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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

clouded celebration with BRCA 1 mutation

This Thursday I will receive what is supposed to be my last Taxol treatment. On the same day, my Uncle Rich will receive his final radiation treatment. I am very happy for Uncle Rich. I just wish I was not so depressed.

My sister and I will be joined together at the hip on this last visit for chemo, and I will be embracing her support. It sounds strange, but I will miss our routine. I cannot for the life of me find anything valuable enough to return the energy, but I am looking.

Our celebration is clouded with recent unexpected news related to my genetic testing. I have tested positive for the BRCA 1 genetic mutation, and unfortunately so has my beautiful sister. The BRCA 1 genetic mutation occurs in both males and females, and indicates an increased risk for both ovarian and breast cancer.

I cannot remember if I have mentioned this yet. For the longest time I blamed myself for having ovarian cancer, wondering what I had done to my body, what did I do to deserve this. The genetic test results are a scary wake up call to our family and truly overwhelming.

My sister has the best and healthiest attitude, to take things a day at a time. Our next step is to visit the breast imaging center and most likely be scheduled for a breast MRI. Regular mammograms are not sufficient testing techniques when there is a known genetic mutation.

Our mother looked up some interesting and important history on the BRCA 1 mutation: I hope the above link takes you there.

I feel a bit paralyzed, and think I will need antidepressants. I can barely commit to 5 minutes on the treadmill, still feel like a tire ran over my stomach, and can't imagine my life in 3 months or 6 months.

The only energy that drives me is that I need to pray for my sister and brother, my mother and all my relatives that noobody else has the mutation. I will be praying diligently for my sister. She is the most amazing person I know with a wonderful husband and two beautiful girls from China. My mother inspires me every day to be a better person, as I see how she plugs away at life in spite of brittle diabetes. Every day is a challenge here at home for us all and I can't bear any more news of any more cancer in our family.

So we will get our MRIs and pray, and deal and cope and pace our responses. We will love and support each other through this time.

I love my family so much and hope that I will serve them well in the future. Still ascertaining my calling. I can only take things one day at a time here.


1 comment:

  1. Dear Denise,

    I just found your blog (I recieve Google alerts for the keyword "BRCA") and first wanted to say I'm so sorry you tested positive for the dreaded gene. But I also wanted to encourage you to seek out support and community. The organization Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE) -- -- has absolutely changed my life; I'm a BRCA mutation carrier, as well, although I have not had cancer (and I chose to have preventative mastectomies late last year), and the support from my FORCE sisters has been so important to me as I've navigated life with the mutation. Best of luck with your treatments, and please know there are lots of people out there like you who have beaten OVCA and manage their genetic risk. I'm a bit younger than you and in a different position, but I write about my journey with the BRCA mutation. Perhaps you might find something in my blog that might help you. Best, Steph H


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