I am not going to bother to go in to where I have been and why I have taken such a long blogging hiatus. I'll save that for a rainy day or never, but something is coming up that I felt like writing about. Who knows if anyone is still reading, but if you are, feel free to give your two cents worth.
Next week I am scheduled to take part in a massive study. If I consent, they will take a DNA sample to find out if I have 'the breast cancer genes'.
If you have the genes, you basically have a 70% chance of having breast cancer and also a much higher than normal chance (I forget the percentage) of ovarian cancer.
If you are positive you basically have three options. You can:
(1) Prophylactically have your breasts removed, and/or your ovaries removed;
(2) Take medications to reduce your risk (i.e., tamoxifen); or
(3) Watch and wait (with frequent and intensive screening).
None of these options sound particularly appealing.
The chance that I have this gene is extremely small, but that being said I can't help but think how my life would be altered if I do.
I think I already know what I would do. I would get pregnant right away and as soon as I had the baby and maybe finished breastfeeding, I would have my ovaries and breasts removed (and then breasts reconstructed).
Who knows what I would really do if faced with the decision, but that was my initial instinct.
But it is even more complicated than that. Even life insurance or health insurance policies become a problem once you have this kind of information, not to mention the change in how you see and live your life. How about going through surgical menopause at 33? Not the most appealing idea.
So what's better? Not knowing?
My doctor was the one who said this was a good idea, and at the time I completely agreed, but now I am getting cold feet.
It reminds me of the way I feel about the lottery. I have never dreamed of winning a 100 million dollars like most people seem to. I have never longed for an irreversible transformation. I want my life, as hard and lonely as it sometimes. It can also be great.
And it's mine.
I am at a loss.