I registered this blog domain today because I'm about to embark on a potentially life-changing search for answers to questions about my genetic heritage. BRCA2 deleterious alteration S1760X has been felling members of family for the last 80 years: we've had breast, prostate, bladder, brain, colorectal, ovarian, and bone marrow cancers. But it's the breast cancer I'm worried about. My father recently tested positive as a carrier for the dreaded mutation; that means there is a 50% I'm positive, too. If so, I have an 85% chance of developing breast cancer in my lifetime (the average in the general population is 12%). And if I'm positive, I'll have to confront the difficult decision about what to do with my breasts. My cousin, whose father, my father's brother, also a carrier, tested positive in late 2008. She is having bilateral prophylactic mastectomy--a fancy term I just learned that essentially means lopping off both healthy breasts before cancer manifests--at the end of this month. The could be me, soon enough.
I intend this blog to be a personal chronicle of my quest to learn if I, too, carry this genetic time-bomb and my decision whether I will need to say, as the title of this blog implies, goodbye to boobs. Expressing such private agonies in a public forum is, of course, a very twenty-first century response to crisis; technology allows us to write diaries that all the world can read. Blogs, these ephemeral musings, often become books, more permanent monuments to our fleeting musings. But while I've participated in others' personal confessions (I'm a regular reader of a blog that chronicles a personal odyssey out of the morass of debt, a blog by a former graduate-school classmate who just got a two-book deal, a blog by a former colleague who writes about soup, the list goes on) but until now I've never contributed to the culture of TMI. I hope, at least, this blog helps me. And, at most, maybe it will help someone else in the same situation.