Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fighting Chance

Remember how I was concerned that cancer doctors wouldn't want to see me? Well, nothing could be father from the truth. Since starting the whole cancer screening process, I've had a WHOLE team of doctors assigned to me... a breast oncologist, a gynecological oncologist, a high risk specialist, a genetic counselor and a social worker. They tried to assign me a nutritionist too but I had to draw the line somewhere. They've poked me, prodded me (you don't want to know where), magnetized me and inquired after every little breast/ovary detail you could imagine. And still they want more! I feel like I've got a doctor's appointment every other week. And I'm a healthy person. I've got doctors clamoring over my breasts and ovaries and they're as healthy as can be (my breast and ovaries, not the doctors, although they're probably healthy too.) I can't imagine what it'd be like if I actually had cancer. Not true, I can imagine what it's like. Thanks for finding out, Mom so I don't have to.

I'm not complaining. I hope it doesn't come across that way. Just pointing out how strange it all seems. Is this a good use of time and effort for these highly specialized doctors? If I didn't have health insurance, would I be willing to pay $3000 out of pocket for an MRI that I know is going to come back clean? Every six months? Am I abusing the healthcare system? Am I crazy for wanting more kids? For keeping my ovaries for a few more years? Or am I crazy for not getting pregnant right away? As Clark put it the other day...

Clark: There's no reason to hurry. I mean, really, it's just our youth wasting away while your breasts and ovaries plot to kill you. :)
me: oh no you dih int
(Aren't you glad to know we plan for our future children over google chat?)

Or is it even worse than that? Am I crazy (selfish) for bringing my own genetically deleterious children into the world and not adopting? Is it better to just not know I carry this gene?* These are the questions that haunt me just when I begin to feel okay about everything.

Now I realize this is rather personal stuff (my grandma is probably horrified.)** On the list of things you shouldn't put on the world wide web, your baby-growing-bits and your babies probably rank pretty high. But ever since since I joined this little BRCA world, I've found great comfort in reading the blogs of other women like me. Unfortunately for me, most of them are pretty heavy on prophylactic surgery and light on preventative screening. Which isn't to say I'm not considering surgery down the road. I'm just not there yet. So in the meantime, maybe I can offer up my voice to those who have settled on screening for now, to those who still have children in their futures and to those who have a love/hate relationship with their breasts & ovaries.

And now for something completely different. Just kidding, it's related and humorous.
Confronting an overwhelming genetic predisposition for breast cancer, a comedy writer makes the ultimate choice. Amy Cohen is the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir, The Late Bloomers Revolution.

*The answer is no.
** Love you, grandma!


Carly said...

Is there a better place than google chat for family planning?

Melissa said...

When it became clear that Aerin had inherited my bipolar disorder, I went through a stretch of feeling tremendously guilty--ditto for Teleri and ADD, or Cordelia whose asthma almost certainly comes from my side of the family. On the other hand, I'd be stupid not to realize all the good genetic traits we've passed on to them. If everyone who had genetic abnormalities chose to adopt rather than give birth, there wouldn't be any children to adopt. If I'm going to pass on my genetic problems, I'm going to do my best to pass on everything I've learned about coping with them as well.

Emily said...

Rob and I have many serious discussions via Google Chat. It's awesome.

One of the things I love the most about you is your sense of humor. I love that you can take serious topics and put humor to them. I adore you!

daveandlisa said...

Margaret, you crack me up every time I turn around. You should feel like a superstar with a team of dr's and who knows what else at your finger tips. And you should go ahead and get pregnant now. Not because your womanly parts are "plotting to kill you" as some would say, but because I really want someone's baby to hold and we all know I won't be having one of my own. :o)

Amelia said...

I'm sure your Grandma would be proud of your grace under pressure and great sense of humour. At least, the Grandma I've met would.