Riding the DNA wave

I have been absent from my blogger sphere, taking a sabbatical from recording my journey as I awaited the results of my recent BRAC 1 & 2 genetic testing. I have failed miserably to hide from the raised profile of breast cancer and rightly so. I did however yearn for a space that is like me, cancer free.

Stories of breast cancer survivors and those lost, currently fill the glossy magazines, local warriors adorn the front pages of newspapers and across televisions screens the ‘Angelina Effect’ is celebrated as a courageous attempt to control her own destiny. It is now commonplace for men in sporting codes to adopt pink shirts, and women to adorn purple bras above their clothing, proud of their commitment to raising awareness and funds to find the ‘cure’ for breast cancer.

Breast cancer fuels the conversation of those who have joined the ever-growing membership of this bad luck club. I was foiled in my attempt to fill my consciousness with something other than persistent fear of reoccurrence and pending further surgery and radiation. Breast cancer appeared within the plot of randomly picked narrative that I grabbed for recent inflight entertainment, with no mention on the book jacket. I long like others like me for a reality that is devoid of the subject., well for at least a little while.

For those of us unable to trace our genetic heritage due to adoption, the cost of genetic testing of the BRAC1 & BRAC2 is undertaken without government rebate. A letter to the Federal Government regarding equity solicited a similar scripted reply, that as a previous senior executive policy officer, I would have crafted and had cleared by 2 levels of command before sending the impotent reply to ward off potential Senate Committee inquiries. I’ve had stronger chamomile tea.

The timeline for genetic testing can take up to 6 months however payment of $2,500 reduces this timeline to 3 weeks. Time is a precious commodity when decision-making is required. Undertaking genetic testing brings further consideration to the effect upon your family if the outcome is negative. Insurance companies writing in the option to exclude life insurance for those of us, with a known genetic marker. For women with breast cancer, this is between 5- 10%.

A brave new world awaits when genetic mapping is swapped in online dating services, calculated odds are considered and cures are spruced by oncologists based on an individual’s genetic profile. By this time, the limited options of the current regime of cut, burn and destroy after diagnosis, may be replaced by early breast and ovary removal. Perhaps this will create a new class of reconstructed females, unable to reproduce but to live long lives, purchasing children from on-line brokers and black market racketeers, or has that already happened?

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