Besides going in for my Neulasta shot yesterday, I also gave my blood up for genetic testing for the BRAC genes yesterday – there’s a small risk (approx. 10%) that the test will come back positive in three weeks or so.
If it does (again, *unlikely*, though I have a pretty small family tree to sample) my immediate family may want to consider getting tested as well – and there are hardship plans for the genetic testing, fyi. Getting tested and what you decide to do with the results are obviously very personal decisions, but I feel that it’s extremely valuable information to have.
If I’m carrying one of the BRAC genes, Beth’s (my sister’s) chance of carrying that gene is 50%, and there’s a strong possibility that Mom would also carry the gene, which would then give my maternal aunt Carolyn a 50% chance of also being a carrier. If they do have the gene, this would not only increase their risk of breast cancer (kinda a moot point with Mom, since she’s already been through it), but also substantially increase their risk of ovarian cancer, and since that’s particularly nasty and difficult to detect in the early stages, they might want to consider prophylactic surgery (oophorectomy).
Now, again, the risk of me having either of the BRAC genes is fairly low, and until I get the results back, this is all playing with possibilities. If my test comes back positive, I’ll be looking at some hard decisions myself – the genetic counseling put prophylactic mastectomies (as well as prophylactic oophorectomy) back on the table for me (and I promptly swept the idea of prophylactic mastectomies off the table and stomped that sucker flat… yah, I don’t care that I could possibly avoid radiation, and follow-up mammograms and all, get it? Not an option at this point – if I have a new primary or a recurrence down the road, then we can talk, but not at this point. After all, even if there’s a 50% chance I’ll develop a new breast cancer, there’s still a 50% chance I won’t, ok? Let’s not talk about going through major body modification surgery and removing some very sensitive erogenous zones just in case).
Any fast acting side effects from chemo/Neulasta should show up over the next few days… as of now, I’m just feeling a wee bit ‘off’, a bit spacey, a little achy. I did halve my dose of night steroids (so, down to a quarter of the standard dose) and without doctor approval, rebel that I am – they are not good drugs for me to add to my system, and I’m still feeling the effects, if not as utterly jacked up on them as I was yesterday. Next time, I’ll see if I can cut it further or, better yet, cut it altogether (except the stuff they throw in the drip – I’m guessing that’s a given).
O, the places you’ll go! the things you’ll see!