when bad genes attack

I saw my breast doctor this morning.

No big deal, right? Just a routine exam so they can put in a referral for my annual MRI. Everything seems normal, I got the MRI scheduled, and I thought I would just get on with my day.

So why do I feel broken again? Why do I feel like I just got the genetic testing results and have received a death sentence? This isn’t March of 2010. It’s been almost a year. I’m fine most of the time – but then there are reminders like this.

I have an appointment for a plastic surgery consultation. Me, the girl who eschews cosmetic surgery, who would never want to modify my body, who is terrified of surgery in general and has never even had wisdom teeth surgery. I don’t even know when I’m having surgery, but it’s time to start looking into it, apparently.

I have an appointment to meet with a fertility specialist. I’m twenty-five and not even ready to think about having kids, yet there I’ll be, discussing if and when I should freeze my eggs so I can remove my ovaries. It’s not as if they’re saying I have to remove my ovaries immediately, but they are saying that eggs frozen now will be better than eggs frozen when I’m in my thirties.

I just keep thinking about all the things that have been taken from me. The ability to really, truly decide on my own timeline about having children (or not). The ability to love and appreciate my body (I know, I know – some people love their bodies after surgery, but I just… don’t see that happening so much for me, especially with my entire chest being numb for the rest of my life and my breasts being at risk of their implants falling apart). The ability to NOT have the worry of cancer hanging over my head. The ability to plan for the future in even the smallest ways (sometimes it makes me so sad that I’m finally enjoying exercise, because I know I won’t be able to for months once I have surgery and I’ll lose everything I’ve worked up to). The ability to breast-feed my future children, and the ability to avoid people telling me I’m a terrible mother because I can’t. The ability to feel attractive to a partner. The ability to go to work like a normal person without doctor’s appointments every damn week.

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Whine, whine, whine. I try to talk myself into believing that other people have it worse – because, well, they do. I just have trouble understanding that on days like this.

I’ve made up my mind that I’m not allowed to be sad about this forever. It is what it is. There’s nothing I can do about it, and I’d rather know about my faulty genetics than not know, and if all of these other amazing women can live with this then so can I. I can’t spend all my time being sad about it, because the whole point of being tested is to make sure I’m able to live a long, healthy life. There’s no point in living if you’re sad all the time.

But today I am, and I’m learning to be okay with that. And then I will get on with my life. Just like with my genetic makeup, I don’t have much of a choice.

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