family tree

family tree

Friday, March 19, 2010

BRCA screening!

After a very stressful week of my basement flooding, no hot water or heat and an approaching party for my daughter christening approaching, I had to end it with the anxiety provoking BRCA screening! My six months are up, and I find myself driving in to Boston not for a nice Italian meal in the north end, but for blood work, IV's, poking and prodding.

The process of preventative screening for me at least, is not something that I think about the day it comes. It is something that gradually intensifies within me. I know the days are approaching and that the tests need to be done. I spend time thinking about it and planning. I never realize how much it does affect me until I wake up the morning of and I just feel this heaviness inside me. All day at work, I found myself looking for big deep cleansing breathes. I felt hot and sweaty, I felt rushed and a sense of urgency within me, as if my adrenaline was slowly leaking out all day. Let me tell you, exhausting!

I of course was late for my vaginal ultra sound, that could have been because it is not exactly a pleasant exam to have. Actually, that is the least of the test that I dislike. I then waiting 1 hour and 15min for my GYN/Onc appt. Nothing like reading people magazine and the flyers that coat the walls of the exam room in nothing but a hospital gown. I then had to rush to my breast MRI. Now the MRI is something that causes such anxiety for me. I am not afraid of it, I can take the IV, the contrast dye, but it takes everything I have to relax myslef and stay still for 45 minutes in a loud, banging, tubular machine. I spend the entire time focusing on my breathing, my position, and my thoughts. I tell myself to think happy thoughts, literally! And then the dye goes in, and that is just a strange feeling that makes me wonder what exactly is all this doing to my body? I'm now having a dye injected through my veins for help indentify breast cancer, but what is this affecting! So frustrating.

Once the testing is completed, I just need a moment of time to breathe and be "with me". Sort things out in my head, and arrange all the thoughts that have just been running through my head. I of course drove myself for a satisfying ice cream treat. I deserved it! There really is nothing like eating ice cream by yourself, gotta love it!

So this is our choice! We can every 6 month have screening done when you are BRCA +. vaginal US, CA 125 blood work, pelvic exam, breast MRI alternating with mamogram and breast exams. Or, we can have a radical prophylactic mastectomy and oophyrectomy. I have yet to have the surgeries, but know the pressure and stress that is brought on by frequent screening for me and hope that by undergoing these surgeries that I would rather not have to chose from bring me some peace.

With the security of knowing my risk of cancer decreases drastically I can not help but worry about what happens when it is all over. Just because I have the surgery does not mean I am no long BRCA +. It is still there, it is still part of me. What are the issues that I will have down the road, emotionally, mentally, physically, sexually, and socially. I know when I make a decision, it is because I know it is the right one. What will happen when someone disagrees with my choice, will I take it personally? Will I be insecure in my own body? Will I feel physically attractive? So many questions, that I know will only be answered as I experience them. I suppose that is life, right!

Well now I need to put this crazy day in my pocket and get ready for my daughters christening. Life goes on...

Thanks for listening!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Check out Courage is My Strength!

Found a new video and blog! Great story and extremely brave of her to share her journey in such detail. Check it out...

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BRCA on You Tube!