Sometimes breathing is the hardest part.

We seemed to of skipped all of 2012 and almost all of 2013 as well. I promise not to do this again.
So much happened in that year and a half, we moved, 3 times to be exact and now we’re staying. At least for a little while.  But of course you know this. Lets not sit here and rehash the past! Lets talk about now.

We’re still very much “making it matter” in fact more so in so many ways than I originally thought we would! We have done things like take a personal vow to not buy new. That’s had it’s extreme challanges, some exceptions and most importantly it’s proud moments. We’ve surprised ourselves so many times! Each time we willed another needed item into our hands I thought, “the blog should know about it” alas, it’s all behind us now. On to new things!

I turned 30 not long ago and everyone jokes, “oh just wait, this is when your health craps out!” And I would think, “Yea right, I’m going to enter 31 in better shape than I was at 21!” (I was pregnant at 21, God lets hope I’m in better shape at 31!) Finally I got a really good insurance plan (see, getting “old” makes you excited about these things) and eagerly made appointments. It had been a couple years since my last pap smear so I made that appointment first, got in right away and then…the bottom fell out.

You see, my mother tested BRCA 2 positive recently after battling breast cancer a few years ago. Her mother has gone toe to toe with various forms of cancer over her lifetime as well and now has a full mastectomy, her sister fought hard against her cancer, and cancer did not back down. We lost her.  I’ve held my Grandmothers hand through biopsies, tended to her after mastectomies, driven 4 hours on chemo days for my mother, cut my hair along side her and stood in tears at my aunts funeral. Cancer did not resonate within me, it infuriated me.  Cancer is a coward that hid inside of the bodies of the women I love. Cancer took strong, amazing people from my life, yet I did’t feel anything toward it other than hate. Then my mothers test came back. I hadn’t heard of BRCA 1 o2 2 or anything for that matter. I know, I know, where have I been? Angelina is the president of BRCA1, don’t you know?! No I don’t! I knew of her procedures and why, yet that detail didn’t stick. Remember the downsizing thing? Yea we don’t have a tv, or cable, I don’t keep up on the day to day of Hollywood, or anything for that matter. (Thank you Grandma for warning me about that tropical storm!)

So there I am at my shiny new gyno’s office, normal nervousness about that sort of visit. It’s not everyday you meet someone and within a couple of minutes you’re flat on your back only calling one another by last names. (Maybe this is typical for some of you….) So any how we did the routine chatter about my family history, her pen running out of ink as I chronicle my maternal sides cancer bouts. She pauses on my mothers history and asks me, “BRCA 1 or 2?” A bit of urgency in her voice.  “I haven’t a clue, the serious one? ehh…” “I need to know, that will tell us what our next step is…” she drives this point home with enough force that I’m touching bases to find out that answer before being in my car. During this visit we discuss polycystic ovarian syndrome, it coming with increased risks of all sorts of cancers on it’s own, the fact that I have a few little cysts on my cervix and wall and a briefing on BRCA 1 & 2. I ask what the difference is and she glossed over it, “With 1 we will have you in for a mammogram yearly, with 2 we will subtract 10 years from the youngest person with cancer in your families age and have you start then.” The idea of waiting until I’m 35 to get a mammogram when I’m this high risk was not at all satisfying. We wrapped up, I left with estrogen to start taking to try to trip my illusive periods and my head in the sky as I pondered these mutated genes she kept insisting I know more about.

That was Tuesday.

That night I was sort of mellow, not informed enough about BRCA 1 and 2 to really panic yet, ya know, that sort of awe inspiring calm that ignorance brings.

Wednesday I googled a lot, I contacted the 1 person I knew who had been tested recently, Tiffany. She is a friend who is also head first on her BRCA journey as well, she’s actually going in for her hysterectomy this coming week. She got me. She understood that deer in head lights, holy shit feeling I was in. Then like a warm wave it just crept over me, my appetite went, my sleep went, it all was used up and buried inside as my mind both raced and blanked. All I could think about was the unkown, all I could feel was fear. I tried to sleep. I didn’t cry.

Thursdays are fun. Our mornings are fast here, we have to get up, get the little up and ready for school, get breakfast made and out the door all while tending to dogs, a pig, goats, tortoises, a farm is not an easy job, who sold me this!? Any how, Thursdays are different in that I put deodorant on and volunteer in littles class in the mornings. This morning was different, the kids were all in matching shirts and more excited than usual, why? This day they were doing a fundraising marathon type event. Our little had collected her pledges and planned to run her little buns off. I was so happy to get the chance to be there, to take 150 pictures, to laugh with her and cheer her on. I really was. Yet all the while this darkness was lurking, this damn BRCA thing! I couldn’t stop thinking about it, how I wasn’t happy with the talk, how I wanted to grab this bastard by the horns and freaking smash it. I wanted it all right now. Tiffany said this journey is about patients. So there I am stapling future tests together during my volunteer hour when my phone rings, it’s my Dr, they’ve decided to refer me to the cancer center. Radio Silence. There it is…there I am in the same sentence with cancer. Me…this is happening. This is it.

I’m numb. I finish my task and sit there staring blankly. My eyes brim with tears and I fight them back. I will not do this. Cancer or the potential for cancer, mutated genes, all of it, they will not bring me to this. They will not barge uninvited into my life and fuck up my good day. I’ve had enough. Universe, kindly back the fuck off please?

We go out and I cheer her on, I laugh and laugh in the hot sun, thinking of how truly truly terrified I am as I watch everyone else just horsing around enjoying themselves without a care in the world. Here I am feeling singled out by life and ready to just ball my eyes out. Luckily the race wraps up and I make it to my car alone, where the tears fall with no effort. I allow this…this moment, just take it, I’ll give myself a minute to cry about it then I’ll straighten up and get on with my day. Yea right. I’ll go inward so far I can’t see anything and simply sit in silence for the rest of the day, still unable to eat. That’s what I meant to say. These words can not adequately do anything justice. Terrified is simply skimming the surface of the emotion at hand. I had to hold in this feeling all day, this was a day I had no interaction with other adults thanks to a new move and a lack of new friends…this was a day like no other and all I wanted was a hug.  It was one of those mom days where you pick the kids up from school, do the errands, get groceries, make dinner, take care of the animals and hold yourself together until after everyone is in bed. It was that day. Tiffany pointed me in the direction of a great group online for BRCA folk and their journeys, this was for sure the day to check it out. I’m glad I did, granted it was no physical hug or the power of touch but it was a blessing all it’s own. Dozens of people came forward to welcome me, to understand my fears, the day I was on, to listen and advice. I can’t wait to get to know them better, to share my journey with them, to see where my journey goes.

Just now as I typed that last sentence I had an out of body experience. All this time I’m writing and not thinking about BRCA and then it hit me, cold and hard, yea, you’re not telling a story asshole. You’re living this nightmare.

Friday. Today. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. I’ve let myself cry, not just cry but truly sob, scream, ya know the one. It seems like all the tears are gone and then something else I hadn’t thought of comes up and a whole new batch of tears show up. I’m scared. I’m really really scared. I faced a 2 year long divorce and  wasn’t this scared…ok maybe sometimes. But this is clearly different! This is happening. This process, this journey, this whole thing. It’s real and in slow motion.

I have my appointment with the cancer center next Thursday. This is where I will get my BRCA testing. Where we’ll chart a course and where I will lose either way. Positive or negative.
I have my ovarian ultrasound (checking for abnormalities and polycystic ovarian syndrome) and previous blood work and pap results Friday.
The BRCA test will come back??? This test will tell one of a few things. It will say I am not BRCA negative, woohoo, right? Not really. You see coming from a high risk family BRCA is almost a blessing in that you get to be ultra super proactive. Having a negative result will not mean my chances are low, they will mean that they are still as high (but not from BRCA)  and that I will simply get routine mammograms, stay on top of my check ups etc and hope to all the Gods that if something were to come up that we catch it in time.
It will say BRCA2 positive, this means that my daughter will also be. (Enter in a whole new level of depression)
It can say positive and that I’ve inherited my mothers working copy, which means my daughter will not have this.
It can say negative (survivors guilt etc)

It’s hard to stay on the day to day when your mind wants to race to prophylactic mastectomy, hysterectomy, low dose chemo for life to decrease cancer odds and the thinness of your sanity.
I started my hormone meds today.
So this is where I am. Friday. I can’t word to you how ungodly awful I feel. I am in pieces. Truly. I’ve faced mountains before but at some point something has to be bigger than me. I worry about this one being it.  I am scared. I am terrified. I am putting my partner through such scary times. I am lashing out at her like a scared caged animal. I am numb and yet in so much pain. I want to run away.

This is 30?! Someone said my back would go out, no one mentioned this shit! My life has not been easy, it’s actually been pretty hard and this seems to just fall into place. I don’t get it. I need a break.

Everyone keeps saying, “oh you’ll be fine!” or “You’ll get through it” You do realize nothing is impenetrable right? I’m fully capable of being beaten, broken and totally irrevocably shattered. In fact, I’m part way there!

On Thursday we take a test and wait. Lets see where I am at that point. I hope this gets easier. I need it to.