PREVIVOR: A person who is not diagnosed with cancer, but has survived the predisposition, or higher risk, of cancer due to a genetic mutation and/or strong family history. After being armed with this information, a previvor can make informed choices prior to a cancer diagnosis.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Testing, 1,2,3

As I've said before I made my decision to have a PBM based on a genectic mutation called "Cowden's Syndrome" which is a mutation of the P-10 gene (the tumor suppressor gene). I've always known about BRCA 1 and 2 but just thought that like every other thing in my life I was in the lower percentage of people who had different genectic mutations. I never really gave it a second thought...Cowden's was enough to deal with!

Recently, my biological mother passed away from breast cancer. I had been told that she had "the breast cancer gene" which made something click in my mind. Could I possibly have the BRCA mutation as well as  Cowden's? My first thought was, "Would God do that??? Would God give me two genectic mutations???" I timidly broached the subject with my BS during my pre-op consult. He said that it was possible that she was referring to the BRCA gene, but I shouldn't worry about being tested since I was having a mastectomy based on the Cowden's syndrome. He said I should wait until everything passed over and  THEN worry about getting tested.

I had tried to put it out of my mind as best as I could. It was always there, lurking in the farthest corner of my thoughts though. Could I be a BRCA carrier as well? I also knew that there was an ovarian cancer risk associated with one of the BRCA mutations. Since I'm only 27, I do not want to have my ovaries removed yet, but if I had a higher risk I wanted to know about it. I knew that ovarian cancer was a hard disease to catch in the early stages, but that there was a blood test that could be done to kind of watch certain levels in your blood.  I didn't really know too much about it though, mainly because all I could (still) think about was BOOBS!

My yearly dreaded trip to the OBGYN was due and I finally decided to make an appointment for today, so I could get it out of the way before my surgery Wednesday. When I got there, they handed me some forms to fill out and also an extra pink sheet. The receptionist explained that it was a questionaire that they had added for all patients. I looked down and saw it was a history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and colon cancer in your family. I looked harder and saw that they had started offering the BRCA test to their patients. I sighed as the thought "Well, there goes my excuse that I don't have anywhere to go get tested:"

When they called me back to the exam room, the nurse brought up the subject of testing to me. I had already explained that I had my PBM in April and told her of my possible BRCA inheritance. She said just to bring it up to the doctor. When the doctor walked in, after I gleefully said "You don't get to feel me up this time!" then after he looked at me with surprise I explained about the mastectomy, I asked about the testing. I told him while I didn't want to remove my ovaries at this time, it'd be nice to know if I have an added risk. I also wanted to know every joyful thing I could pass on to my hypothetical kids (there are those hypothetical kids again). He said that we could do the blood draw in the office today and get the results back in a week.

So, here I am, waiting for my surgery date and waiting for my test results. I don't feel like I'm an emotional wreck about the test results like I know some people are. I guess it's since I've already made my decisions, carried them out, and am now just waiting on my life to get back to normal. I just want to KNOW. Because as cheesy as it sounds...the saying is true "Knowledge is power!" or at least in this case, ignorance certainly isn't bliss.

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