Trying to understand

Yes cancer you do suck.  Big time. There’s not enough words to describe the ultimate suckiness that is you, damn cancer. You’re the big stinky pink elephant no one wants to acknowledge or look at. 

When you hear those damn words “you have cancer” eventually your brain gets to the “what the fuck did I do wrong?”  You start thinking about those drinks you had, the food you ate, those things you smoked, the life you lived.  Which is fucked up because for me I was living a fairly healthy lifestyle.  I worked out 4-5 days a week, ate healthy, but I did love to try new beers (hey, hops count as a grain, right??)  Turns out none of that mattered since I’m a damn mutant.  Well, kind of.

BRCA1 – we all carry a BRCA1 gene from either parent. Its role is to protect us from breast cancer.  Except in the case of a mutation.  The mutation gives you skyrocketing odds to getting breast and/or ovarian cancer.  I found out a few years ago that my father is the BRCA1 mutation carrier in my family. That he had passed that along to my half sister who was diagnosed with breast cancer before 40.  So at that time I asked my insurance company to test me for the mutation.  They argued. I lost.  So I stepped up my self check game and kept up with my mammograms.  Then boom…I found that damn lump that changed the course of my life forever.  Forever altered.

Guess what? That’s when the insurance company FINALLY decided I could have the gene testing.  To tell me what I already knew.  How did I know?  Well when one is diagnosed with a breast cancer so rare no one knows much about it and add to it the double whammy of being triple negative (so there are no available after care medications to stop recurrence) you kind of figure that the answer is going to be a big fat YES.  I was so sure that when it came time to decide upon a single or double mastectomy, I chose the double, without having been gene tested yet.

So there is the WHY.  Does it make it any easier to stomach?  Hell no.  If anything it makes me angry.  I now have to worry if/which of my beautiful daughters are carrying the same mutation. Waiting for their results is horrible.  So far one girl picked up her dad’s BRCA gene instead of mine.  Can we get lucky enough on the other two?  Odds. Fucking odds.

Speaking of odds: From Cancer Network Oncology Journal

  • Metaplastic breast cancers tend to behave more aggressively than other subtypes. They account for less than 1% of all breast cancers.
  • Patients with metaplastic breast cancer have worse outcomes compared with patients with invasive ductal carcinoma. Five-year survival rates range from 49% to 68%.

To my MpBC sisters who may be reading this blog I am sorry if you have been trying to avoid seeing numbers such as those.  For me I needed to see them.  I needed to know what I am up against.  I need to know, forever altered, what I need to do. What I need to do every morning I open my eyes and remind myself what day it is.  What I need to do, what I have to do despite utter exhaustion, despite the fear, despite the odds.

So while I know the why- its still sucks, I try everyday to stay positive, to find the positive in moments.  Practicing mindfulness has become a lifesaver. Be here now.  Not yesterday and not tomorrow. Yesterday is gone and there is nothing to be done except perhaps learn.  Tomorrow is yet to come and tomorrow is promised to no one.

As always #FuckCancer

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