There has been a feedback loop of questions running through my mind for years. I have asked myself many times: if I preemptively remove my breasts, am I already a bad mother to my unborn kids who won’t be breast fed? What will people at work think if I tell them about my genetic mutation? These questions spark more questions: Am I less beautiful if I get breast implants or because I have scars? What about sharing all this stuff on the internet? What if a future employer looks at it someday, and decides not to hire me because all this personal information is out there for the world to see? And on…and on….until I back myself into a corner and decide I’d rather live with the fear of cancer than answer all these questions.
Here is what I decided this year: it’s time to deal with it. To hell with these questions. I am going to live fearlessly with the time that I have. I’m going to let go of my own expectations, and others’ expectations of me. I’m going to make difficult decisions and live with the consequences. I am going to stop living life passively, and in doing so, to help others do the same.
My grandmother from South Texas used to say: none us are getting out of this thing alive. The older I get, the more I realize that my time on this earth is limited and precious. I am having a double mastectomy so that I don’t get cancer at a young age, and so that I get to stick around longer. I don’t believe the point of preventing cancer is to live forever. Rather, I think that we have the responsibility to use information we have to live the best lives that we can. My mother said something to me this year that really sunk in for me: Death isn’t tragic, because it happens to us all. Tragedy is unfulfilled potential.