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June 20, 2008

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Westsista

Sounds like an amazing documentary and an amazing woman. Thanks for the report. If I had to face that choice, I'd probably put off making the decision like Joanna is doing.

Flannista

Matissta and I haven't stopped talking about what we would do if we were faced with this choice. Without much hesitation, I said I would have the surgery. Of course, I'm beyond the child-bearing years plus as the Sassistas! "About" link reveals, I always see the mug of life as half-empty.

Westsista -- why would you put off the decision?

Yesterday, we had a chance to talk privately with Joanna to learn more about her and the process she went through to make the film. Her producer as well as the representative from the company that helped to fund the movie were also there. They could not have been more gracious. Rather than release the film in theaters nationwide, they are choosing to show it in healthcare venues to raise awareness. "It's ultimately a feminist film," Joanna told us. "It's about the control woman have over their bodies." Asassmen, sista!

half-a-sista

Hmmmm. I don't know. If someone told me that I had a 85-90% chance of developing a cancer that would end my life, I think I would say, "But then I have a 10-15% chance that I won't." I would go on with my life and take the chance.

I have always told myself that if I am diagnosed with cancer of any kind that I would not undergo treatment for it. When faced with the reality of it, who know's what I would do?

I have watched friends struggle with this type of decision. Most have opted to have the surgeries and the chemotherapy treatments and the radiation. Many died. Some are still alive. I really on't know what I would do. Interesting question.

Matissta

Men can also be diagnosed with the gene. Interestingly, fewer men choose to have the test because "they would rather not know."

Joanna is a charming and warm person, who has put her story out their to share and educate in order to save lives.

I look forward to seeing more of her films in the future.

half-a-sista

A college friend of mine and her sister had their breast tissue removed and their breasts reconstructed because of the family history of breast cancer. The doctor recommended it and, after seeing what their grandmother and mother had gone through, they decided to go ahead. Thirty years later both are doing fine.

babysis

This is fascinating science with complicated implications. It's impossible to always predict what any of us would do until faced with the choices. The cool thing is, we're often not equipped to make the decisions until we have to. At least that's how it appears to me.

Although I can struggle with the blackness of despair at times, my answer to this question is that life is worth living, life is worth saving, and if the odds were that big, I'd do anything to preserve my own. Kids can and should be adopted, although I don't mean to sound like it'd be easy to lose any body parts.

The other comforting thing to me is that odds are just odds. Life defies them all the time (except that one about 100% mortality). Someone always has to make up the 1%, and it could be you.

PEACEsista

Hmmm...Sassistas, you are dishing serious food for thought, while you consume gallons of popcorn and Coke at SILVERDOCS. (I hope that you will tell all about the effects of THAT later!)

Don't know what I would do. Both my Dad and oldest brother have had kidney cancer. It is not supposed to be hereditary, but my brother said that his doc recommended that all of his siblings should have an ultrasound screening, which I did. Based on that bit of history, I guess I would want to know.

My grandmother told me that when she was a young girl she asked her sister this question: "If you were going to be run over by the fire wagon, pulled by a team of horses, would you want to see it coming, or would you rather be hit from behind?" Her sister said she'd didn't want to see it, but my grandmother wanted to.

My grandmother ultimately died a painful death from pancreatic cancer. She got to stare death in the face. Cancer deaths are like that, I think, where sometimes, with a massive heart attack, you don't see it coming.

Carolyn

I tried to imagine some wizard with a needle, (yes, a wizard), offering to draw blood from my vein, and tell me what this-or-that was present, that may or may not kill me. I think that I'd sign on for that, and deal with the consequences of that knowledge. I'd rather tussle with the known, but that's the nature of my beast. Besides, knowing as much as I can gives me that coveted control-delusion that I snuggle up to at night.
My Mom struggles every day to keep her right leg attached to her body, though it is riddled with a mrsa infection she acquired during Katrina. I have seen her become consumed and defined by her quest to die whole. For the life of me, I confess, I don't get it. Her life has now become her leg--the pain, the sweats, the constant vigil of a wound care specialist. The doctors want to amputate it at the hip, but the horrific nature of the loss is one she isn't willing to bear. So, she suffers everyday with the hope that cure is yet to come. This is her choice, and might be mine, she swears, should I find myself in that situation.
I would hope that I would choose life over a body part, but my definition of life probably varies from yours, or my Mom's. But there are worse things than losing a body part, and worse things than dying.
Besides, I'll probably be in that 1% babysis spoke of that's killed by a runaway hotdog cart or the attack of a rabid hamster. All the bloodtests in the world aren't going to predict that.

Flannista

Flannista here, coming up for air here at SILVERDOCS.

On the way to the free wireless lounge, we ran into Linda's husband, who is featured in "In the Family." He said that Nicole (his daughter) is living in "a Peter Pan" world in which she doesn't want to grow up to face her adult choices. How poignant! His name is Luis, and like every one we've run into associated with this movie, he could not have been nicer.

I read the comment feed quickly. Gosh -- all so thoughtful. Always wonderful to read your sass, babysis. I, too, struggle with the blackness of despair, but ultimately, love something about this sweet world. PEACEsista, I'll probably be pondering your firewagon question for the rest of the evening, except, of course, I'll be picturing Carolyn's runaway hot dog cart. So sad to read about your mom, Carolyn. Your description of it is both harrowing and eloquent.

Thanks and love to all! Must run and re-fill the large popcorn and soda!

Westsista

Wow - lots of powerful comments on this one.

Flannista and Babysis - let's toast with our half-empty mugs to the blackness of despair!

To answer Flannista's question, as to why I would put off the decision, I'm just guessing based on my past actions. I think its ok to be cautious about surgery, but I also think its healthy to face reality and do something even if its hard. (so sorry Carolyn - I would go crazy if my mother refused to have a life-saving surgery. I should say crazy-er.)

I would be very reluctant to have elective surgery for something that MIGHT happen. Statistics, shmatistics. The world is full of things that could kill us, including the aforementioned rogue hot dog carts.

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