Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Genetic Journey

A little over 11 years ago my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a small, but aggressive cancer located on her chest wall. Something that a self exam would have never caught. But it was caught early and she has been in remission for 10 years. Her story is a lengthy one. One I'll get into later.

After she was diagnosed, my sister and I attended a genetic forum on the breast cancer gene. At the time, they were newly investigating the gene and pushing for people to get tested. However, there were lots of repercussions to the testing. They recommended that you go to another state and use a fake name and pay for the test yourself. They said that employers, insurance companies and others would discriminate against you for the positive result if they found out. They said that radical surgery was the only way to go if you tested positive. All in all, the forum was scarey. In the end my sister and I decided that we would be vigilent about testing and detection. And I have spent the last 10 years getting mamograms and doing self exams.

But yesterday, we decided to be tested.

My mom's doctor was suggesting testing and honestly my doctor had asked me about it a couple of times. It seemed that all the planets were aligning making the time to test now. And to be honest it scares me to my inner core. But knowledge is power, right?

So in about 4 weeks we'll know if my mom is positive. If she is, my sister and I will be tested. Then we take action. Whatever that may be. All I know is that I have to get my thoughts, worries and expectations out in written form before it overtakes me.

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