It wasn’t the news I was expecting to hear.
After reviewing my family history, the genetic counselor seemed fairly certain that I probably carry some type of genetic cancer risk, but she was also pretty sure that it wasn’t a BRCA mutation. Sure, I had two grandmas that had ovarian cancer, and a great aunt as well. But there isn’t any breast cancer anywhere in my history–and BRCA mutations almost always result in incidences of breast cancer.
But there it was. BRCA-2. Positive. In this case, a positive is a negative. I failed the test.
The news kind of threw me for a loop. Not just because of the heightened risk that I now know I carry, but also because of the rest of my family–my children, my siblings and their children, my cousins and their children. And their children. And their children. After explaining my test results to my parents, my dad asked, “Where does it end?” And that’s just the point. It doesn’t end. If one parent carries a BRCA mutation, there’s a 50/50 chance his or her children will carry the mutation too, along with its accompanying risks. The potential ramifications are somewhat unsettling.
And unsettled is what I was. Until someone I’ve never met shared something amazing with me.
Betty is a friend of my aunt and uncle. She has left many encouraging messages in my CaringBridge guestbook over the last 9 months. Betty understands what I’m going through better than most. In 1995, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. And since 2003, she has had ovarian cancer–four times. In 2006 Betty “failed” her genetic test and learned that she is BRCA positive. But in her most recent message to me, she shared something that amazed me.
“Okay–here’s the rest of the story. I am BLESSED to learn that I am positive–it proves to me that I belonged to my God & Savior from conception!!!! What a blessing–no more questioning if I belong to HIM!!
He proved that to me when I was 56 yrs. old!!!”
On the surface, her words seem unbelievable. But in the days since Betty shared this with me I have been thinking A LOT about her words and the truth behind them. Psalm 139:13b-16 keeps coming to mind.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.” (NIV)
The news I received a few weeks ago made me feel so out of control. But this passage puts it all right back into perspective. It’s true. I am NOT in control–but my Creator is.
He created the most intricate parts of my body–yes, right down to that chromosome.
HIS hands put me together in my mother’s womb.
His eyes saw me before there was a me.
All the days planned for me were recorded by Him even before I came to be.
And here’s the amazing and wonderful truth.
I AM FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE.
Genetic mutation and all.