Back in 2006 when my mom was first tested for the BRCA gene, there wasn’t much light on the subject of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancers. Matter of fact, following my test in 2010, I can vividly remember doctor visits where I was having to explain what the BRCA gene was, this was mostly to the assistants that “interview” you before you see the doctor, but it was that new!
THANKS TO THE BOOB RAIDER
In 2013 a fabulous, beautiful warrior, was added to our ranks. This woman truly helped put BRCA on the map and gave our community a face. I want to take a sec to say thank you to Angelina Jolie (I’m a HUGE fan btw) for being so brave and bringing awareness of the BRCA gene to the world. After announcing to the public that she underwent a preventative double mastectomy, women across the US began to question their family history of cancers. It is because of her willingness to share her journey so openly that many women have discovered that they are a carrier of this gene and now have opportunity to make life saving decisions before hearing the words, “you have cancer”.
WHEN YOU iNHERIT A LEMON TREE…
I always say that the incredible thing about knowing you have this gene is that it is not yet the “C” word. You have time to make decisions. Reader please realize that if you have tested positive for the BRCA gene there are quiet a few options out there. Take the time to explore those options before rushing forward.
Here’s some possibilities to aid you in your journey:
You can change your eating habits and fill up on fruits and veggies. For the years I chose to do screenings, I read a lot on the matter of fueling my body for the fight. I read books like “The Hallelujah Diet” by George Malkmus, “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko, these two being some of my favorites. Then I bought myself a juicer because I wanted to give my cells what they needed to fight back.
Maybe you’re the one who will participate in clinical trials, really using your circumstance to help further along medicine. Thank you for that. A great websites to visit would be www.cancer.gov and http://www.facingourrisk.org.
Perhaps you’re not at the point just yet where you want to give up your girl parts, so you choose to do screenings every 6 months. Your doctor can help you with that. I was having a breast MRI and mammogram done once a year, along with a blood draw to check my CA125 and pelvic ultrasounds. I requested to have these done in 6 month intervals. For instance mammogram done in Dec, and six months down the road we would do the MRI.
And then there are those brave women who have witnessed the devastation of cancer and feel a sense of urgency to be proactive. You may choose to have the preventative surgeries right away. Hey, I don’t blame you.
You may be in information seeking mode. A great place to start is with an organization called FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered). They have a wide spectrum of information on hereditary cancers, and a huge BRCA community for support.
Whatever you choose, be at peace BRCA sister, you are not alone! There’s a whole community of women out here holding our inherited lemons, trying to figure out what to do next. Whatever direction you go, trust your instinct, do your research, make your decisions, and start squeezing those lemons and see what you get!