Journal of Genetic Counseling

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 461–463 | Cite as

Why Me? Why Not Me?

  • Kathleen D. Valverde
Original Paper


The decision to undergo BRCA testing is very complex and emotionally laden. This decision can be further complicated by the loss of a mother at an early age. The following personal account by a genetic counselor discusses the testing process and the struggle to accept the results and reframe one’s self-identity. The sensitive nature of this testing and the implications for other family members is explored.


BRCA testing receiving true negative results identity loss survivor guilt motherless daughters 



I would like to thank my friends in the genetics community for their gracious support especially Joan Marks, and to my sister who has shown incredible strength and resilience through her journey with breast cancer.


  1. Claes, E., Denayer, A. L., Boogaerts, A. A., Philippe, K., & Legius, E. (2005). Predictive Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer: Psychological Distress and Illness Representations 1 Year Following Disclosure. J Gen Cslg., 14(5) 349–363.Google Scholar
  2. Edelman, H (1995). Letters from motherless daughters. New York: Dell Publishing.Google Scholar
  3. Edelman, H. (1994). Motherless daughters: The legacy of loss. New York: Dell Publishing.Google Scholar
  4. Hambrook, D., & Eisenberg, G. (1997). A Mother loss workbook; healing exercises for daughters. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.Google Scholar
  5. Harris, M. (1995). The loss that is forever. The lifelong impact of the early death of a mother or father.New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Associate Professor of Genetic Counseling, Arcadia UniversityGlensideUSA
  2. 2.Arcadia UniversityGlensideUSA

Personalised recommendations