How I Got it Before it Got Me

How I Got it Before it Got Me

My mother was a carrier of the BRCA gene mutation and was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32.  After my mom had died at the age of 51, I knew that there was a possibility that I was carrying the deleterious BRCA gene mutation too.  When the doctor called to give me results, I was not surprised but disappointed that I had not somehow avoided this fate.

I encountered the Sharsheret website while searching for information about my BRCA positive diagnosis. I knew that I wanted to find out everything possible about the gene mutation, its risks, probability factors, and prevention treatments. I am grateful to the people at Sharsheret for giving those facing breast cancer a central place to get information, support and reassurance.

After researching I felt like I was a breast cancer patient waiting to happen.  I wanted to take control of an aspect of the illness that was controllable and do anything possible to significantly lower my risk.

I am forever grateful to a colleague of mine for sharing her preventive prophylactic surgery experience with me that she underwent a year before. With her support, I was able to face my personal journey with complete confidence and minimal trepidation. I was lucky that my previvor friend recommended an awesome team that was able to do a nipple sparing prophylactic double mastectomy with reconstruction in one surgery.  I was back on my feet and back to work 2 weeks later.

I believe that every person who has chosen to have a mastectomy before her diagnosis is another person that modern science with its awesomeness was able to help.  The goal is that it saves us the chemotherapy, anxiety, fears… I know those side effects all too well.  I watched my mom suffer from them from when I was 12 years old.

My mom was my best friend on earth.   She taught me to be proactive, to take the reins in every situation and to stand up for something when you believe in it.  I believe that she would be so proud and so grateful that I did this surgery.  I want to encourage others to seize the moment and not allow fear to stand in the way of making healthy decisions that fit their unique set of circumstances.