Christina Ackerman, Winter Springs, FL
I'm all about pre-emptive strikes. I've not had cancer, but proactively had bilateral mastectomies done and OOPH/hysterectomy due to BRAC2+ results.
I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:
Favorite book / authors:
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Because of my strong family history of breast cancer (my mother, my mother’s sister, and my mother’s mother all had breast cancer) doctors have watched my health very closely since I was 25 years old. As I reached the age of 40, my doctors advised me to have mammograms, breast sonograms, and/or breast MRIs done every six months. Every six months I would be anxious to know whether anything showed up on those screenings. After a questionable mammogram, I was referred to a breast cancer doctor who advised me to have the BRAC Analysis test done. I took my doctor’s advice, got the test done, and I tested positive. To me this meant that my statistics were no longer “1 in 8 women will get breast cancer”; in my situation it was now a “1 in 1 woman will get breast cancer”. My breast doctor suggested I get a bilateral mastectomy. I went ahead with this procedure, followed by breast reconstruction surgeries. The entire mastectomy and reconstruction took three surgeries and 6 months. After my mastectomy, pathology showed pre-cancerous cells in one of my removed breasts. This gave me even more confirmation that I had made the correct decision.
The hardest part of my journey
Facing menopause at the age of 42. Thankfully, other than hot flashes, I have not had many other menopausal effects.
If I could do it over again
Absolutely nothing. This was God's plan for my life. I'm confident these surgeries were the right decisions for me and the path for me to take. There is peace in knowing I won’t have to go through the trials of getting cancer and everything that goes with it: chemotherapy, radiotherapy, losing my hair, getting nauseous, and all the effects I saw my mother go through.
My participation with FORCE
It's comforting to hear of other women who went through the same things I have.
When I was 15 years old, my mother had to explain to me that her cancer was terminal. She told me she would not see my 20th birthday. It broke my heart. She died when I was 19; just 3 months before my 20th birthday. She was 42. It so happened that during my surgeries, my daughter Sara was also 15 years old. I had the privilege to tell her that I was getting these procedures so that I would live! This is freedom!
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