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Breaking the Cycle of Cancer

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My mom was 9 when her mom died It was 1959 so no one had even told my mom that that is a possibility of something that could happen let alone what reproductive organ of her mother's have betrayed her and caused the cancer that killed her

It was half a century later that my mom tracked down the death certificate that told her it was ovarian cancer I was 14 when it was my mom's birthday and my dad presented her with a book about menopause clearly my mom was not happy about this She said the worst part about it was that she had already been through menopause [laughter] I was 16 the first time my mom got diagnosed with cancer She was six months late for her mammogram and it saved her life

Six months earlier the tiny but aggressive cancer that they found would not have been detectable Six months later they would have handed her death sentence It was my 32nd birthday when the last threads of my marriage fell apart and my mom helped me move into my new apartment carrying heavy furniture up a flight of stairs But I was still 32 when she went to her doctor and he found a softball sized tumor in her abdomen And I was 32 when they drew my blood and told me that the same mutation on the brca1 gene that had caused my mother and my grandmother's ovaries to betray them and replicate a useless cell over and over and over again I also carried

Some people tell you that if you have a brca mutation you can you get a prophylactic mastectomy but the truth is that aggressive screening for breast cancer for people with brca cancer is Just about as good as prophylactic mastectomies but the screening for ovarian cancer for people with brca mutations is shit by the time they find a tumor you are likely to have the same survival rates as someone who did not seek those aggressive, aggressive, um, screening they tell you you shouldn't look at WebMD to research the symptoms of illness when you're sick And I would also recommend not looking at WebMD or the internet when your doctor tells you maybe you want to take your ovaries out and you want to find out what is my body gonna do when I go through surgical menopause many years earlier than I would go through menopause naturally The internet tells you about osteoporosis, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, lack of sexual desire and maybe this accident side-effects where they cut through some nerve endings and you might lose your ability to orgasm It was about then that I probably would, it would probably better better use for me to have that in menopause both than my dad did my mom I was still 32 when my mom's body was emaciated and riddled with tumors When her cousin rushed to an airline counter to beg for earlier airplane tickets so she could see her cousin-sister-daughter as she called her at that moment, just for just one more day because I'd become a nurse when I was 29 it was my job to take a tiny dropper, a tiny syringe and drop morphine into my mom's mouth to ease her pain and slow her breathing I was three days shy of my 33rd birthday when I said goodbye to my mom I will be 35 years old, I'm sorry, 35, two months, now, I'm stumbling, 35 years, 2 months, and 16 days old when a surgeon slices into my belly and takes out my healthy ovaries and fallopian tubes and uterus and cervix I will be 35 years, 2 months, and 16 days old when I prohibit the cancer that took my mom for me and my grandmother from my mom from taking me thank you [applause]

Source: Youtube

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