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Thursday, October 25, 2012

BRCA Positive: Blessed or Cursed?

Being positive for the BRCA 1 mutation is something that often weighs heavily on me.  I was tested after I was diagnosed....although I had considered being tested prior.  Had I been informed and truly known what it meant to be positive for this mutation, I would have never waited. With my family history, there should have been no doubt on my part and overwhelming encouragement from my doctor's to do so.  Could I have beat breast cancer before it even got the chance to start running?  This is a question that I will never be able to answer.  However, now I know.  I know 'Why' I got breast cancer at age 28.  Now I find myself wondering 'If' my girls have inherited this same mutation.  If the answer is yes, then comes the next question: 'When' will cancer attack them?  How much time do they have?  My great-grandmother was 45, my mom was 35, and I was 28.  My oldest daughter is 6 years old.  The thought of her ever being diagnosed with breast cancer is hard enough.  The thought of her being diagnosed at an age younger than 28, is gut-wrenching.  If I'm not careful, these thoughts can consume my sanity.  So, the real question is how I choose to live with this.
Am I Blessed or am I Cursed?

Although I could have both of my girls tested at anytime, I have chosen to not do so.  When it comes to getting tested for the BRCA genetic mutation, I think all women need to ask themselves what they plan to do with the information they receive.  What is my plan should I test positive?  I know every woman will process things differently and I know not every woman will make the choice to be proactive.  In addition, not every woman who test positive will be diagnosed with cancer.  But, you should know your risk and I have included a chart that you can find at Myriad .  Is it a risk you are willing to take?

Your Cancer Risks

Here is another chart that clearly displays what it means when a woman knows her risks and takes control.

Proactive Cancer Management Reduces the RisksProactive Cancer Management Reduces the Risks

As you can see, if you are a carrier for the mutation, you have up to an 87% chance of one day getting breast cancer by age 70.  Unfortunately, we have no way of knowing what age breast cancer might decide to sneak into our lives.  I was 28....42 years away from age 70.  Had I been tested before cancer, and been proactive in taking the necessary steps, it would have reduced my odds by more than 90% of ever having to hear those words. Of ever having to wonder if I would get to see my daughter go to Kindergarten. Of ever having to wonder if I would be able to have more children.  Although I am a survivor and I credit God for His healing power, I wish I had been tested earlier.  My prayer is that my daughter's will NEVER have to face breast cancer should they test positive.  My prayer is that they will feel empowered to make decisions that I wish I had made.  I have something valuable....I have something that breast cancer can't take away....and that is the 'Why.'  Luckily, because of the 'Why' my daughter's may never have to face the 'When'.

So........Blessed or Cursed?  Definitely Blessed.



Anonymous said...

Melody thank you for sharing your experience. May you live a long and happy life!
HI. I'm Katya and I just wanted everybody to know there really is a place to get breast cancer help like never before. I suggest you check out and connect directly to the medical researchers working to cure breast cancer. You could check out:

Elinor Phillips said...

May you leave a long life Melody. Your blog shows how positive you are despite the situation you are going through right now. You have inspired us readers to keep the faith and see the positive things in life. I know all the treatments, therapy, expenses aren't easy to handle. You can try complementary and alternative medicine for cancer, if you like. More power to you!

somya gupta said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
cancer treatment said...

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Inspiring story! Really! Keep up the good fight! My mom is currently fighting and i'm in shambles. Been reading some inspiring breast cancer mottos and slogans, you should see some for yourself, I think you'd love them: Fight Against Breast Cancer Slogans