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Nicole T, Philly, PA

     

  Voices of Force

Age: 36

I tested BRCA1+ at 35 & was diagnosed w. Triple Neg Invasive Ductal Carcinoma the very week of my 36th birthday...my first words "Take It All!"

I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:

Favorite book / authors:
How to Heal Youself By Louise Hay

Favorite TV / Movies:
Almost Famous

Favorite Song:
Feeling Good

 

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My journey

I tested BRCA1+ at 35 and was diagnosed with Triple Neg Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in my right breast the very week of my 36th birthday...my first words "Take It All!
The tumor was stage 1 and small but was not detected in a mammogram or physical check. We happened upon it with a Breast MRI ordered by my regular PA as part of the "preventative maintenance plan" she came up with in response to my BRCA results. This woman saved my life.
My initial response to the findings was disturbing however I had been waiting for this news since my mother died of ovarian cancer at 42 years old, when I was 21. She was one branch of a family tree of women riddled with cancer.
I lived like I would die young from that point on. I set my wild spirit free for a while, followed the music, traveled the country, enjoyed being young and unattached then settled myself down with 2 daughters by the time I was 28. I had a sense of immortality because I thought nothing else would get to me except cancer. So as long as I don't have it I'm All Good :)
My diagnosis was better than I expected. Because of these proactive steps my doc and I took, we found this early and manageable. Because of my BRCA diagnosis, I had already mapped out a surgery plan. Originally, cancer free, I mapped a plan to have the EXACT surgery I just had as a cancer patient. It was just unfortunate that the cancer beat me to the punch. I tested BRCA1+ at 35 and was diagnosed with Triple Neg Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in my right breast the very week of my 36th birthday.
The tumor was stage 1 and small but was not detected in a mammogram or physical check. We happened upon it with a Breast MRI ordered by my regular PA as part of the "preventative maintenance plan" she came up with in response to my BRCA results. This woman saved my life.
My initial response to the pathology findings was disturbingas it would be, however I had been waiting for this news since my mother died of ovarian cancer at 42 years old, when I was 21. She was one branch of a family tree of women riddled with cancer.
I lived like I would die young from that point on. I set my wild spirit free for a while, traveled the country, enjoyed being young and unattached then settled myself down with 2 daughters by the time I was 28. I had a sense I was immortal because I thought nothing else would get to me except cancer. So as long as I don't have it I'm All Good :)
My diagnosis was better than I expected. Because of these Proactive steps my doc and I took, we found this early and manageable. Because of my BRCA diagnosis, I had already mapped out a surgery plan. Originally, cancer free, I started planning to have the EXACT surgery I just had as a cancer patient. It was just unfortunate that the cancer beat me to the punch.

The hardest part of my journey

Honestly, the hardest part is the thought of my daughters losing their mom at too young of an age and/or having to fight this biological battle itself.
My health has been, to this point, overall good. I really did have alot going for me to aid in my fight. My immediate family was my island, my friends and extended family were my coral reef. I am surrounded by positivity and have always been one to exude that myself. I had the strength of my mother and myself in me as she has been my true guardian angel. I have a restored faith in God and the Universe working as one. My most significant other, my man, my protector, my partner...had been showing me a way back to God and his goodness since we connected 6 years ago. He opened my eyes to the power of faith and prayer. The Universe has always been a powerful force in my life and at times startlingly frightening. But I would seek balance in it and most of the time I found it.
My surgery is my first MAJOR one and it has been a literal fight to feel "well" but I
feel good, positive and cancer free. It is difficult at times to not let your mind slip into a hole of negativity, you just need to speak about it, release it and God and the Universe will dispose of it as it may.

If I could do it over again

I can make a long list of woulda, shoulda, coulda...but that would be a little depressing. What is done is done, move forward and prepare for anything.

My participation with FORCE

I found FORCE when I tested BRCA1+ last year and it directed me to the world of information on Preventative measures big and small. It allowed me the first inspiration for prophylactic surgery. Now post-surgery, I connected with a woman Mary K. at FORCE through a mutual friend. The easy emails getting to know each other have been very warming and supportive. I look forward to meeting her one day and maybe getting more involved in FORCE myself.

Other thoughts

I am only 8 days out from having Bilateral Mastectomy with immediate Free Flap reconstruction and Bilateral Salpingo Oopherectomy. I am in pain but healing well and waiting to meet with an oncologist. I'm out of work for 6-8 weeks and my 8&10 year olds are learning with my guidance how to keep house because I can't lift or pull etc. My dear man of the house has double duty with caring for us at home, and caring for the home after a full time laborious job. My decision to have this surgery and put my sweet family through this was made on the presence of a tiny mass of genetic cancer. There were simpler options that would have made everybody's lives easier. But I wanted to live AGAIN forever, I did not want to give cancer another chance...and my family felt the same.
I am blessed beyond words and will never forget this.

 


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