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Pretty Is What Changes: Impossible Choices,…

Pretty Is What Changes: Impossible Choices, The Breast Cancer Gene, and…

by Jessica Queller

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A heart wrenching, devastatingly honest memoir of a young woman who must make a incredibly difficult, life changing decision based on the outcome of a genetic test that comes back positive for the breast cancer gene.

Jessica's mother was beautiful, vivacious and had a great job. Then breast cancer hit. She fought hard and thought she had won the fight. Then she got the news later....ovarian cancer. Meanwhile Jessica and her sister began a difficult journey as caregivers for their very sick mother.

Jessica learned of a blood test that was available that could predict if the person had the genetic marker for breast and ovarian cancer. Jessica decided to take the test....and it came back positive. The test results gave the odds....87% chance of developing breast cancer and a 40+% chance of developing ovarian cancer. The choices of treatment? A lifetime of vigilant testing, via MRI, sonogram and mammogram. Or....a preventative double mastectomy and removal of both ovaries.

Jessica was 34 years old, unmarried without children. She very much wanted to get married someday and to definitely bear children. She went into denial for awhile but came to realize she had to decide one way or the other. She did lots of research and finally made her decision.

Although the subject matter was difficult to read about, the writing was smooth and it was a very fast read. ( )
  porchsitter55 | Oct 3, 2009 |
As someone who is wondering if I myself may carry this BRCA gene, I felt compelled to read this story. If nothing else, it gave me a lot of great resources and information. I did however, truly enjoy reading Jessica's story. ( )
  BonBonMom | Jun 23, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385520409, Hardcover)

A timely, affecting memoir from the front lines of medical science: When genetics can predict how we may die, how then do we decide how to live?

Eleven months after her mother succumbs to cancer, Jessica Queller has herself tested for the BRCA “breast cancer” gene mutation. The results come back positive, putting her at a terrifyingly elevated risk of developing breast cancer before the age of fifty and ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Thirty-four, unattached, and yearning for marriage and a family of her own, Queller faces an agonizing choice: a lifetime of vigilant screenings and a commitment to fight the disease when caught, or its radical alternative—a prophylactic double mastectomy that would effectively restore life to her, even as it would challenge her most closely held beliefs about body image, identity, and sexuality.

Superbly informed and armed with surprising wit and style, Queller takes us on an odyssey from the frontiers of science to the private interiors of a woman’s life. Pretty Is What Changes is an absorbing account of how she reaches her courageous decision and its physical, emotional, and philosophical consequences. It is also an incredibly moving story of what we inherit from our parents and how we fashion it into the stuff of our own lives, of mothers and daughters and sisters, and of the sisterhood that forms when women are united in battle against a common enemy.

Without flinching, Jessica Queller answers a question we may one day face for ourselves: If genes can map our fates and their dark knowledge is offered to us, will we willingly trade innocence for the information that could save our lives?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:37 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Queller, screenwriter for The Gilmore Girls, tells her story--from her mother's death from ovarian cancer and her postive testing for the breast cancer gene BRCA-1 to her decision to have a double mastectomy and remove her ovaries.

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