Hereditary Cancer and My Family

By: Jeri Fare
In October 2018 my dad had been told for the second time to go home and get his affairs in order. At this time we went to the cancer center of America. In 2019 we requested a DNA test be done on his cancer to better treat him. He had stage 4 liver cancer. The test came back with the BRCA1 gene. They tested him for all mutation then. Still positive for the BRCA1 gene and another mutation. In July of 2019 I tested positive for both the mutations my dad has.

In September of 2019 I did my preventive hysterectomy BSO. It was quick and an easy recovery. I then started researching a preventive mastectomy and reconstruction. I was having problems finding a plastic surgeon and breast surgeon that worked together and were in network for my insurance. It was now 2020 and I had a vacation coming up and still trying to find in network surgeons that worked together. Time I got back from my vacation we started shutting down. In the mean time I did my mammograms and MRI’S while I researched.

Mid November I went to my doctor to have them place the order for my MRI. The first available appointment was January 7th 2021. Then one night in December I woke to a sharp pain in my left breast. I felt the area and could not feel anything different. Then I started having random dull aches in the same area. I kept feeling until about a week late I felt something small. I already had my MRI scheduled, and I kept monitoring the area. It was hard to find, but I always found it.

Bu the time my appointment came it was easier to find. I had the MRI on the 7th. They called on the Friday the 8th to tell me they scheduled a biopsy on Monday the 11th. The nurses said it would take about 4 days for the results. The radiologist turned to me and said I will have the results in two days. Expect my call on Wednesday. She called me Wednesday with the results. Invasive Ductal carcinoma grade 3 estrogen positive, stage 1. The tumor was estimated between 1.3 and 1.9cm. No lymph nodes involved. I was scheduled for appointments with the breast surgeon, oncologist, and radiation oncologist. I was also scheduled with a plastic surgeon. Who was not in network for my insurance.

It took about a month to work it out with my insurance. We got that plastic surgeon in network, after my breast surgeon, and primary doctor wrote letters stating, there were no plastic surgeon, and breast surgeon team in the state that both were in network for my surgery.

It was now mid February. I met with the plastic surgeon, and started the process. End of February I finally got the call, March 29th, 2021 I would be having my bilateral mastectomy with DIEP reconstruction. The day finally arrived. My tumor continued growing. I was worried with how much it had grown. Then my pathology report came back, 4cm tumor, 1 sentinel node and 1 auxiliary node positive. I was now at the very end of stage 2.

I am now in the middle of my chemo treatment. When I am done I will have radiation treatment. I thought I had time. I thought I would not get it, after all we had no family history. Even the geneticist thought I was kidding when I called to schedule the appointment. My dad is 1 of 5 children. Only 2 have the gene. I am 1 of 3, only I have the gene. I hope this is the end of it for our family.

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