Krystal, Phoenix, Arizona
I'm a previvor. I recently had a prophylactic mastectomy after testing positive for BRCA 1.
I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:
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I'm 25 years old and am currently a student attending Arizona State University for my BA in Communication. Last September I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene. My Mom had been nagging me to get this test done but I was naive for a long time. I started dating someone over the summer that said he had a friend that was considering having preventative surgery for a breast cancer gene. I wasn't aware of this surgery up until this point. After testing positive for the BRCA gene my decision to have a prophylactic mastectomy was easy. My grandmother & mother had breast cancer in their late 30's and I'm happy to say they are both breast cancer survivors today. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer while I was in high school. Seeing her struggle with Chemo Therapy and married with two young children made me cautious about my own chances of getting breast cancer in the future. Although it was a difficult time, I feel my Dad, brother, and I were all there for her at this time of need. It brought us closer because we all had to step up to the plate and take responsibility for chores and duties she normally took care of. I had my prophylactic mastectomy in May of 2011. I have no regrets about this decision and believe anyone that is faced with a 90% chance of getting cancer should take appropriate precautions to live a healthy life.
The hardest part of my journey
The hardest part of this journey has been that I haven't been able to sleep on my stomach in two months. I have ex-panders in right now and I can only sleep on my back and one of my sides. Other than that, I can't complain because I have a great support system. I have a wonderful best friend/roommate that made a bed for me on the couch and one for herself so that I wouldn't be alone. She emptied my drains for me every morning and night. She is truly the sister I never had. My Mom, Dad, and Brother have all been great as well. My Dad and I have Coffee together every Sunday and because I couldn't meet him he brought it to me. My Mom, Brother, Dad, and Grandma check up on me after all of my Dr.'s appointments. I have many other friends and family that have been a great support system too.
If I could do it over again
It's a long process so I wouldn't want to do it again. I will say I'm happy I had preventative surgery now. I'm not married and I don't have any children. So I feel it was the perfect time to go through this process.
My participation with FORCE
Reading stories and looking at pictures of survivors & previvors has helped me a great deal. I also have a woman I work with that was diagnosed with Breast Cancer for the 2nd time. She had a double mastectomy 5 months before I did. She has given me a tremendous amount of information and has also been a great shoulder to lean on. Without her I would be lost.
I have the most amazing friends and family!
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