Like many women, I have a long family history of breast and ovarian cancer. Nervous about my own chances of developing the disease, I underwent testing for the BRCA gene in my early twenties and learned I was a carrier for the BRCA2 gene mutation. At the age 18 I had my first lumpectomy right after I graduated high school and my second one when I was 20yrs old.
Every 6 months I had a MRI and or an ultrasound/mammogram. The amount of stress these tests put on me every six months was ridiculous. I could not wait to have my family and have a hysterectomy and a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.
After getting married and starting a family, I decided it was time to be proactive about my health. In 2015, I underwent a hysterectomy followed by a double mastectomy.
June 2015 I underwent a robotic hysterectomy, was pretty simple and I recovered pretty quickly. Six months later I had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.
Prior to undergoing my mastectomy, I spoke with her breast surgeon and made the decision to start the reconstruction process immediately. This meant that I came out of her mastectomy with tissue expanders, devices used to stretch the skin to create a pocket of space for a long term implant.
I had the unique experience of having one standard tissue expander, which requires injections of saline to slowly expand the skin, as well as a new needle-free option that is currently under review by the FDA. I felt that the needle-free option, which I could expand at home, was more convenient, lighter, less painful and more comfortable.
This choice was not easy to remove healthy body parts. Surgeries are very difficult and they do take an emotional toll. Thankfully I have an amazing family and they have been nothing but supportive. I also have a fabulous group of friends and they have been there every step of the way. I feel extremely lucky.
Since my reconstruction I feel l I no longer have to live life with the fear of cancer lurking. I know that I have done everything in my power so that I don’t have live with a cancer fear. This journey has also created a passion for me to help other women and make sure they know there options. . No one should feel alone and I will do everything I can to help educate women, network them with the right foundation and physicians and support them. Let’s focus on the future, what is going to happen with our kids and future generations!