Friday, July 29, 2011

Was I Born This Way?

"I'm on the right track baby
I was born this way
Don't hide yourself in regret
Just love yourself and you're set
I'm on the right track baby
I was born this way"   Lady Gaga

But was I? Was I born this way? Born with cancer already set in my path?

I'm a big Lady Gaga fan and "Born This Way" is one of my favorite songs. I love the message and power behind it. As I was singing it in the car one day, I wondered if on the day I was born cancer was already there or did I or the environment do something to make it happen. 

The funny, or not so funny, thing is that I may never know. I tested BRCA 1 and 2 negative, but there are still genetic links yet to be discovered. Breast cancer wasn't a big issue in my family history - my maternal great grandmother had breast cancer. And until March 2010, no one else did and then my mother was diagnosed. Due to her age and the one person history, her cancer diagnosis was not attributed to a genetic link and she was not a recommended candidate for genetic testing. If she had been younger at diagnosis, a genetic link would have likely been discussed further. My mother is doing well now (after chemo, mastectomy and radiation treatment).

When I went in for my yearly mammogram in March 2010, I had to add my mother's diagnosis to my family history. It was tough to say the words and difficult to accept what that really meant - that I was now one of those people and breast cancer was very close all of the sudden. I got a call a day later that there were some spots in the mammogram - likely cysts- but I had to come back in for ultrasound. The ultrasound showed only cysts and nothing further was needed or recommended. I felt like I had dodge a bullet. I'd never had cysts show up before in a mammogram, but they were there. I couldn't feel them, but I could see them on the ultrasound.

The next thing I knew I was giving myself breast self-exams every other week.  

As the months passed in 2010, I was able to help my mom through surgery, treatment and recovery. I also began to think, that maybe I wouldn't get breast cancer. My mom wasn't in great health prior to the diagnosis, but I was doing well health-wise. So maybe it was possible.....

In March 2011 those ideas were dashed and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It seemed weird and freakish that almost exactly one year later, I got the diagnosis. I wondered if it was environmental because mom and I shared the same house for 18 years (and visits from college, etc). I wondered if it was genetic, but my maternal grandmother doesn't have it. Did breast cancer skip a generation and I was a fluke? (I don't have children so that was a safe go-to thinking) 

When will we know? How we will know? Will we ever know?

I don't question everything I ever ate or drank or every place I ever visited. Maybe it is a genetic link, maybe it's not.  Breast cancer is just a small part of who I am, but not what I am. 

I was born with my hazel eyes, curly hair, love for music and sense of humor which all are attributed to my parents' gene pool. I was born with my personality and outgoing spirit which I like to think I enhanced from the gene pool. I was born with an open mind and willingness to accept others as they are which didn't necessarily come from the gene pool. 
This is the way I was born.

"Just love yourself and you're set"  Lady Gaga

1 comment:

  1. Yes,,,,we were born this way.
    Love this song too :)
    I am praying hard..for a cure before our daughters and granddaughtera also have to feel they were born this way :(