My sister’s diagnosis prompted the rest of us to get tested — and led to my double mastectomy
After my sister was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and learned she had the BRCA1 mutation, she begged me and my two sisters to get tested. My test came back positive. For me, having previously found one abnormal growth in each breast, and my maternal grandmother dying young of this monster, I needed to seek a doctor’s counsel and research this mutation. I found clear data (risk of cancer: 87%) that demanded my attention, and my breast surgeon urged me to take immediate action. I was young and the threat was overwhelmingly convincing.
I had three surgeries with three surgeons all at once — a double mastectomy, complete breast reconstruction, and a full hysterectomy at the age of 42. It wasn’t easy, but it was what needed to be done. I chose to let go of all my parts and pieces that defined my womanhood, for the sake of my precious family and for the hope of a future: cancer free.
My sister gave me and our other sisters the gift of knowledge. She says this is the great accomplishment that came from this horrible journey—saving us from the monster she continues to fight. Data has changed, but the threat is still very real. I believe getting tested for the BRCA genetic mutation can save lives. I will always wonder if it saved mine.
I knew, of course, that I would always be a woman, even without my breasts and uterus.
But it was and always will be my husband who makes me feel like a woman.
I am beautiful to him.
He reminds me all the time.
The original version of this post was first published on Scary Mommy.
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