Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christina Applegate? Cancer? BRCA1+? You betcha.

So apparently Christina Applegate had breast cancer. I don't remember hearing anything about it. But according to this USAToday article:


she is having a double mastectomy with reconstruction... and she's BRCA1 POSITIVE!

Let me tell you why I think it's so significant. First off she's young and a popular actress with young women - a household name even. And she's being pretty outspoken about it, it seems. So I think this is a great opportunity for the world to take notice and for her to be an active member of the BRCA/hereditary-high-risk community. The article says she's starting a program to give women more affordable access to MRIs and she's also appearing on a one-hour special about cancer on TV. So yay for that!

It's funny because right after the FORCE conference, my stepmom was saying how FORCE needs a celebrity representative to get the word out to more people. It needs Hollywood! (I know that's a sad notion and it doesn't really need Hollywood, but it would be nice and a big boost.) Well - now the opportunity is here!

I wonder if more actors/actresses will come out of the woodwork with their family histories and testing?

Here's a quote of hers from the article to leave you with, and I think it's very true:
"Sometimes, you know, I cry and sometimes I scream and I get really angry and I get really like, you know, into wallowing in self-pity sometimes," she said. "And I think that's — it's all part of healing, and anyone who's going through it out there, it's OK to cry. It's OK to fall on the ground and just scream if you want to."

SO MUCH good luck to Christina. We're rooting for you!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Who you gonna tell?

So the other day my boyfriend and I are in my apartment entertaining my aunt and cousins, and they see a poster that I happened to receive at the Fox Chase In Our Shoes event. My aunt says, "That's a great poster, where'd you get it?" I was about to blurt out "Oh, Fox Chase at this BRCA event" but then I realized... SHE DOESN'T KNOW. And I don't exactly WANT her to know either. So I said something about an event that was for women at high-risk for cancer, thinking that sounded like anyone, and she didn't question it. My boyfriend on the other hand started to press the issue... saying something about how I got it free because I was speaking at the event... TMI.

So it got me wondering... why NOT tell my aunt? I mean I've got this friggin blog out there for all the Internet and their moms to see, and I won't even tell some of my own family members? I didn't tell my grandparents either. My immediate answer is that they're very prying people, and I don't necessarily want to explain it to them. Also, it might freak my grandparents out... they're old and decrepit and have their own health problems to worry about. So i'm protecting them, maybe even protecting myself from having to explain the whole thing. Saving my own breath. Maybe not the best reason, but my reason nonetheless for the time being.

I think the issue of who to tell is a hard one. If you want to be an activist, you're going to have to tell people. You're making the news public so you can encourage the public to care (which I'm all for, they totally should). But you have to be ready for what that means for you.

And then there are some people you have to tell for the good of your relationship with them. Your husband or serious significant other, for instance. Your parents, probably. Maybe your best friend? You want the support of these people, so you should let them in.

But I think it's ok to keep it a secret from some others. I don't think i'm a bad person... maybe a little bit selfish, but it's where I am right now and I understand that and I'm at peace with it.

Oh... and on the issue of writing a blog, I'm here to connect with others who might share some of my sentiments. Not to publish personal information. And I'd like to think this is a little bit anonymous... I mean I'm not posting pictures of myself (YET) or giving out my address.

What do YOU think?