pairofgenes

Okay- now I’m REALLY pissed.

In Uncategorized on February 13, 2012 at 5:05 pm

First- updates on weight loss and workouts.  I am managing 5 workouts a week and I am down 10lbs.  Although this week has challenged my food resolve as the BRCA gene makes a new appearance.

Thus far in my effort to reach out and muddle through all of this BRCA information and the subsequent processes, I have failed to mention the origins of my BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and how they have effected my dad- lovingly titled the BRCA king by me- although his super hero name is Cancer Man.  His father- my paternal grandfather, died quite young from pancreatic cancer.  His mom, my paternal grandmother, died from ovarian cancer.  They are both BRCA indicated cancers, for those who haven’t been taking notes, that means they are both on the list of cancers caused by the gene mutations carried by me, my sister and my dad.  The widely held belief that the BRCA gene only indicates a genetic disposition for breast or ovarian cancer is in fact too narrow a view of these insidious little mutated fuckers.  So if we go back to 7th or 8th grade biology, we all recall the gene matching, dominant, recessive, blah, blah, blah.  Well clearly, these are dominant, because my dad has been juggling this gene since his first cancer diagnosis- prostrate cancer- in the early nineties.  Since that time he has had colon cancer with a pre-cancerous recurrence, bladder cancer which by its very nature recurs, and as of last Thursday, a new addition of ureter cancer, most likely a stray group of cells thrown from the bladder, but he’s undergoing tests and will have another surgery to have the cancer taken out.  My dad put it best when he said that upon hearing the news he was disappointed but not surprised.

So this is where we stand.  The knowledge of these mutated genes causes us to be surprised when there is a benign result.  What shocked me about this most recent wave of news on the cancer front was this:  I am in a barely containable rage.  I have managed each blow dealt thus far with relative grace.  Although anxious at times, and worried when my sister heads in for her chemo rounds (which, p.s., last one is this coming Thursday- yay for that) I have approached my own challenges by doing everything humanly possible to get stronger, thinner, more focused.  My work, child rearing, workout, and health care regiment leave little time for self-pity, but I managed to find time for it yesterday- on a mad fluctuation between bone crushing depression and head splitting rage.  And there’s no where to put it.  My ex-husband is concerned, he says he has rarely heard me sound despondent and maybe I should speak to a professional but blogging is way cheaper and I always get to be right.  Truth is, I am angry because my dad has to have another surgery, because as my sister says we will most likely all have to face an onslaught of cancers in the coming years, and no matter how much precaution is taken or how diligent we remain, our genetic makeup is such that our bodies will incline toward the big C.

Now, when I am calmer, or speaking to my sister regarding these matters, I take a different position.  I have known for 7 years that I have Multiple Sclerosis, but I don’t harp on the fact that there may be a wheelchair in my future, or that my optic nerve could crap out and cause blindness, or even that my vertigo could increase to a point of making it impossible for me to work, drive, even stand.  I NEVER worry about these things- upon my life I swear this is true.  They are not inevitable outcomes in my view.  Are the chances higher for me than for others that these things may come to pass- yes.  But if you think I’m going to waste the time I have for walking, seeing, living without the dizzy’s- on worrying about what may be down the road- then you are as crazy as I am genetically mutated.

So I realized that my anger, my truly blinding rage that has seeped in, is not about our inevitable outcomes- my dad’s, my sister’s or my own, but rather it is about watching those I love struggle under the weight of medical tests, surgeries, treatments and recurrences that make our lives harder than they would be were these genes not dominant in the Levinson line.  I am far more comfortable inside of my own illness than I am as the outsider watching the people I love muddle through their own version of the story I’m telling you here.

It must be said that BRCA1&2 genes are not the only genes I share with my pop, King BRCA.    The very fact that I can write this and share it with you is the most dominant gene he passed to me.   And as I round out the last paragraph, I am less angry than when I began because my ability to process through writing it down is saving my sanity these days.  I am not in denial, nor am I Pollyanna- I am simply trying to make a bad situation better by keeping my loved ones laughing and reminding myself that at least I have my health…oh shit…

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  1. Amy, you are a Wonder Woman! Your writing and courage in this awful struggle are inspiring. Keep up the fight and keep writing! As I’m writing this to you, on the Today Show is some stupid actress telling Ann Curry and Matt Lauer how her biggest aspiration was to be the cover model for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, and now that she achieved it, she doesn’t yet have other aspirations, and just wants to basque in this “achievement.” Amy, there are so many ridiculously shallow people in this world… although your struggle is painful and awful, please know that your depth and humanity are so appreciated. Live proud and strong!

  2. Keep writing-

  3. Wonderful article! That is the kind of info that are meant to be shared across the
    web. Shame on the seek engines for not positioning this post higher!
    Come on over and talk over with my website . Thanks =)

  4. Hi there,
    Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back- I had a crazy couple of months. Send me the link to your blog and i’ll happily read it and get back to you re: crossover. Thanks for getting in touch and for the kind words.
    Amy

  5. I couldn’t find your actual blog, unfortunately. I did go looking for it, but can you send me a direct link?

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