It's finally time to do something that I've known, in the back of my mind, would need to be addressed someday, and I'm terrified. I'm finally about to make an appointment to see a genetic counselor to discuss my family history of breast cancer, and the fact that one close relative at least tested positive for BRCA 2.

I'm still young, and dealing with this proactively is the best thing. I understand that. And I get that maybe I won't have inherited the gene anomaly, in which case I can take a breath and stop worrying so much about it. If I don't have the gene anomaly, then (if I understand correctly) my risk is no higher than the average woman's, really.

I do want to go see the genetic counselor, because then I can finally get some useful information, get my questions answered, get a handle on how high my risk really is. Knowing has to be better than not knowing, right? Especially because some part of me has always believed, ever since I was a child, that I would get breast cancer some day. It's always seemed like something that was destined to happen...but maybe it won't.

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On the other hand, finding out that I do have the genetic anomaly is a terrifying prospect. My mother assures me that it isn't a sentence, but it sure feels like one.

Do any of you have experience with this kind of genetic counseling? I feel guilty for being so self-involved and scared when I haven't even been diagnosed with the cancer, when so many other women have gone through much worse. But I just stare at the phone number for making an appointment, and I'm just so scared. Hearing it out loud from a doctor will just make it so inescapably real, and I don't feel like I'm ready for that.

(On a side note...I have struggled, to varying degrees, with anxiety and depression for years now. I happen to be doing pretty well at the moment, as a result of having responded well to treatment, but I worry about passing it along to my children some day. Do you think I could ask the genetic counselor about that as well?)