December 30, 2014: Born Broken

Forty-one years ago when I was born, I’m pretty sure my parents looked down at me and called me “perfect”. They had no clue nor any way to know that my DNA was broken.
Genetic testing is available today. Some will say science crosses the line here and allows people to play God. I guess I disagree in a sense. I call knowledge power and am thankful God created the minds who’ve discovered DNA and all the genes that are attached to certain things. Would I have wanted my parents to abort me before I was born had they known my DNA would be broken the day I was born? No way! I figure God had a plan for me broken or not. I guess that’s where I would agree with those thinking science allows people to play God.

My genetics show I tested positive for the BRAC2 mutated gene. BRAC1 and BRAC2 are nicknamed “the cancer genes”. The good thing is I didn’t test positive for both of them, and of the two BRAC2 seems to be the “better” mutated gene.

My knowledge has increased but is still limited. From what I understand, the mutation is inherited from either of your parents. In my case, probably from my dad. I was born with it and there was nothing I could do to change it. It didn’t come with a cancer death sentence though. It just put me into the “high risk” range of developing cancer before age fifty. I’d say that prediction nailed it on the head.

What if I had been tested earlier and knew about this mutated gene before I had cancer? This is where knowledge would have been powerful. Why I want all my family members (who are directly linked to me) tested. More testing would have been done at an earlier age. The tests would have been different. Chances are I would have discovered my cancer earlier, or I would have opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction before cancer was eating me alive. I could have scheduled my surgeries around my schedule, and chemo wouldn’t have had to be a part of the mix. I would have had more control and more power than I have had doing it this way. God probably did this on purpose to prove to me that He’s in control and not me. Obviously, I needed to be humbled. This is part of God’s plan for me, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a part of my loved ones’ plans.

My gene mutation does complicate the worlds of everyone closely related to me including my siblings and children. There’s a 50/50 chance they will test positive too. My oldest sister has already been tested. She’s negative. See there’s hope for all the rest of them.

BRAC2 also comes with an increased chance of ovarian cancer, so I’ll have to keep a close eye on that. I’m now eligible for a different test for early detection, and I’ll have to be tested more often. At some point, I’ll have to make a decision about having a total hysterectomy, but that can wait until I’m finished healing from all of this. I’m in good hands. I’m sure we will know when it’s time to make this decision and which one to make.

Our daughter has struggled the most with this, so we had her meet with the genetic counselor today. She was very helpful. I love Allison for putting our child’s worries and concerns at ease and for letting her know that it’s okay to want to know her own results.

Some might think it’s sad I tested positive for this mutation, but I don’t look at it that way. It makes more sense to me knowing why my genes broke down, and why they stopped doing their jobs to protect me from cancer. Had I not tested positive for the mutation, I would have spent the rest of my life obsessing over what I did wrong to cause my cancer. My husband and kids couldn’t have handled that. I would have drove them all crazy!

From the beginning of detection, God covered me in peace. He told me to fear not, and assured me He would be with me always. I don’t know why me, but I’ve learned the hard way that that’s the wrong question to ask God. I just have faith He knows the reason, so now I ask, “What can I do to glorify you through this storm?” or “How can I use this to help others have faith in your awesomeness?”

This verse seems fitting today. It shows God knows everything, He’s always been beside me even when I wasn’t beside Him, and He cares for my needs. I call that LOVE!

Deuteronomy 2:7 – “For the LORD your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He has known your wanderings through this great wilderness These forty years the LORD your God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing.”‘

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About courage2conquercancer

At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an account of my journey from my discovery and beyond.
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