Sometimes…Reality Bites

The day of my breast cancer diagnosis, I was tested for the breast cancer gene, BRCA. A week later I found out I have BRCA2. The BRCA name is misleading, because it is also the gene for ovarian cancer.

Since I have BRCA2, I have a higher chance of getting ovarian cancer. So, I have to go for regular check ups with my gynecologist. These check ups include getting an ultrasound and the CA 125 blood test, which is the blood test for ovarian cancer.

These check ups with my gynecologist are always very emotional for me. I have to sit among a lot of pregnant women. I haven’t been pregnant yet and would like to at some point in the near future. My doctor’s advise me not to get pregnant while taking tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is the estrogen suppressant drug woman go on after having breast cancer. It’s supposed to decrease your chances of a recurrence of breast cancer, since breast cancer tumors feed on estrogen.

Like I said, it’s always hard to sit in that waiting room, with those pregnant ladies. They’re all visiting their doctor for a happy reason. Me…not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I love pregnant ladies. Some of my best friends are pregnant ladies. But do they all have to be sitting in my doctor’s office while I wait to get checked for ovarian cancer?

Last week I went for my regular check up of my ovaries. It was my third check of my ovaries in 6 months, so I thought I was prepared. I brought a mindless magazine and some happy music to distract myself from all the pregnant ladies.

As I sat in the waiting room of my gynecologist’s office, a pregnant woman and her husband came out of the doctor’s office with a sonogram photo. The pregnant woman’s mother was in the waiting room and jumped out of her chair to look at the photo. She started screaming with joy. The three of them talked loudly about how excited they were for their first sonogram photo.

I started crying, uncontrollably. I turned my music up and tried to focus on my magazine. But nothing was calming me down.

These three people were so excited about their future and their great appointment with their doctor. And I was waiting to be checked for ovarian cancer, after having spent the last year fighting breast cancer. The reality of my life hit me like a ton of bricks.

As I sat there crying in the waiting room, I couldn’t help but think about my future – hoping that I would have a future, and a long future. Would I be around long enough to have babies? Would I be able to physically have babies after everything my body endured over the last year? Life felt very cruel at that moment.

Life is uncertain and often times unfair. That’s a tough lesson to keep learning.

The good news is that my ultrasound was normal and my blood test came back normal. So I have 3 months of a break before I have to go for that check up again. Maybe next time it will hurt a little less. 

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