1. When a woman reveals she’s been diagnosed with BRCA1 and is taking prophylactic measures, what percentage of people will say to her, “Well, at least you get a free boob job!”?

a. 13%
b. 38%
c. 59%
d. 90%

2. Define “lucky.”

3. Which term best describes what having as-of-this-moment-in-time healthy breasts, ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes removed from your body feels like?

a. Whiplash
b. Piñata
c. The Dark Ages
d. Poker 

4. Define “Brave.”

5. In terms of figurative language, which is the best doctor-delivered food analogy?

a. The uterus as an upside-down pear
b. Ovaries like walnuts
c. Breast scar like a piece of angel hair pasta
d. Cervical opening like the middle of a bagel

6. What does PBM stand for?

a. Peanut Butter Muffin
b. Polyamorous Bisexual Male
c. Periodic Bowel Movements
d. Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy

7. What’s the best way to tell teenaged children their mother is BRCA positive?

a. At The Cheesecake Factory, whose 30-page menu provides time for courage
b. Via text: “Hey kids! I don’t have cancer!”
c. Make a pencil notation in their baby books, then bury in cedar chest
d. Underwater, Cape Cod vacation, through bubbles

8. What’s a helpful thing to do while considering a double mastectomy?

a. Grill a batch of underwire bras over hot coals
b. Spit into your hand and search for mutants
c. Polar plunge into Lake Ontario in your red bikini 
d. Parade around your bedroom in dresses with darts

9. Define “femininity.”

10. What does a woman do when her breast surgeon says, “I’ll be removing all your breast tissue, which [insert chuckle] is kind of like scraping out an avocado and leaving just the tiniest bit of green behind”?

a. Go to Salena’s and order the largest bowl of guacamole they have and stick your face in it
b. Imagine the pit. What about the pit?
c. Buy a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos as consolation prize
d. Punch him in the face 

Anne Panning is the author the memoir Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss, as well as two short story collections and the novel Butter. She has won The Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and is currently working on her second memoir about her late father, a barber and addict. She teaches creative writing at SUNY-Brockport. Her website is www.annepanning.com.  

Photo by Kim Adrian