With the last two blogs we have established that I had decisions to make. These decisions weren’t to be taken lightly and that was a huge stress on me. Whatever I chose will be life changing and will affect my quality of life. I don’t think I can adequately describe my true feelings. I have good days and bad days. With my fate in front of me after meeting with the genetic counselor my odds were as follows : I am in the high risk age range as well (35 yrs-45 yrs) BRCA is short for BReast CAncer.
Breast Cancer 99.7% (hormone/estrogen driven) normal rate is less than 20 percent
Ovarian Cancer 85.3% normal rate is less than 6 percent
I am also a higher risk for Pancreatic Cancer and Melanoma (currently no screenings available)
Ok, so there are the numbers in front of me. My personality will not allow me to handle the high risk screenings every year, and besides I HATE those tests! I would have to do them every 3-6 months with some quite invasive methods of testing’s as well. The financial side with each test costing upwards of $1,000 out of pocket and I would ALWAYS have to have these screenings done. Now I will say that anyone that chooses that path I respect fully, I just knew that my daily everyday life would not be the same and I didn’t want to constantly wonder if this would be the day? Did I mention that I am constant worrier?
I could also take a anti chemo drug the rest of my life that would lower my chances by 30% I never weighed this option. The risk was still to high for me and lets be honest I am not going to remember to take a pill every day. One of the reasons I have 3 kids, couldn’t remember to take birth control pill every day!
I could not bury my head in the sand, I did want to! I wanted to just act like everything was fine, my anger for knowing and taking the test has subsided. Knowledge is power, and I am cancer free at the moment so the ball is in my court and can make some choices while I am able to and have more control of the outcome. Here is what my deciding factor was.. My 3 beautiful daughters, its that simple. I had to be here for them. I had to be brave for them. We learned that they now have a 50/50 chance of carrying the gene themselves. If they choose to get tested as an adult and decide to take the preventive route I can be there and support them 100% since I have been there and done that. I still wish that I had personally known someone who had been in my shoes, that’s what helps when you can be empathetic. I watched my dad die of cancer, never would I want to put my kids through that and if I have this knowledge then I need to minimize my risk as much as I could. I cried and cried and cried but I knew what I had to do. I needed to have a double mastectomy and total hystectomy with ovary removal. Not going to lie I had a pity party. 35 years old losing both breasts and facing menopause scares me to death, still does! Beats the alternative thou right? But still as I write this I wonder if I am making the right decision, am I being dramatic? What if? Can I really do this? My breasts is the hardest part for me. I am a woman and as anyone else has insecurities and flaws and I have had 3 kids so definitely not perky and early 20s, but they are MINE and I personally am partial to them. The fear of being less desirable lingers, will my husband leave me? will I have a stigma attached? Tons of questions still running through my mind. How do I tell people? What judgments will be made?
Here is the next kicker, needed to happen fast.. Since I had already had precancerous cells on my ovaries a few years back and had started to develop lumps on my breast, my breast specialist thought it was my bodies way of saying “Your time is coming..” and If I was to develop cancer I could NEVER take hormones, well shit… Have you met me? Believe me I need my hormones! I went on the consult train and was told to prepare to have surgery in 4-6 weeks.. What? this is happening this year?????!!!
Again, I have had amazing support. People tell me that I am so brave, so courageous. No I am not! I am scared out of my mind. I am no hero. I ,for one am not the only one that has this gene (immediate family, yes that we know of) I just feel like math is math and the numbers don’t lie. If I wait until I have cancer and have to sit my kids down and tell them their mom may die, and me knowing all along that I could have prevented this but was just to scared is not an option for me. Knowledge is power.
December 5th,2016. I will undergo a double mastectomy with reconstruction and a complete hysterectomy. 3 surgeries at once, 3 surgeons.. 8-10 hour surgery. 12-16 week recovery. This will be the day that my life changes and I am hoping that all goes well, I will find the courage, the strength, the peace, I will not let this define who I am, I will beat the odds that are given to me.
I made my decision.