JamminJ's Story

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"I have had genetic testing done. My grandma, my mom, and my uncle have all had breast cancer. My sister and my aunt both tested positive for [the] BRCA2 gene [mutation]. I was tested [in] May 2016. I tested positive for BRCA2. This gene is also responsible for breast cancer and ovarian cancer as well. I have a 79% chance of breast cancer and 36% for ovarian. My grandma survived breast cancer and died from ovarian cancer at 52 years old! So far everyone in my family who has been tested has tested positive! I did the testing not just for myself but I have three daughters and two granddaughters!

"I [decided] to get a prophylactic mastectomy with a DIEP flap reconstruction April 26th, 2017. I had a left side DIEP flap failure. There is some issues with fixing it and I am not sure if I will be able to have two breasts. Also the incision on my belly has herniated and I will need abdominal wall reconstruction.

"I am devastated by the loss of my left breast because my daughters are now terrified! My mom ALSO had a left side fail! All three of my girls have not been tested and one of them has decided not to get the test done. This is scary to me! The type of breast cancer my mom and grandma had was extremely aggressive. When diagnosed, my mom was end stage III, beginning stage IV breast cancer. She found a small lump in September 2010; she did not go to the doctor until January 2011 [and] the lump had grown to half the size of my fist! She survived!

"My insurance paid for everything, THANK GOD!!! Total amount billed $267,000, and I'm not done!!

"I'm not sure what suggestions I would give others. I am still right in the middle of the chaos! I go back and forth whether it was the right choice for me! I do know this: When my mom got breast cancer it was the scariest five years of my life! I thought I knew about breast cancer [but] I found out I didn't know crap! Nothing important anyway!

"I guess I would say to do your research on the procedures, the surgeons, AND the hospital! I lost my breast due to negligence on the hospital's part! Time is a HUGE factor for any complication one might have with reconstruction. The hospital is in charge of WHEN things happen! The ER staff was not educated about DIEP flaps!! I waited in the ER for 4 hours waiting for an operating room. Meanwhile, my breast went from flesh colored to yellow to black! So make sure EVERYONE involved is qualified! Also DO NOT go to a state owned hospital! They are immune from prosecution and cannot be sued for malpractice. In my opinion, this allows them to cut corners that other hospitals would not cut!"

-- JamminJ, tested positive for a BRCA2 genetic mutation

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