|Photo courtesy of Katie Bradford Osborne|
Nearly three years ago I made the decision to get tested to see if I carry the same genetic mutation that my mother tested positive for since we have a strong family history of breast cancer, and my mother was just a few years past being diagnosed a second time. I never considered that the test results would be negative, not because I’m a doom and gloom person but because I just felt it. It’s like I could feel the mutation coursing through the branches and leaves of my family tree, right into my DNA. For many years I did not want to be tested, did not want to know that I was for sure a ticking time bomb for cancer. I planned to live healthily, and make choices that could help to keep cancer at bay. But then my OB/GYN talked to me about the test and my risks, and with a 2 year old and 6-month-old twins at home I knew right then I couldn’t risk anything. I had to know. I had to do whatever I could to be their mom for the rest of my hopefully long life.
|Photo courtesy of Kara Raudenbush Photography|
My surgery has now been postponed, and my new daughter is 9 months old. I’m enjoying being able to breastfeed her, as that is something I would have been heartbroken not to be able to do if I had gotten pregnant again post-surgery. As a nursing mother my surveillance options are limited, which is a risk because I cannot have mammograms or MRI. I'll revisit my surgery decision in the spring of 2014, new research comes out all of the time and my team of doctors and I can re-evaluate my options. I share my story because people think breast cancer happens to women over 50, or that the genetics of breast cancer got blown out of proportion when a celebrity announced her decision recently. I am a real person, a young person, who has a mother who was diagnosed with breast cancer twice before the age of 50, whose great-grandmother died at 47 from breast cancer .
We cannot change our DNA or history, but I can help change my future and do what I can to be around for my four children, my husband and my family.
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