Deathly Afraid...pun Entirely Intended.

It seems I start every story these days with: My mum died from cancer earlier this year. Well, it was horrific. Things are slowly moving forward.

I'm afraid of cancer because I saw what it did to my Mum and because I know that I most likely have a breast cancer gene. The geneticists told me that it wasn't the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes but that there were many unidentified breast cancer genes that they are assuming I have, due to a strong family history and other specifics, i.e. my Mum had two different cancers (not the same one recurring), she got her first cancer before she was 30 years old and I started my menstruation at the tender age of 10. 

My hyper-vigilance about cancer is probably a good thing. I'm 24 and just had my first breast MRI screening. It came back fine. I will be getting these every year for the rest of my life. They say the imaging picks up cancer 3 years before it becomes a lump. 

I have to keep reminding myself of this, because I'm still so scared of getting it. I will most likely undergo surgery in the next 10 years to remove both my breasts and possibly my uterus and ovaries. Just to be sure. 

I will do anything to avoid, as best I can, going down the path my mother did. Watching her die from cancer was horrific and I would put a gun to my head before allowing cancer to kill me. 

Sometimes I get angry because I think a 24 year old shouldn't have to think about stuff like this, but then I get over it because I think about my Mum and I think about what she and my family went through. And then you just get on with life. 
BettyValentine BettyValentine
22-25, F
4 Responses Dec 4, 2012

So glad to have come across this forum. I am so sorry to all of you who have to deal with this debilitating fear of cancer.Like many here, cancer gallops through my family...on both sides. :( My dad spent 25 years dealing with a "treatable" (not curable) cancer and was in and out of the hospital since I was 13. He later was diagnosed with two other types of cancer -- melanoma and advanced prostrate cancer, but died from the "treatable" leukemia. All those years, I kept wondering when he would be taken away from us. Then, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and uterine cancer a few years after the BC; probably due to the Tamoxifen. I've had two cousins die from cancer in their 40s, and multiple aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. Wish I had more good stuff to say, but reading through these posts, it's good to know we're not alone. I pray that they find cures for these hellish cancers soon. Even better if they find ways to prevent cancer, altogether. Best to all!JIC

In my family we lost our dad when he was just 48 to cancer.
I have made the decision to be as healthy as I can.
That you worry so much is not generally good at all. Worry (stress) is one of the highest causes of sickness. It is the highest cause of non congenital heart disease.
So I plead with you to find ways to cut down on your mind conversation over worry about getting cancer too.
If you have not yet given meditation a go, I would highly recommend this.
In the last five years I have been daily being still and silent. (Start with short session)
It is the best gift you can give you.
(Your mind conversations can be the most debilitating and put down to the self)
It is time to change your view on health.
Our mind is our best tool to good health and life.

Please don't run to your gun. Life is too precious. I helped Hospice put my sister down. She said "I'm not ready to go" so they let her stay at home with her loved ones. The dog gently jumped on her bed and quietly laid there, and we took pictures of each of us standing behind her bed, it was time to let her go

This is serious stuff. I watched a documentary on women faced with high probabilities of breast cancer and their struggle to decide whether or not to get the surgeries you described. Gut wrenching stuff. Obviously this makes whether or not you want kids a pretty pressing issue as you can't just wait and see. If I were you I would be a vegan and juice like 5 pounds of organic veggies and fruit a day!

Yeah, man. I've been going the vegan route for a little while now. Trying to only eat fresh fruits and veggies, take care of my body. I've also cut out alcohol and been exercising for the first time in years. I can't help having a cancer gene, but I can help being healthy!

I recently watched a doco on breast surgery stuff, too. To me, personally, it's a no-brainer. Having watched Mum die...I don't give a **** about my breasts! I care about my life...and keeping it for as long as possible.

Plus, the surgeries now are pretty awesome. They can still keep your skin tissue and nipple (the chances of getting cancer in those areas alone are incredibly rare, plus you find them more quickly than if they were embedded deep within the breast tissue), suck out the old breast tissue and replace it with implants. I think most young women faced with this decision worry about being mutilated or completely losing their breasts.

I'm lucky I've got a dad who can afford to pay for this kind of surgery, too. Some people aren't that lucky.

The whole 'having kids' thing is much more stressful for me to think about...I've still got 2 years left until I finish my university degree. Plus, recent studies have been linking birth and pregnancy to increasing your risks of breast cancer. The thought of not bearing my own offspring rips out the deep-seated biological woman in me, but I am keeping my mind open to adoption. Afterall, why bring more children into a world where they are so many children needing loving homes? Ahhh...Heavy ****, man. I'll worry about it another day :p

Well, you are facing it all head on. Yeah, the advances in reconstructive surgery are pretty great, so though having implants is not ideal, they are hardly any kind of deal breaker and you will still look and feel amazing to the one who loves you. I was with a girl for years who was had zero boobage and so got implants and I never felt like anything was off. I am all for adoption too. My gf wants bio kids, but I have serious medical issues of my own I am terrified to pass on, not to mention like you said, planty already born need good homes. Glad you are healthy and not drinking. I remember when that wasn't the case for you :)