Making It A Priority

What exactly am I making a priority? My BRCA test results…

Back in April, I found out I was positive for the BRCA 1 gene mutation. I kind of just accepted the results then moved on. I obviously thought about it. But I didn’t talk about it much. I went through the steps of making my first appointment for baseline testing. That way, if something does pop up in my MRIs or mammograms, then there will be (hopefully) normal pictures to compare it to.

Next week, I have my first appointment with a gynecologic oncologist. A gynecologic oncologist is a gynecologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of women with cancer of the reproductive organs. Oh the dreaded “C” word…cancer. As far as I know, I don’t have it. So having to see a doctor who specializes in that field is definitely unnerving. She is knowledgable in the BRCA gene mutation and will also be able to order the tests for my breast exams.

So kind of like how you deal with bad grades or a speeding ticket, I have been dealing with my positive test results. I have been going through the motions and trying to move on. Except unlike bad grades and speeding tickets, this isn’t going anywhere any time soon. In fact, it is something I will be dealing with for the rest of my life. And if I have kids and they are positive, I will be dealing with it even more.

I’m not bitter about it. Just kind of sad. To put it simply…it sucks. It’s annoying. It’s scary. It’s stupid…yes, cancer is stupid. So instead of thinking about how this will impact the rest of my life, I have been just kind of pushing it out of my head.

As I mentioned yesterday, my mom went to the FORCE conference in Orlando last weekend. At the conference, it was all BRCA all the time. For someone who has worked pretty hard to be strong and “unaffected” by my results, I don’t think I was quite ready to attend. Because in reality, I have been affected. I just really haven’t taken the time to really deal with it. I wasn’t ready to talk about surgeries, ovaries, implants, nipples, children, cancer, death…

It’s easy to talk about it with my mom. But it’s harder when I think that I will be in her position in a few years. I like being there for her. Being strong. Listening to her fears and uncertainties. Telling her she’ll be ok. I am good at the role. I am not ready to take on the role of the patient.

I’m not scared of doctors or freaked out my hospitals. I’ve had three knee surgeries, so I have seen my share of surgeons and doctors. But orthopedic surgeon sounds a lot less daunting than gynecologic oncologist.

Next week, I will meet my doctor and start this whole process. I don’t know what will happen at this appointment. I imagine that she will examine me, talk about my history, and probably order breast tests. I don’t know it will be an MRI, mammogram or both. I am going into this pretty blind. Since I am choosing surveillance for now, I guess I will just keep getting these exams and tests until I am ready to consider surgery or until something worse happens…

It’s hard to put into words how I feel. On one hand I know I am lucky that I know. And it is good that I am taking the right steps to reduce my risks of cancer. On the other hand, I’m kind of scared. The worst-case scenarios definitely creep their way into my head and cause moments of pure panic. But I’m strong. So I tell myself to woman up and deal with it.

There are peeps out there with a lot worse situations than mine and they inspire me and motivate me every day. I am blessed to be in this situation. One where I have the resources and support to deal with my cancer risks. So I will go to my appointment and take it from there.

Being BRCA 1 positive does not define me, but it is a part of me. Time to make it a priority. I’ll let you all know how the appointment goes and what happens next.

Thanks for reading. Have a fab day! 😀

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6 responses to “Making It A Priority

  1. Great post Taylor. These words help others who are in the same situation. This BRCA monster is still new to us all but the huge support network and putting the information out there is very helpful. Your strength and positive attitude is inspiring. Makes me proud (as always) to be your dad.

  2. Wonderful post! Love you!

  3. Beautifully written Sunshine. I know it is tough. I will be there with you all the way. I love you!

  4. I feel your “pain”. I was in your shoes not that long ago. If your Gyn/Onc recommends an MRI, I would get both sides done at once. You are in the machine a little longer but it gets it over with quicker and the radiologist has both sides to compare. And make sure to specify that you want a radiologist who is very familiar with breast. My first mamo and MRI results were misread and when my breast oncologist looked at my films was floored that an area of concern was missed. We are all standing strong behind you Taylor. If you ever need a “non-family” shoulder to talk to about this stuff, your mom has my number.

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