If you didn't know, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer just about 1 year ago. She has gone through chemo and radiation treatments and so far things are looking positive. Her lump was caught early, unlike my grandmother her mother, who almost 6 years ago died of breast cancer. Since my mom got diagnosed, she also got tested for the BRCA gene. She got confirmation that she is a carrier for the BRCA 2 gene. Currently, in my family, my mom, my grandmother, my grandmother's twin sister, and my great grandmother all have had breast cancer. My grandmother's younger sister also had and died of pancreatic cancer, which the BRCA 2 gene puts you at higher risk for.
Now that my mom got tested, my sisters and I had to decide if we were going to get tested. At first, I was leaning totally against having the gene test. After talking with my doctor, I decided that it would be better to find out if I had the gene, because with my family history, without getting tested, I would need to have increased testing to ensure that things were caught early just in case I was at higher risk and didn't know it. I got met with a genetic counselor right after Christmas and with my husband decided to have the test. Just about a week ago, I found out that I tested positive for the gene.
I wasn't totally surprised at the results, but I was still in shock from actually seeing it on paper and having one of my worst fears confirmed. Of course, the immediate recommendation was to have a bilateral mastectomy and oophorectomy. I was told that I needed to meet with an oncologist and discuss my options. If I decided not to have surgery, I need to have a mammogram and a MRI every 6 months alternating each time. If I don't have the oophorectomy, I need to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound and a CA-125 blood test every 6 months. Even though I don't have cancer, I left that appointment feeling like I had been given a a death sentence, especially if I didn't have surgery. Not exactly a great feeling to have especially not actually having cancer. I thought that since my family tended to get cancer later in life, I have a decent amount of time to decide, but no, they just lucked out (if getting cancer at all can be considered lucky) and got cancer later in life. The BRCA 2 gene tends to cause earlier cancers, something I did not expect to hear.
I am still trying to figure out where to go from here. I have 3 small kids and a great husband. I don't want to get cancer. I don't want to go through the pain and suffering and even potentially die, but I also don't want to have surgery. There are too many reasons to go into right now, and at some point I will probably write about it just to put it in words that I can actually read. My New Year's goals go along with the changes that I want to make especially now that I have tested positive for the gene.
My diet needs to change and so do my exercise habits. I have joined in with another twins mom's blog for a healthy challenge. I am hoping that this challenge will help me make the changes that I need to make and hopefully make theme stick.
As well as changing my diet, I want to continue to try to use natural cleansers for my home and my body instead of using chemicals. I want to start doing yoga like I have been wanting to. I actually saw a book that I may get so that I can do yoga with the kids. I also want to focus on doing things to reduce my stress. According to the book "Crazy Sexy Diet", reducing stress helps increase telomerase which helps with increasing the size of telomeres which intern helps prevent chronic disease (I hope I explained that right. I should go back and double check). One way to help reduce my stress is by creating. I am hopeful that living the kind of life that I want to live will help me live a long happy healthy life!