Thursday, August 6, 2015

Went to genetic counseling

So yesterday I went to genetic counseling. It was pretty interesting. Before I went, I had to fill out a 10-page (something like that) questionnaire about my current and past health, my family members, and if any of them had cancer. Thankfully I have a small family!

She explained the risk factors for having the BRCA 1 or 2 genes, which are basically mutations if I understood correctly. I was under 45 at the age of diagnosis and have a rare form of cancer--triple negative for all the hormone receptors, which is more common with women of Jewish descent, which I am not. Yay...I'm rare. However, this type is very common among women who have the gene.

Anyway, add to the fact that there are very few women on my father's side and the other one in my immediate family had ovarian cancer, and I'm an excellent candidate for getting tested. I already planned on it, but she made it sounds like it was a hard decision for some people. Really? Why wouldn't you want to know? Because of my risk factors, insurance will cover it. Of course I want to know. She also said that in 2013 scientists identified a bunch more mutations they can test for. They don't know what they mean or what to do about them yet, but I figure it's only a matter of time before they do know so why not get the test done and go from there? So they'll do the blood draw next week when I'm doing labs anyway.

If I have the gene, the chances are high that I can develop cancer in the other breast. There's also a chance I could develop ovarian cancer. I can prevent both of these from happening by removing them. A bilateral mastectomy, and then whenever I'm cleared to move forward, an easy procedure to remove the ovaries. The latter is not a big deal to me as I'm not having any more kids and am on the brink of menopause anyway. The former is sad, but I'd rather do it now than go through all this again. I've thought about this quite a bit before anyway and will continue to do so. The decision isn't final yet and doesn't have to be for a few more weeks.

I won't get the results back for about 5 weeks so I'll post when I get them.

While we were sitting there waiting for the counselor, I was examining my nails. They're longer and stronger than they've ever been. Maybe because I've been eating better? However, they looked dirty, which is weird since I don't, yanno, do anything. Then I realized...they're not dirty, they're discolored. Just a curved line, right where the nail separates from the bed. This is common with chemo and I wondered when it would happen. They also ache a little. I put on some nail polish to cover it. I might have to cut them shorter for comfort, but I'll enjoy them for another day or two first.

My energy held up all day yesterday and pretty well the day before. I should be in pretty good shape until the next treatment. Sometimes I feel like the mouth sores might be coming on again, but I do the mouth rinse and the feeling goes away. That makes me SO happy. I see a huge change in the affected breast since before chemo started. All the fluid is gone, it's much smaller, and the lump is softer. I still have hair on my head and it's growing, but clearly getting thinner. Sorry for the TMI, but...let's just say the carpet is much thinner. My eyebrows seem more delicate, and since I don't pluck them I think I've lost a few hairs there. I think my eyelashes are mainly intact, though.

That's all for today!

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