There wasn’t a strong family history of Breast Cancer, but after my breast cancer diagnosis, my 2 adult children and myself tested positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation…My daughter powerfully said “thank you mum, now we get to choose our path vs waiting to get sick”
My Breast Cancer Story – Karin Del Maestro
It was July 2018, after a routine mammogram that I received the diagnosis we hope never to have.
I’ll remember that phone call as clear as day forever…as soon as the radiologist asked “Karin, are you driving right now?” I knew the results of the biopsy were positive.
I also found out after genetic testing, that not only did I have Stage 1 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, but I also tested positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation.
There wasn’t a strong family history of breast cancer, in fact only my paternal grandmother had had it. But, thankfully my genetic counselor saw a lot of other cancers that made her suspicious…my mum was diagnosed with liver, lung, stomach and skull cancer just a week before she passed away. My dad had been previously diagnosed with bladder cancer.
My 2 adult children also went to get tested and discovered they both carry the BRCA2 mutation too. Of course we can blame ourselves for passing this on…but I’m so grateful to my daughter who said “thank you mum, now I get to choose my path vs just waiting to get sick”.
It helped me to process things differently and to look at this as empowering information to help us improve our chances down the road.
The BRCA2 genetic mutation means that we are at high risk for Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and increased risk for Melanoma, Eye Cancer and Pancreatic Cancer.
The 2 years following my diagnosis I underwent a total of 6 surgeries. Double mastectomy, total hysterectomy , and 3 reconstructive surgeries…
PLUS medication (Letrozole) blocking estrogen production for 5 years.
I was just settling down into this new phase of my cancer journey, when I started to have issues with my left reconstructed breast. I came to discover that I had Grade 4 Capsular Contracture…often the body’s way of fighting back against a foreign object that it deems not to belong. Not only was I having those issues, I was also experiencing over 25 Breast Implant Illness Symptoms.
My husband and I made the decision together, that my health is more important than anything else, and we decided that I would have the implants removed and get an aesthetic flat closure performed.
After explant surgery, (BEST DECISION EVER!) in July 2020 within weeks I was feeling like my old self…almost all of the Breast Implant Symptoms GONE.
As a Board Certified Health Coach, I never thought I’d be dealing with this diagnosis, but it changed the path of my coaching practice, where I now specialize in serving breast cancer survivors after treatment has ended, to get back their get-up-and-go and reclaim their lives!
What you may not realize is that the next stage of recovery actually STARTS after treatment ends, and it can feel so lonely…until you find your tribe of pink sisters, who totally get that feeling of the safety net being ripped out from under you…you are never alone when you are in my tribe💖
I love to connect with other survivors, so please feel free to reach out to chat, it’s become my true purpose to help others in this situation, I’ve even created a Facebook Group: Healthy Living After Breast Cancer…where I’d love for you to come on in, kick off your shoes, get comfy and connect with other amazing women!