Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family History--Poor Genes

Some of you reading my blog may think I am overly paranoid or a hypochondriac when it comes to my fear of cancer and other problems. Let me assure you, that my family has some really terrible genes.

I have every reason to make sure I am clean even at my age.

I was going to put my sister's story at the end, but I'll do it here. That way I don't lose some of you near the end.

My sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor in March 07. The year prior to this she was having a lot of headaches and nausea. Every doctor told her she was pregnant or just crazy. They would just increase her pain prescription and told her to leave. Some time went by and the pain meds weren't helping at all. She started to forget things, things that you shouldn't forget like your son's name or your phone number. Numbers were really hard for her. I remember her telling me she couldn't dial phone numbers at all. They would switch around on her and she'd end up calling the wrong number. She was having incredible mood swings. One moment she'd be totally calm, content, next minute she'd be so angry! I mean really angry.

Finally she just went to the ER and they did an MRI. Showed a large mass in her brain. Even surprised the doctor on staff when he got the phone call from the MRI area. This began an incredibly stressful few months.

Upon first inspection they thought it was a Glioblastoma which is the worst type of brain cancer you can have. Very aggressive. Then once they did the biopsy, realized it was not a glioblastoma but a gemistocytic astrocytoma. Now this is when things got weird. Her gemistocytic astrocytoma brain tumor was dividing at a rate not normally seen in a grade 2 cancer. It was dividing at a rate of 10% where 3% is normal. It was considered a gemistocytic astrocytoma but had all of the characteristics of a glioblastoma. This is excedingly rare. She also has a mutated gene on the 10th chromosome called the PTEN gene.

My sister said that only 50 people have had this type...EVER. Her team didn't even know how to treat it because it is THAT rare. They gave her 9 months to live. Thank God surgery was a huge success without any brain damage or problems. She looks totally normal and you wouldn't have any clue what she went through.

This is one of the many reasons why I am worried. I wish I had knew all this information when I spoke to the ENT. He was asking me about particulars of her brain cancer and I had no idea. I just asked her all this stuff the other day. The months after surgery she still wasn't quite right because her brain completely rewired itself around the tumor. That in itself is amazing.

I remember her telling me as soon as the surgeon said he was done with surgery (you must be awake for brain surgery) she said the pressure in her head was gone. She could feel it was better

Now onto my mother's side...
The ENT told me that thyroid cancer is one of the most treatable, most curable forms. Yeah, right. Curable in this doctor's mind is cutting your thyroid out. I don't know of any other situation in medical history where cutting something out is a cure. "Your arm was badly bruised so we decided to amputate the whole thing. Don't worry we cured the brusing and there is no evidence it spread!" Well what I forgot to mention to him in more detail was that my mother's aunt had the most aggressive form of thyroid cancer. I believe it is called anaplastic thyroid cancer. It kills you within a year and that is with their treatments! I think the 1 year survival rate is 10% and with this particular cancer they give your survival time in months and weeks. I was very young when she died, but I know it was very fast. She was an incredible lady and we all loved her.

My mother's brother died suddenly from a massive heart attack. Later on it was found in an autopsy (his death was suspicious) that he had cancer throughout his thyroid. We aren't sure if he even knew about it. He kept everything to himself when it came to his health.

My mother's sister died at the age of ~28 from a brain tumor. This was A LONG time ago before I was even born. I do not know any of the details surrounding her death. This was a point of interest though with my sister's doctors. I think they may have tried to look into this more.

My mother's sister (still alive) has growths on her pituitary gland. I think they are benign, but still very scary.

Then the normal stuff heart attacks, autoimmune disorders (lupus), diabetes, kidney problem (from diabetes) runs rampant.

There have even been some birth defects on my mother's side.

Now my Father's side
My father's side has serious breathing and lung issues. My great grandmother was always on a respirator and had 2235235 inhalers she had to take every day. That was then passed on to my grandfather (who died last year this time from his lung problems) and onto my dad. My dad has a condition where your lungs become hard and full of fibrosis. He won't do anything about it though, so he will die a painful death. Not always good to be a stubborn bastard. I keep wondering if they were all exposed to something as children. Very strange.

My father's sister has autoimmune thyroid disease. I think she has Hashimoto's.

My father's mother had heart surgery and an aneurysm in the brain.

My father's other sister had cysts on her ovaries. I think they were removed, but I don't know if it was cancerous.

What these doctors don't understand is that serious illnesses are on a HUGE rise in young adults in their 20's-30's. The food supply is tainted with MSG, GMO, corn syrup and other potentially dangerous additives. These additives have not been tested thoroughly and most were GRAS-generally regarded as safe. This means NO testing had to be done on them short or long term. Children who were fed MSG filled baby formulas are now in their late 20's early 30's. Children who have been fed soy and GMO corn syrup solids are now in their teen's and early 20's. It it causing premature puberty and obesity at a rate never imagined.

This is why I am getting all of this checked out. I was raised on aspartame, MSG, genetically modified organisms and corn syrup. Cookies from the store 30 years ago are NOT THE SAME ANYMORE. Some people in their 60's can't understand the problem with taking their grand kids to get ice cream and cookies. That's because it isn't just milk, sugar and ice now. It is filled with trans fat, msg, artificial vanilla flavors and corn syrups.

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