Because the BRCA gene mutation is so prevalent in my family, I always had it in my head that I would get tested. A week and half before my mom was scheduled to have her double mastectomy, I decided to make the call and get the ball rolling on the testing process. I guess it was really starting to hit home at that time, so I finally did it.
I called the breast center at Georgetown Medical Center. Georgetown comes highly recommended in the breast community. Women come from all over to have their procedures and testing.
After my initial call, I found that I was eligible for a case study. The case study would entail me being randomly selected into one of two groups: one being a group where all of the information, genetic counseling, and results of the test were given over the phone. The other group would do everything as normal in person. They are conducting this study to see how people handle everything over the phone as opposed to coming to the hospital for everything. I agreed to the study and as a result did not have to pay the $295 fee that comes with genetic counseling (despite having insurance). I will also have to follow up over the phone with the researchers four times over the year.
I told my initial researcher some basic information over the phone. After faxing my mom’s and great aunt’s positive results, I had a 45 minute phone interview with another researcher. With her, I went over my family health history and a lot of questions about my feelings and reactions to possibly having a positive test result. I found that I was not that nervous about my results and stuck with the mind set that I do not want to get all worked up about something that may or may not be positive.
I then found that the computer randomly selected me to be in the group where I go in person for my genetic counseling and testing. The genetic counseling will take about two hours and my counselor will go over every single possible piece of information with me and explain the risks of being BRCA positive.
On March 24 my parents and I will be heading to Georgetown for my appointment. I have already decided to get tested as well (it’s optional after counseling) on that day. Two weeks after getting my blood drawn I will have to go back to Georgetown and get my results.
I do not see a reason to put it off. If I can know now that I am positive for the gene mutation, then I can start taking steps to take care of my breast and ovarian cancer risks. If I am negative then we can all be relieved and happy. The best thing about being negative is that my future children have no risk of getting the BRCA gene mutation from me and I will not have to go through this process ever again.
But, we will see! I have a 50-50 chance. I could have either gotten my mom’s gene mutation, or my dad’s healthy gene. It all depends on what chromosomes I was blessed with.
I was going to hold off on writing this post until closer to my appointment date, but it has been on my mind quite a lot. I guess after seeing all that my mom is going through has made me really kind of wonder about my own genes. I’m not worried, just kind of anxious.
I know I will be ok if I am positive. I have an amazing support system and I’m a strong person. There are so many women out there my age and younger who are getting tested and taking the steps to prevent cancer. It’s awesome to know that such a strong community exists. Even if I am negative, I will continue to support genetic testing, and the breast and ovarian cancer community.
Cancer has affected me my whole life and if there is something I can do to fight it then I am game! I am lucky to have my mom who is such a great role model and strong female. She has kicked this gene mutation’s ass so far. She shows me that there is nothing to be scared of in getting tested.
If anyone out there is interested in talking more feel free to contact me. 🙂