In ten days I turn 40. I’m truly not hung up on that age at all. But as I ranted on in my last post, I do wish that I was back to my size at “Year 1 BC” (Before Children). So in the run up to that new milestone, I am going back to the South Beach Diet. It suits me very well actually. It’s hard to give up fruit for Phase 1 (usually lasts two weeks), but everything else is pretty good. I do get tempted by those muffins when Monkey, Bimble and I make our weekly trips to Starbucks, but the question I have to ask myself is :
What am I willing to give up to hopefully gain a sleeker silhouette?
Which got me thinking about a deeper and less superficial issue. What would each of us give up, in order to save our lives? Let’s use smoking as an example, which, everyone knows is not good for you. Sorry but you just can’t argue otherwise, and you know it. You’re hooked on those cigarettes, and you make the choice to continue, as it feels good. It’s an addiction. Alright, so you’re not willing to give it up for yourself. Fair enough. But if you have kids, then consider this. Are you willing to let them grow up without you? This may be blunt, but if your health deteriorated because of your addiction, and you died before seeing them go through their first heartbreak, graduation, marriage, birth of their own children, would that be okay with you? I suppose it doesn’t really matter as, well, you wouldn’t be there. But what about your kids? Would your kids be okay with you not being there because you didn’t give up that addiction?
I used to smoke. I gave it up, but I’m not getting on my high horse about it, it wasn’t a huge addiction. I made the choice to quit mainly due to my health. But I have a bigger choice at hand. I could choose between the possibility of getting breast cancer, or to go for a voluntary preventative double mastectomy.
My mum died of breast cancer when I was 7. She was 38 when she died. Her sister, my dear aunt, also had breast cancer, which resulted in double mastectomies. My Aunt is in her early 80s now and is still alive and well I’m pleased to say. So it’s probably fair to say that the breast cancer gene is probably lurking within me, lying dormant, and hoping to rear it’s ugly head and yell “HELLO, I’m Heeeeeeeeeeere!” probably at the time in my life when I’m most happy (which happens to be now).
So would I be willing to give up my breasts in order to hopefully stick around for my daughters to help them through those heartbreaks, teenage angst, exams, job interviews, engagements, their wedding, and help them get their much needed sleep while I rock their colicky babies to sleep? Yes. Yes I would.
I’d rather do something actively positive to try to circumvent the chances of getting breast cancer, rather than one day announce “Ahah…. you’re here BRCA1 … I’ve been expecting you….” while petting my white purring persian cat (I do like a bit of drama). NB BRCA1 is a type of breast cancer called simply “Breast Cancer Type 1”
My oncologist is slightly stunned by my thought process. He wants me to take the genetic screening to determine if I have the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. But, here’s the catch. If I do have it, and I proceed with the double Mastectomy, great. But how does that affect my daughters’ chances of getting health insurance in the future? If it’s known that their mother has the gene, would the health insurers cover them for breast cancer or would they be thought of as having such a high risk that they’d never be covered. I’d never, ever, in a million years, put them through that. So until I can be assured that they will not be discriminated against, then I’m not taking the screening.
The thought of saying to the doctor, “hey can you lob my girls off?” does petrify me. But with every cloud having that silver lining, I can then give up on padded push up bras and get me some nice C’s.
Then of course, there’s the other thing. Seeing Monkey and Bimble grow up to become the beautiful, kind, intelligent women I’m certain they will be. If you were me, wouldn’t you be willing to give something up for that?