There are so many stories on FORCE and so many members willing to share their experiences. We hope these profiles can help you connect with our community and get advice from people like you!
My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 35 and died at the age of 42. In March of 2009 I learned I was BRCA-1 positive.
I'm more than my risk… some fun facts about myself:
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I learned I was BRCA-1 positive in March 2009. Had a prophylactic laparoscopic hysterectomy with BSO on May 29, 2009. The surgery went well, "text book" as the surgeon said, and I went home to heal after one night in the hospital. About two weeks after the surgery, I developed a ureteral injury and was re-admitted to the hospital to surgically have a stent placed in my ureter to aid in healing the injury. The stent stayed in for 6 weeks and was very uncomfortable. At the same time I was in the hospital having the stent placed, I learned the pathology results from my hysterectomy.... they found a 2.5 millimeter, Stage IA tumor in my fallopian tube. There was no indication of it spreading and the peritoneal wash was negative. However, because of my BRCA-1 status, the doctors felt I should undergo some preventive chemotherapy. I was absolutely devastated. I am the mother of two boys, ages 9 and 12, and all I could think was that I was going to die young like my mom and wouldn't get to see my boys grow up. I had planned to have a prophylactic mastectomy in September but the chemotherapy had to take precedence. I began chemotherapy at the end of July 2009, and had 6 treatments, each three weeks apart. I finished in the middle of November 2009. The whole experience was pure hell! It has taken a few months, but I now feel great and have even started going to the gym five days a week. My hair is growing back, not as fast as I'd like though! My oncologist says he doesn't think I'll ever have a reoccurence, but I will never stop worrying about it. I feel very fortunate, however, that the tumor was found at such an early stage. Had I not gone forward with the prophylactic hysterectomy, it may have been too late by the time the tumor surfaced. I'm planning to have a prophylactic mastectomy in September 2010. In the meantime, I alternate having mammograms and breast MRI's every 6 months.
The most difficult part of my journey was learning that a cancerous tumor had been found, dealing with all of the emotions that go along with it, and the side effects of the chemotherapy.
I wouldn't do one thing differently. I almost had the prophylactic mastectomy first and I'm so glad I didn't. I feel like there was an angel on my shoulder (my mom perhaps) that led me in the right direction.
I found the FORCE website after learning I was BRCA-1 positive. FORCE has provided a wealth of information and support to me, especially reading other womens' stories and perusing the message boards.
I never would've gotten through this journey without my wonderful and supportive husband, family, friends and co-workers. Also, going through this has made me a stronger person and I have a totally different outlook on life. I don't sweat the small stuff anymore.