Tackling the BRCA gene mutation and reducing my risk of cancer involves not only a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy, but I will be parting ways with my ovaries before menopause as well. But I can’t get ahead of myself, we are on the topics of breasts and breast cancer. Prior to creating a blog, I felt like I was going crazy. All of these emotions and issues were just pent up. I would often talk to myself all day long (in my mind of course-ha), as if I were addressing a major audience. LOOK PEOPLE- I HAVE A LOT TO SAY ON THIS TOPIC AND SOMEONE NEEDS TO LISTEN TO MY INNER THOUGHTS BEFORE I AM PUT IN A LOONEY BIN. And then it dawned on me, this must be a normal part of living with the BRCA mutation. We BRCA babes tend to carry lots of mixed emotions with not much support. Without Angelina Jolie, no one bought what I was selling when I would talk about my risk. No diagnosis, but a constant threat of facing mortality surrounded my deep seeded emotions from pink shadows of my family’s past. It had to be talked about. Therefore a blog was born.
I decided to share my story in hopes one day my words could reach a woman on a similar path. Maybe hearing my story could help her pull herself out of the lonely road we BRCA babes face. Maybe she could finally find the sisterhood we share. I had another really lofty goal too. What if my words could make someone without a family history start to really focus on what they can do to make changes toward a healthier future? Like all things that f*cking suck, we assume we are invincible until we aren’t. We often put our health on the back burner until one day we can’t. My lofty goal was to get women talking about their present state of health. “If Kristina is removing her breasts because this sh*t is serious, what are some small changes I can make in my life to remain healthy?” Stroke my ego and send me a message if either of my goals have been achieved.
When I started out on this journey, I felt like I was breaking up with definitive parts of my body. You might even recall my break up letter when I said Bon Voyage to my boobs. Initially, it truly felt like a break up. Now that I am on the other side of this and my breasts are gone, I realized my boobs were unfortunately just the casualty in my long standing and very toxic relationship with Breast Cancer. Ladies, let’s equate my breasts to the friend you might lose along the way, because she just couldn’t listen to you b*tch about the ass**** who won’t commit to being in a healthy relationship. The parallel between my relationship with Breast Cancer and a toxic intimate “not-so”relationship is almost one in the same. Only, I never craved Breast Cancer like one might yearn for a dreamy bad boy. Breast Cancer hovered for too long in my life. Well in this messy world, friends and lovers come and go- and in my case, so did my breasts. Luckily, one day I woke up and made a difficult decision. It’s the best decision I ever made. Breast Cancer and I never had the opportunity to become committed. Without further metaphorical verbal diarrhea, I give to you my ever so eloquent break up letter with the C word. Cancer, not, you know. Never mind.
Dear She who will not be named,
There was a time I let you run my life. I can’t believe how you had complete control of me. You dictated everything from what I ate to my deepest inner thoughts. You kept me a prisoner in my own body for far too long. I don’t remember a time when you weren’t invading my life. Can you believe how long I’ve had to live like this for? Like a true blood sucking leech, you have been taking from me for as long as I can remember. In fact, I remember your uninvited arrival when I was seven years old. Your threats, your emotional abuse and your hostility toward my family has been poisoning me for years. It has been a true toxic relationship full of fear, self doubt and deep sadness. I’m so relieved to be free from you. Not only do I hope I never see you again, but I am going to warn women everywhere about you.
I saw the real me this year though. Your last threat was exactly one year ago today. Thank you. It’s exactly what I needed to propel into action. The power to change lies within and recognizing I am capable of profound change has provided such a sense of empowerment. Now that I am certain we will never be a thing, I can’t believe it took me this long to part ways. I just needed to find the courage to move on without you, even if it meant major sacrifices along the way.
I know, you thought you could break me. Come on, did you think I would let you threaten me for an entire lifetime? I bet you didn’t think I’d rise to the occasion. When you think of me, you might remember the little girl, holding her breasts and crying at her reflection. I’ve grown. I’ve changed. And I bet it kills you to see me embrace my new body. You planted ideas of what my reflection would be. Without you here, after 23 years, I finally feel safe in my own skin.
Today I stand a little bit taller. I am older and feeling wiser. I’m not running from you anymore. I believe in a beautiful future and you aren’t painted in that picture. I did it, I traded in my breasts for a life without you. Wait. Absorb what I just said. It’s over. You and I will never be a thing.
So Breast Cancer, I’m the one that got away. And I’m not looking back, unless it’s of course to be bitter and give you the middle finger because I CAN.