By: Eve Sanchez Silver

(This article was heralded as The Breast Cancer Manifesto by MAMM Magazine, Spring 2003)

From Jersey to Boston and New York to LA there are veterans of this foreign war called breast cancer. It is a war which alienates and separates us, sometimes from our families and sometimes from ourselves. We are accustomed to war. We understand its methods. We are more seasoned. We are way past pink.

Like the boys from WWII our uniforms don't fit. They drag theirs out of the dustballs for parades. We don our well worn sneakers and trot out to the watch the newbies run in last year's Race. We pace ourselves. We understand: One Dx of breast ca does not a limit make. We know the score: There may be more.

We are not tired of the fight; on the contrary, we are the well-worn soldiers. WE are the hearty. We the strong, silent type. Some of us. Some are boisterous in search of answers. We will find a way to be heard. We do the grunt work where we can and we have learned to be less accepting of every promise, but more determined to see progress.

Real progress. Earlier detection. Real prevention.

We comb the papers and the web. We recognize old friends. The pharmers and the research groups, weve trusted; the organizations that promised hope, and fly their banners: Pink. But we have been to the pastel-party, and the Pepto-Pink-Party-Pastel-Picnics. We are no longer easily amused. We are in it for the long haul. We are in it til V-Day.

We are in it to stay.

We believe there are new answers and we praise our generals where we find them. We support and promote their efforts. We join up. We stick. We serve. We deliver. We do what we can.

We stand and weep over the graves of our dead.

We remember. We have been around long enough to do so.

We are an army long past pink. We serve from our kitchens and meet after school has let out; from our offices and universities. Some of us are bald; many, amazons twice over. We know what it is to be desolate. We understand prayer. We know what it means to rise again. We hie us to the next conference with quiet steady hope and earnest determination. We write things down. We look things up.

We can laugh while we're doing it and our laughter is real and hearty and fine. It comes from the heart and the gut, places where, once, fear and horror did reside. We are past it now; able to be comforted and able to comfort, with a comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted. We're going to stick around, and we're not kidding. We'll be there when you need us. We own this thing that has made us stronger. It no longer owns us.