For the majority of my life, I had been mentally preparing myself for the day I would find out that I had the BRCA2 mutation. I tell myself, “I have the mutation, I know it. I get everything mom has.” So, I thought by building up that sort of mentality, when I was told whether I was positive or not for the mutation, the news wouldn’t affect me……..Man, was I wrong.
It was July 28, 2015 when my parents and I went to the great Allegheny General Hospital (AGH) in Pittsburgh to find out the results of my genetic test.
For the whole 30 minute car ride, all I could do was think, “I have it. I have it. I have it,” while my music was blaring through my headphones.
Once we entered the main lobby of the Cancer Center part of AGH, my parents and I made a right turn down a hallway to get to the genetic counselor’s office. As we made our way down the hall, we passed all of this breast cancer arts crafts that survivors had made and, to be honest, I cringed a little bit. All I could picture when I saw the artwork was my past, my present, and my future.
It didn’t take longer than a minute for the genetic counselor and her student/assistant to rush us into the private office to chat. As soon as I walked in, I noticed a folder on the table and that was enough confirmation for me. Why would the genetic counselor give someone who was negative for the mutation a folder full of papers? At that moment, my heart sank. Everything I’ve been telling myself came true.
Quite frankly, I don’t remember much, especially what the counselor and her assistant were telling me because of 1) I already knew the information they were telling me because I had done my research many times over the years and 2) So many thoughts were running through my head that I just kind of drowned the two of them out. They were a bit annoying, so I’m glad I don’t remember much about them.
But, I do remember crying. I didn’t think I would cry since I already “knew” I had the mutation, but it seems that being told your thoughts are true by someone who is not yourself hurts a lot. It hurts like hell actually because that means your thoughts have now become your reality.
I could also hear my parents crying. That’s when I decided that I needed to try to stop, gain some composure, and be as strong as I could be for that moment.
As we were getting the parking garage ticket paid, both my mom and dad told me that we were going to do everything to make sure that I don’t go through what my mom did. Dad told me to be strong and mom told me she was sorry for passing the gene to me. I hugged them and said,” I will.” and “I know but it’s not your fault.”
That whole day, we went and told most of my family: my sisters at home, my gram and pap (My mom’s mom and dad), and my grandmall (My dad’s mom. And yes, that is how we spell her name) and my Aunt Jackie (My dad’s sister). My mom also called my Aunt Dot (My dad’s other sister), who was living in Chicago at the time. And after all that, I told my friends and their family. Let me just say, I have so much support from my family and friends, I couldn’t ask for anything better.
To say the least, July 28th, 2015 was definitely one of the longest days of my life. But, even though it can be seen as one of the worst days of my life, I also see it as one of my best days for many reasons. I got to find out that I had the mutation early in my life. I will be monitored twice a year with MRIs and trips to see my breast doctor and my OB/GYN. I now know that there’s a 50/50 chance I will pass this gene down to my kids. And, I can be a role model for my sisters if they ever have to go through this.
Getting the genetic test done and finding out if I had the BRCA2 mutation was something I just had to do. Some people may disagree because I’m so young but, for my sake and my sanity, I just needed to know in order to move forward with my life. I have become more comfortable about talking about the mutation to people who ask, I read any information that may concern my situation, and I use my family as a support system whenever I need them.
So for right now, because I can’t do much about the mutation, I just see it as something I’m living with and taking one day at a time.