Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not a Mutant

I have now had three possible genetic mutations ruled out. I like to say I'm not a mutant, at least not in a way that the medical community has discovered you can be, but I also worry that by saying that I will offend those who do have a BRCA mutation. Or the other one they tested me for, which I can't remember the name of, but it doesn't matter, since I don't have that either.

I've known for quite some time, but (as I've mentioned before) I really am a wonderful procrastinator. So it's taken me awhile to get around to writing a blog post about it. The genetic counsellor that met with me to give me my news was almost apologetic, like "I'm sorry, but we don't know why you got cancer." Not that having BRCA would be better - it wouldn't be. But it would be an answer to "Why?" and "Why at 30?" I mean, beyond "karma." (Aren't I a hoot?)

I've had another check up since then. Just recently actually. I met with yet another oncologist. Although technically I am the patient of Dr. Dent, I have met this woman exactly once in the 2.5 years I've been going to the Ottawa Cancer Centre for follow ups. It would be nice to have an actual ongoing relationship with a doctor that I see and then...see again. But I guess that is not to be.

It is funny, and sometimes a bit unsettling, to see how varied the advice you get is based on the doctor you're seeing. This particular doc was of the opinion that I should consider ending my Tamoxifen therapy now, since I'm having some not-so-pleasant but totally-manageable side effects. His opinion was that the benefit I get from the drug might not be worth the quality of life issues. I've had other doctors mention the new studies that suggest 10 years might be a better length of treatment, which seems to be pretty much the exact opposite advice. What's a gal to do?

I've decided I'll stick it out. I've managed 4+ years, what's 9 more months. And this is the treatment protocol that is widely accepted across many nations, including Canada. It will be interesting to see if my sometimes incredible fatigue is just because I'm a person that is good at sleeping and less good at being awake, or if it really was the drugs. Just 9 months or so, I can tell you.