The decision to launch a blog about my journey with the BRCA gene mutation was not an easy one. To be the quiet solider or to let everyone hear my battle cries? As I’ve grown through my journey into adulthood the less I am ashamed to let my voice be heard. This is my… I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR moment, you could say. I’m sharing for so many reasons and the main reason is you. You clicked my link for a reason. Maybe you are my friend and I’m here to tell you this is the most victorious decision I have ever made… don’t worry my friend. You know me and you know me well. It’s me. I’m still your dancing on tables… wait that’s not me anymore because I’m a mom, not really on the social scene. I’m still your well mannered, poised… haha okay whatever I’m still your outspoken, loud, big personality friend. And my decision ensures I’m here to stay.
A strong woman I know shared her story about her breast cancer diagnosis. We weren’t close at the time, but I couldn’t believe what I was reading. How could someone so young be facing breast cancer? As I sat with tears behind my eyes, I felt compelled to initially reach out, to let her know how brave she was for sharing. I was so inspired by her ability to authentically share her honest thoughts. It was that honesty that served as my image of strength during my own uncertain times. I knew I could reach out and have a familiar voice provide me with words I needed to hear. She guided me and gave me strength as I waited for my pathology report. She assured me we would get through it and that I would have someone to support me every step of the way.
Because we never know who we might help, I hope as you read this you never need to fight these same battles. However, if one day you find yourself needing someone who understands, you can count on me. We might not talk, maybe you couldn’t identify me in a line up. But I promise you, you are not alone.
This is for women facing tough decisions. This is for all my sisters out there with BRCA1&2. For all the ladies rocking pink and teal ribbons. It’s a sorority we didn’t pledge to, but a support system mapped out in the brightest shade of pink. For all the daughters of mothers who have had breast cancer and you wonder your own risk. I fight for you.
I am fighting for the young ladies I share genes with. Maybe you know Vanessa, Stephanie, Kerri, Emma, Grace or Annabelle. There might come a day when they become curious about our family history. One of them might have anxiety over this generational war our family has been fighting for decades. They might find they too carry the same gene that ultimately cost our family to lose one of its most cherished tribe members. I want these ladies to have hope. I want them to feel empowered and educated. I want them to know they are never alone.
And for my mother, my aunt Nancy and for my guardian angel, my aunt Katie. They’ve been on the other side of this mutation. They have demonstrated strength, courage and bravery. Their journey helped write this chapter in my own life. Without their battle, there is an 87% chance my journey would be entirely different. These women are the ones that have saved me.
And lastly, I fight for my daughter. From the moment I found out I was pregnant I prayed I did not pass on this genetic mutation to her. If someday she discovers we share this commonality, I hope there is enough research funded into alternative prevention. So that someday risk reduction does not require removing healthy breast tissue. And if she faces similar decisions, I pray she finds whatever route she chooses is the one that allows her peace.
Thank you for taking the time to read my battle cries. And just know that I’ll always fight for you. Your choices. Your desire to take your health into your own hands. It’s your right. We have one body. Each day is work in progress. We aren’t perfect. We like ice cream and lazy Sundays. It’s okay. Be kind to yourself. Just remember to take care of the vessel carrying you through this beautiful life.
Now drop and give me 10. I’m still your General and I’m in it to win it! 😉