Thursday, September 23, 2010

Post Testing: The "What if" factor is gone!

My appointment with the geneticist went great and I feel great!  I have decided to go forward with the test.  In a perfect world, my surviving relative would be tested, and if she were BRCA +, my father would be tested, and if he was also BRCA +, my sis and I would test.  In reality, my surviving relative and I don't speak, my father is retired, and I am still at risk. 

I had my mind made up for the most part before the appointment.  It was important to me to feel like I am doing something, anything, to fight my predisposition to cancer and to be proactive in staying cancer free.  By testing, if my results are an uninformed negative, my surveillance plan stays the same - the exact same as it is had I chosen not the test.  But I have gotten rid of the "what if" I tested factor.  I am taking a step, a step that I can control.

I also plan on using this, regardless of my results, to hopefully inform my cousins who may also be at risk.  I intend to reach out to them either way and share my results and why testing is important.  If there is a mutation in my family, even if I don't have it, it needs to be found so everyone is aware of their personal risk.

I also realized, and it was reinforced during my appointment, that I'm actually not afraid of being BRCA +.  I mean, don't get me wrong, I'd much rather be back at the point in my life where cancer wasn't something I worried about, but I am much more afraid of having an increased risk and not knowing.  If I know I have an elevated risk, like that with BRCA+ I have a calculated, identified risk with multiple (although not preferable) treatment options, for lack of a better word.

I'm also glad I did as much research as I did going in.  I felt confident in the process, my potential results, and how I would feel about the outcomes.  Now, for some people, research before the decision (the shirt before the shirt as they would say on Jersey Shore) may seem excessive and cause more concern.  For me, it was calming.  I believe that knowledge is power and the more I know, the better I feel.  Make sure, if you are approaching testing, you know how you typically problem solve and go about it the same way.  I'm glad I did.

I'm not sure what result I am hoping for, but I know I made the right decision for me and knew I had to test when the GC said to me:  "You know, some people find a certain amount of bliss in ignorance."  I immediately responded:  "I am not that person."  This is the best decision for me.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations! I'm with you ~ ignorance is not bliss! You have to know your demons to fight them. Stay strong.