Two years ago my family was presented with the news of a rare genetic mutation that causes stomach cancer. It was shortly after the passing of my maternal Grandma, she succumbed in her mid 80’s from complications of diffuse gastric cancer. I feel grateful that she was able to know her great granddaughter, whom she advised me would be a handful – and boy was she right!! I have read of many other people affected by this mutation that haven’t had the chance to get to know their grandparents and I feel so lucky. I know and cherish the fact that my Grandmother made an effect on her because it has been 2 years since her passing, and every other week she says she misses GG. It breaks my heart that she is gone.
With this mutation one has a 50/50 chance of passing on the mutation. You get 2 sets of genes one from each of your parents, the one from the mutation carrier can go rogue at any time. This mutation leads a female bearer to have up to an 83% chance of Diffuse Gastric Cancer by the time they are 80. This also increases the chances of Lobular Breast Cancer to roughly 40% to 60% life time risk as well. Scary odds when taking a look at the history of the mutation and the inability trace when cancer can show up. The percentage for males for Gastric Cancer is 67% by the age of 80.
Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer (HDGC) is highly undetectable even with routine screening, and is commonly caught when the disease has progressed to stage IV. My mom received the news that she was a carrier in May 2012 and I in July that year as well. I felt that knowing was a no brainer so I can prepare myself and do what is needed to be here for a long time for my daughter who is so young. Before knowing my results I had that gut feeling (no pun intended) that I had the mutation and was fully prepared for the news.
Since January 2013 I have had 3 endoscopies and they have not located any sign of disease. My mom has had lobular breast cancer (before the mutation was known to our family) and went through surgery, chemo and radiation. She has also had her prophylactic gastrectomy this past October and they found nothing, I strongly believe this is due to the chemo that she had a few years back; though it’s not proven. I don’t know if I am playing with fire; but I feel at this time, it is the best option for my family and me to wait a bit.
The last little while I have thought more about surgery and when a good time for me is. I want to be healthy and I want to be strong before going into this, and I know that the younger I am (hopefully) the easier of a time I will have of healing. I think I have decided that surgery will follow in approximately a year. Having a prophylactic procedure there is a bit more involved and planning is required but that will come in time and in approximately 8 months I will need to contact the surgeon to say I am ready.
That’s a lot of time to prepare myself for the new journey I will be embarking on. In the mean time, I plan on keeping myself busy gardening, reading, crocheting, maybe playing ball and working of course.