This past December, I found myself in my general practitioner’s office begging for Ambien so I might make it through an upcoming flight to Australia. I’d also inquired about getting my annual pap smear out of the way–December is typically the month I deal with that. (Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ like putting your feet in cold metal stirrups while trying to force small talk with a middle-aged man holding forceps, right?)
The Doctor informed me we’d have to postpone that delightful experience until February, due to my insurance. I nodded in agreement while entering a reminder alarm on my phone.
“I think I’d also like to get the genetic breast cancer test done.” I informed him.
Both of my grandmothers faced (and beat) breast cancer at a relatively young age. While the chance I’m a carrier of the BRCA genes is probably minuscule, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ve been considering the test for quite some time, and figured the sooner I had it done, the better.
My doctor looked surprised, given I didn’t have an extremely strong family history. He warned me the test was quite expensive, and most likely wouldn’t be covered by insurance.
“That’s okay,” I remarked, “I’d still like to have it done when I’m in next.”
“You realize even if you don’t carry the gene, you can still get breast cancer.” he explained to me before once again detailing how very expensive such a procedure could be.
“Like, how expensive?” I inquired, still fairly certain it would be worth a significant investment.
While he wasn’t quite sure of the exact cost, he assured me he would get in touch with the lab and let me know what type of bill I would be looking at. I thanked him, uttering an awkwardly cheerful “See you in February!” before heading out to pick up my Ambien.
A few days later, I mentioned the above conversation to Scott.
“So you would get a double mastectomy if the test came back positive?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” I said with certainty. “Keeping them wouldn’t be worth the risk. Plus, the surgeons would probably be able to equip me better boobs than I started out with in the first place!” I joked.
“You should definitely get it done.” Scott urged. “If you die on me, I want it to be sudden and painless. Not long and drawn out like with cancer.”
“You and me both.” I agreed. “I looked it up online and it is pretty expensive, though. The testing can run up to five-thousand dollars.”
“I think it can actually be even more than that.” Scott added.
“Really? I don’t know…” I wabbled, “Maybe it isn’t worth it then.”
“Get serious, Katrina. You’re worth way more than five thousand dollars. I want you to get the test done.”
“Wow.” I remarked with surprise. Scott typically isn’t the sentimental type. “That was really sweet, Scott. Thank you.”
“I was strictly referring to your annual salary.” he muttered dryly.
Of course he was.
Still, I’m scheduled to get the test done next week. I’ve got a cynical husband who depends on my breadwinning abilities, after all.