Everything I learned while my son was in Kindergarten
Yesterday was the last day of school, and I spent some time reflecting on the school year. My life has changed dramatically in the past nine months. When I left the kids on the first day of school, I was 3 days a way from my first surgery. I had no idea why I got breast cancer, and I also had long hair. Picking them up yesterday, I thought about how much they grew and learned during the school year and how much I learned during their school year too. I can blurt out statistics about the BRCA gene without a second thought. I know what my platelets, white blood cells and red blood cell counts should be. I know about the standard drugs for breast cancer treatment and the various treatment options – 6 rounds of chemo three weeks apart, 8 rounds of chemo 2 weeks apart. I know that after you have surgery, it’s important to start moving right away to begin the healing process. I know all the things you need to do to prepare for surgery including no Advil the week before and no lotion the morning of surgery. I know the best pain medicine and the best anti-nausea medicine. I am a wealth of knowledge about things I never learned at the University of Wisconsin business school. In some interesting way, I enjoy my new found knowledge.
Today I discovered something else while reading an article sent to me in the Globe and Mail. 1 in 44 Ashkenazi Jewish Women carry the BRCA mutation compared to 1 in 400 in the general population. The new thought is that lots of Jewish women with no family history could be walking around with the BRCA mutation. This is interesting and empowering information. They are currently doing a study in Toronto testing Ashkenazi Jewish women without a family history. The test will help determine if BRCA screening will become something routinely offered to Jewish women.
I am getting ready for my first FORCE meeting next Wednesday. It will be interesting to discuss moving our local outreach group forward. I have big plans for our group and hope that we can make a difference in Southeast Michigan. While knowing you have the gene is scary, knowledge is power. We are here to spread the word, support women and make a difference. If you are interested in learning more about FORCE or BRCA, visit their newly redesigned website which has a wealth of information.