Trust

Trust is perhaps the most important element of any relationship.  Whether it’s with your spouse, your child, your friends or even your doctors.  Without it, the relationship dissolves and everything is questionable.
When I first received my BRCA results, for a moment, I questioned the verdict and wondered if there is a slight possibility that I had a false positive (maybe “hoped” is a better word).  Knowing my family history and my dad’s similar result brought me out of that hopeful hallucination as the facts backed up what was now my truth.  I trust that the mutation is present and I have never had a second thought about eradicating my risk of breast cancer with the double mastectomy.
I understand that many are not as fortunate as I am.  I have a clear answer that indicates my risks.  I actually have the facts and figures.  “87% chance of having breast cancer,” it was right there on the lab results.  However, there are genetic markers yet to be discovered and people who have a strong family history and all of the indications that would be associated with BRCA sometimes test negative.  This doesn’t mean that they should be any less vigilant than those with a positive BRCA result.  A schedule of frequent mammograms and ultrasounds should be discussed with doctors and insurance companies in order to guarantee the best possible chances for early detection.
Meanwhile, Myriad Genetics (which is the only company that tests for BRCA), also automatically runs tests called BART on any high risk individuals to try to find more genetic markers.  They are doing what they can to collect the data and determine more genes that will help people determine their best course of action to protect themselves against disease.  I can have a gut feeling about something (like writing a research paper on double mastectomies at age 16), but until I see the facts laid out before me, I can’t even trust myself. Scientific data, facts and figures, as a scientist (in what feels like my former life as an engineer of a billion years ago), these are the things I can trust.  They don’t lie.

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