BREAST CANCER,  Bullying,  COMMUNITY

Peace Pirates

Sometimes they show up dressed in the form of a lie your 3 year old self begins believing as a result of you witnessing the strongest person you know shattered from the pain of the heartache they felt.

Sometimes they show up in the form of childhood illness and surgeries and trauma on your little body.

Sometimes they show up in the form of the trauma from being sexually abused by a family member and you being punished for it by another family member.

Sometimes they show up in the form of a spouse that cheats over and over again, even while you are pregnant.

Sometimes they show up in the form of abuse from a spouse that leaves physical scars on your body and emotional scars on your heart.

Sometimes they show up in the form of PTSD from diagnosis after diagnosis – breast cancer x 3 by 28 years old, PSVT that required surgery, Type 1 diabetes, endometriosis, MRSA in your blood that required a 13 day stay in the ICU that almost killed you, getting sick from the implants put in your body to ‘reconstruct what was lost due to cancer’, needing more surgeries, and a multiple sclerosis diagnosis…. all by the age of 36.

Sometimes they are colleagues who show up with angry energy – being fueled by their rage, being unwilling to discuss anyone’s concerns about their behavior, taking all the credit for everyone else’s work, copying years of personal work when they left the organization, refusing to discuss next steps in how to communicate with the public about the split, leaving online groups and then them participating in public discussions of banning and cancelling memberships in these same said groups in a ploy to further control a negative image of the groups.

At BSBC… one thing has ALWAYS rang true, and that is our commitment to being vulnerable and honest with our following, because we truly believe that that is what builds connection with others.

And after a lifetime filled with trauma, the other thing I know is that these ‘pirates’… they only threaten to steal our peace if we allow them to stay in the dark. But if we shed a light on them… if we talk about them, then maybe we can start making some real and MUCH NEEDED change.

For a year we have tried to deal with this last “peace pirate” quietly – knowing if we gave this thing ‘oxygen’ it would only get bigger, but now it seems that the “pirate” is calling for a public reckoning after their last publicity stunt of calling out online groups (one which I admin in which she bashed with her very public statements about controlling the narrative – ummm, yes, we DO NOT ALLOW BULLYING of LGBTQ+ or POC or TROLLYING in the group).

So now, we are going to deal with this here – KB, I would ask you how you propose proceeding regarding giving BSBC back the intellectual property you took, but I know in your mind you feel justified in that action, though let’s be honest, we both know that’s not REALLY how that conversation went down.

You continue to REFUSE acknowledge that you took every single aspect of all of our work that overlapped at the organization you used to volunteer at with us and threw it up on your website and presented it all as your own. Let’s be real – you DID NOT do all the work.

And now…. you are acting as though not only that organization is cancelled, but also BSBC – the project I started long before we came together as an organization. Just stop it, because you will not stifle any of our voices.

BSBC is working on some things to re-brand our website, but the map, K, that will always be our original idea. Thank you for validating that, by thinking it was such a great idea that you copied it. And yes, you did in fact copy it. I’ve got the original emails where it was discussed VERY early on in you joining forces with the other org. that BSBC had an entire map already built out – C actually brought this up – and you said (and I quote) “Sondra, this looks GREAT so far!” and “I plan on publicizing the crap out of this”. In your public statement when you tried to assert that it was the other way around – you (and I quote again) wrote “many of the surgeon’s on that list were on BSBC’s site years ago”. YES, KB, that’s right… along with all the other surgeon’s we added as people wrote in reviews on our ‘rate your surgeon feature’ or emailed us their surgeon’s names, and we’ve never tried to say that our map was solely a flat map, but an all-inclusive map. BSBC is an all-inclusive community, as you know, and the criteria for getting on our map is a positive review from a patient(s) who have had that surgical procedure with that surgeon. Surgeon’s can’t fill out a form to get themselves on our map, because it’s “patient recommended”…. as it should be. And, each surgeon is clearly listed as a breast mound recon surgeon, an explant OR a flat closure surgeon. That information has been reflected the entire time the map has existed… so please, stop with the BS lies.

KB, I’m going to share a story with you that I’m not sure I’ve ever shared with you. When I woke up from having my explant, I knew something was wrong from the amount of pain I was in. I told the recovery room nurse, who then gave me a shot of morphine. When I came to, the pain was still almost unbearable – and I begged her to call the Dr. I told her to tell him I needed to be admitted. She told me that this level of pain was ‘normal’ after the procedure I’d just had and that I’d feel better with more pain meds. I knew this wasn’t the case because of my abnormally high pain tolerance level, and when B came back to help me get dressed, I begged him to advocate for me. Guess what? He didn’t, because he had talked to my surgeon who had told him the surgery had went ‘fine’. Men trusting men instead of listening to the knowing that even though I’ve been having surgery after surgery since I’ve been 4 years old, I knew my own body enough to know something was really wrong, and desperately needed to be advocated for in my drugged up state. I was the last case of the night and it was late so that nurse just wanted me discharged. She gave me oral pain medication on top of the medication she pushed through the IV prior to pulling it, got me dressed and sent B to get the car. I called my mom from the car freaking out that something was terribly wrong and I knew it. I’ve never – in over 30+ medical surgeries – had that reaction like that. I sobbed the entire car ride home. Long story short, I – luckily – made it through the night and very early the next morning, I sent a picture to my best friend who is a nurse practitioner. She immediately knew why I didn’t feel right. “Call your Dr now”. I had an internal bleed and was rushed back into surgery. I ended up with the same nurse that day. And like you – K – I could have been ‘fueled by rage’ – the implants undoubtedly caused injury to my body and I could have died from that bleed, but instead, I offered that nurse grace.

You see, KB, I’m not fueled by that kind of rage and I’m also not fueled by my ego. I’m driven by making a change for the betterment of the greater good of this community and for my “why” – which has always been making change for my daughters – one of which was going through treatment for a breast tumor last year at the very time you continued to kick us while we were down. I’m driven by the anger of injustice that I see time and time again, when women like me, who aren’t being presented all of their options and are given breast implants only to end up horribly sick after they have multiple surgeries to reconstruct “what was lost”. I’m driven by the injustice of the voice of ringing in the back of mind saying “you’re too young to have cancer” and yet I did – and yet my daughter just went through a partial mastectomy at 17 years old six months ago. And KB, I’m driven by the injustice of humans who think they have a right to come in and take shit that isn’t theirs and bull-doze over every single other human who they view as less-than or more weak than them (and it especially pisses me off when women – like you – do it to each other because we get it enough from men and you should know better!)

KB, what I will not do is perpetuate the hate you spew back to you. I know that you do good work for “flat denial” – but your theft of other’s “work” (creative & intellectual – whether it’s legal or not) leaves your ability to be trusted in question, so I think if you want to show good faith in healing this rift, I’d hope you’d start acknowledging the shared work of other advocates in this community. Stop trying to take credit for work that isn’t yours and give credit where credit is due, because this is certainly a community effort – also include our links in work we have contributed to (there are many). Also, if you tell us not to use your imagery or links ‘behind the scenes’ – do not have public conversations about us not sharing your work (or controlling the narrative) publicly because you have not allowed us to include you. At some point in the future, if and when you start doing better, we would like to be able to point back to you and give you shout-outs, but KB, the ball is in your court.

And finally… to the community, I’m calling all of you, to stand up to this shit. To do better. To be better. It’s happening all around us. The number of messages we received to our inbox when Mia started posting about “bully’s”, “Karen’s”, “peace pirates”, “people who steal intellectual content” etc was astounding. Early on, we shared a quote that my best friend shared with me – that I didn’t realize another BC organization wrote. When she sent it to me, it was written out on a notebook paper. When they reached out saying it was part of their website and asked us to take it off of our website, we apologized and took it down. Why? Because it was the right thing to do, and that is how we will continue showing up – being still so we can reflect on how we would like to be treated if the situation were reversed and then acting accordingly. If we as a community (and really as people in general) continue allowing people to lead us who lie, steal, cheat, and cause harm others how can we ever expect positive change to happen? And what legacy are we leaving for our children and/or the next generation? I know I certainly want something better for mine. And that starts inside of each of us, and then by pointing out injustices when we see them. Don’t be afraid to use your voices when you see those injustices – even if your voice shakes when you do it. Just speak up, because nothing will change otherwise.

Have a great day loves. And if you can’t… at least don’t be an asshole to anyone else. <3

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