Tuesday, February 15, 2011

82. purpose, brca results, and slippery slopes

a very cool thing happened yesterday. my plastic surgeon's office called and asked if i would be willing to speak with a women who had chosen to use him as her plastic surgeon for her reconstruction. i of course agreed, because any information i could share about my personal experience to help ease the anxiety of someone else is empowering to them and also healing for me as well.

about an hour later, this female called me and we chatted for about a half an hour. like me, she had already spent hours researching her stuff and knew what type of questions to ask. i was able to give her my personal experience side of things and some tips on what to expect and how to prepare for possible complications. she was very grateful and we both felt very good after our conversation. i got her email after, and shared some further information and links with her.

a., if you are reading this, thank you so much for talking with me. i wish you all the best and as i mentioned, i am here for you as much as i can be for someone who does not drive;) i hope speaking with me will help take some of the anxiety and feeling of not knowing away. i commend you for being proactive with your health and doing what 'needs to be done' for your kids and family.

on a separate note, i have not shared my family's brca gene testing results yet. it's been a few months since we received our result and i didn't know how to process it. genetic testing was done on my mother's mother's side of the family, and as of yet i have not shared the results with you guys. well here are the results.

brca2 mutation - unknown significance.

still don't know what to make of this. i don't know if i have this particular brca2 mutation because they will not test related family members when it is a mutation of unknown significance.

so, i am still glad i went forward with my pbm and didn't wait around for results. i am glad i made my mind up before any possible results.

as for this result. it has been graded as possibly going either way. the genetics counselor said to check in once a year to see if any further information comes to light which would indicate whether or not our particular mutation is harmful or not...or lets just say whether it is what is causing our familial cancers or not.

so here is the slippery slope. some scattered cancers have appeared here and there on my mother's father's side. to date, there has been a young breast cancer on his side, my mom's father has had prostate cancer (treated and in remission), her uncle had lung cancer, and now within the past few weeks another one of her uncles (my great uncle) has been diagnosed with the dreaded pancreatic cancer.

so now i have the nagging fear that maybe there a genetic defect on the other side too. at this stage of the game, i am sure there is nothing to be done. i do not think this side has any interest in genetic testing and does not at this stage see a need for it because there are not as many cancers on this side in comparison to my grandmother's side.

i guess all i can do for now is give the updated information to my genetic counselor and let her make sense of it. but damn, this cancer stuff sucks! nothing like getting those phone calls that another family member has cancer.


  1. How frustrating! I'm so sorry girl! But just know and feel empowered that you made the best preventive decisions you could for youself!

  2. hey! I just read your blog from beginning to end, thank you so much for sharing so many of your pictures and your experiences. I devoured all of it. I had a double mastectomy on Sept 19, 2011 and am in the reconstruction process. My final surgery is Feb. 2. I just wanted to share that your pictures were very helpful to me. thank you and much luck...