Sunday, March 4, 2012

To test, or not to test.

One thing that I forgot to mention the other day when I was talking about my annual cancer check up, was something the nurse said to me. She asked me, after going through my charts…if I had ever had the Genetic Testing that they do for women who have had breast cancer. My response was “no”. She then went on to proceed that since I had daughters, that it might be something I want to think about. I didn’t really feel like going into the whole way I feel about that test, and so I just mentioned to her that my insurance wouldn’t pay for it. Why? Because we don’t have any history of breast cancer in any of our family ( that we know about ). Since my Grandmother, Mother, Aunts didn’t and I don’t have any sisters, then insurance doesn’t think I am a likely candidate for that and so… therefore if I was going to do the testing, I would have to foot a $7000.00 bill for it. I don’t think so!
I know she was just doing her job in mentioning it, but honestly in the 11 years that I have been dealing with other survivors that I have met along  my way through cancer, I have heard some horrific stories of those who decided to do the this test. One of the first ladies was an acquaintance I made 11 years ago, she didn’t have cancer, but her family had and so she did the test. After she found out that she had that genetic gene, she went right away and had a double mastectomy and a complete hysterectomy. We later met at our one year survivor mark, and she was devasted when she went in for her yearly check up and the Doctor asked her if she had been doing her monthly self checks on her CHEST WALL! She didn’t know that she had to do that or that she could even get cancer back on her chest wall, that is why she had the mastectomy in the first place. He reminded her that cancer is an inside deal and it could come back there. Then because she had the test, next her young daughters ( in their 20’s )  decided to have the exact same  procedures, for fear that someday they might get cancer. I just hope that it gave them a sense of peace that they were looking for, if so then it was probably worth it to them.
You all know me, I truly believe that YOU HAVE TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU! For me this isn’t what I wanted to do and even if I had $7000.00 I would not get that test, to see if I MIGHT have the genetic gene. Or I wouldn’t want my daughters to have any more FEAR than they already have. Fear can stop us from doing what we know, should be done. I know lots of women who are going down this road, and many have asked my opinion about this. I just want to say that my opinion is for me and my family only. I didn’t have a family history of it, I am not sure if I would have done it anyway because I don’t like my life ran by FEAR, and that is what it would have done for ME, I am not talking about anyone else, just me! 
I have learned from my cancer experiences, to not share my opinion with too many or even what roads I went down. I know what I did, was very unpopular, I did not follow the prescribed road. Still I did study, pray and decided on the road that was right for me and my family. Everyone’s choices and roads will be different, because we are all different. I just don’t like fear to take over my life. That is something you have to constantly work on when you are a cancer survivor. But knowledge is power and that is what everyone should have, a knowledge of their disease, a knowledge of options and  a knowledge about their bodies, we should know our bodies better than anyone else.
There are other tests that I could get each year to see if I might have cancerous cells again. I opt out of them for the same reason, the tests aren’t that accurate, and so it would only tell me if I might have cancer growing somewhere and then we would just have to watch that area to see if something develops. That would be such a burden and worry on me, it would take a quality of my life away.  So it is important for you to know what you want, what makes you happy, what scares you or builds you up. Ultimately the decision is yours  and yours alone.
So I hope this at least gives you an understanding of my decisions, but encourage all of you to make your own decisions. Good night dear friends!

“ True friends just love each other, and then support each other in their decisions”   ~ Lynn Woodard
“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”  ~ Mark Twain

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