I'm a PREVIVOR | preventative double mastectomy: my story of hope.

I'm a PREVIVOR | preventative double mastectomy: my story of hope.

This topic has been a long time coming for me. Mostly because I knew it would take a lot of energy to write, and sometimes, a girl just wants blogging to be sorta easy. Well, besides the serious, heartfelt posts I write all of the time, but this is different. This is very, very personal to me. I realize I'm sharing this on the internet, but I ask that anyone reading please respect my feelings, my decision, and my intent.

The following post is part of a series that details the beginning of my journey becoming a PREVIVOR of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.  I carry a DNA mutation, but I do not believe this was a mistake.  I believe that God created me with purpose in each detail of my being.  In this, and those that follow in the series, I want to share my experience, and how He used what could have been a devastating situation, into the start of something beautiful, something that changed me forever.

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Cancer.
It's almost a cuss word.
 
previvor: my story of hope
 
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Breast cancer is far too common.
It's the disease that stole took my mom's life 13 years ago.
Well, it will be 13 years on Tuesday, May 28th.  A story for another day.
 
 
Her sister had it.  Her cousin had it.  Her grandmother had it.  Her aunt had it.  They all had cancer of either the breast or the ovaries.
 
If that seems like a lot of cancer in one family, that's because it is.
 
Right now, the face of Angelina Jolie is gracing the covers of PEOPLE magazine this week, announcing her decision to undergo a preventative double mastectomy {in my world, that's called a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy} and reconstruction over the past few months.
 
I'm really glad she's talking about it, because it is raising awareness for women everywhere.  It's encouraging women to get informed about BRCA1 and BRCA2.
 
Do you know what BRCA1 and BRCA2 are?  If not, you should.  You need to know this stuff.
 
I'll admit, I am kind of annoyed by the "spin" the media is putting on it.  One article I read said she underwent three months of surgeries.  Uhhhhm, NO.  That is pretty much FALSE.  She underwent two surgeries and one procedure, and the two surgeries were spaced three months apart.  Two surgeries over the course of three months is pretty frikkin' different than three months of surgeries.
 
Way to go, media, for scaring women into thinking this decision made her have a zillion surgeries.
 
They also called this a "health crisis".  Uh, a health crisis is actually having cancer.  This is most certainly an issue surrounding health, an area of concern that needs attention, etc., but I would hardly call this a crisis.  For serious, media, quit with the dramatics!
 
So, why do I care about this, anyway?  And what gives me the right to say what is and isn't a crisis?
 
In August 2011,
when I was 29 years old,
I had a preventative double mastectomy,
and reconstruction two months later.
 
Yep, you heard it here first.
My breasts are now completely, 100%, fake.
I like to think of them as prosthetic body parts.  Even if they are aesthetic prosthetics.
 
For the record:  they're not "enhanced," it wasn't "just a boob job", and no, it's really not anyone's business if I "chose this size on purpose."  {Haha, yes, I have been asked that question.  Next time, I'm going to say, "No, it was an accident" just to see the look on their face.  I chalk it up to them having ineffective personal boundaries, being uninformed, and/or just plain nosiness.}
 
previvor: my story of hope
 
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I skimmed through some stuff about Angelina's surgery, and I really liked one thing Dr. Oz^ said:
 
"We needed this.  It's a kick in the pants. Most of us shy away from bad news.  She embraced the enemy and took it upon herself to beat it," Oz says of her strength. "She felt that was her motherly and female obligation."
 
That is absolutely true.  The hardest part of the whole ordeal for me was actually getting tested, so I could find out whether I was positive for BRCA1 or BRCA2, or not.  The reason behind my fear of getting tested is, I thought I would basically receive a death sentence, or a guarantee of cancer, and not be able to do anything about it.  Like, "Congratulations, you have a stupid-high risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer** in your life, so ... take care and good luck!"
 
I was sooooo uninformed.
Which is why, I am going to devote some blog posts to talking about this topic.
I do not want any of you, or any of your friends, or your moms, or anyone you know to feel afraid like I did.  I would like y'all to know what that decision-making process was like, for me.  Oh, yes.  It was pretty nuts.  But, it all turned out fine and I would not change it.

Perhaps you know someone who has cancer, and is looking to undergo a unilateral or bilateral mastectomy as part of their cancer treatment, and they need someone to talk to who has been through it.
I raise my hand.  I'll tell my story.
Heck, I'll even give them my phone number, they are welcome to call me.
I just want to simply share my experience and what I know.
We^^ women need to stick together and help each other.
We need to be each others' advocates.
 
Besides, rehashing reliving remembering this in written form will be an interesting experience.
Maybe someday, I will share with you why finding out I have an almost-90% risk of breast cancer was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
 
I seriously do not make this stuff up.
 

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