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Chamomile's Story

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"I believe my story is rather interesting. I was in search of finding out whether my grandfather was really my grandfather. He apparently said to my mom's sister on his dying bed that he wasn't sure if my mom was his biological daughter! He's since passed, as has my mom from breast cancer. She was diagnosed at 56 with a recurrence with mets at 66, passing away at 68.

"That was 16 years ago. I thought if I could find someone from my grandfather's side of the family and have genetic testing, if we matched, then he was my grandfather. I searched ancestry sites and found a picture of my grandfather with his brother. It was submitted by a woman - my mom's cousin - that I had never known or heard about. I reached out to her to see if she was my mom's cousin. She was! She then suggested we test on 23&me to see if we came up as matches. We did! So, he was my grandfather after all! I only wish he was able to know that and my mom as well before their passing.

"This cousin then said, sadly, that there was a lot of cancer on that side of the family. My grandfather died from colon cancer. Her sister - my mom's other cousin - died of breast and ovarian cancer at 43. She herself had breast cancer at 36 but was in her 70's now, free from cancer. She decided to get tested for the BRCA mutations. She came up positive, so I tested. Sadly, I came up positive for BRCA1, along with my 22 y.o. daughter. My daughter wanted to test right away. She has handled it very well, considering. But, this did lead to my daughter now studying to be a genetic counselor! She's in her 1st year now getting her master's degree in genetic counseling/human genetics. My son has not tested yet. Two brothers plan to still test. My sister, 55, has not tested yet, nor does she get her annual exams. She says she wants to test but just hasn't gotten around to it yet.

"So, because of my search about my grandfather, I found out about this possible life-saving information!

"My daughter will start surveillance at 25. I chose to have the prophylactic surgeries: double mastectomy with immediate reconstruction and my BSO (bilateral salpingo-ooporectomy). I was 50 when I discovered my mutation. I'm 52 now.

"I did my testing through a genetic counselor, referred by my OB/GYN. I never had any problems with insurance. Everything has been paid for with no issues."

-- Chamomile, tested positive for BRCA1 genetic mutation

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