Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Genetics and all that jazz...

Good Morning to you. I hope you've seen a little bit of the sun this morning? I'm currently enjoying the warmth through my dining room window, yet I can see a big black cloud looming. Short lived warmth, I'll enjoy it whilst it lasts.

I felt compelled to write this morning. (It has been a while!) My husband shouted to me from upstairs this morning, "Bex, I didn't hear who they said, some actress, but she's had a double mastectomy too". So once the kids were ready for nursery I thought I'd have a look.

I don't know if it's because I am in the same place or just because my life has been dramatically effected by breast cancer but I'm so very unsympathetic towards the the decision. It sounds cruel, but it's true.

The discovery of the BRCA gene is so unbelievably incredible that it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. Being told last summer that I was a carrier, to me, was not news that I needed to dwell on or feel upset about. It meant that I had a fighting chance. It meant I could make proactive choices that could ultimately save my life & although initially terrifying, I began to realise that this gene was actually giving me an opportunity to change this predicted course and was allowing me to dictate and secure my future health and happiness. I now had the opportunity to take dramatic action. I could opt to undergo two major operations which would hopefully give me the chance to save my life

As a mother, wife, daughter and sister, I have the AMAZING opportunity to reduce my risk to 5% or less. For me, the decision was easy. I didn't need to think about it. I have seen my sister, who is younger than me, go through the procedures and because of her strength, I know I can do the same.

The last few years our family has been struck by cancer hard and although not all cancer is genetic, the discovery of this gene means that my husband. and children will never have to worry about me developing breast cancer.

I am not taking the incredibly horrible decision away from these celebrities, because as mums, daughters, wives and sisters, the decision for them is just as hard, but the other implications are not the same. The ladies across the world who are not celebrities not only have to battle with the surgery, but the financial implications and looking after their children without the aid of money during recovery. The only aspect of the celebrities stories which is worth reading is the awareness that it brings to the genetic discovery and that it may help others get tested.

Discovery of the BRCA gene is nothing but positive. We, as carriers, are able to make decisions to potentially change our lives and only through research are we able to do this. This research also helps save peoples lives who have developed cancer. A place I hope I'll never be & with my next appointment with my surgeon today, I'm one step closer to ensuring that doesn't happen.

The real survivors and fighters are the people we should admire and celebrate, those are the ones who have the most difficult decisions to make.

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