Are You Two Together?

“Are you two together?” asked the checkout girl at the local grocer yesterday afternoon.  Without skipping a beat I proudly responded “Yes, for twenty-four years now!”  We sure put a lot of stock in numbers, don’t we? The pride I showed in my response is often taken with a smile and a corresponding response, other times the recipient may feel embarrassed because he or she’s parents weren’t lucky enough to make it that far, or perhaps he or she is having problems with their own relationship.  Who knows … all I know is my reply to that question is always delivered with the same excitement I had at the altar in front of friends and family two-plus decades ago.  ¶ Roughly ten days ago Bonnie’s surgeon recommended she undergo a BRCA Mutation test to ascertain if she carries either of the BRCA mutations; BRCA1 and BRCA2. ¶ Like most things related to the treatment of cancer, there is certainly a cost, often a quite expensive cost related to these tests.  Furthermore, it would appear that although we are now classified as Breast Cancer survivors, we need to understand we are also Breast Cancer hosts for all the available testing to ensure our system is free and clear.  In the past week Bonnie has dealt with our insurance company, the surgeon’s office and the hospital where this mutation test will take place.  Without her very active involvement in all of this I can honestly state the test would have eventually been scheduled sometime next year and we’d have wound up with a handsome bill at the end.  ¶ Her orchestration between the players and the required referrals is nothing less than amazing and I watched and listened to her on the drive home from the grocer yesterday afternoon with all the zest and energy of the girl that stood next to me saying “I DO”.  From the way she sounded on the phone yesterday you’d have thought she had just scored tickets to the upcoming Dukes of September concert.  (The Dukes of September trio is comprised of Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs).  ¶ I’ll provide you with some research material on how BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations affect a person’s risk of cancer … Not all gene changes, or mutations are harmful.  Some mutations may be beneficial, whereas others may have no obvious effect.  Harmful mutations can increase a person’s risk of developing a disease, such as cancer.  Since we’ve already been in the ring with breast cancer, our next opponent may be ovarian cancer.  So this mutation test is a good thing and I’m thankful Dr. Norton suggested this.  ¶ A woman’s lifetime risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer is greatly increased if she inherits a harmful mutation in BRCA1 or BRCA2.  Such a woman has an increased risk of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer at an early age (before menopause) and often has multiple, close family members who have been diagnosed with these diseases. But wait there’s more … Harmful BRCA1 mutations may also increase a woman’s risk of developing cervical, uterine, pancreatic and colon cancer.  Harmful BRCA2 mutations may additionally increase the risk of pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, gallbladder, bile duct cancer and melanoma. ¶ Bonnie will have this test conducted on July 30th.  This particular test is nothing more than a “swab and spit” type test which from my research shows the costs to range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.  Due to Bonnie’s hard work – we have been ensured the cost of this will be $0.00 based on our insurance … whew!  Evidently there’s a several week waiting period for the results of this test, in which case you’ll have read more uplifting pieces from me about my bride and the girls, though this is where we are today.  What I don’t like is the angst that will fill her system in the interim, though there’s little I can do to relieve it, you can bet your ass all of us will be doing our best to maintain a positive tone in and around the house and workplace.  I’ve attached the first photograph to this blog and it belongs to two friends of our oldest daughter Taylor who recently ran a marathon in support of Breast Cancer.  Bonnie and I have not yet met these girls, but I was truly touched when seeing this photograph with Bonnie’s name printed on the back of their legs to let the world know who they were supporting.  Thank you girls! You both now own a special place in my heart.  “Are you two together?” … “HELL YES!”

Resources: National Cancer Institute; BRCA1 and BRCA2: Cancer Risk and Genetic Testing




One thought on “Are You Two Together?

  1. Pingback: breast cancer twins

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