My family has *that* gene. You know, that *whispers* cancer gene. The BRCA1.
That damn killer. It’s a murderer. It starts out a quiet creeper, settling down and making itself comfy and then it has a party of chaos and destruction with your internal organs.
Yeah. That one.
A bunch of my family members. Close ones. Have cancer.
That one. The BRCA 1 gene.
Prostate. Ovarian. And…another prostate. Niiiiccceee.
So, my mom has been trying to convince my sister and I to get the test to determine if we carry the gene, so that we can try to combat it prophylactically. But, can you really stop cancer?
This test is expensive. Well, it was. I’m not sure if it’s covered by Obamacare nowadays. But, in reality, I’m not sure if I want to know whether or not I carry this loathsome intruder regardless of cost.
I’m scared. Hold me.
I’ve been thinking about it though. “If” I tested positive for the gene, what would I do to take preventative measures?
I would consider getting my female internal bits removed. I have no need for them anymore. I’m 41. The only babies I will ever see again are grandbabies…hopefully WAY LATER rather than sooner. But still. I don’t need my reproductive organs anymore. I could live without my monthly curse. I don’t think I’d miss the middleschmertz stuff that happens during the middle of the month. The PMS…well, no brainer.
But to get a radical mastectomy? I don’t know. As much as I say that my boobs annoy me. As much as they get in my way when I’m trying to lie on my stomach. And…as much as I may talk about wanting fake boobs (in real life I talk about it but haven’t discussed here, on my blog, before).
I am not ready to face the prospect of having to remove them.
At least, with fake breasts, you can remove them if you don’t like them. I have a friend who did that. She had them in for two years, hated them the whole time, and finally got rid of them. She works out avidly and she felt them to be uncomfortable and a burden.
But she still has the original, g-d given ones. A little stretched out and droopy, at the moment. Full recovery and fluff is expected though.
With a radical mastectomy, that wouldn’t be an option. Well, it would. You don’t have to have breast augmentation. But then…you wouldn’t have breasts. And I don’t know if I would be ok with that. Especially since I spent the first part of my life trying to grow them.
There are genes that families shares. Facial features, color of skin, eyes, hair…etc.
This gene…I don’t want. I’m hoping I don’t have it. I’m not sure I’m going to find out.
But really? My family can take this gene and shove it. I don’t want it.
It’s nice to share. But really? Not this time.
Has anyone in your family actually had this test performed? I think this test is available from Myriad only, but I know that we do familial sequencing at a much lower (but certainly not cheap) rate for familial testing if we have the sequencing to point us to the location of your likely mutation. I’m not sure if that facility has a similar offering.
Even with a positive mutation, I would just be vigilant. BRCA1 isn’t a gene I know much about because it’s not on the list of genes we test, but I do know it’s possible to have family members with that gene mutation and you, yourself not have it. I’ve also heard of women who have had their breasts removed proactively because of familial breast cancer, only to end up with it under their arms or other surrounding tissue.
And even if you tested negative, there is still a chance of de novo mutation.
Cancer sucks. It’s really the only solid thing I can say.
.-= Jill´s last blog ..Monkey Wrench =-.
My cousin was tested. She doesn’t have it, but she does have a very high risk. Her mother was 38 when she died from breast cancer. She is seriously considering having surgery at some point. If that day comes i’ll support her in every way I can. She’s 20. I hate that she has to think about this so young.
Here’s to hoping that you don’t have it. and that you have peace with whatever choice you make, to find out or not to.
.-= Molly´s last blog ..I’m in love =-.
Christina @RantRaveRoll says
Wow….. ironic. Cancer was the topic of my last blog post.
That’s a tough one. I’m not sure if I’d want to know. If I knew I carried the gene, I be taking matters into my own hands like you and eliminating anything that could be a target.
.-= Christina @RantRaveRoll´s last blog ..A MESSAGE TO MY READERS =-.
I don’t think I would want to know. I already obsess enough about getting it.
.-= Jennifer´s last blog ..Food Porn =-.
Steph H says
Hi there, I just stumbled upon your blog. I understand the trepidation you feel about learning whether or not you carry the dreaded breast cancer gene, but should you decide to test, and should you turn out to be a carrier, there is a very robust online support community you can depend on to help you on your journey. I urge you to visit FORCE: Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (www.facingourrisk.org) to learn more about hereditary cancers and how you can protect yourself from them. I am BRCA2+, in my early 30s, and underwent a bilateral mastectomy in December. It was not the easiest choice, but it was the best decision I ever made — I just couldn’t live an 85% lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, especially when I knew I had the knowledge (and power) to do something about it before it struck. I wrote about my journey at goodbyetoboobs.blogspot.com. If you stop by and read my story, maybe you will see that learning your genetic predispostion isn’t a curse; it’s a blessing in disguise. Please drop me a line if I cna be of any support. All best, Steph H
A good friend of mine fought breast cancer, not once but twice, then had the test done and found she was positive. So she had both the hysterctomy AND the mastectomy done, and I recently had lunch with her and her new boobs, and she looks fabulous, and most importantly, HEALTHY. I guess it’s something you have to decide for yourself, but I can tell you that for her, the test was absolutely worth it and she is now looking forward to a happy life with her husband and one-year-old daughter, without the threat of the Whispered Word hanging over her head. For what it’s worth.
.-= Bejewell´s last blog ..Drunk Blogging is the New Drunk Dialing But More Awesome Because It’s on the Internet =-.
One of my best friends has this gene and just recently got a full hysterectomy, and is scheduled for a mastectomy soon. She has had too many close family members (her father, aunts, etc…) die from cancer. She is a single mom and does not want to take the chance that she will leave her daughter alone. For her the decision was an easy one but I can totally understand how it would be a super hard one to make in most cases. I am (and she is) grateful to know that her chances of getting cancer are now significantly reduced. But sometimes I wonder how much ‘playing God’ we should be doing? Hmmmm…
.-= Anne´s last blog ..Photo Evidence =-.
Ignorance is bliss! Really…
I’d be too much of a mess my entire life just WAITING…waiting for the big moment when *BAM* I’ve got it! It really doesn’t sound like there’s anything you can do about it. Just roll with it and enjoy your life! Gene or no gene, I could walk out onto the street and get hit by a semi. Don’t fret (says the girl who does not have a family history of “the gene”…I think?).
.-= LB´s last blog ..Godloverzilla Has "Health Issues" =-.