About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

So its NOT in the genes

I had my follow up appointment today with the genetic counselor to find out the results of my genetic testing.

It was good news for my family and I. I do not have either the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 gene. At least not with the methodologies available at this time. They don't want to say 100% that I don't have it, but it is about 95% that my cancer is not genetically inherited.

This is good news for me in that I don't have to worry about inheriting ovarian cancer, and it also cuts my risk of reoccurence of breast cancer. On the other hand, because I'm "young" for cancer, my risk of reoccurence goes up simply because I statistically have more years left for cancer to come back.

I'm particularly pleased that this also means that my sister and daughter most likely do not have the gene, either. However, they do have a first degree relative with breast cancer (me), so their chances are higher than the average woman. If you don't know already, those chances are a whopping 1 in 8. So my sister and daughter should be getting a baseline mammogram 10 years before my diagnosis (age 30), and keep a sharp eye on it for life.

On another note, I have made it 27 hours now with NO narcotic pain meds. I still have that sunburn pain in my upper chest. But I realized the pain meds weren't making it totally go away. Were the downsides of being on the meds still worth it? I decided to see if I could go cold turkey make it 24 hours, and with God's help, I did. Eric has looked up the particular medication and said with its half-life, it is out of my system by now. So as long as I don't need to go back on it, I think I may be okay to drive. My range of motion is pretty good. I definitely wanted to be off those meds before chemo next week.

I also signed up to do a 5k walk in October to benefit the American Cancer Society. It's called "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer." I will be in my 3rd week of chemo, with 2 rounds under my belt. I hope I'm up to it physically. Just knowing that its on the calendar will give me a goal to reach.

As part of the walk, I've made the personal goal to raise $1,000 for the American Cancer Society. If you would like to support me in this cause, you can click here to make a donation in any amount. I figured that if everyone I knew or read my blog just donated $5, I would sail over my goal. Of course, you can donate in amounts higher. ;-) I want not only to help raise awareness and funds to help fight breast cancer, but also to give back to an organization that already has given me much.

My prayer requests:
  • I need to make a final decision about whether or not to add the adriamycin to my chemo regimen. So wisdom and God's leading in this area would be helpful.
  • That this sunburn pain in my upper chest and left arm would decrease and go away. It is worse in the late afternoon and evening.
  • That I continue to regain mobility in my surgical areas.

1 comment:

  1. Tonya I'm so glad 2 hear about the pain meds, u are one tough cookie, but don't forget u can b a soft cookie sometimes if u want:). I'm also glad 2 hear about the stuff u learned from the genetic counselor. You are one heck of a warrior, who is stong,smart, beautiful and an incredible mother. Keep up the great work. I'm always praying for you and your family. xoxo-Trish