Would you rather?

My best friend Katie and I play a mean game of “Would You Rather?”  (To be honest it’s mostly Katie with her insane imagination but I am there and I play.) From the hard hitting: Would you rather marry a magician who was constantly doing tricks or marry a chronic nose-picker?  To the deep life questions: Would you rather wake up one morning and not remember the last 24 hours at all or wake up and realize you just spent the last 24 hours naked?  Like you lived your normal like but you were naked.  This game has become a staple of our friendship and aides in our endless ability to entertain each other.

For the record, I would chose naked. I could not handle the not knowing.  I need that control over my own life. Except for today.  Today I would rather not know.

Would you rather take a genetic test to find out if you carry a gene mutation with an 85% chance of causing breast cancer OR, just, not? 

We are pretty sure my father’s family is of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and we know his mother died of breast cancer at age 55.  Which means nothing or it could mean nothing.  It could mean that I am not one of the 1 in 40 Ashkenazi Jews that carry that BRCA mutation (as compared to 1 in 800 in the general population).  It could mean because my paternal aunts and cousins are fine that we don’t carry it and my Bubby got sporadic breast cancer.

Sporadic breast cancer is a term I learned today from my packet entitled “Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome: A Patient’s Guide to risk assessment.”  It is a terrifying packet handed to me by my OBGYN while I wasn’t wearing any pants.  I add this because the indignity of being told you should probably get tested for a gene mutation that almost guarantees you cancer while half naked cannot be overlooked.

One of the most interesting things about this whole day was the assumption everyone I told had that I would be tested.  There was no “Would you rather?”.  Just a simple “You should do this.”.  I’m not saying I don’t want to know, again, I chose naked but I almost wish it hadn’t been proposed because now it’s an entirely different game:

Would you rather be at risk for breast cancer your whole life or reduce that risk 90% by double mastectomy?

Would you rather have children or reduce your risk of ovarian cancer by 60% and take oral contraceptives for the rest of your life?

Would you rather get tested for a gene mutation or just be 28?

*this post reflects my day and the information given to me by my doctor in my packet.  This is not medical advice or anything else.  Please be kind in comments, it's been a day.



Did I tell you guys that it is the bicentennial here at my school?  Well it is!  This weekend is a huge party and our school will be full of super awesome alum and well I will be tech supporting all day through a variety of cool panels and things. There is also a huge tent.


Here is me inside the tent for scale.


I’m 5’4″.  How big is the tent?  What other info do you need?



The better of us.

“Three years ago my brother was shot and killed out side our gate.”

This was how a student at my school started her morning reports speech on Monday.  She went on to talk about the things she now valued and how she showed her values and it was a moving and deeply felt speech.

I spent the rest of the day thinking about my brother.  Then when it came to writing today I decided I should tell you about him.  Also, cause I think he’s the best person I know.

My brother is a special ed teacher at a full inclusion school.  The children and adults on campus are ridiculously impressed with him.  It’s pretty unsurprising to me because I know just how smart and hard-working he is.

There are a lot of things I like (comic books, movies, and others) just because my brother liked them as a child and I wanted to be like him.  Probably cause he’s so cool.

He is patient in a way that baffles me (with everyone except me) and that translates to his job being exactly right for him and him being exactly right for the kids.

I’m really lucky in a lot of ways.  My family is really functional and my brother is one of my best friends (whether he wants to be or not).  Other people talk about fighting with their siblings and in general we don’t.  I mean, there was that one time he punched me but I’m pretty sure I started it.

Anyway, I don’t know what the eff sibling’s day is but today is my-brother-is-the-best day.

2010, in front of not the actual Alcatraz but a picture of it.
2010, in front of not the actual Alcatraz but a picture of it.

I have not the words.

It’s Sunday April 13th. Tomorrow I will be giving a speech to my whole school.  A school full of girls. Two hundred and two girls sleep in their dorms about 1000 meters from my house. Tomorrow they will write essays.  Tomorrow they will prepare for spanish tests and physics tests.  They will brave the general difficulty that comes with being a teenager.

Their parents are at home in California, Massachusetts, Hong Kong, and Nigeria.  They are asleep.  They have chosen that their daughters be educated at this place. That their daughters be given the opportunities granted only by living in these gray walls.

My girls have brothers and sisters who they talk to as often as possible.  They have boyfriends and girlfriends and all types of friends. They are very very lucky. I am thinking about all of this as I write my speech.

Then in the middle of the night armed men enter the building and light it on fire. It is a well known fact that our school is built like an oven, stone on the outside wood on the inside.  The girls, being smart and well trained, evacuate.  There they are kidnapped. In whatever they are wearing, with whatever they have, they are removed from our care. They are taken in the night by these men with guns.

Before the government responds they are taken across international borders.  They do not call their parents or talk to their friends.  They are gone.

They have been missing now for two weeks. About twenty managed to escape but the rest seem to have vanished. Their parents are on TV begging for their daughters to be returned as news ticker divulges the details the last celebrity engagement.

There are stories about them being sold and married off and killed but they don’t eclipse the truly important opening of the new superhero movie.  Because this is America and we know what’s important.

It has been eighteen days and we have not gotten them back.

The thing is it would never happen here because my girls are wealthy, my girls live in America, and most of my girls are white. The problem with that is the girls taken in Nigeria are mine, too. They are all of ours.  So why aren’t we acting like it?



Writing. Thesis Writing.

Today I am working on my thesis.  This basically means that all of my thinking is there and I am struggling to type anything that isn’t that.

If you’re interested my thesis is called, “Adolescent girls’ perceived value of social networking sites.” It’s interesting because most of the research I looked at talked about a positive affect on their friendships and their self-worth but my girls reported no affect at all.  I think this is one of two things: 1) they lied a little to feel cooler or 2) they just don’t know what it’s like to not have facebook so while their friendships may have different layers then mine did it is all they know.

All right, back to my paper which is due Tuesday, which is my last class before graduating!