ChristyJo, Youngstown, Ohio
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Cancer has had a profound affect on my family since 1987 when my Aunt Karen passed away from breast cancer. Shortly before my Aunt Karen’s diagnosis my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer. (The Cleveland Clinic found that the gene actually came from my grandfather). In 1993 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She has been cancer free for seventeen years. My mom’s other sister, Jennie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005. Aunt Jennie has her doctorate in nursing. Therefore, she was already aware of the Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene or BRCA testing. She was the first in our family to be given the blood test and it returned positive for BRCA II.In 2008 I tested positive for BRCA II. I have had mixed emotions on the test results since then. On one hand I am glad that I can have my three sons tested for the mutation. It will allow us to be more vigilant in fighting the disease. On the other hand it is a curse because I now consistently worry that I will be diagnosed in the next couple years, which means my children will still be toddlers. My mom and her sister were between 30 and 33 when they were diagnosed. I turned 33 last year.
The hardest part of my journey
My testing was completed at the Cleveland Clinic and every six month my husband and I make the drive for my mammogram and MRI. Therefore, every six months I sit in a very small room with several other women of all ages. We wear our hospital gowns, open in the front as a good patient should. One reads a book another knits and I will text my husband because he is in another waiting room. We all intently busy ourselves and try not to look in one another’s eyes. The truth is we are all facing the same dreadful situation, which is being called into yet an even smaller room with a doctor. At this time he will inform us that more testing is needed because this time they have found a mass which is consistent with cancer. I know that it is not a death sentence but I also know that it will be the longest and hardest struggle of my life this far…
If I could do it over again
I will have a complete mastectomy, however, I have chosen to wait until my children are little older. There is nothing at this point that I would do different.
My participation with FORCE
Sometimes you feel alone in your thoughts and it is nice to have a place to go to where other people can identify with your way of thinking.
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