I guess my story started in August of 2008. My mother was just finishing up her last round of chemo for ovarian cancer when I found my first lumps. Within two weeks, I had them removed and found out they were benign. About a year later, I once again had masses in both breasts. But this time something had changed. I now knew I carried the BRCA1 gene since being tested after my mom found out she was positive for the gene mutation. Carrying the BRCA1 gene raised my chance of getting breast cancer up to 88%. These were odds I didn’t feel great about knowing I had already faced breast lumps twice in 2 years.
Being positive for the breast cancer gene, my surgeon didn’t want to mess around with lumpectomies. She wanted to remove the breasts. So I did. In August of 2009, at the age of 32, I had my bilateral mastectomy with reconstructive surgery and I had chosen to do it for preventative measures.
Everything was going great until I got an infection that caused my body to reject the expanders. In November of 2009, I noticed a bump forming near the incision line on one of my breasts. It was the expander, attempting to come through the skin. To make a long story short, this happened a couple of times before we got it straightened out and – six or seven surgeries later – here I am. Not quite good as new – but with Dr. Quinn’s help, I will get there.
It has been two years now and did I make the right decision? There are some days I wonder. Wonder if I would ever be complete again. Be a confident woman again. But then I look at my two little daughters and I know they would rather have me around with or without breasts. Along with confidence and courage, I have also found love and acceptance along the way.
I am a survivor and the woman of Art Bra class of 2012 and my family taught me that. I cannot thank them enough.