Tuesday, July 24, 2012
I had my whole blog post planned out in my head while I was at the gym [does anyone else do that while they're working out? Just me? Okay then...] and now I have a completely different subject to talk about. When I got home from the gym, there was an email from my mom. My aunt, who *just* beat ovarian cancer [she was declared cancer-free just a month or two ago!], got abnormal results from a mammogram today.
Among the many, many diseases that run rampant in our family, breast cancer seems to be one of them. My father died of breast cancer when I was 15 [yes, men can get breast cancer too and I wish more people knew this!]. Now his sister may have it [she has to go in for more tests, of course]. She's had a lump for a few years now, but it's always been benign [up until now, I guess]. At least they caught it early, if there is anything wrong. She just had a full-body scan for cancer two months ago!
And with this, my mom's reminding us that we most likely have the BRCA2 gene and should get tested for it. That's all well and good... except for the fact that I don't have health insurance! At least health insurance policies have changed; when our doctor first brought it up with me, she told me that I could get denied insurance just for getting genetic testing done, even if it came back negative. Things have changed in the last 10 years regarding that, thankfully, but I still can't afford to get testing done.
THIS is why I'm motivated to get healthy. I may have the BRCA2 gene. I can't really do anything about that, one way or the other. Even knowing if I do have it doesn't mean much except that my chances of developing breast cancer are that much higher. But in the meantime, until I can afford testing [I wonder if that day will ever come], I'm doing everything I can to lower my risk of breast cancer. I'm getting down to a healthy BMI, I'm exercising regularly, I eat a whole foods, plant-based diet. I don't smoke [never have], I only drink alcohol very rarely these days [a glass of wine maybe once a month]. I can't do anything about my genes but I'm doing everything else I can to prevent this disease. Well, aside from having a child before I'm 30. Sorry, not happening [ever]. I don't want to pass my f---ed up genes onto anyone else.
Unfortunately, the odds may be stacked against me already... but I'll be damned if I'm not going to put up a fight.
In the meantime, I'm worried for my aunt [seriously, she does not deserve this after just going through ovarian cancer!] and hoping everything turns out okay. She's my favourite relative, and essentially the only relative I have left on my father's side. [Technically I have two other aunts but one's disowned/nobody's heard from her for over 20 years, and the other's a horrible human being and we only talk to her once every few years when she can put aside petty opinions like what colour my hair is at the moment (an actual argument two Christmases ago. She walked out of dinner and hasn't talked to us since). All my uncles are dead... nobody in my father's family lives past their 60s, it appears.]
So, yeah. There's that. Cancer sucks and it needs to leave my family alone already.