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!
Knowing Breast nor Ovarian Cancer will take me away from my loved ones!
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I have lost 7 maternal family members to breast or ovarian cancer,2 to lymphoma and 1 to melanoma. I knew I was a ticking time bomb. so when my new Gynecologist in California researched and found My insurance would cover the BRCA Analysis, i figured it was time to stop burying my head in the sand and have the testing done ,knowing that i would need to make a decision if I had the mutation.Well it did come back positive and I went through genetic counseling and saw a breast MD and together with the support of my doctors and family I decided to "go all the way" I scheduled my hysterectomy first and 6 weeks later had my Right total prophylactic mastectomy with a latissimus dorsi flap reconstruction. I waited a year before having the L mastectomy and reconstruction due to life events,but was worried all that time that breast cancer might catch me before I eliminated the chance .
I have been so very emotional since the Second breast surgery knowing I was not going to be taken out by breast or ovarian cancer and have 7 beautiful grandchildren to love and cherish for hopefully years to come!
The hardest part of my journey initially was to make the choice to "have my femininity removed" But since I came to grips with that it been that I developed a "frozen "shoulder or Impingement syndrome "from my first breast surgery. Waiting to have the second breast surgery. was also difficult and then feeling like I was losing my last feminine feature when I had this final breast surgery.Not feeling very sexual is hard ,even though I went under anesthesia with breast and awake with breast.That really helps ,but the lack of sensitivity is an issue ,however "LIVING" outways everything!
I have healed beautifully from all the plastic surgery ,if only my shoulder would improve ,but i am working diligently with a chiropractor and Myofascial soft tissue therapists to resolve it and I will get it well. I have not been through this 2 year journey with still more to go (to make breasts symmetrical and build or tattoo nipples) to let something keep me from being 100%. I am very active and enjoy outdoor sports and it has been difficult waiting to do those things,however i am patient and have been doing modified activity to keep me healthy and happy.
I would do the entire thing over again. The cross i had to bear of wondering when I would get breast or ovarian cancer weighed me down so much. Now I feel light and anxious to get on with the rest of MY LIFE!!
I share my story whenever it is appropriate as i want to EMPOWER other women to be tested and be able to make the decisions that are right for them !
FORCE helped educate me . My genetic counselor told me to check the website . Reading the testimonials gave me strength as well as may other factors and supporters.
I have a young friend who lost her mother to breast cancer when she was only 17. With no father in the picture she had to raise herself from 17 years old. She walks in the 60 mi. 3 day every year in honor of her mom and mine . The last 2 years she has walked for me as a Previvor! She does not have good health insurance and cannot afford to have the BRCA,but she told me Susan B Komen foundation is paying for her to have it.
My only daughter was my big encourager to have the test and joyfully she is negative for the mutation!!!
However my sister is positive and has just had an oopherectomy,but elects to be followed closely for her breasts .
3 other family members have been tested using my results and have been negative! However I have a 88 year old aunt with 5 daughters who didnt want to test and a few months after I offered it to her she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and is fighting it now.Thankfully she responded well to chemotherapy and is enjoying life.