We just recently received confirmation that my dad has the BRCA genetic mutation and that’s how I got mine. Unlike some genetic conditions, this mutation can only be passed down if a parent has the mutation. Fortunately it doesn’t always result in cancer–particularly in men. If you do have the mutation, each of your kids has a 50% chance of getting the mutation. In my case, my dad has two children and we matched the statistics perfectly. 50% of us have the mutation. It was actually great news. If he hadn’t, it meant I got it from my mom and she’d be off scheduling surgeries. If my mom had the mutation, it could impact my aunt and her three children. So we were happy to have confirmation that my dad has the mutation and he’s an only child. Plus I now have a photographer for my local FORCE meetings. Thanks Dad!
Speaking of local FORCE meetings, I had a web conference with the Outreach Coordinators from all the different areas. I am so excited to really swing our group into full gear. FORCE has been around for almost 10 years and is the national non-profit organization devoted to families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. In 10 short years, they’ve done so much but there is still so much to be done. Of the 1,000,000 people affected with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, only 13,000 people receive communications from FORCE. Building awareness of this organization is key. Women need to know that they are not alone and others have walked their same path. There’s a sense of community and understanding when you visit the FORCE message boards and hear what others have to say. FORCE also has a deep commitment to actively advocating for increased research and resources specific to breast and ovarian cancer. This research is critical in finding effective prevention, detection and treatments. Our next meeting is August 11 from 7:00-8:30 at Troy Beaumont. If you know of anyone that would like to attend, please pass them the information or have them contact me. If you know of anyone out-of-state, there are outreach groups in most major markets. I urge you to share this with your friends and family and remember that knowledge is power.
By popular demand I need to finish with a brief story. After my first chemo treatment last October, I had a dystonic reaction to Compazine–an anti-nausea drug. Fortunately my mom was over at the time. She was in the midst of organizing my little guy’s closet when I mentioned that it felt like my tongue was swelling. We quickly got in the car and headed to the ER. By the time we got to the ER, my mouth was doing crazy stuff twitching all over the place. After they determined the problem, they gave me an IV of benedryl. I was doing just fine but my mom didn’t recover so quickly. Following my next treatment, they gave me Marinol(medical marijuana) instead of Compazine. The day after that treatment, my mom came over bright and early. She looked at my fingers and completely panicked.
Mom: “Oh my god, your fingers are orange! What’s wrong?”
I glanced down at my fingers and noticed that they were orange–a residual effect of the cheetohs I had scarfed down for breakfast. We laughed about that one for awhile. I continued to take my Marinol, munch on my cheetos and doritos and avoid the ER.