Knowledge is power and action will continue saving lives. Genetic testing allows patients to be proactive about their own health, and help other family members who might be at risk. When I found out Mandy had BRCA1, I strongly believed that Mandy should arrive at a decision herself, even though I was silently chanting in my head “cut them off they want to kill you!”!
After talking it over with her medical team, Mandy eventually decided to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy. The surgery went well and she is doing great today. Her medical team is monitoring her ovaries alternating between blood tests and ultrasounds every 6 months since she is still at a high risk of developing ovarian cancer.
Mandy had no control over being born with BRCA1 but she did have control over the decisions she made about her health, her body, and the measures she can take to prevent herself from developing cancer… Knowledge gave her the freedom to live her life without having to think she was a walking, ticking time bomb.
As for me, ha, well I have been through the ringer. I have had 1 round of IVF, egg extraction, 8 rounds of chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy, skin repair surgery, exchange surgery, developed lymphedema and had an oophorectomy.
Although my body is still healing from cancer treatments, my mind has changed for the better. Pre-cancer Sammie would have looked at her situation in a negative light. Maybe she would have felt sorry for herself, letting out a little “whoa is me” sigh as she snuggles up with her goldendoodle. But Post-cancer Sammie is grateful to still be here. Don’t get me wrong, living with metastatic breast cancer isn’t a picnic, but if my story can save one life, or inspire one person to get tested…..then it will all be worth it.