The Luckiest Girl in the World


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I have been overwhelmed by the support I’ve received over the past few months and am incredibly grateful for it. Friends old and new have really touched me with their generosity and kindness.

The more people who know what’s happening, the more I get asked how I’m feeling. The most common thing I hear when I tell people what I’m about to do is how brave I am.  These words are of course, very kind. It’s just, I don’t ever really feel brave.

For me, taking the test was brave. Especially, as from my Dad’s side of the family, I have inherited the Ostrich gene. Symptoms include putting things off and not wanting to deal with overly hard situations. Side effects vary from unopened letters from the bank, overdue visits to the dentist and to late tax returns. So for me, taking the test was huge.  Besides, I’d always assumed I’d die at the age of 40 anyway, so what difference did a piece of paper make?

OK, so my life probably would have rolled out quite differently to how it is today – or somewhat like it had in my 20s. Moving from job or location every two years, drinking more than a healthy amount, exercising within an inch of my life, unable to sustain a decent relationship for any notable period of time and carrying round a massive chip on my shoulder.  Yes, it doesn’t sound much fun, BUT, it was familiar, so again, for me, the test was the brave part.

So now, the best descriptor for how I feel moving into the operation, is incredibly lucky.

I’m lucky to have had the most inspirational woman for a mother, albeit for too short a time, who was honest enough to speak to me about my risk.

I’m incredibly lucky that my late uncle was selfless enough to take a test that has given me information that may dramatically prolong my life, whilst he was coming to the end of his.

I’m lucky to have a supportive father and stepmother who financially and emotionally have enabled me to get to this point, from way across the pond.

And I can’t believe my luck to be with someone who, both emotionally and physically, is supporting and enabling me to take the most life changing step of my adult life.

I’ll never forget a conversation I’d had with a neighbour not long after my mun had died. My mum had always found her a bit tactless, but with a good heart so had formed a polite, location based friendship with her. Having gone over to tell her about my mum, she said, “Trisha, don’t you worry. By the time you get to your mum’s age, there will have been all sorts of medical advances, I’m sure you won’t have to suffer the same fate.”

I wanted to smack her in the face . Of course I wouldn’t suffer the same fate, I was 21 years of age and invincible!

The funny thing is, she was right. And as a result I have the power to change my fate. So maybe I don’t have the opportunity to feel brave. I’m too busy feeling grateful for being one of the luckiest girl’s in the world.

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My Rusty Shield of Steel

This is an old blog post from 2011 and boy, is life different now. It’s amazing how much positive I see the situation I’m in now – which is a far cry away from the scared girl who wrote this post before being given the gift of knowledge.

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I figure there’s a million different ways to react when someone you love dies. No two circumstances are the same, no two people emotionally identical, and no response should be deemed normal or abnormal.  However I do think there are common responses to losing someone who has given you unconditional love since the day you were born.  Provided you with the answer to every question you’ve ever had and acted as the most inspirational role model you’ve ever had, and maybe, you’ll ever get.

Some people go into depression, shut themselves off from the world and lose the will to live.  I believe that some people die from a broken heart, and some find comfort in the love of another.  A current partner, a new partner, or even a band-aid baby.  There’s a big gaping hole to fill, so someone else provides some sort of plug.  Substance abusers or obsessive compulsives lose themselves in their  obsessions.  The floaters spend their lives moving from one thing to the next, hoping that the next place won’t hurt as much as the last. Or your independent ones wrap themselves in MC Hammers trousers and repeat his mantra, ‘you can’t touch this’, in reference to their heart.Maybe I’m being too simplistic.  If I think about me I’ve definitely had bouts of depression.  I’ve certainly lost myself in a bottle of wine or four.  I’ve controlled my food within an inch of my life and I even became a fitness instructor on top of a full time job and busy social life in order to literally run away from the pain.  I’ve run away twice, once from Cardiff to London, and the second time from London to Sydney.  However, my main response has to have been my shield of steel.

I haven’t really had a relationship since my mum died.  The ones I did have, I was either clingy and needy or closed and unreachable, afraid to get hurt.  I knew no one could replace my Mum, so why bother trying to even think about loving someone again?  It’s not that I couldn’t have a boyfriend.  I just chose the ones that didn’t want to be one and ran from the ones that did.

10 years on and I have the pleasure to meet the lovely Mr F.  Kind, funny, caring, and one of the may parts to the reason I came to making my decision to get gene tested.  He made me believe I could have a life.  A life where someone loves me, where I could think about having children.  A life where I had a future.

However, 10 years is a long time not to let anyone in, other than friends on your own terms, in.  Someone recently told me that my emotional fridge has gone septic.  I’ve left food brewing there for so long my fridge has given me a superbug, and it’s function has collapsed.  My emotions, that may or may not have been released by the possibility of being in love, have gone haywire.  I have spent about three months crying.  Pretty much every other day.  This as you can imagine is not good for any fledgling relationship.

I ask him for guarantees.  That he’ll tell me where we’ll be in 6 months.  That he’ll promise me we’ll live together in a year, be married in 3. The terrible thing is that I don’t even know if I want these things.  Not just now at any rate?  The girl i knew with the shield of steel would never behave like this, never request a rubber stamp on a relationship that’s barely started.

What I can’t put into words though, is that I’m so scared.  I’m terrified.  I feel like death is around the corner, and even if it’s not, what is, is a life as a baron and asexual 35 year old with too many issues to ever be with anyone else.  I’m terrified that I don’t know what’s about to happen to me and I just want someone to look into their crystal ball and print me off a report of my life for the next 10 years, thank you very much.

So as my rusty shield of steel starts to fall apart and I wonder where I’m going to get the strength from?  the strength to not fall apart.  The strength to not push the people I love a million miles away from me and have to do this on my own.  The strength to live today as today, and enjoy it, and not take for granted this fragile life I still have the privilege to be very much living in.