Since November, I've had two people tell me, in some way or another, that having a BRCA mutation is scary and all; but I have a lot more control over my likelihood of getting breast or ovarian cancer than I think, because of my diet and exercise. Paleo will save me, they seem to believe.
And listen, I'm not going to be someone who writes one of those "15 Things You Should Never Say to a ____ Person" (pregnant, short, BRCA+, you know the drill) pieces, because I know these people aren't being offensive or stupid on purpose--they're just trying to help.
I believe that eating whole foods, exercising regularly, and staying away from sugar has a lot of benefits, but telling people that they should replace a preventive double mastectomy with a healthy diet is not just stupid, it's dangerous. I've been working out a lot more this year but it's not to kettle bell-swing my breasts away from cancer, it's to get my body ready for (hopefully) pregnancy, labor, and delivery; then (hopefully) a few years later surgery and the recovery that follows. And that's how I'm going to avoid getting cancer.
I grew up in a household that was very naturopathically inclined. We didn't really take antibiotics, if we were sick we doubled down on Vitamin C and chicken soup; and I still don't run to the doctor for every little ailment. I'm not into flu shots and I drink kombucha, but I also know you don't fuck with cancer.
Angelina Jolie called it "My Medial Choice," and that's exactly what it is. I have a lot of anxiety in my life about a number of irrational things, but then this one--the most rational fear that could be--doesn't really bother me that much. I think about it a lot but it's not keeping me up at night or anything. And that's because I have a plan. I will be making my own medical choice.
I know that the BRCA and cancer thing is a lot, and it's kind of a new topic here on Freckled Italian, but it's been a big part of my life the past year, so I'm going to keep writing about it periodically. I want people to know that they have options, and I want to encourage people to know as much as they can about their family histories and genetic mutations, so they can be empowered to make the best decisions possible for themselves and their families. It's funny how your passions present themselves to you over the years.
I've quoted this piece before and I'm sure I'll do it again, because it rings true to me on so many levels:
I hope that, no matter the type of trials you may be facing, you can find the strength and courage to tackle them head on. It's something I'm working on every single day. And if I really want a donut, I'm probably going to have one. Paleo or not. Cancer or not. Life is here so we can live it.
So let's live it.