Thank you for visiting my fundraising page and reading my story. There have been a number of milestones in my life that have been complete game-changers. Some were planned – like marrying my long-time partner – while others completely took my feet out from under me. Learning about BRCA, and my positive diagnosis for the mutation, was certainly the latter.
Before January of 2012, I was aware that cancer ran in families but knew next-to-nothing about hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. Thankfully, I soon found out as my father’s siblings reached out and told me what was going in on our family. My father himself was not really in-the-know and chose not to be tested for the gene. I took a different route and was tested knowing full well that the result might cast a ‘black mark’ on my health record. When the news came a few weeks later, the enormity of the situation hit me full bore: what were we going to do? My husband and I worried about everything under the sun while we went from appointment to appointment. Along with worry, the information came with an opportunity to learn as much as possible about treatment plans and next steps. In the end, the recommendations came in unanimously. We decided to take action and put this chapter of our BRCA journey behind us. In July, I underwent a skin-sparing bilateral prophylactic mastectomy and oophorectomy. During recovery, my husband and children cared for me and we made the most of trips to the pool and time together. It was not the best time in our lives – particularly because we were unexpectedly displaced from our home due to a neighborhood wildfire – but we had each other and made the best of it. Through it all my husband, Kevin, stood strong and my children persevered as kids do. They are my heroes.
When my children are old enough – some twenty years from now – I hope and pray they will have different options if they carry my genetic mutation. My son and daughter each have a 50% risk of inheriting it. I am a glass-half-full person and optimistic that they both will be negative. But, just in case, hedging our bets by advocating for awareness and R&D advancement seems prudent. Thank you for your help in supporting me - and FORCE - do just that.