Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The only test Jim has ever failed...

 A few weeks ago Jim found himself sitting in the waiting room at the genetics office downtown.
He was there to be tested for the BRCA-2 gene.
Before I go into what it is let me tell you why he was there.

Cancer runs rampant in Jim's family.  Three of his Great Grandparents had some form of cancer, 2 aunts have had cancer and his mother died of ovarian cancer when she was only 51.
One of Jim's aunts was tested for the BRCA-2 gene after her 2nd breast cancer diagnosis and was found to be positive.
Since that time other family members have been tested and, until recently, about 50% have been positive.  Each family member has a 50% chance of being positive. 

BRCA-2 stands for Breast Cancer susceptibility gene 2.
(sounds very manly doesn't it?)
Here is a quote from the National Cancer Institute on it:
"In normal cellsBRCA1 and BRCA2 help ensure the stability of the cell’s genetic material (DNA) and help prevent uncontrolled cell growth. Mutation of these genes has been linked to the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer."

So by now I'm sure you can guess that Jim's test came back positive.
Which means Jim is at an increased risk of breast cancer, it also increases his risk of pancreatic cancer, testicular cancer and early onset prostate cancer.

Jim and I are heading to a conference called FORCE (an organization devoted to fighting hereditary breast and ovarian cancer) in a few weeks.
I will be giving you guys more information as I learn it.
There is a lot of information so I will give it to you in small spurts.
I'm sure you have tons of questions!
Feel free to send them my way, I'll answer them as I learn them.
I will be posting on what we will do next, how this affects our kids, how this affects insurance, how to know if you should be tested, etc in the future.
If you just can't stand the wait you can go to the National Cancer Institute website and read for yourself.

Now before I pass out from seeing the words "chemo," "radiation," "prostate cancer," and "pancreatic cancer" let me tell you what has been on my mind since we learned all this...


I am completely, overwhelmingly filled with gratitude.
Grateful that God has allowed science to advance enough that we know this.
Thankful for all the research that has gone into this gene.
And thankful to tears for Jim's mom, who died from her cancer 16 years ago--but not in vain.
Her death will be partly responsible for many lives saved in our house!
Without that family history we may have never been tested.
Not being tested does not change the fact that Jim has the gene, it simply means you aren't aware it's there.  She is very possibly saving her grandchildren's lives!
And that fills my heart with great joy!

(Jim's beautiful Mom)
This positive test does not mean that anyone has cancer.
It simply means the odds are high and that prevention looks different for Jim and his family.
We covet your prayers and welcome you to follow along as we learn more about this gene.

"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:18

(Jim's parents November 1967)

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