Sunday, September 11, 2011

94. following up and my health

so i had my appointment with the genetics counselor a while back. here is what happened...

i found out our brca2 mutation of unknown significance had be down-graded to a status 4-5 which means through study, they consider this mutation harmless and not responsible for the cancers in my family.

this is good i suppose, but it doesn't put the puzzle pieces together for my family. it also does not qualify me for additional surveillance on top of my mastectomy.

in canada, post mastectomy follow up consists of annual clinical breast exams by my family doctor. no additional imaging. i asked about a base-line mri and they don't do that here either. should something "show up", the steps would be an ultra sound and then possible mri.

we went over my family tree again. there are still a lot of questions on my mother's father's side. this side has not been tested. there is still a lot of gaps in data but because most of the family past the 1st generation lives in holland and is not english speaking i have put all the digging around to get information on hold. it is too stressful and school takes up way too much time.

as for my health...i've been in reasonable good health through out the past 2 years and my whole ordeal. i had been eating exceptionally well and only had one cold. aside from complications that i could not really prevent (c-diff and pneumothorax post surgery in april of 2010), i was surprised to find out a few weeks ago that i had been walking around and going to school with pneumonia for the past 2-3 months!!!

i had been complaining often of shortness of breath, difficulty breathing on extremely hot and humid days and remarked to many that i thought i was developing asthma or that i was anemic. blood work came back perfect. i feel slightly embarrassed that i did not recognize that i had pneumonia as this is now the 4th time! had i known, i would have sought treatment much earlier. the only thing i think that threw me was every other time i have had pneumonia in the past, i had an aggravating cough that would keep me up all night and fever/night sweats. i had none of that with this bout.

after a 2 week round of antibiotics and a bout with a superinfection (again...but thankfully not c-diff) i think i am feeling better. i did not get a phone call from my follow-up chest x-ray so i hope that means its all clear. i am still feeling short of breath and tired but this could be because my body has been deconditioned (to cause to decline from a condition of physical fitness, as through a prolonged period) so i need to work on increasing my fitness level again.

sorry for the late response/follow-up from my last post. i do blame this on the pneumonia. it's great to have excuses. lol. my excuse now if i don't post is that semester 3 just started for nursing. i am officially half-way through the program. this semester i will get to go into the OR and witness a few surgeries. this is very exciting for me. maybe i will get to see a double mastectomy!

***stay tuned for a guest post this week from David Hass on "Human's Power Over Cancer" and how to utilize Cancer survivor networks.

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