Leslie , Phoenix, Az
I am BRCA1 positive, single, with no children. I discovered my status 3 yrs ago. I am currently using surveilance until I am ready for surgeries!
I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:
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I always knew I had a strong "family history", many family members have died from cancers, (prostate and breast). My mom was initially diagnosed 17 yrs ago at age 32 with breast cancer and then almost 3 yrs ago it came back and she was in a short remission only to have it recur again last year. My mom is now Stage 4 Metastatic and trying to live with cancer. With her 2nd recurrence, she was tested and came back positive for the BRCA1 mutation. My brother and I immediately tested and were both found to be positive. I felt such tremendous relief when I was given my test results! It was such a release of the fear I lived in, knowing I was positive allowed me to gain some kind of control over my health and my life. I was no longer living with the fear of what if or when, but what am I going to do to stop this. With this new knowledge I immediately scheduled an appointment for the screening recommendations given to me by my genetic counselor. I am always nervous waiting for my results, but feel better knowing that I am doing everything I can to screen myself. I am planning to have prophylactic masectomies and hysterectomy when I turn 30, I feel if I wait any longer than that, it may be too late. I have also started excercising more and eating better, because despite what "genes" I was given, I have the power to be proactive and save my own life!
The hardest part of my journey
One of the tough parts of this journey is the feeling that I don't have all the time in the world to do some things. Some of the plans I made for life now have to be fast forwarded because I am on a time crunch. I thought I had more time to have kids, but the longer I wait, is the longer I wait for a hysterectomy, which is not good. So my personal cut off is 30, no exceptions! Despite this feeling, it has allowed me to re-prioritze my life, things that I thought were so important aren't anymore. I have learned to value what is really important to me.
If I could do it over again
I have no regrets, everything happens for a reason!
My participation with FORCE
After learning my results, I immediately went online to find out what resources were available to me and to educate myself about my condition. That was when I discovered FORCE, it was amazing to see so many others were just like me! I didn't feel so alone and the information I get from them and the updates have been wonderful! I was able to let my mom know about studies and new meds to help her and find out more info to educate people on BRCA genes. I post the website and the info I get from them on my social networking sites whenever I can. I work in the healthcare field and whenever I speak to someone who has a cancer that might be linked to a BRCA mutation, I tell them to look into testing and refer them to FORCE.
I hope that by sharing my story and experiences I can encourage people to test and become educated on their options. Testing is the first step, what they do with it is up to them. Prevention is better than reaction!
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