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Pretty is what changes : impossible choices, the breast cancer gene, and how I defied my destiny

by Queller, Jessica, 1969-

Format: Print Book 2008
Availability: Available at 2 Libraries 2 of 2 copies
Available (2)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction RC280.B8 Q48 2008
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  RC280.B8 Q48 2008
Penn Hills Library Non-Fiction 362.196 QUE
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  362.196 QUE
In Pretty Is What Changes, Jessica Queller journeys to the place where the cutting edge of biotechnology meets real life and real patients. Eleven months after her mother succumbed to cancer, Queller had herself tested for the BRCA breast cancer gene mutation. The results came back virulently positive, putting her at a terrifyingly elevated risk of developing breast cancer before the age of fifty and ovarian cancer in her lifetime. Thirty-five, unattached, and yearning for marriage and a family of her own, she faced 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, courageous, 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. Without flinching, she answers a question we may one day face for ourselves: if genes can map our fate and their dark knowledge is offered to us, will we willingly trade innocence for the information that could save our lives?
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Natalie Wood look-alike TV-scripter Queller was 35 in 2004, when she tested positive for the BRCA mutation, a genetic disorder primarily of Ashkenazi Jews that had caused her mother's fatal cancer. To deal with 87 percent likelihood of developing breast cancer or 44 percent for the ovarian cancer to which her mother succumbed she discovered that she had to challenge her and society's standards of beauty and sexuality. Women sharing her background learned that of all the attributes, beauty came first, and a Hollywood-lovely fashion-designer mom told her that at one point she had accepted only chemo treatments that did not cause hair loss. Queller embraced her mother's love for superficially lovely possessions, which was not great preparation for preventive mastectomy, albeit with reconstruction. But eventually she founded a BRCA-positive women's Web site, wrote an article, was interviewed by Cokie Roberts on national TV about her preventive mastectomy, and learned, post-op, that she had had precancerous right-breast abnormalities. Whether at risk similar to Queller's or not, many may find her beautifully textured account impossible to put down.--Scott, Whitney Copyright 2008 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "TV writer Queller (The Gilmore Girls) was 31, single and healthy when her mother succumbed to ovarian cancer at the age of 58, having battled breast cancer six years earlier. Queller chronicles her mother's long and anguished struggle in vivid detail. After her mother's death, at the suggestion of an acquaintance, Queller opted to discover whether she carries the breast cancer gene; indeed, she tested positive for the BRCA-1 gene mutation, which gave her an 87 percent chance of breast cancer before age 50 and a 44 percent chance of ovarian cancer in her lifetime. With this knowledge in hand, Queller began the journey toward her pivotal choice: a prophylactic double mastectomy at age 35. Along the way she traveled between the West Coast and New York City, seeking medical opinions, information and unsuccessfully-but not for lack of trying-a man she can love who will father her children before she follows up with voluntary surgery to remove her ovaries. This Hollywood writer's story is seamless and gripping; readers will be rooting for Queller and her heroic decision to confront her genetic destiny. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Queller, Jessica, -- 1969- -- Health.
Breast -- Cancer -- Patients -- United States -- Biography.
Breast -- Cancer -- Genetic aspects.
Publisher New York :Spiegel & Grau,2008
Edition 1st ed.
Language English
Description 247 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780385520409 (hardcover)
0385520409 (hardcover)
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