Hey everybody! It’s been a couple of months since my last post and it seems only fitting to write another post as it is stomach cancer awareness month. Since being diagnosed with Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer syndrome, I have tried to make it a point to educate a couple of people each month about the CDH1 + mutation and stomach cancer. Lucky for me, I work in a health care environment where I speak to a variety of people daily so the opportunities arise often. Usually it starts with the patient casually mentioning something about me being skinny or thin.
Recently a coffee order was being taken at work and the conversation went something like this:
Co-worker: “Would you like a coffee?”
Me feeling my usual post meal digestion sleepy: “For sure”
Co-worker: “What would you like in it”
Me: ” Double cream”
Patient looks at me in awe, chuckles and asks: “Double cream? How do you stay so thin?”
Depending on the patient and time, I often proceed by explaining to them about the CDH1+ mutation, the effects, the surgery and future breast cancer risks. If time I’ll slide in the genetic testing criteria and close with, “thanks to science, I’m still alive and I’m forever skinny.” We usually have a good laugh.
Not to overburden everyone with an abundance of information, here is the genetic testing criteria for CDH1 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto:
“Eligible families who have at least two relatives with diffuse-type gastric cancer, at least one diagnosed under age 50, or families with at least three relatives with diffuse-type gastric cancer at any age. Families with once case of very young diffuse-type gastric cancer (e.g. under age 35), or families with diffuse-type gastric cancer and lobular breast cancer may also be considered.”
For more information on HDGC from Mount Sinai Zane Cohen Centre click here
For more information on stomach cancer, check out No Stomach for Cancer’s webpage
I recently saw a person with a tattoo of the image featured above. It was all too familiar as I used to draw this as a kid. I asked him, “does your tattoo have any particular meaning?” He replied, “it means life is about perspective and can change depending on how you look at it”. He had been through some troubled times in his life but had managed to persevere and come out on top.
On Friday, I was at the gym participating in a step aerobics class. After finishing the first cardio peak track, the instuctors announces, “we just burned 600 calories!”. In the past, I used to like hearing this as it meant that I was really getting a great work out as I was burning off all that iced cream. However, now when I hear her announce that, the very first thing that pops into my head is, “how will I make those calories up?”. Then the next track finishes and she hollars, “we burned another 300 calories”. At this point I’m thinking, that’s 900 calories I’ve burned. I’m going to have to do a lot of eating to make up for that. It’s funny because this instructor probably thinks that the majority of people there are there to maintain or lose weight.
It’s funny how a simple messages can be perceived so differently.