Relieved and frustrated

I got my results from the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 gene mutation testing today and I am negative! What a relief to know that I haven ‘t passed this on to my daughters. They will have to be watchful and start getting mammograms earlier than most women, but we can do that.  Actually the rule of thumb is 10 years younger than the earliest breast cancer diagnosis and I am 49. That’s about the age they would start anyway.

While I am extremely relieved and grateful I am also frustrated and a little pissed off. I was told at my meeting that results would be available in 3 weeks (I was tested on June 18) and then I was given an appointment to get the results on 7/30 (6 weeks later!). I was told I should postpone radiation until I got the results. I refused to do that.  In 3 weeks I would have been nearly half way done, in 6 weeks when I was scheduled to be given the results I would be nearing the end.  Once I had my radiation schedule I called to cancel my appointment as it conflicted. I asked for my results to be given by phone and was promptly transferred to the counselor’s phone, where I was cut off when attempting to leave a message. So I emailed her at the address on her business card. It came back as undeliverable (turns out the lower case l is really a 1).  Finally I wrote a letter requesting the results by phone or mail. I told them I was not willing to wait 6 weeks and I could not keep that appointment even if I were. This was Wednesday. They either got it late yesterday or first thing this morning (Friday) and called. And they had the results available.  They were going to sit on them for 6 weeks had I not sent that letter. Actually, longer had I rescheduled for after I was done with radiation. There was no apology for that, just a feeling they were doing me a huge favor by giving them to me over the phone.  I expressed my relief that they were negative and had the feeling (again) they were hoping for a positive based on the response.  I was (again) given a list of family members that should be tested for Lynch Syndrome. I have passed the information and recommendations along.  Given my experience I am hardly going to be the poster child for genetic testing.  At least at that facility. Unfortunately it is one of only two in our state.

I am even more grateful for my doctors and the cancer center having dealt with this other facility.  This was truly the first negative experience I have had since the diagnosis. Well, other than the whole cancer thing.