I like to think of myself as an optimist. I tend to see the positive in things before the negative, I wake up with a smile most days, and I can’t help but view the world as a good place. But I’m also a realist.
Fact: I have the BRCA1 gene mutation.
Fact: That means I have (had) an 87% chance of contracting breast cancer.
Fact: I still have a 67% chance of contracting ovarian cancer.
I wish I could stick to my optimist tendancies and accept life as it is now. But the fact of the matter is, I still have body parts that are trying to kill me. Removing my ovaries would be absolutely detramental to my health now and in the future. The hormones your ovaries produce aid in everything from heart health to bone health. I am not willing to exchange my cancer risk for heart disease. One deadly disease for another? No thanks.
Fortunately for me I have access to a ridiculous amount of resources. Back when I went to the FORCE conference this past June I learned about a few recent studies that have shown that 60 to 100% of ovarian cancers start in the fallopian tubes, which you DON’T need. Especially me, since the fallopian tubes’ only job is to send the egg from the ovary to the uterus to be fertilize, and I never intend on naturally concieving children (see my previous post about egg retrival, freezing, PGD, and IVF). So ever since that day in June, I’ve spent hours upon hours researching. I met with one gyn onc, and this week I met with a second (second opinions are NEVER a bad decision). The first one I met with didn’t have much experience with BRCA women and didn’t know the difference in risk between being BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 (1 has 67% chance, 2 has <45%). He tried to scare me out of surgery and told me CA125 tests were unneccessary (CA125 and transvaginal ultrasounds are the only way to screen for ovarian cancer). The second one, however, was so knowledgable. He actually told me things I didn’t know despite my intricate research. Doctors and researchers are now realizing that not only does ovarian cancer start in the tubes, but so does uterine, peritineal, and some colon cancers. He told me that if I was BRCA2 he’d tell me to wait a few years, but because I’m a BRCA1-er he’d absolutely remove those bad boys now.
It’s a laproscopic surgery with an incision through my belly button so I’m left with no scar (which I’m kinda bummed about, scars are rad). They swoop in, chop ’em out, send them to pathology and intricately divide them into thin pieces where they inject a dye that illuminates anything suspicious. Pretty amazing stuff. It’s an outpatient procedure and it’s over in an hour, the only real repercussions from this is infertility, which I’ve stated is not a problem. Recovery involves lots of sore abs because they have to cut through them to get to the lady bits. But after that..I’m DONE. My surgery is a month away, then my summer of surgeries is over. I won’t be under anesthesia again until I’m ready to unfreeze my children and have them implanted in my uterus. Of course, in about 15 years I’ll have to remove my ovaries but that’s still a while away. This is almost over! Wahoo!
I know I said at the beginning of this summer that I’d wait a while before doing any of the gynocological surgeries, but there’s really no point to it. I don’t need these parts and they’re dangerous so I have no hesitations about removing them.
Thinking this way doesn’t change who I am, I’m not a pessimist, “I’m an optimist. But I’m an optimist who carries a raincoat.”