If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you know that my mother and grandmother passed away from breast cancer. You can read more about what that journey taught me and how it had a positive impact on my life here.
Because of my family history, I have been wondering what my risks are. I can eat whole organic foods, get my mind right, and stay active all my life but that won’t stop genetics (I am a firm believer that it will help though). Okay, so how high are my risks? How likely is that I can develop some kind of genetic mutation that could lead to breast cancer? They are tough questions, with sometimes tough answers. So I put on my game face and decided to tackle them.
I called up my local cancer institute (Huntsman Cancer Institute) and made an appointment for genetic counseling. For years, I went back and forth about if I would ever make this appointment. I thought “I already live as healthy as I can. I am active. I buy organic whenever possible. Try to reduce radiation exposure and the list goes on and on” So I didn’t know what the results of the testing would do for my lifestyle. If I had the gene would I become ultra-paranoid and take my lifestyle to a whole new level? Would I give up and say it’s bound to happen to me no matter what? I had no idea. I had no idea where the results would take me. But I decided it was time to do the testing and see where that would lead me.
Prior to testing, I had to fill out some information online regarding my family history. Super simple if your family isn’t the size as mine! Hahaha! After I submitted that they use some kind of system that calculates your risk according to family history. This info wouldn’t be given to me until my appointment.
Testing day came and I sat down in a room with two really sweet and informative ladies who we’re in no rush to get me in and out. I was told the appointment could take two hours depending on what we had to talk about. Let me tell you, this was so REFRESHING for a doctor’s appointment!! During my appointment, we mapped out my history one more time and talked about what type of tests they would be doing. The tests included BRCA 1 and 2 + 17 other genes. After we talked and made plans for follow up I went down to the lab and they took some blood. Then I left feeling VICTORIOUS! I didn’t know the results yet but I can tell you that it felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders.
Now we wait…
I was quoted up to six weeks for test results to come back but I think it was closer to 3 when I got the call. My heart sank into my stomach when I heard who was on the other end. What kind of news did she have?
After many questions making sure I understood everything she was saying correctly. I am happy to say that my results came back negative for both BRACA 1 & 2 genes!!! My results also came back negative for the genetic mutations on 17 other genes they tested. The only thing they found was a variant of unknown significance (VUS). This basically means that there was some kind of change in a genetic sequence. Which means that there is not clear information regarding if I am at higher risk for developing cancer. However putting that aside and calculating my family and environmental risks, I have been given around a 20-30% risk of developing breast cancer. This to me is pretty good news! It’s lower than I expected and I know I am doing all that I can to prevent it.
Next steps in my care are to go see a breast surgeon. WHY? Because I have a weird spot that doesn’t feel too great when I wear an under-wire bra. Why not get that checked out while I am on this path? Might as well, right!?! I will update you on that after that appointment in another post.
So, WHY am I sharing this with the whole dang internet?
Because sometimes you’re scared of things, sometimes you feel alone, sometimes you’ll avoiding doing something that could end up the best thing for your life just because it’s a little scary.
I am here to tell you that YOU are NOT alone in this journey! You better believe if any of my readers just needed someone to call, a hand to hold or a giant hug. I’ll be there! So don’t you hesitate to reach out! You are NOT alone in this life! Your have a SISTERHOOD!
Ladies, we all have these magical fat mounds on our chest. These things get us free drinks, hold our credit cards, and legitimately can provide another human subsistence to LIVE. These fun bags, boobies, hooters, ta ta’s or whatever you prefer to call them are important parts of our bodies. Take good care of them! Get to know them! Once you get to know them, keep track of any changes. If something changes, make an appointment. Take your girls in! Get a tune up! Whatever you want to call it, just don’t ignore them!
If you think your risks might be higher because of your family history, GO get genetics counseling! Turns out my risks weren’t as high as I thought they would be. I actually feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Even if your risk turn out higher than you thought, stand tall, be proud… You’re taking control. You’re being proactive.
Most importantly, you are strong as hell! Now, get out there and FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!
This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.