My story is very different to most people’s… I am not a Breast cancer Survivor; I am a Breast cancer PREVIVOR!
In May 2018, my sister was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She immediately went for the genetic testing because it became clear to us that there was some underlying trend in our family, as my cousin was diagnosed with triple negative stage 3 breast cancer the year before that. By doing this test, my sister gave me the knowledge that allowed me to take the preventative measures in making sure that I got to Breast Cancer before it got to me. She was tested BRCA+ and long story short, so was I.
The very moment I was sitting in the doctors room and got my results that said BRCA+, it was like a switch went off in my head and I knew that I was not going to wait around for cancer to get to me and I wanted to take control and make sure I was able to take my chances of getting Breast Cancer from 87% to 5%, by having a preventative double mastectomy! Going for screening every 6months, waiting to hear that they have found something, it not how I personally wanted to spend my life… I was 26years old, married for 1 year and planning to remove my breasts and planning our entire lives because BRCA also attacks the ovaries, therefore by the time I am 35 years old, I will need to have a surgery to make sure I don’t get that cancer either!
It was the hardest, but the easiest, decision I ever had to make!
Going for an MRI, ultrasounds and multiple meetings with my general surgeon and plastic surgeon for 7 months until the day of my surgery was soo hard! I tried to make sure I was prepared and had all my questions answered and had all the pillows and everything I could possibly need. What I didn’t know, is that I was preparing for the biggest war my mind and body would ever have to go through. I was promised minimal scarring and a quick surgery with a quick turnaround time to this process being finished… but unfortunately that was not the case for me…
My preventative double mastectomy was on the 5th of April 2019 and I woke up post op and found out they did a full anchor incision and on top of that, I had 2 post op infections which made my initial surgeries healing time, around…. 4 months!
As soon as I was given the go ahead, I started my expander fills and my last fill was on the 26th of September 2019, as soon as I started my fills... I felt like a new person! Ps: Yes, I have a new surgeon. I opted for expanders under the muscle as my reconstruction, and damn I am glad I did! With having an infection, I could have lost my implant, and my expander being under the muscle, any left-over breast tissue is at the forefront of my body and I can feel for any lumps and will see them immediately! I will have my exchange surgery with fat grafting is set for the beginning of 2020 :)
This journey has taught me so much about life and people and made me so much stronger! I am so grateful that my journey only included the double mastectomy and not having to through everything that a Breast cancer patient has to endure… I feel that our journey’s may have differences (a lot, I understand that), but they also have a lot of similarities. Survivors and Previvors, at the end of the day are both surviving Breast cancer, just with 2 different paths. Our mental states and physical pain follow some of the same paths and that is why I believe that we are all Breasties!
Respect, when it comes to Breast Cancer, from my (Previvor’s) perspective, is that people think I had a cool boob job and they constantly compare me to survivors and what they went through… First of all, I did not have a boob job! I had a MASTECTOMY! It is a very different thing! I do not have any feeling in my breasts, I have multiple scars and went through the hardest time of my life to PREVENT getting cancer… I went through all of that without even having the disease!
This all comes down to knowledge and respect. If more people were aware of BRCA and what a Previvor was, they would maybe be more compassionate.
I am very passionate about sharing my story and creating awareness around BRCA and being a part of a movement to create a generation of Previvors! And kick cancers butt, before it has the chance to get to you!