With cancer, there are generally two scenarios – you either have it or you don’t. But I am somewhere in the middle, stuck inside a vortex. I don’t have cancer, but as a notable breast surgeon told me, “For you, it’s not a matter of if you’ll get it, but when.” And so I find myself on permanent standby… just waiting.

While many women at risk for cancer opt to have themselves tested for the BRCA gene mutation, which significantly increases one’s risk of developing breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancer, it’s not a test I would have chosen to take, given the absence of cancer in my family.

My husband was adopted and wanted to learn more about his genetic makeup, so he selected an online genetics test, 23andMe, and out of curiosity, I decided to join him.

My genealogy results were delivered via an email notification. Several items in the report were flagged as “high risk,” including testing positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. Oddly enough, it also showed that my DNA put me at a decreased risk for breast cancer, pancreatic and ovarian cancer. It didn’t make sense.