The Big White Elephant - aka Mr C
The past few weeks have been hard, a lot has happened besides returning to work after the summer break and I guess I hadn't time to write and also I wasn't sure what to write. I have a few posts planned on Jack's party, my sister's 40th and some recipes I've been working on, but one topic has been whirling around my mind for the past six weeks and I guess the only way to get rid of it is to write it. So here goes. Let me point out before I start, that all the information given here is my own thoughts and feelings, I am certainly no expert and I'm sure lots of people have different experiences - this is mine.
Cancer aka the big white elephant or Mr C plays a daily role in my life, sulking around in corners, attempting to hide, but never fully succeeding. Friends think it follows me around like a bad smell and sometimes I think they might be right, my family seem to have an unusually frequent relationship with cancer, it never seems to get the hint that it is most definitely an unwanted guest.
In 2007 my aunt passed away from breast cancer, last month her sister passed away from ovarian cancer after the longest and bravest fight I've ever seen. Their deaths have been hard to accept, both strong and healthy women, loving wives, mothers, sisters, grannies and aunts. But I guess cancer doesn't discriminate, it takes who it wants and unfortunately for some, our chances are more likely than others.
Because of Mary's death from breast cancer and Jose's diagnosis of ovarian cancer my family were tested for the BRCA1 or the Angelina Jolie gene as it seems to be more commonly known as now. As I've already told you all I have that gene, I face the prospect of either of those cancers or the preventative surgery to eliminate the possibility of developing either. It's something that I thought I was happy to know, and don't get me wrong I am glad I know I have the gene, I am glad that if and when I do get cancer I know it will be early on and prospects will be good, but I do feel that with that knowledge comes a burden. I know that I have a 50/50 chance of passing this gene onto my boys, no mother wants to pass a cancer gene on, but I live in hope that by the time they decide to have families there will be some cure or way of fixing the gene.
I also feel the burden for myself, I try to live everyday without thinking about it and some days I succeed, but in others I find myself wondering what if? What if the next MRI or mammograms shows something up? What if that pain in my side is actually a symptom of ovarian cancer? I over analyse, I over think and I over worry, especially in the weeks leading up to a scan or an appointment. It may sound ridiculous, but the truth is it may just be this scan or this MRI that shows it up, it can grow that quickly and my 87% risk means I'm not being melodramatic.
I worry more for Dec and the boys than I do for myself. I like to think that I would have the strength of mind and character to deal with the illness well, but it's not something I want the boys to have to deal with. So you're asking why don't I just have the surgery now? I think about it a lot, but I'm still only 35, I worry about my femininity, vain and all as that might sound, I worry about the physical and mental implications it will have for me and my relationships. I know I want it eventually, and I hope I'm afforded the time to be able to make the decision myself, but I know I'm just not ready, physically or mentally. Hopefully time will be on my side.
As I said in the beginning it's been a rough couple of weeks, cancer has taken a loved one and has visited another, it is my big white elephant, a large clumsy nuisance in the room, that no matter what, seems to raise it's ugly head from time to time just to remind me it's still there. I thought naming it or giving it a physical identity in Mr C, the big white elephant might help, but all that's really achieved for me is that I can now visualize it. The idea of him trying to fit in the toilet under the stairs with me does make me laugh, and I think that's how I like to deal with it best. My cards have been dealt, there's no changing that so I'm getting on with it and doing so with a little bit of humour. My hubby would be of a similar frame of mind, he jokes that most men leave their wives for younger models, his having mine upgraded to bigger, perter models! But these are the things that get you through.
BCRA 1 is something I have, cancer is something I could get, but I will try not to let that define me. I am who I am and the elephant is just along for the ride!
Love, light and bubbles to you all,