Friday, 2 October 2009

whose cancer is this, anyway?

Speaking to my parents yesterday, I got only one clear indication: They are worried about me. Sounds weird? Well, here's why.

Apparently, there is quite a high chance that my father has a specific genetic predisposition to pancreatic cancer. And breat cancer. And ovarian cancer. He is being tested today to find out if he has this mutation. If he does, then there is a 50% chance that his children do as well. However, I have managed to pick up every single one of his genes and seemingly none from my mother, so the chances are pretty good that I have it, if he does. And so do my brothers. This is more of a problem for me, though, obviously, as they don't have breasts or ovaries.

So, in a couple of weeks when those test results come in, I might have to be tested myself (and don't start me on how much I am going to have to deal with having blood tests), and, if the test is positive, I am going to have to be screened for all these cancers every few months for the rest of my life.

My parents are worried about the inconvenience. I am worried about my potentially shortened lifespan and the prospect of having cancer coming out of every orifice. Nice.

I have a very poor record when it comes to considering my own mortality. I truly think I am going to die on airplanes and I think about death a lot. So the idea that I might be halfway through my life scares me shitless. Yet another reason to run off, get married and start having sprogs as quickly as possible. Only not really.

Yeah, but it's all contingent on him having this mutation. Which everyone actually thinks he does this time. The reason is that, if he does have it, it makes the cancer much easier to treat, because they know what type it is and what to target. So, good for him, not so good for the younger generation.

I'm feeling mildly cynical today, can you tell?

In other news, I have taken my grandmother's advice to not take anyone's advice and have booked flights back to London for the very immediate future. I want to be back in Israel when my parents arrive, and I reckon I am going to be bouncing back and forth for a while. So, London on Saturday night, where I will stay for 10 days. Then we will think onward. Life, shouldn't stop, they say, but until my personal view of my father's prognosis improves, I am not taking any chances. Plus, I hear that chemo isn't nice.

Finally, I want to thank all the people who have dropped me messages via any means this week. People that I have not spoken to in years have come out of the woodwork in support. Funnily enough, this is not like my attitude on birthdays. I disabled my facebook wall every year on my birthday, because I think that if people want to wish me a happy birthday, they should make an effort. I think this is different because people genuinely care, and also, because I have received several very thoughtful and heartfelt messages. So thank you. Thanks for being supportive. Thanks for making me smile. Thanks for showing me that people out there care and that there is a point in my writing all of this (other than for informational purposes anyway). You guys rock.


  1. I faint at the sight of blood. When my stomach decided to stop working properly I had about 5 blood tests in the space of a month because UCH kept losing the blood they'd taken. I've also had a few blood test for sinusy things and so on. They're really not too scary, I always demand to lie down so I can't pass out and it's never been a problem. Biggest problem I've ever had with a blood test in fact is that my wheelchair doesn't fit through the blood room door at the RNTNEH.

    And it also bodes incredibly well for you that it's recognised that you may have a cancer gene and you're getting tested and you're going to get screened. In my experience a very big barrier to getting treatment is doctors not knowing there's something wrong with you and not showing any interest in finding out if there's something wrong with you. A significant factor in my sinus crap is that doctor who insisted there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with me so didn't treat me. My mum is dead because her doctor was too thick to know that her chest pains equalled heart problems. Diagnosis = treatment = getting well. Regular tests and screening is a good thing.


  2. BTW I created a LJ syndicated feed for this blog so I can follow it on my LJ friends list. The link (in case you want to pass it on to any other LJers) is