Previvor's Story

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"My OB/GYN has recommended that I test for the BRCA mutation for several years but I always put it on the back burner claiming it would affect my insurance or not be covered, etc. The truth is I'm 45 and my mother and sister both had breast cancer in their mid 30's so I felt I had dodged a bullet and couldn't be positive. My mother and grandmother died of ovarian cancer (my mother at 56).

"This year was different because she told me it was a saliva test we could do in the office and my insurance would surely cover it. 'Okay,' I thought, 'No more excuses.' I received the call a week before Christmas. Positive. Wow, I didn't expect that. I decided within 30 minutes that this would not upset me but rather empower me. I'll take control of my body and my future. I'll be a 'previvor' before I need to be a 'survivor.'

"I met with a genetic counselor 3 weeks later. While this step was actually backwards I still felt it was important so she could hopefully put me in touch with the correct people to help guide me with all the options available. She did. I was able to schedule to meet with the OB/GYN oncologist before I could see the breast surgeon so I scheduled a complete hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. I had my surgery 10 days ago and am still healing. I meet the breast surgeon next week.

"It has only been 7 weeks since I found out I carry this gene mutation. I have two teenagers and a 10-year-old. I didn't want them to think I was sick and be afraid that I was having surgery so I was honest with them that I carried a gene mutation that makes me more susceptible to cancer. I was choosing to remove the organs that could get sick. I prayed they wouldn't ask me if they too could carry this mutation. One of my children did ask and I simply told him that it wasn't anything he needed to think about until he was an adult. It seemed to calm his fears. My girls seemed less than interested, thankfully. With the breast surgery still ahead of me, I only feel a fraction of the way there but I'm hopeful with good surgeons and good monitoring programs the future will be bright!"

-- Previvor, tested positive for BRCA genetic mutation

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