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Stacey K, Wisconsin

     

  Voices of Force

Age: 38

I'm married with two daughters - Lauren, 4 and Ava Grace, 2. BRCA1+, Prophylactic surgeries: oopherectomy and bilateral mastectomy.

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

Other favorites?
I have so many favorite songs--so many!

Counting Blue Cars by Dishwalla; Black by Pearl Jam;
Imagine by John Lennon;
I Keep Forgettin' by Michael McDonald; Whiter Shade of Pale.

 

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My journey

My biological mother had just been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her sister had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer years earlier. Upon futher questioning, I learned that my biological grandmother and four of her sisters had breast cancer, so I decided to get tested.

The hardest part of my journey

The hardest part of my journey has been not having any female family members to support me through this.

Since I am adopted, it's just me dealing with this. My relationship with my birthmother came to an end after I told her I was considering genetic testing. She just couldn't understand why I would want to know. Since we stopped talking due to this difference in opinion, it certainly made it easy for me to follow through on my promise of not making her aware of the test results!

However, she became aware of the results through my birth grandfather, who I remain in close contact with. It was his choice to tell her, not mine. He certainly was aware of her request not to know. I can be relieved that at least she knows and so do her two adult children (I assume).

If I could do it over again

Nothing. Soon after my test results, I got engaged, had my prophylactic mastectomies at age 30 (or was I 31?), then got married, then had one daughter and another daughter two years later, then had my oophorectomy at 36. I will turn 38 in two days.

Other thoughts

I have been an oncology nurse for the last 13 years. I think God steered me toward that profession for many reasons. It saved my life. If I was a lay person who heard that my birthmother and birthaunt both had ovarian cancer, I'm not sure that I would have known to put two and two together.

Having the knowledge base that I have made me immediately aware of what my birthmother's diagnosis meant for me too. I was able to take preventative measures before it was too late. I also had a wealth of expertise to guide me, including the oncologists whom I work with.

In addition, I was grateful to be able to have a choice. My patients who were dealing/dying with breast or ovarian cancer didn't get a choice. I'm sure every single one of them would have gladly parted with their breasts and ovaries to have avoided their cancer diagnosis. I had a choice! I also know never to feel sorry for myself. I have nothing to feel sorry for. It's my patients who I have concern for.

 


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