This last week I have been feeling much more optimistic about all things BRCA-related in my life.  I feel like I have already read about the worst case scenarios.  I have found that 85% risk of breast cancer is really the highest published stat for BRCA2 mutation carriers.  Other studies find less, and when you average them all out then BRCA2 mutation carriers are estimated to have 45% risk of breast cancer before age 70.  Although I admit the numbers are starting to lose their meaning.  Many of the studies end up concluding the risk is highly variable and individual to the family.

Even so, I have been doing my family history research and reading up on our particular mutation.  I have found there is no recorded case of ovarian cancer in our family so far, and perhaps no true cases of ovarian cancer for our particular mutation (2024del5).  There was a reference to a case of endometrial cancer and one of an endometriod cancer in the fallopian tubes in a couple studies.  But those had rather late onset ages.  As I have blogged about before, the mutation we have is not in the Ovarian Cancer Cluster Region so the risk of ovarian cancer are lower.  But the breast cancer risk is higher.  And after looking at the family history, I can confirm that it is quite prevalent.  I wouldn’t be surprise if our risk of breast cancer was at the highest end of the spectrum.

While acknowledging I may have an extremely high risk of breast cancer, I feel comforted that my risk of ovarian cancer may not be so bad.  Why?  Because I have felt for a long time (years before the BRCA news) that I would definitely consider prophylactic mastectomy if I found out my risk of breast cancer is high.  So I feel that I have an option to handle that news—whatever the result may be.  On the other hand, I never imagined before that I would need to take my ovaries out before natural menopause.  And when I read more about it, I only feel more and more opposed to the idea of an early oophorectomy.  So I have really been dreading any news that would suggest that I need to consider it.

So at this moment, I feel ready for BRCA testing and facing the possibility of positive results.  A lot of initial fears I had when first hearing about BRCA have “smoothed” out, so to speak.  I know it’s not an easy path but I know that it’s not a dead end.  I even have an idea about how I will personally navigate it.

But if I am feeling so much better about things, then why am I so stuck?  I still can’t stop thinking about BRCA all the time.  I work from home, and I am hardly getting any work done.  But I got deadlines to meet.  This is frustrating me to no end.  It’s been like this for too long.  I know I should get out of the house more, go for a walk (or maybe even a run!), and I should just push myself to do a little bit of work.  Once I get started, it’ll get easier right?  But my brain doesn’t seem to cooperate.

I know part of this problem is my work-from-home arrangement.  It’s not for me.  I knew that when I first made the contract.  I tried to do it for as short of time as possible.  Just a few months to tide me over until I find a local job.  But the job hunt is going slower than I thought.  And I didn’t realize beforehand that my big move back to my home continent was also going to happen at the same time I got the news of my mother’s breast cancer and BRCA+ status.

This BRCA new comes on top of the work pressures, job hunt, money worries, and reverse culture shock.  It’s been stressful.  I guess I don’t get anything done, because I don’t want to face any of the more pressing problems in my life.  Somehow it’s easier to worry about problems 5, 10, or more years from now than to think about the ones right now.  But meanwhile, the problems right now just get bigger and bigger.  I really need to crawl out of this hole.


3 Responses to “Stuck”

  1. 1 Janine

    It is really hard to get out of the brca rut. I do have to force myself to go do stuff sometimes even if I don’t feel like it. I don’t know what I would do without my gym membership! How did you find out about the ovarian risks for your particular mutation?

    • I googled and searched PubMed for my mutation type (2024del5) and found a few research papers that mentioned it. I’ll make another post blog later on the complete results. But in the meantime, you can see the information and references I found on my FORCE message. You can also look at my post Risk Diversity for citations to the Ovarian Cancer Cluster Region (OCCR) in BRCA2.

  2. I didn’t realize you could do that either (check out risk by our mutation type), thanks for sharing..

    We all get stuck in ruts sometimes, I think that’s just part of life. There are a lot of little things you can do to help break out of it. Like Janine mentioned, working out is one, a funny movie, a good book, a GNO (girls night out)… while we all get down and consumed by all things BRCA I think its important to try to find some balance too if you can..

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