If you could know your chances of getting a devastating, life-threatening disease, would you take that step? If you could prevent said devastating disease from occuring, would you?
I would. And I am.
Last Thursday, I met with a genetic counselor to discuss the BRCA gene mutations. This has been on my to-do list for the past few years, starting with my mother’s breast cancer diagnosis and her positive results for one of the BRCA gene mutations, and continuing with my own breast cancer scare. I put it off as long as I could, reminding everyone that no additional monitoring is done before age 25, anyway. I knew 25 would be the year, and after my final post-cancer-scare follow-up appointment, I finally made the call.
I met with them last Thursday, and ended up being tested. That hadn’t been the initial plan, but it made more sense to be tested when I was already there. They took a vial of blood, leaving me with a nasty bruise on the inside of my arm and something between peace-of-mind and holy crap I can’t believe I finally did this.
I know my options. I know what my decision(s) will be if the test results are positive. I have a plan, and it’s the same plan I’ve had for the past four years.
If the test comes back positive, my entire world will be shaken. I have no idea how I’m going to react if I hear those words, if I’ll cry, or spring into action, or be secure in the knowledge that I have a few years before needing to truly make a decision. But if the test does come back positive, I will have the option to make those choices, and take a higher-than-80% chance of getting cancer down to around 2%. I’ll be able to take my health into my own hands, be proactive, and do what I can to secure a healthy future.
I thought getting tested would feel like a huge deal. I thought it would shake the foundation of everything I know and be some crazy, dramatic moment, but it wasn’t. It was just something I did. Something I always knew I’d do.
My follow-up appointment is on March 30th. That is the day I find out what my future looks like. If I am negative, my risk of breast cancer returns to that of an average woman. If I am positive, life is going to change. I’m trying not to freak out, because it is what it is. I’m confident I’m doing the right thing for myself, and I’m confident that I will find some way to handle it.
And in the meantime, I’m reading the stories of other women who understand, laughing at texts from my best friend saying “if you have [this] whore gene we’ll unite and kick its whore ass,” doing a lot of talking and venting, and knowing that I will not for one second, under any circumstances, be dealing with this alone.