Friday, November 4, 2016

Preventing Ovarian Cancer Program Logistics

I went down the road to genetic testing all because of a link I noticed on facebook in early May 2015 - just before my 50th birthday, from the POCP. It said that anyone could get free genetic testing to test for cancer if they have a close relative who had ovarian cancer. So I signed up. It sounds a little sketchy to do genetic testing online, but it was through the Familial Breast and Ovarian Cancer Clinic at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, and I thought, what the heck. I did it pretty flippantly.

The process took 18 months from start to finish. After completing numerous lengthy forms, it took four months just for them to determine that I was eligible largely because it was difficult to find my mother's medical records because she died in 1996. The span from one step to the next was often so long that I completely forgot about clicking that link months before.

Then they sent me a ton of psychosocial questionnaires and called me at work a few times to ask me a multitude of questions about how I'm coping with thinking about having the testing done, and whether or not I might actually want the information if I do get tested. I got a little impatient with all that. Once the test results came, in February, and I sufficiently convinced them that I actually wanted the results, then it got more interesting. I was able to transfer my files closer to home, and then I got to meet a host of really kind and competent medical professionals for numerous appointments.

But, after finding out that you've got the genes that put you in a high risk category for cancer, you want it all to go by in a matter of days. It felt like it took forever to actually get appointments with all the necessary doctors. Once there, then it felt pretty quick to get it on with it.

This is what it all looked like:

I got my last drainage tube out today and had a good look at it. It was HUGE.  I'm really glad I didn't ask to see it when I got the first one out. I pictured a tiny tube in my body about an eighth of an inch in diameter and about an inch long. Nope. It was a good half an inch wide and flat, with holes in it, like a drip irrigation hose for watering plants - except it sucked instead of spraying. And it was many inches long. I'm still getting over it!  But I'm glad that bit's over now.

Now I just have to see if the bits that they took out are cancer free at my appointments later this month, and it should all be over!

ETA: Narrator: But it wasn't over. Not by a long shot.

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