"I suffered so much guilt about not having the preventative surgeries when I found out about my genetic mutation.”
I was 29 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. Six months later, I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I underwent a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation.
Thirteen years later, I tested positive for BRCA1. My mom was negative and my brother and sister were both positive. This mutation was passed on by my dad.
My sister is an incredibly brave Previvor. She had the courage to have the recommended preventative hysterectomy surgery. I was too afraid and too busy with work as an Assistant Hotel General Manager to have the recommended hysterectomy and mastectomy. I had been in remission for 13 years. I had a false sense of security and under estimated the risk of being diagnosed with a late stage cancer. I thought if the cancer comes back, I’ll catch it early and beat it again. So I opted for surveillance.
Three years later, I was diagnosed with stage 3B ovarian cancer, despite being vigilant about my 6 month surveillance appointments. There is NO EARLY DETECTION TEST for ovarian cancer.
After 21 rounds of chemo, I was deemed NED.
Three months later, I scheduled an overdue mammogram, and was diagnosed with DCIS cancer in my left breast. The double mastectomy surgery followed.
October is the one year mark, to the end of this chapter.
I suffered so much guilt about not having the preventative surgeries when I found out about my genetic mutation. I also felt a loss of identity when I was separated from my job. I worry about this mutation being passed on to my niece and nephews and other family members. I want them to know their risks and to be knowledgeable about the symptoms. And to be proactive and advocates for themselves.
Cancer has given me the gift to change my priorities and an opportunity to discover my passion & purpose in life. Which I’m still working on.
I struggle with who I was yesterday, who I am today, and who I’ll be tomorrow, but I can’t wait to find out!