Boulders in the Road


This has been a week of proverbial bumps in the road of my journey. But those “bumps” felt more like giant boulders.

The first came in the form of a spot near my tumor picked up on an MRI. A biopsy this week (which was a barrel of fun in itself) confirmed everyone’s suspicion that it was indeed more cancer.

But it was smaller, and my lymph nodes and right breast still looked OK, so I rolled with it.

Then came the call from the genetic counselor: I am positive for the BRCA2 breast cancer gene mutation.

I did not handle this one quite as gracefully. While this answers the question of why this is happening now, it also changes things quite dramatically.

The lumpectomy is off the table. I’ll get a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. And I’ll also have my ovaries removed, since the gene also is linked to ovarian cancer.

My sister will need to be tested. And when he’s older, my son will, too (the gene also is linked to prostate and pancreatic cancers).

That last part just destroys me. I can handle my own shit, but knowing he might have to deal with this risk is almost too much.

I know that in many ways, I’m lucky. Knowledge truly is power, and that’s even more true when you’re fighting a shady beast like cancer. But knowing also hurts, because there’s no delusion or denial of how hard this is going to be.