BRCA and Queen Victoria

This morning I was productive. Some days this can happen. I woke up early, tided the house, ran on the elliptical, ate breakfast and went to the post office. Along with a stack of Christmas cards (almost entirely addressed to friends in England) I mailed an envelope to my local children’s hospital. Really, having just typed this, it would be great if I could follow that sentence with ‘and it had a huge donation inside’ but that would be a lie. So what was inside?

Nothing to do with children, or at least not directly.

Last September when I went to visit Dr Canada he again suggested I get tested for the BRCA gene. This is genetic testing that basically explores whether or not you’re body is predisposed to get breast cancer. Maybe there are similar tests for various cancers? I’m not sure. But if there are, I bet all your doctors have suggested a similar investigation once diagnosed.

Hmm. I wasn’t entirely sold on the necessity of genetic profiling my life. No one in my family has had cancer. No one. Period. That’s all. But then Dr Canada says, “well, no one in the royal family had haemophilia until Queen Victoria introduced it.” Turns out the Queen who had insisted the disease hadn’t come from her side of the family, was in fact the carrier.

Some people say her side of the family, the  Coburgs, were cursed by a monk in the early nintheenth century. This monk envied  the Coburg prince and his excessively rich Hungarian bride. So he cursed the family. (“Bam! You are cursed!”)

Other people say the haemophilia may have derived from mutation in Queen Victoria’s genes or her father’s sperm.

Okay – enough with the history.

My point, or rather, Dr Canada’s point was that there is always a beginning. For the sake of future generations (and possibly current ones, but I really think not) it may be good to know whether I carry this stupid gene.  Mind you, having BRCA doesn’t mean you’ll absolutely get cancer. It just ups your chances to like 80% or something.

Anyhow, I digress.  So he prescribed this test. The genetics department sent along a family history questionnaire to my house. My family history literally comprises itself of NO cancer. But I filled out the papers regardless.

And now it’s in the mail on the way to the local children’s hospital. I guess if I have children it would be nice to know whether they’re at risk. And also, if I do have this gene (highly doubtful) than that will leave me with the not-fun decisions to :

1) Remove my other breast?

2) Get ride of the ovaries?

3) Say bye-bye to my uterus?

Boo for any of these three possibilities. And boo for having to consider these wonderful parts of my body as threats. Boo (since I’m booing) for cancer, too, cause it’s blows chunks!

But nevertheless I have submitted the test, thus proving that while I don’t want to worry, I nevertheless worry.

Curiosity killed the cat, or had her remove her ovaries . . . or maybe it didn’t kill her. Maybe it saves her life? Well crap, I don’t know. I’m just doing my best!   (You know what, I don’t really even love cats. They make me sneeze & wheeze like crazy. So whatever that cat does with curiosity, she can leave me out of it.)

P.S. The family had compromised. We will get a tree from a tree farm on Friday. Thanks for your votes – it got Dad to sway and me to wait (but only a little bit, and in the meanwhile we put up lights on the house. Too bad half of them are burnt out, but once they’re in place it’s such a pain to go back up and remove the duds. So we have some lights and some duds, but all good intention. It’s uniquely Brunelle.)  And Daniel is making cinnamon buns AS I TYPE. Okay, so that extra bit has nothing to do with anything, but hey: CINNAMON BUNS. Ah, I’m already drooling.

6 thoughts on “BRCA and Queen Victoria

  1. Scary test, but worth completing. I think there may be something genetic in my family (grandma had it twice, first time in her early 30’s) – but I am negative for the BRCA gene. I think it is also good for family members to know. 🙂

  2. I thought I commented this morning?? I know how difficult it is to grapple with these big decisions and all the ramifications that go along with them. I’m brca 2 + so I’ve been there. It must be even tougher for someone your age. If you have any questions, let me know; not that I know much, but I’ve been through it. Good luck with everything and thanks for writing this post.

  3. Pingback: BRCA testing and genetics « Bumpy Boobs

  4. Pingback: Genetics consultation for BRCA screening: Q&As | Bumpyboobs

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