- Posted October 4, 2012 by
San Antonio, Texas
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tested for the breast cancer gene?
BRCA2 JOURNEY! Life as a Previvor- Eryn Powell
'Experiencing the effects of breast cancer first hand was the hardest thing I've ever been through. If I have to cut off a part of my body so that my future children and husband don't have to go through that then I'll do it, no questions asked.'
- Jamescia, CNN iReport producer
I am a diehard TV fan. When I say die hard, I mean that me, my mom, and my sister fight over what gets recorded on the DVR because between us we have probably over 50 separate shows to keep up with. We even have a DVR meetings where we all sit down together and go over what we can delete because there is no more room left to record. We are psychotic. Nothing gives me better sense of gratification than catching up on all my shows. One of my favorite new shows has got over the top teen drama and super unbelievable story lines, and I just can't get enough. In the last few episodes of the season, a main character, whose mother had passed of breast cancer, was dealing with getting genetic testing for the cancer gene. It sounds pretty ridiculous but this show gave me the little push I needed to get myself to the doctor. Yes thank you primetime teen drama show.
I had heard of BRCA genetic testing a few times in my past. About a year ago, a good friend of mine mentioned that her and the other girls in her family were getting the testing done because they had a history of breast cancer in their family. I put the thought of testing in the back of my head at the time and went on with my life knowing that I needed to get tested because my aunt passed away of breast cancer and my mother had it twice.
It stayed in the back of my head and popped up every once in a while when I saw an ad for Susan G Komen or heard something about breast cancer. Do I really want to know if I am going to get breast cancer? It's a confusing thing. When my favorite show was airing the episodes about the character finding out she had the breast cancer gene, I didn't watch them for the longest time. They sat on my DVR for weeks. I'm not sure what I was afraid of besides the fact that I didn't want to face the reality that I could be in that very position. One day, I was cooking a delicious meal in the kitchen... ok I can't cook... I was making popcorn (my specialty) and my mom was watching that episode in the living room nearby. I saw the scene where the doctor told her she had the gene and I was so unbelievably uncomfortable, wondering if at that very moment if my mom was also thinking about me and my future like I was. I started researching places where I could get the testing done. I mentioned it to my mom and she found a center that would do it for free, since I had a strong history in my family. I set the appointment and eagerly waited for the day of my test.
I did a lot of crying that week. It's definitely a weird feeling. I hadn't known my results, heck I hadn't even taken the test but I knew that this could mean big changes in my life. My appointment day came I learned all about the BRCA gene from my genetic counselor. A lot of emotions went through me in that meeting. I wanted to laugh when she was talking about breasts because I am immature and then I wanted to cry when she asked me what my timeline was (um scary) and then when I did cry both her and my boyfriend just looked at me and I cried more because I was mortified. Talk about train wreck! Anyway, we would come back in 7-10 days for the results.
The waiting game was pretty intense. My genetic counselor called and said my results were in. We went in that next day, and she pulled out my results and sure enough I tested positive for BRCA2. I didn't cry this time. I think I had already came to terms that I probably had it in those few days of waiting. The couple days after that I have to admit I was feeling a bit depressed. As I came to terms with the results and with the help of someone who told me that I was lucky that I knew now so I can prevent it, I started feeling better. I do feel like a clock is ticking inside my chest, and the sooner I get rid of it, the sooner I will be safe, but I couldn't be more thankful that this test was available to me. I will be having a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction in December 2012.
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, I encourage you to be proactive in your prevention and get the test done. It may be the best thing you can do for yourself and your future.
Follow my journey at www.previvoreryn.blogspot.com