Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Test Results

If you didn't know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer just about 1 year ago.  She has gone through chemo and radiation treatments and so far things are looking positive.  Her lump was caught early, unlike my grandmother her mother, who almost 6 years ago died of breast cancer.  Since my mom got diagnosed, she also got tested for the BRCA gene.  She got confirmation that she is a carrier for the BRCA 2 gene.  Currently, in my family, my mom, my grandmother, my grandmother's twin sister, and my great grandmother all have had breast cancer.  My grandmother's younger sister also had and died of pancreatic cancer, which the BRCA 2 gene puts you at higher risk for.

Now that my mom got tested, my sisters and I had to decide if we were going to get tested.  At first, I was leaning totally against having the gene test.  After talking with my doctor, I decided that it would be better to find out if I had the gene, because with my family history, without getting tested, I would need to have increased testing to ensure that things were caught early just in case I was at higher risk and didn't know it. I got met with a genetic counselor right after Christmas and with my husband decided to have the test.  Just about a week ago, I found out that I tested positive for the gene.

I wasn't totally surprised at the results, but I was still in shock from actually seeing it on paper and having one of my worst fears confirmed.  Of course, the immediate recommendation was to have a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy.  I was told that I needed to meet with an oncologist and discuss my options.  If I decided not to have surgery, I need to have a mammogram and a MRI every 6 months alternating each time.  If I don't have the oophorectomy, I need to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test every 6 months.  Even though I don't have cancer, I left that appointment feeling like I had been given a a death sentence, especially if I didn't have surgery.  Not exactly a great feeling to have especially not actually having cancer. I thought that since my family tended to get cancer later in life, I have a decent amount of time to decide, but no, they just lucked out (if getting cancer at all can be considered lucky) and got cancer later in life.  The BRCA 2 gene tends to cause earlier cancers, something I did not expect to hear.

I am still trying to figure out where to go from here.  I have 3 small kids and a great husband.  I don't want to get cancer.  I don't want to go through the pain and suffering and even potentially die, but I also don't want to have surgery.  There are too many reasons to go into right now, and at some point I will probably write about it just to put it in words that I can actually read.  My New Year's goals go along with the changes that I want to make especially now that I have tested positive for the gene.

My diet needs to change and so do my exercise habits.  I have joined in with another twins mom's blog for a healthy challenge.  I am hoping that this challenge will help me make the changes that I need to make and hopefully make theme stick.


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