I sure hope everyone is keeping an eye on the weather! I absolutely HATE severe weather, so my eyeballs are glued to the weather channel as a type today. I want to make sure I know when I need to run to my basement!!
Big day for me today! I got to drive my car!!
I have been driving small distances for the last week, but I have been driving Mitch’s car. My car is a 6-speed and I haven’t been allowed to drive it until today. Mitch drove with me and we just drove to the mall and back… it went great! A little hard to push down on the stick shift when I switch gears, but no pain at all! =)
I’ve also been busy the last few days “walking the wall”.
Its kind of hard to tell, but those are pencil marks on my hallway wall. My range of motion is limited, so my doctor recommended that I “walk the wall” to help it improve. Basically, last Monday I made a mark at the highest place my arms could reach on the wall. Then, each day I have worked to reach about one inch higher than the day before. So far, its improved about 5 inches. Pretty good.
Today, I wanted to share the craziness that comes with knowing your are BRCA+. I know I say this a lot, but I truly belive knowing my BRCA status is a blessing. Because I was tested and know my results, I was able to create a plan for preventing cancer and catching it early. However, knowing you are a carrier of a such destructive gene mutation can be extremely frightening.
A BRCA gene mutation carrier has up to an 87% risk of developing breast cancer and up to a 45% risk of ovarian cancer. After my mom told me I might be carrier 8 years ago, I thought a lot about what I would do if I tested positive for BRCA2. I knew there was no way that close surveillance would be ok with me. I wanted surgery so I’d never have to worry with all the scans and tests and worry.
Originally, I planned to have a preventative hysterectomy first. By having a hysterectomy, my ovarian cancer risk would plummet and my breast cancer risk would actually drop as well because of the change in hormones. Cutting my ovarian cancer risk first was extremely important to me. Afterall, ovarian cancer was my mom’s first diagnosis and it is much harder to catch and treat than breast cancer. Once I’d had the hysterectomy, I thought I would have a prophylactic mastectomy a few years later.
When I made this plan in my mind, there were several things I didn’t take into account. I never realized that my mom would be sick for so long. Having genetic testing for myself, let alone any type of surgery, was just not an option for me as I helped take care of my sick mom for 8 years. I also never thought that Mitch and I would wait so long to have kids. We have been married for over 7 years and we still haven’t started a family.
All to say, when I finally got tested in July, a hysterectomy was just not an option for me. I obviously need my ovaries if I want to have a family. I also did some extensive research about BRCA this summer and realized my breast cancer risk was much higher than my ovarian cancer risk. As a result, I chose to have the preventative mastectomy first.
Although my mastectomy recovery is going well and I do not have to worry about breast cancer…. that is only half my battle. I need to have my ovaries removed if I want to live free from BRCA cancer. Since I want to have kids, I will have to wait a few years before taking this next step. Knowing that I have an elevated risk of ovarian cancer and not having the surgery is extremely anxiety provoking. I constantly worry and want to run to the doctor for every strange twinge of pain that I feel. Even though I am getting screened regularly and doing other things to reduce my risk, it’s very hard not to worry.
Even though it can be tough, I try to be very positive about my BRCA status. I know that if I am a carrier, it is definitely better to know than not know. I know that I have excellent doctors who are keeping an eye on me with good surveillance technology. I know that my risk is lower now at 29 years old than it will be several years from now. I also know that God is taking care of me…. He has paved a way for me so far and I don’t think He would bring me this far to let me go. I continue to pray that I will be able to prevent ovarian cancer just as I did breast cancer. In the meantime, I am trying to find peace with the things I cannot change and trust that all things will work together for good.