Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Book Review: "Apron Strings: Inheriting Courage, Wisdom and . . .Breast Cancer"

I have been very fortunate to have met brave people. Those that have battled Cancer are among the most brave of all. The first who comes to mind is of course my Father. In his mid-fifties, he must have known the lumo he found on his breast was Cancer. It was ignored as was my Father's way with anything that foreshadowed a problem. After he went through a battery of tests, his worst fear was confirmed, it was Breast Cancer. He went in for a mastectomy and endured 5 years of weekly chemotherapy and various procedures meant to end the Beast, Breast Cancer.

I was very proud of my Father. He never really complained. And because of our family history of Breast Cancer, we participated in the 1st of many tests for the BRCA gene mutation. My Mom was able to get the frozen section of his pathology and it was tested as well. My results as well as Dad's came back BRCA2+. The ensuing genetic counseling helped prepare me for a course of action.

In the interim, I researched the Internet and discovered FORCE, Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (www.facingourrisk.org). Through this wonderful organization devoted to families with history of Breast and Ovarian Cancers, I also found a new friend, Diane Tropea Greene.

Diane had written a book, "Apron Strings: Inheriting Courage, Wisdom and ... Breast Cancer". I looked in the local book stores and couldn't find it. While Diane and I emailed and talked over the phone, we got to know each other. She also sent me a signed copy of her book. She also came to the Joining FORCES Annual Conference with one of her sisters. I recommended the book to everyone who I came in contact with at the Conference as well as back home.

Diane writes:
Apron Strings: Inheriting Courage, Wisdom and... Breast Cancer is my family’s story of hope and survival against seemingly insurmountable odds. It is written, in part, to honor the memory of family members who so bravely faced their cancer with courage, grace and dignity. It is because of their strength that my generation had the perseverance to delve into our past and make tough and inconceivable choices, to emerge victorious. Their defeat has enabled our victory.

The book starts out at a family member's funeral, just one of many that have dealt with cancer. Diane herself is also a Breast Cancer survivor and the journey leads her to Genetic Testing. She discovers she too carries the BRCA gene mutation. This can and does often lead to an increased risk of not only Breast Cancer but also Ovarian, Pancreatic, Melanoma and Colon Cancer among others. The risk of the average woman is 8-12% over her lifetime. If a man or a woman carry the BRCA muation, it can increase their risk up to 90% or higher. This is another kind of journey that Diane, her sisters and other family members have chosen to take to reduce their risk.

At times very sad but alternately funny, Diane recants a true-life story of one extended family's ordeal with Cancer and how they are handling it. How do they tell the various cousins about the testing results? how can they try to halt Cancer's path in their family? And what of the next generation of children already getting to the age they might want to be tested.

I applaud Diane for being able to get the word out about Breast Cancer and beating the odds!

No comments:

Post a Comment