Friday, 21 September 2012

The Cause of Ovarian Cancer Chose Me

As many of you know, I've been part of creating and supporting an Ovarian Cancer Awareness initiative called It's Time To Shout.

At the time when i had  reached out to Elana & Mark (Waldman) I hadn't really been touched by cancer.  But since that time, my uncle died of esophageal cancer and my father died of Pancreatic cancer.

Most importantly, we found out that my family has what is sometimes known as the "Jewish Cancer Gene" BRCA .  (note: There is an increased rate of BRCA in the Ashkenazi Jewish community of 1 in 40, vs. 1 in 250 in the general Caucasian population)

It's funny.  I worked on It's Time To Shout for over a year.  I have hours of video of Elana and a hundred conversations talking about her diagnosis, BRCA in her family etc. and it never occurred to me even for a second that BRCA ran in my family.   So when my sister mentioned to me a study of Jewish women in Toronto where we would be tested, I thought, well, sure, it will give the study more data, probably a good thing to do but again, NEVER OCCURRED TO ME FOR A SECOND THAT WE HAD IT.

And then the results phone call.

Genetics Councellor:  " Just calling to tell you that you DO NOT have BRCA."
Me:  " Ok great. thanks" (i mean exactly what i expected right?)
Genetics Councellor:  "Have you talked to your sister yet?"
Me: "No.  Why?  Why would i need to talk to my sister?" (me...panic)

So i did end up talking to her --  and I (unfortunately) burst into tears when she told me she had BRCA II.  Everyone in my family has now been given the choice to be tested (or not) with results that they choose to keep private and I won't discuss here.

When I told Elana she said to me,

"Sometimes you don't choose things, they choose you"

And clearly It's Time To Shout chose me.

I tell this story (with my sister's permission)  to ask everyone to help bring attention to Ovarian Cancer awareness in any and all forms.  From our site to this infographic to of course Elana's own powerful story.

And that's what I'm going to leave everyone with.

Spread the word and maybe, save a life.

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