Lizmaré Steinmann shares her BRCA2 journey


 When I was younger I tended to store my cell phone or money in my bra so it would not fall or get lost, then my grandmother always scolded, “Stop storing your stuff there, it's not healthy for your breasts!” As usual, why be bothered about it, I was never really bothered about my breasts as a teenager. It was there and that's it. 

As I got older, I became more aware of my breasts, knew about Breast Cancer and how to examine myself, but one is still so lazy, you might do it once a year or when you remember. 

In 2014 my mother found out she had breast cancer and in that moment I thought, "In my life I would never have thought, someone so close to me, would get cancer." Although cancer runs through my family. 

It was a shock and it was sad, you always think of the worst, but my mother was an iron woman. She was so positive and nothing got her down. She was the boss of cancer! 

Throughout the process, my mother's doctor asked her that we, her daughters, should come for tests to see if we might be carrying the BRCA2 gene. At first I did not want to go for my blood tests, but still decided, what could be so bad now to have some blood drawn. Little knowing how I was going to feel in 2 weeks. 

The day the doctor asked to see me, my mother and my fiancé, I knew my results came back with the "positive" gene. The doctor explained everything to us very nicely, how they did the test and where the gene came from etc. 

As we sat there, it felt as if the doctor was planning my whole life for me, in advance, I’m only 19 years old and it felt as if I did not really have a choice about my body and future. I have to start having children before the age of 30 and no later than 35. I have to have my breasts removed at the age of 35 because then reconstruction is more successful and reduces my chances of breast cancer. I need to have my ovaries removed before the age of 40 to reduce my chances of ovarian cancer. Just there she also arranges my very first examination. 

So I'm going to my first examination/check-up. First on my list is the mammogram, I felt like a cow trying to be milked. It was incredibly painful. Immediately afterwards I had to go for a sonar because my breast tissue is too thick and they do not see much on the mammogram. Sonar did not help much and I had to go for an MRI scan. I'm already so tired, hurt and emotional because my mom cannot be here with me just to make me feel more comfortable, now I still have to be sent around too. I was so stressed about what my results would be that they could not find a vein to insert a needle for the MRI. They decided to insert the needle between my fingers into a vein. It was terribly painful and uncomfortable. Finally after 6 hours in the hospital I am finished and I can go home. 

When I got home, it was as if reality actually hit me then, that my chance of getting breast cancer one day was 90-99%, if I did not start looking at myself better. 

In the time since then I have become so aware of my breasts, I do my self-checks regularly, I am full of nonsense over the bras I wear, the roll-on I use and I never store my phone or money in my bra again . I just made the decision, to look up to my mother, who was so positive through her whole process, that no matter what comes or goes, I will stay positive and the Lord will take care of the rest. 

My advice to all young ladies, your breasts may be your best asset, but it's also your own uniqueness around being a woman, take care of your breasts, do your own checks or go to your nearest doctor 

for a check-up and if you also have the BRCA2 gene, be and remain positive and "Leave your life to the Lord and trust in Him; He will take care." - Psalm 37: 5 

Lizmaré Steinmann 

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