Loren, Washington, Dc
I became aware that I was BRCA II positive in 2005 at the age of 21. I truly believe that having the knowledge of my gene mutation it saved my life.
I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:
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After 4 out of 8 children on my mother's side had already been diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 40, they decided to participate in a study at NIH to find out why. It was then we found out our family was a carrier for the BRCA II mutation. All three of my aunts, and my mother, all tested positive; along with 4 of my cousins who decided to be tested, and myself as were all positive for the gene. I have become a firm believer of the sayiing "everything happens for a reason". I moved to DC on a whim, and decided to establish a new breast dr up here. On my first visit for a mammogram, I was told there were some calcification in one of my breast. After two biopsies, the calcifications had come back as cancer. It had not even been a year since I attended FORCE's annual conference in Orlando, and not even four months since I moved, that I found out I had breast cancer,DCIS, Stage zero. I know, now more than ever, how important it is to be an advocate for your health. It is so much easier to turn the other cheek and not face what could be; which is what I had been doing for the 7 years since i became aware of my diagnosis. If I had waited any longer I dont know what my status would be. My mother keeps telling me when I was growing up and would get in trouble, my defense was always, "it could be worse"; this is my prime example of that.
The hardest part of my journey
The hardest part for me is losing my breasts at 28, and then feeling guilty. I often find myself feeling down because of my age and because I'm not married. Then the guilt sets in because there are so many other women that are in such a worse situation. There are so many women who don't catch it in stage zero and go through much more extensive treatment. While women are sick and losing their hair from chemo, and fighting for their lives; I'm upset about my physical appearance.
If I could do it over again
No. Thus far, I have lived my life as I have and I wouldn't change a thing. I educated myself about my risk and acted as I felt fit; and because of that I am still here and feeling good just one month after having a double mastectomy.
My participation with FORCE
Facing our risk of cancer empowered- FORCE. It could not have been summed up any better. I used the resources provided by this organization to make me feel stronger. many people say to me, "I dont know how you are so strong, I would be a mess if this was happening to me". Because of my family, and because of the information I have gathered through FORCE, the moment I received my diagnosis I knew what needed to be done. I acted practical instead of emotional thanks to the knowledge I have through this organization.
I cannot stress enough how important early detection is. There will always be bumps in the road of life, but if you deal with them head on you will come out a stronger and better person. If there is someone thinking about getting tested, or have already tested positive and want to dust it under the rug, please don't. It sucks and it is hard, but in the end, if you deal with it, you will have given yourself and our loved ones the best gift of all; life.
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