Friday, October 8, 2010

A Conscious Celebration

When we checked my mom into the hospital for the last time, she started off with a roommate that was being evaluated for cancer. The doctor came in one evening to discuss with us the possibility of taking my mom home so that she could pass away there. (Not an option.) He then went over to the roommate and reported to her that her test results came back negative. The roommate did not have cancer. The roommate then proceeded to call all of her friends and family and loudly celebrate, "I do not have the Big C! I do not have the Big C!"

And there we were, one bed over, with the Big C. It was no mystery. My mom was bald, pale, emaciated, and unable to take care of any of her basic needs by herself. I don't begrudge the roommate her celebrating, of course. It was just hard.

So I report here that when I received my test results yesterday that said I do not carry the BRCA mutation for breast cancer, I am fully aware that there is someone else who got a phone call with different results. And I do realize that being at increased risk for breast cancer is not the same as getting a phone call that you do have cancer.

I just report the results here because I took you on this journey.

Now we deal with the unknown - that is, we know I am at higher risk, but we don't know why. Enter tamoxifen, exit ovaries, schedule MRIs, ultrasounds and mammograms. I do it all gladly. The colonoscopy that they want me to take given the family history of colon cancer - not so gladly. [Of note, yesterday was Therapy Thursday (Thank God for Therapy Thursday). My counselor said I should wait 6 months until I make any decisions about the surgery or medication preventative measures. She said her instinct was that this was all a little extreme for someone my age.]

This does seem like a good time to remind everyone of this - for those of us that are on every two week payday schedules, this is a 3 paycheck month. I briefly contemplated using all of my third paycheck for bills. Instead, I'm taking a portion of it and going to Vegas next month. It just seems like the right thing to do.


  1. Phew. At least a partial exhale is worth having, for at least a minute or two.

    I dig your therapist.

  2. Glad to hear this. And while there is a difference between "increased risk" and actual diagnosis, I imagine you've still felt (and maybe still do) that there has been a sword dangling over you that may or may not drop--now it's a lot less likely to. May the odds be with you in Sin City, too!

  3. Sounds like great advice from the therapist.

    Vegas will be good, just take some time and enjoy a good vacation :)

  4. I would definitely take the advice from your therapist and enjoy the heck out of Vegas!!! XOXO

  5. First of all, WOO HOO! Congrats. The negative call is a good one to get.
    Your therapist sounds like good people. I agree with her.
    Taking your ovaries and Tamoxifen is very extreme.
    Take on Vegas, lady, and have a great time!

  6. Congrats, even though that isn't the right word. It has to be nice to know, for sure, if you have the gene or not. And Vegas - go for it (says this ex-Nevadan!). And check out for good deals (friends work for them). ;)

  7. Hallelujah.

    Given that you might not need to rush into preventative measures, maybe talk to some other doctors in the interim re: your options (if you haven't already)? Perhaps there is a middle ground that reduces your risk while being less risky for you in other ways.

    Again, hallelujah.

  8. Happy to hear the news! I too am at an increased risk for cancer (my mother had ovarian cancer when I was born and had a hysterectomy the next day).