THE BLOG

When You First Meet Your Spouse, Who Thinks About the Possibility of Breast Cancer?

10/15/2012 03:45 pm ET | Updated Dec 15, 2012

So I had my annual OB/GYN pap and boob check yesterday -- fun stuff, I know -- and my beloved gynecologist (who actually reminds me of my dad, which makes me adore him that much more) gave me some sobering food for thought. He said he was reviewing my medical history and he was concerned about the fact that my husband's mother died of breast cancer and his aunt passed from ovarian cancer. With this high incidence of these types of cancer in the family, there is a possibility that my husband is a carrier of the BRCA1 gene, which means my daughter could be at a higher risk to develop these cancers.

Just hearing that, my heart went straight into my throat. To think that my daughter -- a girl I've painstakingly raised from the size of a pea, watching, hovering, feeding, worrying over and protecting -- can be threatened by the one thing that is out of my control, her biology, is terrifying.

I immediately racked my brain, trying to figure out a way that I could have avoided ever having to consider getting my daughter tested and the "what ifs?" of how we would handle a positive test result.

I think about when I first met my husband; there was such joy and this overwhelming sense of possibility. I knew from the moment he brought me wrist guards on our second date (we'd gone rollerblading on our first date and I hadn't had any protective gear) that he had the kind of nurturing soul that makes a great father. I wanted so desperately to start a family with this man -- to produce two little people who were essentially products of our love. And of course, we had genetic testing before we decided to get pregnant, but testing for the BRCA1 gene, well, it wasn't part of our panel.

So, hearing the very sobering news that part of his DNA could be a culprit in causing our daughter to experience any type of pain in the future, well, it's painful for me to even type. I honestly never even considered asking my husband for a complete and thorough medical history when we met, and even knowing what I know now, would I have done anything differently? Would I have chosen not to marry this man?

We want to convince ourselves that we have some type of control over our future and the destiny of our kids... but in reality, we can take every precaution, ask every question and ultimately, that control and that ability to steer clear of any future danger is not within our power. The real question for us now is once we get this information, what should we do with it?