My BRCA Story (part 2)
Waiting for any test result feels agonizing. Waiting for BRCA results during the month of October feels like your future is quite possibly flashing before your eyes with every woman’s story of Breast Cancer.
The date and way that I received my positive BRCA results feels fuzzy like a dream from which I struggle to awake. All that I keenly remember is the following morning, the moment when I met up with my sister.
“Did you hear anything yet?” My sister and I locked eyes, as I pondered her question. It was definitely not the time to divulge what I now knew. Standing in the back of a church, the space where you walk in and realize that it is time to be quiet and serious, perhaps could have been an appropriate place to discuss the details of what will come next. For a moment, I thought about how our kids were far out of earshot and how we were standing face to face alone, almost forgetting that my brother-in-law was in the background. When his presence came back in focus, I hesitated; we were there to honor the memory of his grandmother whom he affectionately called Babci.
Out of respect, I remained silent and merely blinked a few times with intention to break any subliminal messages I might be sending through my stare.
Where we stood was a place of spiritual transition. A space to leave the chaos of the outside world and explore within. A state our lives would, unknowingly, be in for the next few years.
My sister inquired again, “Did you hear from Kayla?”
I answered simply and honestly so as not to complicate an already complex day, “Yes, did you?”
Afraid to ask, we danced around what we both knew to be true. My sister’s rigid stance was as closed as her real desire to know. After asking when I received my call, she began to process how she was at Babci’s wake the eve before and never listened to her phone messages before this morning’s funeral service, so perhaps, she received a call too.
We stood waiting: for one another to answer, for the right words to express, for what our futures would hold. We waited for test results–for a test that no one wishes to pass–because a pass is a positive result. A test result with a ripple that plagues sisters, mothers, cousins–all family members actually. One that leads to immense decisions about how to move forward. Feeling like the two only viable options are to immediately remove all of your female parts OR face cancer.
She mumbled aloud as she wondered if she, too, had gotten the call. The desire to know bubbled up and out, “Are you…?”
“Yes”, I replied again, as her expression winced with what to say.
“Oh, I’m sorry! Maybe I will be too. Not that I want to be, but at least we could go through it together…” her voice trailed off.
As it turned out, later, she received the call and the news: we are BRCA Sisters.
In hindsight, I wonder how either of us would have felt if the other were negative. It’s hard to say, yet surely could have been like adding another monster into the mix–a green one to irritate the pink and teal swirled one. However, I imagine that over time love would prevail; the kind of love that empties out envy and balloons with happiness for another, even when she has what we want.
If only we could see ourselves as lucky somehow…lucky in the very least to be able to bond through BRCA, together.
Is your sister also your BRCA Sister? (Note: if she was your BRCA Sister, sending you love!)