“You have breast cancer.” Tough words to hear. Words I honestly never thought I would hear.
Both of my parents had cancer, so as a result I had indirect experience with the disease. I assumed the odds of me having it too would be low. The world doesn’t work that way….does it?!
Breast Cancer Gene: BRCA II Positive
Unfortunately I was incorrect. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my chance of getting cancer was higher because of my genetic history. I am BRCA II positive.
Thankfully, I was aware of my increased risk prior to my diagnosis. That knowledge enabled me to take a more proactive approach with cancer. Having cancer can be scary. It makes you feel helpless. Knowing that I was BRCA II made me feel as though I wasn’t powerless. I could choose to take every precaution to stop the cancer in its tracks and lessen the risk of its unwanted return.
For me, this knowledge gave me strength, hope and the confidence that I could “fight back,” and I could actually win!
What I Choose To Do
My plan of attack was not an easy decision, but I don’t regret my choice to complete a bilateral mastectomy and ovary removal (as an extra precaution). I completed a lot of research, and talked to my team of doctors. This was the best way to protect myself from recurrence.
Sometimes I struggle with the “why” of all of this. Then, I realize how powerful my voice is. I realize that by sharing my story I can help bring awareness of genetic testing to others. Then it all makes sense, and I understand that I had cancer for a purpose. The purpose, in my opinion, is to remind others how important it is to learn about your family history, encourage others to take care of themselves and listen to their bodies, to visit their doctors on a regular basis and to be proactive with their health.
I will continue to have moments of fear and frustration. Sometimes I will get lost a time or two and ask “why,” but I refuse to sit back and do nothing. I will continue to rise above and show my strength. By knowing my genetic history, I am able to do that!
Sara is a breast cancer warrior. She is a wife, a mother to two teenage boys, and a professional. She strives to look at positives in life and not let negativity darken her days.