There are times that life hands you lemons. Sometime you add sugar and make lemonade. Sometimes you throw the lemons and say screw it. Several years ago, my aunt was diagnosised with ovarian cancer. She under went the recommended surgical procedure and months of treatments. During the hours that my mom, grandmother and aunts spent together during this time the conversation turned to other women in our family that had battled cancer. The number was surprising high, several women on the same side of my mom’s family had died of breast cancer. While my aunt was being diagnosed she was tested for the BRCA gene. Genetic testing has only become readily available in the past few decades, so this wasn’t something that was done years ago when these other woman in our family were sick.
My mom is the youngest of 6, she has 4 older sisters. It seemed like the right thing to all be tested. Some of them have and others are waiting. My mom decided immediately to be tested. She didn’t want to worry about something that could happen, when there were ways to prevent them.
I remember the phone call, she said, “my test came back positive, I’m scheduling the surgeries.” She was so matter of fact about it, so brave. There didn’t appear to be any question in her mind this was the right decision. I’m sure behind the scenes she and my dad had discussed it indepth and prayed many prays about it. On the outside she was a pillar of strength. I had just found out I was pregnant and immediately started to wonder how this would effect my baby. Amazing how our maternal instinct can be so immediate. Her first surgery was a complete hystorectomy. I had planned to drive to my hometown and help after her sugery. I was only going to be 15 weeks pregnant at the time. Just 2 weeks before her surgery I had an emergency appendectomy, she came to help take care of me. I was heartbroken that I was recoverying for surgery and wasn’t able to be taking care of her.
A few months later when she had recovered, she had a double mastectomy. This time I was right there. I drove into town (gigantic pregnant) right as she was coming out of surgery. I was so sad for the pain she was in, happy that I got to be there with her and my dad and relieved that breast cancer was no longer a concern for the future. In May of 2014 I had a beautiful healthy baby boy. My mind immediately went to the genetic testing and when i should have it done. During my pregnancy my doctor had recommened waiting on the testing. She told me there wasn’t any action to do while pregnant and that it could potentially be a stressor for me.
I waited until my son was 10 months old to have the testing done. For a test that can be so mentally and physically life altering it’s just a simple blood draw, it took all of 5 minutes. I thank God regularly that my test was negative, that it is something that my son and any other children will not have to worry about. Along with getting married and having a child this is one of the most grown up moments of my life. The impact it had on my mind and heart is amazing. I love that my mom is healthy and healed. I hope this is the end of this journey for my family.