Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ways in which I might be like Angelina Jolie...

1. I have a very attractive husband (but he's no Brad Pitt).

2. I have run around the temples of Angor Wat (though I was not shooting Tomb Raider).

3. I have five tattoos (she probably has more, and only one of mine is non-cancer related).

4. I'm beloved the world over (at least those who know me around the world, a smaller number to be sure).

5. I might have the BCRA gene. She definitely does.

A letter I've been waiting quite awhile for finally arrived in the mail this week. After being referred for genetic testing back on September 3, 2013 I've finally made it to the top of the pile. Yep, I get to find out soon(ish) if I'm a mutant. I don't have an actual appointment until May but I did get to fill out a questionnaire that was several pages long and all about every one in my family who has had cancer.

Turns out there are a few. Especially in my maternal grandmother's family. But no breast cancer. I am the lucky number one on that front.

Actually, I don't really think I have the BCRA gene. I think I'm just unlucky. But other female members of my family can't be tested for the gene until I have been and it's been confirmed that I am indeed a carrier. And as you will recall, I am in the "knowing is better" school of thought. If I do have the gene, I'm inclined to think the mutation starts with me, though I must also acknowledge I am not a geneticist. I don't think Bio 311 - Genetics qualifies me to make any such judgements.

I'm not worried about the results because I've already lived through breast cancer. It would suck more for my sister, mom, aunt, and niece who would then all likely have to be tested. If I am a BRCA carrier I may consider a prophylactic double mastectomy and maybe even an oophorectomy, though that one seems super crappy since you basically go in to immediate menopause. But still better than ovarian cancer. However, I'm not worrying about any of this until I have an actual confirmation, which will apparently come about 8-9 months after my consult. It's very unlike me to not worry, so a round of applause if you will.

If you're keeping track, I will know my BRCA status approximately 2.5 years after the initial request was made to have me tested. Which is really the thing I'm most appalled by. Not that I may be carrying a potentially deadly mutation, but that it will have taken me 2.5 years to find out IF I'm carrying a potentially deadly mutation. And people wonder why I have so little faith in the Canadian medical system (which I was once a staunch defender of).