When you’re having trouble making a decision, you’re making it too soon – Abraham Hicks
After we left the hospital, I don’t specifically recall going home that day, the journey from the hospital or where I ended up when I got out the car.
It’s a funny thing to be told that you essentially are a ticking time bomb. 87 %. That’s high. How do you even begin to get your head around that? If I were betting to win, I’d take those odds. But if someone said to you, “hey, get in this car go for a drive, there’s an 87% chance it will kill you” you’d probably tell them to Fuck off and get in it themselves…
…Sorry; I mean, you’d politely decline.
But yet when its you, when its your life, when its your own body you have to change to take away that risk, when it’s the very things that scientifically make you a woman that really don’t have your best interests at heart, it’s a whole other ballgame.
For those that don’t know – to put it basically there are really 3 options when it comes down to the nitty gritty of what you can do when you have this gene mutation.
- Do nothing. Nada. Plead Ignorance….after all, some say it is bliss. I’m pretty sure in this case, you’d be a fool to think that is true.
- Surveillance – This in the UK means that you get annual “high risk” MRIs of your baps (this is the most uncomfortable 30 mins in a metal tube of your life) scheduled from the age of 30. In all honesty, there is little else on offer other than that here at the moment by way of surveillance at a “young” age. Obviously, you have to check your tatas regularly yourself for any changes both visually and physically – thats right, you should be checking out your boobies and giving them a good old grope once a month (and at the same time each month, damn cycle) You should be doing this anyway ladies, gene or no gene. Fellas, if you have lady love in your life you could probably offer your “handy” services too (pardon the pun)…but get consent first – this is not an excuse for wandering mitts!
Downstairs lady wise – they don’t offer any additional surveillance at all – well not yet for me anyway. You carry on with your smears as usual and that’s about it.
- Preventative Double (bilateral) Mastectomy and Hysterectomy (various types) -Basically, this means removing the parts of you that are considered the “time bombs”, the bits that this bastard gene is likely to attack and cause cancer for -Boobs, ovaries, uterus, the whole she-bang! Yes, its extreme, effective- but – holy mary mother of jesus is that not the scariest thought ever for any woman !? Can you even begin to imagine that being an “option” at 30? Imagine if you told a 30 something dude he had to loose his (currently) healthy and fully functioning manhood. Just wouldn’t be a consideration for the ol’meat and 2 veg would it?!
So in short, (and apologies for my crass terminology here, but I write as I speak/think) I could either start spying on my insides with electromagnetic blasts once a year to make sure they weren’t up to no good, or, chop off and throw out the bits that were highly likely to make me gravely ill.
How do you even start to make that decision!? I mean obviously I’d thought about it prior to diagnosis, just like you probably are now (if you can put yourself in my shoes) but when its real, when its you, when you are trying to decide if you want to take away the very things that make you a woman – “just in case” – that is a bloody hard nut to crack. And it took me a real long time to crack it…
Infact, my hand was kinda forced, so I suppose someone started the cracking for me. And not making a decision, is in effect, making a decision in itself. Its deciding not to decide. But I wasn’t ready. I’d weighed up the pros and cons – Our future of a family, pregnancy*, breastfeeding, my own physical self i’d come to know and finally love – all of those things would be taken away to satisfy a “maybe”… A BIG maybe, but a maybe none the less. But did I want to risk cancer ? – Fuck NO. Did I want to put my body through multiple surgeries? Not really. Did I want to stop worrying about every lump and bump I found and having MRIs and Biopsies and Scans and appointments- Hell YES. Did I want to be around until I shrank to half my height and looked like an old raisin and talk about how thungs were ‘in my day’? Of Course!
And so i’d go round and round…