Monday, February 14, 2005

still learning...

As I said, I've learned a lot about my parents these past few months. I've also learned a lot about cancer.

One thing I've learned is that there are still people out there who are very uncomfortable with the word cancer. There was a time that you didn't say it out loud. You said, "The C Word", instead. I really thought in this day and age where cancer isn't immediately a death sentence, and we openly remind women to do self breast exams that people would not react to the word the way they do. But those people are out there, and they're the ones you'd least expect, and they look at you as if you've just subjected them to a string of obscenities...

I've also learned about ovarian cancer and genetics. Ovarian cancer is rare in the general population. When two women from the same family have OVCA, the red flags are raised. There are two gene mutations that have been identified that can cause both ovarian and breast cancer. If you've inherited one of these genes your risk of developing one or both of these cancers skyrockets.

As I am typing this, a sample of my mother's blood is flying across the country to a lab that will extract her DNA from it and look for this gene mutation. It is too late to help her, but if they find this mutation, it may help many other women in our family. Including J's daughters.......

5 Comments:

Blogger Nancy said...

The more you learn, the more you can help your family and "be there" for your mom. I learned so much when my father-in-law had lung cancer, and I believe we helped him through this very difficult time by understanding things he didn't (or didn't want to).
Prayers ...

6:38 AM, February 15, 2005  
Blogger veronica said...

I'm so sorry your Mom has been dx'd with ovarian ca, it is such an insidious disease. I've been dx'd with late stage breast cancer but don't blog about it much as it feels like a personal journey for me. Just know it's healthy for your Mom to feel what she's feeling and deep sorrow is one emotion of a myriad she will experience. Lots of laughs here but we are no longer feeling the happiness of knowing we will be together many years, that's the dif. Will be praying for your Mom's recovery. ox's

4:11 AM, February 16, 2005  
Blogger veronica said...

Oh, I forgot to suggest you visit Sandee's blog, she is the most amazing woman. She's linked on my blog, you won't be disappointed. all the best
www.hissyfit.net

4:13 AM, February 16, 2005  
Blogger Nanntz said...

Thanks for coming by my web page yesterday (via Michele).
My sympathy on what you are going through with your mom. I am caring for my parents as well, but their health concerns are NOTHING compared to what you are dealing with. Take care of you.

10:22 AM, February 16, 2005  
Blogger angela marie said...

Be (as much as you can be) prepared for the gene results and your mom's reaction to them. We did gene testing in our family and I am glad we did. My sister and I were positive for the mutation and I think that was very hard on my mom. The fact that she 'gave' it to us. The same gene mutation that 'gave' my brother the colon cancer that ended up taking his life.

I try to tell my mom that although she passed along this gene for cancer, she also passed along her compassion, her dedication, her ability to be a good friend, her short (and cute) stature, her button nose, her ability to communicate. I may have an 80% chance of getting colon cancer, but it is something I am aware of and I can protect myself...but I also have all these other wonderful things from my mom too!

11:24 AM, February 16, 2005  

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(written September of 2005) I have learned much in the last nine months. I have read that ovarian cancer whispers. I say it screams. It just needs someone to listen. The American Cancer Society statistics for ovarian cancer estimate that there will be 22,220 new cases and 16,210 deaths in 2005. This is a death rate FOUR TIMES that of breast cancer.Almost 70 percent of women with the common epithelial ovarian cancer are not diagnosed until the disease is advanced in stage. The 5-year survival rate for these women is only 15 to 20 percent. This is unacceptable. Women need to be made more aware of the symptoms, and doctors need to listen to their patients. Especially when the patient tells them that they fear they have ovca, as my mother did for almost a year before she was finally diagnosed. It’s so sad and senseless when a woman knows the symptoms but can’t get anyone to listen to what she is saying.

©JsDaughter