My Chemo Dealer last week was Grace she hooked me up (both literally and figuratively). I got a room with a view of the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood sign. Yep that’s right, room with a view! Contrary to popular belief (and what we have only seen in the movies) chemo is not only large rooms full of chairs and IV machines, they also have private rooms with walls and doors. What a treat! Chemo went swimmingly. Shorter visit this time, about 2 hours total, I was out by noon. I had another appointment at 2:30 so I took my mom to HOME in Los Feliz for lunch since we had the time. Once we were seated and I took a look at my surroundings I caught a glimpse of a hobbit sitting diagonally across from me! (AKA Charlie for all you LOST fans.) I had a fried chicken and slaw sandwich with a mixed greens salad on the side. And although I was totally craving an ice-cold one, I opted for an iced coffee instead. Yeah … fried chicken with iced coffee … like a weirdo.
A few weeks ago, I had blood work drawn for genetic testing per my doctors recommendations. The results had come back earlier last week and I had an appointment that afternoon to discuss them. I met with genetic counselor Shannon Jeddi (which I kept reading to myself as Jedi – I think it’s better that way. And not to be confused with the previously mentioned Shannon with the sweater swag from Tallahassee). The Genetic Jedi let me know that the gene panel tested showed I am positive for BRCA 2 variant c.771_775delTCAAA. Fancy right?
So what does this mean? (Disclaimer: this is my understanding in my own words and I could be totally wrong because I am not a Genetic Jedi.) Essentially when mom and dad got it on and made me they each contributed one pair of their genes to make the whole (me). In this instance, one of the pairs contributed was defective. Now this particular gene helps fight off cancers (breast and ovarian being the two main players here). Both pairs work pretty hard individually at kicking cancers ass and keeping it at bay for about 30 years each. This is why it is not uncommon for women in their 60s to become diagnosed with breast cancer. However in my case, I was born with only one kick ass cancer gene in my pair working. So, if I haven’t completely lost you and you’ve done the math – my lonely kick ass cancer warrior gene has done its job for 30 years and had to retire. Left with no back up, my boobs were sitting ducks. I’m sure its more complicated than that. But I hope you get the gist of it.
Quite honestly I had just accepted my diagnosis. I was not allowing myself to ask or become sucked into the whole “why is this happening to me?” pit of despair. I knew it was happening and there is nothing I could do to make it un-happpen, I have cancer. No looking back wondering why or how, I can only look forward on how to fix it and make myself better. But knowing that this is chalked up to some bad luck of the genetic draw has given me some comfort. As strange as that may sound. I suppose its comfort in the fact that I didn’t do this to myself because of the food I eat or the life style I chose to follow. (Because you know EVERYTHING causes cancer.)
The Genetic Jedi also suggested that my mother have a panel test done. She suspects the variant gene may have come from her, based on her family history of breast cancer. This is important especially at her age because should she test positive her risk for ovarian cancer is higher (as well as getting breast cancer again). I also found out that “This variant, is a founder pathogenic variant in Iceland …”, so I might have Icelandic ancestry?! Fun fact. All in all a very informative visit, learned a lot. Any time a doctor recommends genetic testing I say do it.
Later that night Heather, my mom and I went to see Beauty and the Beast. It did not disappoint! My super sassy beautiful friend Lynette who just moved to San Francisco came down on Saturday for a visit. I’m excited to go visit her now in San Fran (I’ve never been).
I’ve just been tired again the past few days. Lucky and happy these are the only side effects of the chemo so far. I know I wanted to write about something else, but its slipping my mind. That’s ok though plenty of time for whatever I have to say later. Thank you again and always for all your love, warm wishes and support. It really does help me and I appreciate more than I can express.
I love you all.
Until next time.