During one of my checkups post my diagnosis for breast cancer, I asked to be tested for the brca gene. The houseman laughed and said, “by all means fill in the application, but you will get nowhere.”
There was no family history of breast cancer; consequently, he did not believe I would qualify. I, however, had a gut instinct so applied and heard nothing and so assumed his prediction was right.
Two months later my Oncologist decided that due to my age, the type of cancer I had and my heritage I should have the test.
A month later just before Christmas, I received a letter from the Geneticist telling me I had the gene.
This blog is not about me having the gene but about whether I was right to tell my children.
I had counseling before the test but listening to a Geneticist give advice about the condition is entirely different to reading in black and white that I had the gene.
Should I have not told my children I was going for the test or not even have gone for the test myself? Would I have requested the test if I had not had breast cancer?
All I know is I had been through the most horrendous few months and knew that not only did I not want to have to go through another diagnosis I didn’t want my children to go through it if they were unlucky enough to carry the gene.
As a parent, I often feel I am damned if I do and damned if I don’t as it happens I had no choice as my younger daughter was with me when I received a letter with Oxford Health Authority on the envelope. I could have lied, but I am not a good actress, and she knew from the second I started to read the letter that I carried the gene.
I also know that I would never forgive myself if God forbid one of them got cancer and I had done nothing to warn them that they may be a carrier.
Both girls say they are glad they know and can be pro active.
I did not go into the testing blindly; as I wrote earlier, I was counseled by the Geneticist and so were both my daughters.
They are both adults and could have chosen not to be tested. Both of them asked me whether I thought they should go for the test and I said it was up to them. I did not give them advice. I had made my choice and they needed to make theirs.