BREAST CANCER. For me it’s more than those pink ribbons and fund raising campaigns. Don’t get me wrong. I fully support breast cancer research. In fact the lives of so many that I love depend greatly on it. My own life depends on it. Or could. I’m BRCA-1 positive. The little gene that they found as a direct link to your chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer. I’ve had a tough time with “chances” and statistics in life lately. This gene tells me I have a 98% chance of getting cancer.
When my mom developed breast cancer a few years ago she chose to do genetic testing for the BRCA gene. Her mother passed away of the disease at the age of 39 (my mom was 12 years old at the time). Her sister had also gone through two battles with breast cancer (she passed away last year). Her grandma died of some sort of mass in her uterus. All of the signs pointed toward a genetic connection. Sure enough she tested positive for BRCA-1. (I’m thrilled to say that my mom bravely fought through her treatment and is cancer-free today although it meant she made some tough surgical choices along the way.)
This meant I had a 50/50 chance of carrying the gene myself (assuming my father is negative). I was faced with a choice. Do I test and know if I too carry the gene or do I ignore the results and continue living knowing I may or may not have this marker? I chose to go ahead with the testing. There was, after all, a chance that I didn’t carry it and I fully assumed that if I chose not to find out I’d live life assuming I had it anyway. Maybe I could stop that line of thought in its tracks and take a chance that I didn’t have it.
Before I could take those steps I needed to ensure my life insurance was in order. I had a small carrier plan with my husbands employer but it wasn’t much. I was/am a stay at home mom with a freelance design business of my own so I had no employer to offer a plan. I was also well aware that current policies allow life insurance providers to reject you based on genetic testing results.
I picked up the phone and went through their screening process and waited anxiously to find out if I qualified. I was beyond relieved to find out that I did indeed pass their tests (a lengthy phone interview) and we immediately signed up for a policy to cover me. I don’t carry a huge amount of income for our family but many people don’t think about the things that would need to be covered if I weren’t here. Child care was among our biggest concerns since my daughter was only two at the time and we had/have hopes of a bigger family. We were also able to get an add-on policy for any children we have in the case that the unthinkable happens. I was also well aware of the fact that I nearly died of HELLP syndrome with my daughter. These things DO happen.
Shortly after I had my life insurance policy I did the genetic testing and sure enough I too was positive for the BRCA-1 gene. This means yearly mammograms (along with biopsy if they find a mass… I discovered a fibroid in my right breast) and MRIs. I’m 32 today and have gone through this screening twice. It’s not an enjoyable process but I take hope in the fact that if something does come up on a test, they will have found it early enough to do something about it quickly. I’m also faced with the ultimate choice of prophylactic surgery to remove my breasts, ovaries and fallopian tubes with the option of my uterus. I haven’t yet made that decision. I’d still love to nurse another child some day.
Do you have a life insurance policy as the stay at home parent of your household? Consider the costs that would add up if you weren’t there to care for your family in all of the unique ways that you do. There are many reasons Why Stay-At-Home Parents Need Life Insurance.
• Caring for children
• Child “taxi service”
• Grocery shopping
Use this life insurance calculator from Genworth Financial to help figure your needs.
Have you considered genetic testing of any sort? If so be sure your life insurance is in order. I believe this will be more and more of a common concern in the coming years as our genetic knowledge and testing abilities grow.