Friday, October 5, 2012

Mammogram Results- All Clear

A week after my mammogram, I had my appointment with Dr. Waisman to get the results. Everything came back clear. And while I wasn’t holding my breath or super anxious about the mammogram, I was glad to have it over with and obviously, very glad to get good news.

This was the first appointment with Dr. Waisman that Steve couldn’t accompany me to. He has been a great source of support, with me at nearly every appointment I’ve had as a result of having the gene. And I was particularly bummed at him missing this appointment because we wanted to use it as an opportunity to ask how having the gene impacts/informs your decision to have children.

Ever since learning I’m a BRCA2 gene carrier, Steve and I have had to have more careful and considered conversations about having children. Not that, in theory and in most cases, couples everywhere have similar talks trying to determine how many children they want and when they think they’ll have them. But for a BRCA gene carrier, the conversations take on a whole new meaning.

When is important for a couple of reasons. First, because, as I learned at this appointment, you can’t get scanned (mammogram or MRI) when you’re pregnant. So it’s ideal to time when you start trying around your scan so that you have a) the most recent images and b) can reduce the time that you’re not being monitored. And with the MRI being a more reliable image, it’s recommended that I wait until after that (which isn’t until next March) to start trying. Secondly, if you don’t want children, then they recommend removing your ovaries since there still isn’t a truly reliable way to test for ovarian cancer. I am really trying to avoid having to do this because the thought of throwing myself into menopause in my 30s is so totally unappealing. Steve and I already have temperature issues (I’d rather be cold any day of the week and he refers to himself as a hot house plant). Not to mention all the other unpleasant things that accompany it are things I’d rather avoid. Yes. I know. I also want to avoid an ovarian cancer diagnosis, but…

Dr. Waisman also talked with me about breastfeeding. He recommends against it because it just increases the time that you’re not being scanned. He said unless a woman is fanatical about it (I’m not), he tries to steer them in the other direction. While I’m not someone who has to breastfeed, I am going to ask around on this one to see what other opinions are on the matter.

It was a hugely eye opening conversation. I hadn’t considered that I wouldn’t be able to be monitored during the pregnancy or that breastfeeding would be something I’d have to consider because of the gene. Dr. Waisman gave me a lot to think about.

When. How many. Breastfeed or not?
Lots of heavy decisions and considerations.
While it continues to be overwhelming, I remain grateful that I’m informed and have the opportunity to be proactive with my health.


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