Friday, February 4, 2011
To Google or Not To Google
I'm a librarian, so "googling" is often second nature for me. If I want information, I look for a book and I check for reliable internet resources. Any time anything happens to my boys I pull on my super librarian cape and go to work. Yet, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer back in November, it wasn't me that did the googling. it was Tony. He was very good about looking up information and sharing it with me. (Honey - I have to confess. I took all that information and filed it away without looking at it.) I think it was a form of denial for me. If I didn't research it, if I didn't read up on it - then it wasn't real. However, after two mammograms, two biopsies, two surgeries and impending radiation, it can't get much more real. Time to be better informed.
Thing is, my search this morning wasn't to find out more about my cancer (DCIS - Ductal Carcinoma In Situ - I still think DCIS sounds like an acronym for a school district), but because one of my fears is that I've somehow passed this on to my boys. Yes, breast cancer can strike males, just not females, though male breast cancer is rare.
Yesterday, my oldest, Ryan called Tony and asked that he be picked up from school because he had a bad migraine. Migraines are something that I have passed onto my boys. Fortunately, their migraines have not been as chronic as mine were at their age and also, unlike my mother who first said that I couldn't have a headache since I was kid and kids don't get headaches and then she later claimed she didn't know where my headaches came from even though she used to go to bed with a "sick headache" several times a month - I have always taken my boys' headaches seriously.
Ryan's migraine yesterday (which turned out to be the result of a sinus infection) got me to thinking. If I passed my migraines onto the boys, could have I passed on this cancer as well? So a'googling I went. According to Breastcancer.org the risk of cancer in males is very low. "Breast cancer in men is a rare disease. Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men. In 2005, when 211,400 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, 1,690 men were diagnosed with the disease." The risk goes up as men get older and of course if there is a significant family history the risk also increases. If I have the Breast Cancer Gene Abnormality, then I could have passed that on to the boys. I won't know unless I am tested for the gene. I think I mentioned that my BCN wants me to at least meet with the genetic folks at Penrose. Chances are since there is no known history in my family that my cancer is an anomaly. But for my peace of mind, if the genetic folks recommend I be tested I will even if it means more needles. (Maybe we can get the nurse from Memorial to come help with those tests.) Information is key in any battle. I love my boys and I want them (and their children) to be as well armed as possible.
For now, my super librarian skills failed me. I can't find the final answer to my fears on my own. I'll have to rely on the experts.
As for whether to google or not to google, Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips does recommend doing your research. Information is power. If you're not up to being your own googler - then get one of your cancer co-survivors to help out. It will give them something tangible to do and when you're ready, you'll have the information at hand. I'm fortunate - my Combat Engineer happens to have some hidden super librarian skills of his own.