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All of a Sudden I am Thrown in a World of Tumors, Surgery, Chemo, Receptors and......

Earlier this year, I heard a voice tell me to get the BRCA Gene Mutation test. A test that I had never gotten. My Aunt, who tested positive, was diagnosed and survived breast cancer 15 years ago. Since then, many family members have also tested positive. Maybe it is because I have always felt healthy, and honestly I didn't understand how high the risks are for developing breast and/or ovarian cancer with this mutation. So I listened to that voice, had the blood test and the results came back. I tested positive for BRCA1 Gene Mutation. I met with my genetic counselor for a second visit to discuss my risks, and she passed along the names of a few oncologists. 

I made my screening appointment a few months later. The oncologist felt a lump during my first screening appointment. Four mammograms, two ultrasounds, two biopsies, and a MRI later I had Triple Negative Breast Cancer in both breasts. I found out about the left side first and the right side a few weeks later. All of the sudden I am thrown into a world of tumors, surgery, chemo, receptors, and it all happened with a phone call. My world was upside down.  

After my double mastectomy, I met with 3 different doctors that all agreed I needed chemo since my cancer is triple negative. I also discussed which chemo with all 3 doctors.  Since I haven't had kids yet, freezing my eggs was recommended to me because chemo could put me into early menopause and there is no going back.  So I had the surgery, they froze my eggs, and then began chemo. It all happened really fast, and I didn't have money set aside for cancer. It wasn't something I was planning on and all of sudden I had to make a lot of decisions fast.  

Be your own advocate. Write down everything, and take someone with you to EVERY appointment. If you can't bring someone with you, see if someone can FaceTime with you or ask the Dr. if you can record the session. You will remember very little from each appointment. Get more than one opinion. This is your life and it is important to make sure more than one doctor agrees on your path. If you have surgery, such as a double mastectomy, make sure you do physical therapy as soon as you are cleared to do so. Meet with a dietitian and ask if your hospital offers it as a free service. If you are going through chemo, your body will need more protein and supplements than it normally does.  Also, ask about grants that may be available to you. Take this time to love yourself. Tell yourself, "This is my time to ask for what I need. I am going to thrive, beat this, and will be a happier person from it.” Every day do at least 3 things for yourself. There is no limited, so go for 10 if you like! Walk, garden, journal, take a bath, get a massage, acupuncture, dance, sing, whatever makes your soul soar.

 

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Reflections - Life after Cancer

January 8, 2017

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