breast cancer…the message of October needs to be there…but sometimes I wonder why other cancers get left behind and ONLY Breast Cancer gets all the attention…

    It’s ok to be angry…many of us are.

  19. Gill says:

    And I am angry on your behalf. If anger helps you to fight this, then be angry – do whatever it takes to keep fighting.

  20. I believe that the fight in your anger, its fierceness, will help to fight the cancer.

  21. Mama Luxe says:

    I love seeing your posts–angry, excoted, blah, whatever. As long as you are still here, I am so happy to read your words.

    And I know the feeling–I would trade all the symbols for some real efforts, and all the awareness for the ones I love to be healed.

    Hopefully the symbols will lead to real efforts and the awareness will lead to better therapies and cures.

  22. Mama Luxe says:

    I wanted to add that “I know the feeling” is referring to how I feel when I think about my little girl and her heart condition and the future surgeries she will need–not that I could possibly know what you are going through as you battle this cancer. Just to clarify.

    And I get another opportunity to say how inspiring you are–including your anger.

  23. Gidge says:

    I guess I like to think, that if I support those who put out the pink products, and they really DO donate money to the cause then it really WILL go to research.
    Maybe the research labs themselves just need to have fundraisers.
    I’d totally contribute.

    Thinking of you often…..

  24. amanda says:

    Let’s go to a deeper shade of red. Let’s beat this nasty troll, and line a path with brilliant rubies of passion and anger and knowledge.

  25. canape says:

    Just a reminder. We all need to send WH’s PSA to our local news stations.

    IBC needs awareness. This is the month they would cover it.

    Get the word out.

  26. bon says:

    i like Amanda’s metaphor of going from pink to a deeper shade of red. your anger makes good sense to me, and i hope, in it, you find fight and focus as well as the fury of hurt and terror.


  27. I’d be angry if I were you, too. I love the idea of going deeper red. It makes much more sense than pink.

  28. TERRY says:


  29. Colleen says:

    I know I’m repeating what a lot of others have already said… I wish no one had to go through what you’re going through. But, being angry is so much better than rolling over and giving up at the thought of how overwhelming I’m sure it is. Stay angry… keep fighting.

  30. Tamara Cosby says:

    I don’t have much to say…just wanted to say I am thinking about you a lot and praying you feel it…and all of the other prayers out there…it’s ok to get angry…

  31. Jen says:

    You are in all our prayers. IBC sucks. No other way around. I am angry that my I don’t have a mom. My kids didn’t get to know their Grandma. I am freakin’ mad that every which was I turn I see self-righteous idiots selling pink crap when 90% of the world has never heard of IBC. Yes, get pissed and fight and continue to get the word out.
    ((((hugs))) to you!

  32. Alice C says:

    The pink umbrellas and hairdryers raise money for research and also maintain the profile of cancer in an environment where there are many competing causes for charitable donations. Research into cancer is not specific – many of the discoveries will be generic to other cancers including IBC and will benefit the next generation of people to be diagnosed.

    I respect your anger – and I believe that you are converting that energy into something positive which will benefit other people suffering from IBC; people without the powerful, articulate voice that you have.

  33. canape says:

    Alice, I agree that things that keep the cancer in the conversation are necessary. There is much competition for funding across the board.

    However, cancer research is actually very specific. The genetic research being done is specific within even breast cancer, and IBC isn’t on the map.

    In fact, the genetic research is not only specific to a certain kind of cancer, it is becoming specific to the individual. It’s called pharmacogenomics, and right now, IBC patients don’t have the luxury of living long enough to benefit from finding out what compounds, combinations of compounds, and concentrations of compounds work best with their genetic makeup.

    Think of it like using a shotgun to open a locked door when if someone had planned ahead and had the proper tools, they could have just used a key to get in.

    That’s how I see IBC treatment right now.

    And that is why I share WM’s anger and skip the pink products, just sending my money straight to IBC Research.

    We have to demand that they research it. We have to be loud enough and forceful enough that someone hears us and decides that IBC patients are worth fighting for.

  34. bs honey says:


  35. christine says:

    sometimes we have to just let ourselves really feel that anger. this all sucks, and sometimes angry is all we can be.


  36. Ally says:

    Thank you for allowing us to share in your anger, and everything else you’re going through. We are right here. I don’t know how you could contemplate “the rest of your life” without feeling at least a bit of anger. I’m guessing this will take some time to process, this new info regarding the chemo schedule, etc. I’m thinking of you and praying for you.

  37. tori says:

    I completely understand this. I wrote about the same type of thing a while ago (maybe a year ago? maybe two?) I really have no idea, but I remember being incredibly angry while I was in the middle of fighting my cancer, and got some email telling me to buy something with a pink ribbon and “help fight cancer”. The wording set me off, and I was really really upset.

  38. Whymommy, YOU are doing more to raise IBC awareness than the sale of any amount of “pink products” ever could!!

    I hope that everyone reading your blog this weekend will make a special effort to spread your message even further… because sharing knowledge is such a hugely important part of the life-saving process!

    I, too, share your FURY at this disease… And I agree with many of the other commenters, that ANGER is a way of mustering up the strength it takes to FIGHT. You can do this, Whymommy, I just know it. If ANYONE can do it, it’s YOU.

    And we are here with you, every step of the way.


    Love to you, as always,
    xo CGF

  39. leafprobably says:

    I’m sorry that you have to go through this, but I’m really glad that you’re doing your best to increase awareness about breast cancer: your post about inflamatory breast cancer was an eye opener for me, and I’ll be sure that my friends read it.

    My best wishes are with you.

  40. ColleenZ says:

    Dear WM:

    You are turning your justifiable anger into something positive, and for that we all salute you. As much as we can all say that we are right there with you, we cannot engage in this battle for you. We can only be, we hope, the positive ground on which you can fall back when you need rest and sustenance. I know that I speak for many when I say that I wish I could take just a bit of your burden from you or wave a magic wand and make this all go away. Since I can’t, I can only say, God bless you in your anger. Much love.

  41. Christine says:

    I too was angry when I was holding my newborn son and waiting for the phone to ring to schedule my scans to see how long I had to live. I was extremely angry. I think it’s part of the process. You just work through it because it does make you appreciate the simple things you do with your kids ( I have 2 also the same age as yours). Keep up the fight!

  42. WorksForMom says:

    WM, I’m here and listening and angry as well. Keep up the fight.

  43. platespinner says:

    i’m sorry you’re feeling angry, because it’s a difficult emotion to hold. i’m not angry at the moment, but i’ve been there a fair amount since my husband’s diagnosis last year. and i hear what you are saying about breast cancer getting so much exposure. that ticks me off, too.

  44. […] is what’s happening to WhyMommy, as she struggles with setbacks in her chemo. My Cancer Twin, Jess, almost had to do more chemo […]

  45. ~JJ! says:

    That anger is what gets the job done!

    Get angry. It helps to fuel the research and the cure.


  46. cancervixen says:

    I look back in my journal when I was not stopping chemo ever. I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. 22 times was not enough…I could not fathom the idea. I was fantizing over my last chemo. buy a cake for nurses, and a potted plant for the Doc. Replace chemoday with painting day. But I also said secretly to myself, If it means I live and can still function because of the lower dose, where is the guiness book of world record, because I am going to be the longest living chemo patient on the planet! That was more than a year ago. and by the way gave tea cups with thank you cards for the great care to all the staff.

  47. Melissa P. says:

    I am so sorry to hear about your illness.
    But, I am happy to hear you are angry.
    Why? Because you still have the fight in you that you will need to beat this disease.
    Be angry, be mad, fight this awful thing.
    And hopefully be well soon!

    I wish you much peace~

  48. Jennifer says:

    I’m angry for you, with you. I wish you peace, healing.

  49. Arkie Mama says:

    I’m thinking of you and sending hugs.

  50. Sanne says:

    WhyMommy, in a sense you’re “the pinkest” (pinkiest – not sure what the right word is) of all. You have done more for breast cancer, and particularly IBC, than any pink ribbon, mug or other object will ever do. No matter, it’s definitely something you are very entitled to feel angry about. Strength to you. Keep fighting.

  51. b*babbler says:

    It is completely your right to have a “black” day in the sea of “pink”.

  52. I don’t have much to offer except my positive thoughts…and I am sending them your way daily.

  53. Rusti says:

    Be angry, and don’t stop fighting. Fight for as hard and as long as you can. Your family needs you to.

  54. I don’t know if you read all of these posts or not. There is so much encouragement here, that every time I stop by, I get tears.

    Anger is good. It has obviously given you so much more determination to fight this enemy.

    You mentioned spreading awareness – I did my part once, with Saturday’s show. I talked for a while about your site and IBC, I hope that is ok. I plan on yet another show this month, spreading more awareness about IBC.

  55. maggie says:

    I’m angry too. For you, and for all of us. Kick cancer’s butt, you.

  56. KBsister says:

    Be angry! Think of it as 100-proof “medicinal spirits” brewed in the fiercely guarded keep of your mighty fortress. Savor the fire it brings to your belly and the jolt of courage that helps you look down from the high walls and laugh as you imagine the confusion and terror in the enemy camp as your latest tactic rains down on their paltry defenses.
    Lace on your armour and sharpen your sword. You are the warrior! Picture yourself pacing the walls, your great boots thunder on the stone. Lightning spiders over the enemy and promises a deluge and great bolts of fire in their midst. Keep your inner Amazon close in your mind when your body is too tired to get out of that chair. Picture your bristling soldiers as you send that chemo out on the battlefield.
    See us all beside you, in our battle gear.

  57. motherofbun says:

    It is better that you feel “anger” than feel “resignation”.

    Keep on keeping on. (My sister in “Ski.”)

  58. mod*mom says:

    cancer sucks + chemotherapy is awful. but thank god for chemo, because it’s something to fight the cancer.
    chemotherapy completely shrunk my gigantic tumor. feeling angry hurts only you. choose to feel gratitute for any little thing + celebrate the temporary + anything you can. someone else always has it worse. you’re still alive + able to feel emotions so that’s something to be grateful for.

  59. Margi says:

    Of course you have every right to feel angry. I completely see your point of all the sea of pink and prostate cancer barely gets a nod.

    I choose to believe that research on cures for any cancer will lead to breakthroughs and research on cures for every cancer.

    I also choose to donate money directly to foundations more often than buying pink products, unless it’s something I already need, as these pink products are only donating small portions to the cause.

  60. tareq says:


    Prosate cancer is very dangrous …

    But We have to fight it ..

    And i think we will find midicne for it

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