To BRCA1 or not to BRCA1

I booked my appointment before we all heard about Angelina Jolie, but the news that such a high-profile celebrity has undergone genetic testing, served to highlight the issue and remind me that I was doing the right thing.

For those that don’t know, women with a family history of cancer can ask their GP if it’s appropriate that they are tested for a mutation in a particular gene. The BRCA1 gene to be precise (BR = breast CA = cancer). A gene that can determine whether or not you are likely to develop breast or ovarian cancer.

How absolutely, mind- blowingly amazing.

How terrifying.

I think a big part of me thought that my doctor would say I wasn’t really at risk and the tests weren’t necessary. That my mother and my aunt died of other, secondary cancers, despite having breast cancer first, so I wasn’t really eligible. I went to tick the box, and congratulate myself on doing the responsible thing.

I was surprised that she immediately agreed that the tests would be appropriate. I was surprised that it wasn’t something she did there and then – that I would have to wait for a referral before preliminary counselling and blood tests. I was surprised that I got into my car after the appointment and burst into tears.

I hadn’t really thought past that initial appointment. I certainly hadn’t properly considered the “what ifs” and I still haven’t if I’m honest.

The scariest thing? The thing that when it occurred to me, made me more afraid than the possibility of my getting ill in the future?

If I test positive for a mutation in the BRCA1 gene, then it’s possible that one day Grace might too.

At times like this I need an “off” switch on my brain.

Because how incredible that we live in a country – albeit in a bit of a muddle right now – that we have the knowledge and the power of this incredible means of self-preservation.

Knowledge IS power.

Now it’s just the wait . . .

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “To BRCA1 or not to BRCA1

  1. Oh you 😦 oh for that off switch… That the tests will come back ok, that u will be ok, that it will all be over and you can get on with just being a lovely mummy with no worries…:( please let me know how everything goes…biggest hugs to lovely gorgeous you… Xxxxxxxx

  2. I hope that you don’t have the gene, but if you do then at least preventative measures can be taken; knowledge is power. Thinking of you!

  3. Exactly! Have to keep thinking of the positives. Thank you x

  4. I really really wish you had told me you were going for the tests. I would have gone with you. I am x so proud of you though. Big hugs tomorrow xxxxxxxxx

  5. yes I think you are better knowing than not knowing. Why spent say 10 years worrying about something that may not happen, or 10 years ignoring it and letting it get a good hold.
    Please please please do not google too deeply as sometimes you can make 2+2 = 5.

  6. Well done. You are so very brave but also an incredible role model to your beautiful Grace.
    Don’t think of the bad think of the positives…IF it is a result that you were scared of flip it on its head…you found it and you can beat it with knowledge and an informed decision.
    Xx

  7. Wow well done on taking that big step. I hope it all comes back as no risk or 0 risk (not sure what the right term is!). Thinking of you! x

  8. Sorry to hear this. I’m also waiting for my referral (started process before the AJ story as well). Good luck to us both!

    I too hate the waiting and the thought the defective gene if present may be passed on x

    • I think waiting is the worst bit. Thanks for commenting, I was hoping to find someone else who was in the same boat ( not that I’d wish it on anyone-hope you know what I mean). Let me know how you get on? Xx

  9. Pingback: Cancer Research – Reading List | waterbirthplease

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