Near the end of summer I was called to go out to Abbotsford to receive genetic testing to detect hereditary cancers. My oncologist sent me because he had been concerned that, along with being young, I didn’t have a history of breast cancer in my family and there was no indication as to why I ended up with a tumor. So I went and heard all about the BCRA genes, gene mutation and the implications of hereditary cancers on not only me, but for my mom and sister as well. After listening I made the decision to be tested so that if the results came back positive for anything that I would be able to make informed decisions.
After I gave my blood sample for testing I kind of forgot all about it because I was in the middle of chemo still and busy dealing with all of that. Then, last Monday I got a call. Not THE call, no, I got the pre-THE call. Which, to be honest, is more nerve wracking than the actual call. Here’s exactly how it went:
“Hi Miss Patterson, this is Blah Blah from the Hereditary Cancer Program. I am calling to let you know that the results of your genetic testing are in…so, are you available tomorrow at 10am if one of our counselor’s calls to give you the results?”
Are you kidding? That’s like your boss sending you an email saying “I need to talk to you tomorrow. Are you available? It’s important.” AM I FIRED??? Just tell me now because I am going to lay awake all night racking my brain listing all the things I’ve done wrong at work in the last month.
So after a full day of stressing I got THE call and found out that there were no abnormalities, no distinct mutations and no sign of the BCRA 1 or 2 gene. Phew. I felt like I was some young dude sweating on the stage of the Maury Povich show and hearing, “According to our test, we are 99.5% sure that you are NOT the father of Cindi’s/Bambi’s/Staci’s baby”. The result of this test doesn’t fix or alleviate any of the stuff we have already had to deal with but it also doesn’t add a huge additional complexity and even harder decisions to the future which is great news.
This past Thursday (Dec 8, 2016) was my first radiation appointment. I was a little nervous and gave myself the usual Be Brave pep talk in the changeroom while I was getting into my gowns. The first time was a little longer than the sessions going forward because they had to make sure all of the measurements were correct and that my tattoos were badass enough. Once they were ready, they zapped me and I didn’t feel anything – other than burning and painful shoulders from having my arms above my head for as long as they were. I went back again on Friday and will do the same Monday to Friday for the next 5 weeks. I’ve got my Aveeno moisturizer ready for any burning skin side effects and I am hoping that the fatigue isn’t as bad for me as I know it has been for others.