My Genetic Counseling Appointment and Why I’m admitting I have ADD

Posted in Cancer stuff, Life by

Today I had my genetic counseling appointment. It was so interesting! It was like a family tree only with black dots scribbled in the boxes for those that had cancer. So who was at the bottom of that tree? Muah AND my cousin. Shout out to two of Abuela’s favorite!! Whoop whoop! 😉

How Genetic Testing Made me Start Thinking About ADD

Anyhoo, this whole genetic testing thing got me thinking about my family, our genetics, our commonalities and our secrets. We all have them. I’m pretty much an open book so any issues that I have-my friends and/or family will know. Not many secrets here. Back to my thinking. As I look at my Mom’s side of the family-nothing really stands out as far as “things that run in the family”. Wait-curves. Those damn hips! But that’s easy to keep in check through healthy eating and exercise. Easy. Right.

On to the Quintana’s (my father’s side). This side is a little more complex. You see, I only want to put this out there because I think its important for us. Us meaning, all my cousin’s and especially  OUR CHILDREN. There seems to be a few things that run in our family and you know what? It’s OK. OK, because we all go through it and we can only be a testament and inspiration for each other.

Let me start by telling you a story about myself. I mean if I’m gonna put it out there, I might as well start with ME.  One story that will always stick out to me is when I was the last person in my 3rd grade class (maybe 2nd?) to memorize my times tables. Specifically the 2’s. My Mom had a conference with the teacher and was so upset that I still didn’t know them that we spent the entire day/night studying them until they were memorized. It took ALL evening. But that’s a story that me and my Mom will never forget. On to the next one.

I Finally Figured Out What Was Going on With Me!

Standardized test such as SATs were a F’in nightmare for me. In high school, I think I took my SATs 3 times. Not to mention I took the PSAT twice AND attended a summer school prep class that was suppose to increase my score. Wanna know what my score was??? I believe it was between 950-980. Now, what sense does that make coming from someone that graduated with above a 4.0 average!? I mean, after all the prepping I did, I should’ve scored in the 1200’s. Instead, I just made the absolute lowest score possible that would still qualify me for my Bright Future’s Scholarship. College was a bitch. Why? Because what would take someone 2-3 hrs of studying would take me 10. This was all I knew. I thought this was normal and that I just had to work harder than everyone else. Fast forward through Mommy hood and my career. A few months after a promotion at work, a thought crossed my mind that I NEVER had. I actually told myself that I don’t think I could handle a higher position because I just could not get it together and focus on completing certain tasks. Things just kept getting harder and harder and I was stressed out. I started getting severe migraines. I went to the doctor but he said it was anxiety and I walked out of there with a prescription to Xanax. Really? I never filled that Rx b/c I knew it was something more. A year later, I was seeing a counselor (remember I was stressed out!) and 4 months into our fabulous courtship she asked me if I had ever been tested for ADD when I was young. Pssshhhh….NO. Are you kidding? My parents would NEVER go for that excuse! It was just study more more more! or You’re not applying yourself! I loved that one! She gave me the test which divided up ADD in a few categories. One category was “inattentiveness”. I got the highest score you could get, which was not good in this test. She referred me to a psychiatrist for medication and I sat on her referral for 4 months before I did anything. Don’t know why-maybe it was the Quintana in me-I”M FINE! I finally caved and went to see the doctor she referred me to and I now take medication for ADD. I wish I did this a long ass time ago. During this time was when I found out that ADD is hereditary AND that it runs in my family (specifically the guys). What else runs in our family? Let me tell you. Substance abuse, mental illnesses, and maybe cancer-jury is still out on that one.

ADD/ADHD &  Mental illnesses- Clinically, these are both psychiatric disorders. And you know what? There are genetic risks factors associated with 5 major psychiatric disorders: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, major depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Since my diagnosis, I now have a stash of anxiety meds to use as needed. Why? Because shit happens and life happens. Along with my diagnosis came small bouts of anxiety and sleepless nights. Maybe I was more prone to anxiety/depression because of my family history. Who knows. Regardless, this is one of many things that me and my Dad now share. Hahaha…..I feel a lecture coming on. I love you Dad!

Substance abuse-This includes all substances, including alcohol. As a child of a recovered alcoholic, I’m 4x times more likely to become an alcoholic. But I knew that one, because my parent’s drilled it in my head during my college years. Cheers to that Mom & Dad! I love you!  But I know for shizzle that this isn’t a problem. Instead, I got cancer.

Cancer-jury is still out on this one. But there is cancer in my family. I’m one of 2 cousins that had a diagnosis in our early thirties. According to the genetic counselor that alone sends up some flags. The genetic testing I will be receiving will not only test me for the breast cancer gene but I will be tested for 5 other genes that are linked to other illnesses and cancer. Should I be positive for any of these tests, the next step would be for my Mom and Dad to get tested. From there, we will know which side of my family has the mutated gene. Again, this is only IF I test positive for any of the 6 genes. Wouldn’t you like to know if there was a proven gene in your family genetic make-up that could increase your chance of having a certain illness or cancer by up to 50%?These percentages depend on the gene and type of cancer.

The moral of this story is that knowing some of this information can help us make sense of things in an otherwise cloudy uncertain world. I hope I didn’t offend anyone, because surely that was not my intention. My intention is to be a testimony, peer, and to be as transparent as possible. I (we) need to know what we may be up against or what we need to look out for. If not for us, then for the next generation-our children!

With all this said, I am so grateful to have the love I do from my family. I thank you for all your calls, messages, cards and loving texts of encouragement. LOVE TO ALL!! My third chemo treatment is this Thursday-send me love and prayers!

Pics of some of the Quintana clan….some of the coolest people I know….XOXOXOIMG_2333 IMG_2356 IMG_2365

Here are pics of the Saenz clan-the coolest hipsters around… u!! xoxoxo

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June 25, 2013
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No comments

  • Reply Ann Shephard

    Jess, much love and many prayers. Although we haven’t called, I ready your blog faithfully and keep the rest of the family posted. We all love you and are praying for you. xoxoxoxoxo

    June 25, 2013 at 11:11 pm
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      I know I’m in your prayers! Plz tell them to keep up with me on here. I REALLY want to see everyone. Maybe this Sunday??

      June 25, 2013 at 11:40 pm
  • Reply Mari

    Wow! That was so open of you to go there!! Thank you!! I’m so happy you got the testing done! I feel it will only help all of us know and help our kids and grand kids! I’m sure everyone can appreciate the place of LOVE this information comes from. There is no shame in inheriting a disease. We just learn how to treat it and heal. My son has ADD. I’ve had stomach cancer. Depression and anxiety and thought I was alone. We all come closer as a family to know these medical facts. Our Quintana family is strong, loving and intelligent. We can conquer anything with God and our families love and support! Thxs for ur love and openness!! Love u tons ; p blessings this week!

    June 26, 2013 at 12:28 am
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      Yes, I’m very eager for the results. Either way it goes-it will be good to know! Thanks for understanding where I’m coming from. Hearing all this stuff about genetics today just really got me thinking about our family. I find it comforting to know that others are going or have gone through some similar tribulations. Everything we go thru will just make us stronger and a better person in the end. I’m happy you got it & understood the meaning behind this post. I LOVE YOU!!!! 😉 XOXOXOXO

      June 26, 2013 at 12:54 am
  • Reply Danielle

    PS. When you are young and assuming a lot of responsibility at work, it is ok to feel pressure and a sense of being overwhelmed. It happens to me too. It means you care, which means you will ultimately do a great job. It just takes time. I know you understand this since you are a FABULOUS marketing manager 🙂 Go girl!

    June 26, 2013 at 2:05 am
  • Reply Danielle

    Hey! My earlier message got erased . I dont know what happened. You are doing great, Jessica. Almost done! It will be a memory soon. Super proud of you. You are handling everything with such grace. God is looking down at you and smiling. I love you 🙂

    June 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      Ugh……i was trying to approve it on my phone and I hit delete instead of approve !! 🙁 I’m looking to see if I have a “trash” folder on here. Thank you for keeping up with me on here. I’m almost half way done! Can’t wait for that memory 🙂 Luv u…give William kisses from us!

      June 26, 2013 at 10:33 pm
  • Reply Danielle

    Love you!!!! Love you!!!!

    June 27, 2013 at 6:35 am
  • Reply prayingforoneday

    Good to get tests done…
    I admire your bravery..
    20 years or so ago my big brother got Diagnosed with Cancer and was told he had 6 months to live. He is still here. Missing a few bits and bobs they had to cut away. But he was VERY POSITIVE. We would walk into his house, I was a kid back then, and he would shout to us “I am still alive” and smile. He kept us strong and positive,,Same as you are doing..
    Keep on keeping on…


    July 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm
    • Reply pinklemonsandrainbows

      Thanks 🙂 That’s awesome! I think it sounds like your brother is way braver than me. I def think the mind is a very powerful thing! Sending you good vibes!

      July 8, 2013 at 10:19 pm
      • Reply prayingforoneday

        Thank you..
        I think the mind the same as you.
        And I think when we need to be brave, we become brave.
        I nearly gave in once, but I got brave. Still hard now, but, each day at a time, If you look at my blog I have the most “Best Moments” Awards. Even got a mention on Because most of my blogs talk about “Moments” I forget about yesterday but learn from it and I will see what tomorrow brings. I live for this second, this moment. If I am happy, so life is good x

        July 9, 2013 at 7:31 pm
  • Reply Angela

    Wow! Your honesty and truth is greatly admired by me! The Quintana family needs to share and be more honest about their medical history. Every thing you shared is so true!

    August 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm
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