Change is the only constant – Heraclitus
Oh lordy I have never had a moment like that one sat there in that office. Never in my memory has a wave of feelings hit me like a wall in that way. It felt like utter chaos and sadness engulfed me all at once. My Mothership and Fiancee were there with me, FYI… there’s no way I could have gone to face it on my own and hell, there is no shame in leaning on those that are the closest to you – you can be damn sure one day they will need you too, that’s what family is for!
The genetic counsellor (as they call them, like I say – they don’t actually do therapy/counselling which I find odd for their title) anyway, she just said very clearly and almost monotone – “she could confirm I was BRCA1 positive.” There was a tiny part of me that hoped she wouldn’t say those words, but, I think most of me felt it was an inevitability. Although its totally unrelated in scientific terms, I am so much like my mum (refer to “you’ve got good genes” post!) I think I just knew in my heart I couldn’t possibly inherit almost every fabulous part of her, and not somehow miss this part.
I just said “ok”….and oh…. so naively…. I thought I would hold it together, just for a split second.
How wrong I was.
I bitterly cried and I sobbed and I weeped ( “full on ugly crying” as I like to call it). The Mothership just kept apologising over and over while my OH held me so tight in his arms. I felt like the world had suddenly stopped spinning and i wanted to get off. I just wanted nothing more than for it all to be a terrible nightmare and go away. This wasn’t what I planned, this wasn’t in my future. Of course I didn’t blame my mum, she couldn’t possibly have known and it certainly wasn’t flippin deliberate!? I felt awful that she would even hold herself responsible for just one moment. She’s only known herself for about 8 years that she was even carrying this mutation…and even if she did know “then” what she knows now, I know she wouldn’t change me for the world. (That’s coz she told me so, not being a big head lol ! ) On a side note, this did, however, change how I thought about the future and more specifically having a family. More on that later. Much later. Infact still not even close yet…. I digress.
I thought I’d deal with it so much better…I had the knowledge, mum had got through this, the surgeries, the mind fuck of it all , but yet I crumbled and my usually practical and logical mind went all mushy and dark. The counsellor left the room to give us 5 minutes. It felt like an eternity it really did – and it still wasn’t enough for me to start to process what this meant for me, for us. I almost felt guilty that me and the OH now had to deal with this crap together, when he definitely didn’t sign up for this at the beginning! He was incredibly supportive and I couldn’t have asked for more really, I was lucky to have someone there for me, as I know a lot of people don’t have that . It must be even more terrifying to face this on your own, especially if you don’t already have a BRCA diagnosis in your family. That knowledge brings you so much more power and strength, as cliché as it sounds.
The next part, where the “counsellor” talked me through the next steps or whatever…I genuinely do not remember a word of it. I think part of me switched off from shock and part of the other half probably knew exactly what she as going to say about options, surveillance and surgery. At that point, I had always thought that if I did have the mutation, I’d definitely go down the double mastectomy route.
But now, my results, my body, my future, my life….everything had changed. And I had to figure out what I was going to do about it.