The cause of Marissa’s cancer is a genetic mutation. Every person gets two BRCA genes–one from each parent. In Marissa’s case, she received one good gene and one mutated gene. This gene suppresses tumors and repairs DNA, so when one is damaged, a female has up to an 87% chance of breast cancer and a 60% chance of ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Our oncologist says it is not if you will get cancer, but when. (Males have higher risks of certain cancers as well, but they are not nearly as high.)
My husband’s mother died of ovarian cancer at age 40. Two of her sisters also died of ovarian cancer at young ages. One of their daughters is right now battling Stage IV ovarian cancer. Marissa is the first to have breast cancer that we know about, but that side of the family is scattered–too many mamas gone to hold it together.
My husband has this genetic mutation. And each of our 9 children has a 50% chance of having this mutation. Not all of our children have been tested, but 3 have the mutation that we know about.
It can feel overwhelming. It is hard to wrap our minds around the future, hard to line this up with faith. It is hard not to feel cursed, not to wonder why. My husband bears a heavy sorrow, a remembering and a dread.
But we also remember that we are blessed. We remember all the beautiful gifts we have been given. Every day we see the evidences of the kindness of God.
We are not the “think good thoughts and good things will happen” people. We are the people who trust in God. We are the people who were lost and now are found. We are the people who were blind but now can see. We are the people who were cursed and dying and chained but now are blessed and alive and free.
We are safe in the arms of Jesus. We are eternally His. We are blessed.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
The LORD redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned. Psalm 34:22