Saturday, December 18, 2010

BRCA 1 Testing and Results

My sister Gina has been my true inspiration to get tested. Her testing and positive result made this very real for both of us. I realized with me being older that it was time to take action and get the testing done so I knew. It was scary enough not knowing and thinking I could get cancer and even more scary to know for sure what my odds were.

I'm a person that really fears the unknown, although I have gotten better through the years. I used to fear doing anything for the first time and that fear used to stop me in my tracks. Now, I just plunge ahead through the fear. Getting the appointment scheduled wasn't hard, but going to talk to the genetic counselor was a little harder. It meant talking about my past and admitting outloud that I was scared, and I had to do this with a complete stranger.

At the genetic couselor's office, I mapped out my family tree and explained my fears. The counselor understood and was very intent on getting me tested. She provided some facts and odds of me having the mutated gene. I had heard most of the odds already from my sister, but it was nice to hear that everything was the same. She told me that I had a 50/50 chance of having the gene. If I had the gene, then I would have an 87% chance of developing breast cancer in my lifetime and a 44% chance of developing ovarian cancer in my lifetime. Super scary to think about because I haven't even had kids yet. Everyone says "You're so young, you have time to have kids!" But I might not have time.

So, the counselor says I just have to have blood taken and the results come back in 2 weeks. I make an appointment for two weeks from then and then go to get my blood taken. It was very easy.
I was a nervous wreck for two weeks waiting for that results appointment to come. Then, I find out that the insurance company required more paperwork and delayed the testing, therefore they delayed the results. I ended up getting my results on the day before Thanksgiving.

As I walked into the hospital to get my results, I felt doomed. I don't know why, I just felt like it was going to be bad news. Chad, my husband, was with me and just instinctively knew I needed some assurance. He told me that no matter what happens, it will be okay. I chuckled and said I hope so.

The counselor comes and gets me and we go back to her office. We sit and she tells me that she printed out my results that morning and they are positive for the mutated gene. I almost didn't hear her. I had to repeat what she said and then everything just went blurry. I couldn't keep the tears from dropping. Chad grabbed my hand under the table and squeezed. The counselor got me some tissue and told me very firmly that it's not a cancer diagnosis and that having the knowlege of this is very powerful. I can do something about it before I get cancer. I'm now in a new generation of women who can be proactive like no other generation.
I don't feel very powerful, but I refuse to be a victim! I have very important decisions to make! More on those decisions later...

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