Positive

This is completely unrelated to anything home or decor or pretty.

At the beginning of October I found out my dad, Chris, was positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. What does this mean, you ask? Well I have a 50/50 chance of also being positive. Just a flip of the coin, right? If you know me you know the odds aren’t usually for me but against me. And once again, I flipped the coin and lost. I too am positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation.

So that’s a lot of information just thrown at you. Let me go back and give you as much info on this specific gene mutation as I have. I’ll let you know what it means and what the risks are.

BRCA1 gene mutation is related to the genetic form of breast cancer. If you’ve got a family history of breast or ovarian cancer that lies heavily on one side of the family you may be a carrier as well. For me my paternal grandmother, uncle and I think cousin have had breast cancer. Two of the three have passed away from breast cancer to my understanding. I, personally, have an 87% chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer by the time I turn 70. I also have a 63% chance of being diagnosed with ovarian cancer by the age of 70 and as an added bonus an elevated risk of pancreatic cancer to boot!

There are a few options for one positive with the BRCA1 gene mutation. One is continued monitoring of the breasts and ovaries. Essentially just waiting for that positive screening. Then not only do I have to deal with the surgery options but the treatment for cancers as well. The other is a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy {preventative double mastectomy} and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy {tube and ovary removal}.

I’ve known about my positive gene for exactly a week now. I’ve known the plan but not a date. Today the University of Alabama, Birmingham, where I’ll have my treatment done, called and gave me a date for my first appointment. I’ve waited to talk about this to everyone as I kind of digest the information. On February 8th I’ll head to Birmingham for an appointment with a genetic counselor and breast specialist.

My GYN and I have talked about doing the prophylactic treatment. I don’t want to wait for cancer. I want to fight while I’m young and healthy. When I go to Birmingham for the appointment I’ll know more, but until then I’m doing what I can. Focusing on healthy eating, especially now that I’m better from whatever illness I had over the weekend. I plan on definitely going forward with the mastectomy and then closer to the age of 40 I’ll do the tubes and ovaries. Weirdly I’m more attached to them than my boobs.

I’ve struggled a lot with guilt of possibly passing on this faulty gene to my babies, specifically Emilia. (The risk for male breast cancer in the general population is .01% and with BRCA1 it’s 1.3% which is significantly higher yet still such a low risk!) I talked to my GYN about testing on the kids to see if they were positive but she said we should wait until they can make this choice. Hopefully the knowledge that I am positive will remain in their minds and medical history. Plus the amount of medical improvement that can happen in the next 15-20 years is phenomenal. They’re doing so much genetic research on these issues that I feel like even if Emilia is positive they’ll have a better understanding and treatment in the future.

 

1 Comment

  1. We are with you in spirit. Taking charge of the controllables is critical. As you get more information, your plan, and take action, you will be on the right path. Big love and hugs to you. There’s a video that I’ve shared with my friends over the years. Check it out: https://youtu.be/LoB-ta28UbY

    Like

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