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.