Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Information Overload

The fog started to lift yesterday morning and has gotten a bit better again today. On round 3, it started to lift on day 3, so I had high hopes this time, but because I didn’t wait as long to start this round, it had to take longer to get me up again. This week has been filled with appointments, but unfortunately the Monday one I couldn’t get out of bed for. It was for a Muga Scan, which measures my heart muscle functioning. This is one of the more major potential side effects, so they continue with this test to see how my heart is taking things. I have been feeling some aching pains around my heart the past two weeks, so hopefully that is just a fluke (as my doctor says).

Yesterday, I was at the Children’s Hospital to talk to the Cancer Genetic Counsellors. I have decided to go ahead with this process, but it’s quite a long one. It really only involves some more blood from me today, then after about a year of diagnoses, they come back to me to let me know whether or not they found BRCA1 or BRCA2, the two known breast cancer genes. If they do find either, it gives me an increased chance of getting another occurrence of breast cancer in my future or ovarian cancer (over the general population). Because of my young age, they suggested I go ahead with this. Really, it just lets you know whether you need to be more proactive with screening in the future and then they offer the option to my parents and my brother to be tested as well. If I have either of these genes, I got them from one of my parents and they could face the same increased risks (although for men it’s prostate cancer and breast cancer). Each child has a 50% chance of inheriting these genes, so Chad then would also have the option of testing to see if he carried it. They don’t test kids until they reach 18, so Talyn would then also have the option of testing when he was an adult.

Today we go to the Breast Health Supportive Care Clinic. They are a couple of doctors that specialize in Breast Cancer that are there to help if we have other things to discuss that we don’t get to in our 5 minute sessions every 3 weeks with our oncologist. So, Ryan and I are going to talk about what are our options really are if we wanted a second child and what the risks would be. This is a complicated issue and we just want to know the facts so that we can make a decision whether this is something that is an option and if not, then we can stop talking about it so that it isn’t so hard.

With my current schedule, I will be starting my next set of drugs on February 6th, so that means a clinic day on February 5th to check my blood counts. These next drugs sound more daunting the more I hear about them. There are some very serious side effects that can occur almost instantly and then some permanent nerve damage that can result. My dad was really worried about this and wondering why they would want to risk it. I told him that it was one of those things that brings perspective back to how serious this situation actually is. I am doing very well right now, but had I not had treatment things could have progressed in a much different direction. So the doctors really feel that these side effects aren't that major compared with the option of not going ahead and leaving the cancer in my body.

However, all in all I am very lucky and things could have been a lot worse and I thank you all for being along for the crazy ride as we all learn about all the things we never thought we'd have to!

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