Genes

BRCA, Boys, and Boobs

Oh dating! People say it's fun, but is it really? The butterflies, bad dates, labels, unreturned phone calls. I would call it hard, to say the least. When you've tested positive for the BRCA gene at 24, dating is even more challenging. I kept asking myself, who would want to date me with my increased risk for developing cancer? This is where I was about two years ago.

I met Dovid on a blind date and entered the experience with a ton of preconceived notions. I assumed no guy would want to date a BRCA positive girl. It took me almost 3 months to tell him about it. I built it up to be this undefeatable and overwhelming situation that he had every right to walk away from.

Boy was I was wrong! He took everything in stride. He told me about how he lost his mom to breast cancer, and how he thought I was making good decisions. He tackled every aspect with me, together, and made me laugh along the way. He was there with me and pushed me to strive for better doctors and better outcomes. He helped me remember all the other things that make up who I am; sarcasm, Harry Potter, brightly colored sneakers, and Scrabble, not just BRCA. Things that make me Amy.

Dovid showed me that he loved all of me, even the parts that I assumed he wouldn't. I learned an important lesson: Don't assume - it really gets your nowhere. Accept BRCA as a part of your life, but don't let it define you. There is so much more to life that's in store. At the age of 27, the night before the second surgery of my prophylactic mastectomy, Dovid proposed. I got my fairytale. I was fortunate to find Dovid, who supported me through my experience, and I’m excited to join Sharsheret’s national Peer Support Network so I can give back and support other Jewish women dealing with BRCA.

Your Jewish Genes Joins Sharsheret's Educational Resource Series

I’m excited to introduce the newest addition to Sharsheret’s educational resource booklet series. Your Jewish Genes offers up-to-date information about inherited breast cancer and ovarian cancer today and answers the questions that are most commonly asked about this topic in a clear, concise way. The personal stories shared in the booklet touch on many of the aspects of genetic testing faced by women in their journey with cancer and these stories can help guide others during the search toward their own path. As a Genetic Counselor, I love the fact that Your Jewish Genes emphasizes the importance of knowing your family history and taking advantage of genetic counseling before making any decisions. After you read the booklet, I’ll be happy to speak with you and discuss your own concerns or connect you with one of the many peer supporters in Sharsheret’s national network who can share her experience with you. Our Genetics for Life program also provides other informational resources and transcripts of our national teleconferences and webinars, including Prophylactic Surgery For Breast And Ovarian Cancer: How Will It Affect Me? Call us today at 866-474-2774 or visit us online at http://www.sharsheret.org/ to order your free copy of Your Jewish Genes.

By: Niecee Schonberger, MS, CGC, Genetics for Life Program Coordinator