Do These Genes Look Good on Me?

Sometimes Facebook tells me when it’s been a while since I blogged. It actually says “it’s been a while since your audience has heard from you”. It’s been saying that a lot lately, I’m slightly tickled about having an audience.

Well, little blog it has been a while. I wanted so much not to just bleat on about cancer, to move forward. I thought I wouldn’t write until I had something else to say again but cancer still skulks about in my shadows (the spectre not the physical form, thankfully). It’s hanging about a little closer at the moment.

So, I feel fairly certain I should write, it helps and I’ve learnt you shouldn’t spurn help just because it will hurt your pride. Yoga and meditation have been helping, I am a rubbish but diligent mediator, a bad case of jumping monkey mind. It’s just time for the big guns….

In many ways I’m a creature of habit, the Eskimos may have over 300 words for snow, I’ve about the same when it comes to describing the exact hue of a red nail polish. I’ve almost enough to ombre my nails (9). A. doesn’t think a 10th is really a necessary purchase, he’s wrong. And if there really are 50 shades of Grey, I’ve at least a third of them hanging in sweatshirt-form in my closet.

Does this bother me? I hadn’t really considered it not until recently. A. is the same, Oxford Blue Shirts (each slightly different) and I’d forgotten how much we teased my Papa about his 4 different pairs of the same shoe, each worn slightly differently. Forgotten, until I was visiting his house recently, laundry day as it happened, and there they were; Navy is my Papa’s colour, tonally different but sweatshirts just the same.

It amused me and gladdened my heart his habits are my habits, peas in a pod. Then I wondered if it went deeper – skin and bone and blood and cells and DNA deep.

You see folks I’m being genetically tested, BRCA 1 & 2. I’ve been waiting a while, it’s called the “Angelina Jolie Affect”, a lot more people are aware (hurrah) but that means the longer the wait. That’s not a bad thing, you can push it out of your mind mostly, so far back that the alarm bell is more like a fairy bell tinkle but the nearer results day comes the more like a klaxon it sounds.

Nothing will change but perhaps something will shift. They’ll be decisions to be made again but I’ve made tough decisions before, there will be more statistics and I hate statistics but the threat is not imminent. I’m still cancer free. So what does knowing or not knowing actually achieve? Why does it seem to matter so deeply to me? Why have the darn test in the first place?

Well, for me, I’ve already had cancer, my risk of return is higher than the average bear, so why not know. I’m a forewarned is forearmed kinda gal.

I can then choose to cut off my breasts and remove my ovaries. It’s extreme but it lowers my risk of return to civilian levels again, and maybe I get some respite from the bloomin’ hot flushes from Tamoxifen – so they’re big pluses. It would mean MRI’s every year, which is not my favourite thing but I’d feel more secure having an MRI than a mammogram (my tumour was undetectable on the mammogram). Apart from the higher rate of return and the (shall we say) full on surgery it’s not too bad.

Truth be told, I always assumed it was probably genetic, there’s a lot of cancer in my family. A lot, a lot. But what if it’s not? what if it’s fluke? With my families track record, this would blow my mind. What have I done to cause it, what have I not done? No one to blame but yourself and your cells and you make those. No wonky Gene defence, nowhere to hide. If it was fluke then Karma, luck, and a higher being is out the window because I’ve had my share of pain (and yes, life doesn’t work that way and yes, people suffer more than I have, much much more but not knowing and waiting make me selfish). Minds Will Be Blown.

I keep my toes painted red and I slip on my grey sweatshirt armour because it’s simple and I love simple. Simple on the outside because what lies beneath, way way down, DNA down, well that’s just too complicated for now.