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Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer 1I feel like ever since I got breasts, it’s been drilled into my head that I have a family history of breast cancer. As I age, it’s like my doom’s day is impending.

What if I get breast cancer? Me.

My mom was diagnosed at age 36. It was one of those things where she just knew something was wrong and she insisted that her doctor order a mammogram. Thankfully, she survived and is 20+ years cancer free. She had a bilateral mastectomy and back then they didn’t offer reconstructive surgery. She has prosthetics.

I also have several female relatives who have been diagnosed.

Only one died, my maternal aunt (39). It metastasized through her body; destroying it. My other maternal aunt (50), maternal grandmother (66), maternal cousin (45) and maternal cousin (39) have all had breast cancer.

We’ve been to genetic counseling and testing. The results – negative. My family doesn’t carry the breast cancer brackets 1 and 2. I talked with a genetic counselor, but I never had the testing done. I’m assuming I’d test negative since everyone else did. They did tell me it was in my favor that I had my daughter at age 23.

A woman’s estrogen level changes after giving birth and breast cancer is estrogen fed.

I’ve had mammograms and the occasional breast ultrasound since I was 26 years old. I wear the pink gown and have my breasts smooshed once a year. I should be doing self exams monthly but I’m not consistent. I have my annual exam regularly making cancer a topic of discussion.

For me, breast cancer is this dark shadow over my head.

There is so much to think about when I allow myself to think it. I’ve heard of voluntarily opting for bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction surgery without the cancer diagnosis. I’m faced with mixed emotions. It seems an ingenious solution to the problem.

Just cut the things off. Done.

It feels like an extreme reaction (self mutilation) to something that MIGHT happen. I mean, how would my husband feel? Would he still like my body? Would I like my body? What if I never get it and changed my body for nothing? What if I don’t do it and get cancer? What if I die?

What if I am destined to get breast cancer?

Do you have any stories to share? I’m approaching the date of my annual physical and I know the discussing is coming.

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