Wednesday, 7 December 2011

I'm not afraid for me, I'm afraid for my daughter.(from Sept. 5th, 2008)

I never thought it would ever cross my mind to wish I had a son instead of a daughter. But it suddenly occurs to me how much less worry I would have if Indiana had been a boy. And now I also feel worry for my brand new niece. I feel like I have introduced a time bomb into the lives of the women in my family. Because my cancer is almost certainly genetic. That means that every female who is genetically connected to me could potentially carry the same gene. The wife of a friend recently opted to have an elective bilateral mastectomy because there is so much breast cancer in her family. My cancer combined with Kurt's mom's cancer gives Indiana nearly a 50% chance of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Regardless of lifestyle. Regardless of breast feeding before 28. If she has nothing but anti-oxidants for the rest of her life, the genetic factor alone puts her in a position of having to make that decision. And since each subsequent generation will most likely get breast cancer a decade earlier, that means in her twenties... Before she even has a chance to decide if she is ready to have babies or breast feed them, or even meet the person she wants to spend her life with, she may be faced with the decision of whether or not to have her breasts cut off so she doesn't have to go through what I am going through. I don't want that. My mom once remarked that "breast cancer has come to live in our family." And she was so right. Even after I am finished with my treatments. If I reach the ten year all clear mark and I can leave my battle behind, breast cancer will always reside in our family. It is a part of us now. And no matter how much we don't want it to be, we can't change it. The only thing I can do is hope for a breakthrough. Hope that the people who know more than I do, can find a solution ... a way to prevent it from coming to rest on my daughter, and my niece and my daughter's daughters. In this I feel so helpless. I feel so un-useful. Even Indiana ever asks me about it, I can't even assure her that it won't happen to her, as I once assured Kurt that it wouldn't happen to me.

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