I call myself a Darwinian Fail for a number of reasons, but my latest misadventure has stemmed from one tiny piece of genetic code, known in the medical world as BRCA1.
BRCA is known to us regular folks as the “breast cancer gene”. This little genetic mutation is thought to play a key role in the rate of breast cancer found in the women who carry it. It increases their risk of developing the disease up to 80%.
And as a woman who has watched the generations before her battle this disease, I chose to act preventatively and underwent a double mastectomy and reconstruction this past March. I fight this battle, so I don’t have to fight the war.
And the same will be true with Ovarian Cancer as well.
Obviously, as a result of my personal journey a lot of time and effort has been put into raising awareness about BRCA and Breast Cancer. But I have only touched on one side of this evil little gene. It is also tied to other women’s cancers and increases a woman’s risk for Ovarian Cancer as well.
One of my fears going in for the genetic screening was what this would mean for my hopes of one day starting a family.
I don’t want Cancer, but I would also like to one day be a Mommy. I spent one particularly low moment crying over the obscene cost of legal fees and adoption. And spent several weeks fearing that having a baby was just not going to be a blessing I was to be given. At 27, I am not quite ready to have a baby, but it is something I want.
Thankfully, my battle against Ovarian Cancer is one that I have been able to put on hold for the time being. A preventative hysterectomy is recommended for those of us who are genetic predisposed, but it is something they recommend for the future. Ovarian Cancer for BRCA+ gals typically strikes post-menopausal, so while it is important that I remain vigilant with regular physicals and proper screening, it is not an immediate concern.
I will begin more involved screening in my late 30’s, and I plan on ringing in my 40th Birthday with yet another trip to the OR for a preventative hysterectomy.
I, unlike the women in my family before me, will never wear the badge of honour as Survivor. Because I will never have to survive a diagnosis, struggle through chemo, radiation, and the battery of tests that go along with this disease. Instead today I stand up and FIGHT.
If you have no boobies, no ovaries, no uterus, and a robot heart, are you still even a woman? The answer is, YES! You are one strong, badass, bionic woman, who is healthy and cancer free!
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month and October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year I want to be able to give back. I am running the CIBC Run for the Cure on September 30th and this is a shameless fundraising plug. (<—–MizFit note. I ENDORSE THIS PLUG!)
If you or someone you know has been affected by women’s cancers, please consider visiting my fundraising page.
We can conquer cancer! I am part of the Bright Pink population who knows their history, has recognized their high risk status, remains vigilant against this disease, and chooses to act preventatively. Cancer is beatable if it is detected and treated early; so know your history, recognize your risk, get screened, and above all… FIGHT!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,