I shouldn’t be worried, right?  The bridge isn’t even built yet, and I’m already thinking about crossing it.  I’m  freaking out internally over nothing . . . except my internal-most of internals, my genetic code.

Taken roughly three months afer my father's death by cancer. This photo's also dated almost exactly a year before I took the stupid test I'm waiting for results on today ... I look at this and I honestly don't feel any less fragile now.

That’s right.  I did it: I took the BRCA genetic test.  For those of you not in the cancer “know”, the BRCA test is a blood test that determines whether or not you carry the breast cancer/ovarian cancer mutation gene responsible for around 20% of breast cancer cases worldwide. 

Why did I take it?  Well, my family risk is high, for one thing: my maternal grandmother had breast cancer by the age of 60, my mother did by the age of 47.

And did I mention?  My mom took the BRCA test a few weeks ago and tested positive.  That means you can statistically flip a coin and figure out my chances of carrying the gene, too.

Heads or tails, reader?

Call it lack of faith, or whatever… But I can’t live with that kind of uncertainty.

And neither can my mom, being a mom. So she talked me/prescheduled me (however  you want to read it) into getting the blood test—to put our minds “at rest” on the issue.   HA!

The wait for results is worse than the actual blood test (which is saying something, coming from me, since I routinely turn green whenever someone comes at me with a needle –something in my memory about a bad “stick” from my early adolescence who, failing to find a vein in my arm that didn’t roll after several poorly-aimed tries, decided that she would draw blood from the back of my hand.  I felt like a freaking pin-cushion. And then the feeling of the blood in the tube funneling nearly hot over my pinkie into the testing vial… Yes, I almost passed out).  It’s been nearly a week since I got stuck, and I’m feeling more sapped by the day.

Read this article  to figure out why I might be worried—notwithstanding the risk level for cancer that the gene would give me (Mom’s oncologist would guess me around 85% chance of getting cancer before the age of 60 if I do carry the gene)–pay special attention to the part where they discuss what my docs might do to me if I test positive for the mutation.  If you don’t want to read the article, consider that the terms “prophylactic tissue removal” (meaning removal of high-risk organs like my ovaries and/or breasts), chemotherapy, and drugs like Tamoxifen are far too familiar to me–and aren’t something I would want to face just as a “precaution” sometime in my thirties or early forties.

I’m so sick of cancer just walking in and stealing from me whenever the hell it feels like it.  I really am. 

My one ray of hope is this: my phenotype  alone seems, to my eye, to discount my genetic link to the bad gene.   To put it simply: my cancerous mother and her cancerous mother were built like Dolly Parton back in their primes, and I—well, I ran for president of the Itty-Bitty Titty Committee in college.  My aunts who are similarly less than bustily-blessed have all been cancer-free.  Here’s hoping I can at least catch a break for being a barely-B cup for once in my life.

 For now, I wait.  And once I hear back, I’ve got more thinking to do. 

Just pray, okay?

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