It’s in the Genes

After weeks and weeks of waiting, it was finally here…my appointment for genetic counseling and testing. This has been a long time coming. My mom found out that she was BRCA1 positive last July. These past few months have been pretty intense for my family, especially my mom.

Last November she had her ovaries removed as a precaution against her high chances of getting ovarian cancer due to the BRCA1 gene mutation. In February she had a double mastectomy as a precaution against breast cancer. Cancer runs so strongly on her maternal side of the family, with three family members (including herself) being BRCA1 positive and one dying of breast and ovarian cancer.

I didn’t even have to think twice about being tested myself. I am not the type of person who sticks my head in the sand. If I have an increased chance of getting breast or ovarian cancer based on my genes, then I want to know so that I can take the proper steps to try to fight it.

So this morning my mom and dad drove me to Georgetown for my appointment to get tested at the Lombardi Cancer Center. As soon as the appointment was made back in January, my parents told me they wanted come with me. Even though I am 25 and consider myself a very strong and independent person, it felt good to have them there to support me and spend the morning with me. I guess I will never be too old for my parents to take care of. 🙂 

No one likes to see, hear, or say the word cancer. And there I was, healthy as a horse, in a hospital where the word was everywhere. It made me feel as though there was something wrong with me, even though I was only in there for a blood test. Sitting in between my parents in the waiting room of a hospital for people with cancer was scary, but having them there made me feel calmer.

The counseling session and testing went by very quickly. The anticipation was a lot worse then the event. Not that I was expecting anything bad to happen, I was just anxious to get tested. My counselor asked questions about my history and health then asked my parents more detailed questions about their families. We are certain that the gene mutation came from my mom’s side of the family from her maternal grandfather.

Since my dad’s side of the family does not appear to have this mutation, I have a 50-50 chance of having the mutation myself. After we talked for a little while, I told her I was sure that I wanted to be tested. After that, I gave 3 vials of blood to be sent off to a lab and then I was finished.


source

In 3 weeks we will go back to Georgetown to find out if I am positive or negative. I am not worried so much about the outcome because there is absolutely nothing I can do to control it. It’s all about my genes – either I have the mutation, or I don’t. No one could have helped what chromosomes I was given when I was made, so it is literally out of our hands.

I have done my part by taking the steps to get tested and learn about this gene mutation and how it could affect my life. If I am negative it will be a tremendous blessing. If I am negative then my future children will be negative, meaning I will never have to go through what my parents are going through now with me.

If I am positive, I have decided that surveillance is the best route for me right now. I am not in any hurry to get anything removed or have any surgeries. If I am positive, I will need to have doctor’s visits on a regular basis for breast and pelvic exams, MRIs, mammograms, etc. Then down the road I can decide if I want my breasts and ovaries removed. But it would be a while before those choices are considered.

So, 3 weeks from today I will be back at Gtown for my results. I’ll keep y’all updated!! 🙂

Try to stay warm and dry. It’s doom and gloom here in VA. Where did Spring go?

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8 responses to “It’s in the Genes

  1. Im glad your rents were there with you. No matter what the outcome of the exam is, ill be there for you. You are very strong and brave. I love you ma

  2. We love you too Sunshine face!

  3. Wow, Taylor! Thanks for sharing your experience with the testing. It’s very motivating to hear about your experience. I also plan to look for a study! 🙂

  4. P.S. I just saw the comments from Marcus and your Momma…. So sweet. Thanks for educating us all… It means a lot that you shared your experience.

  5. Hey, let me get in on this. Nice post Taylor. Since I skipped school today, I’ll put a blerb on my blog about our day.

    Dad

  6. Oh, this brings back memories of my testing! I got tested a year ago this month, actually… and my one year anniversary of getting my (positive) results is the 30th. Crazy how time flies!

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you’re negative, but if it IS positive please do feel free to reach out! And, just like in my situation, I’m sure having your mom around with be a wealth of information – my mom went through all of that stuff, too, and it was invaluable having her wisdom!

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