My name is Natalie. I am 41 and a single mom. On Friday, July 19th my life changed and will never be the same. Due to a family history of cancer (my mother had breast cancer when she was 23), a suspicious growth on an ovary, and an abnormal pap test, my doctor urged me to take the BRCA1 and BRCA 2 test which screens for a mutant gene that will increase ones chances of developing cancer.
Six weeks ago when I took the test, I was not too concerned. Even with the history and ultra sound, I felt I had no cause for alarm. I tend to be a pretty positive person. I don’t think I had even mentioned it or thought about it much in those six weeks. I had of course heard about Angelina Jolie and other celebrities that had undergone the same test, but they were somehow to disconnected from my life. Then suddenly I joined the club. They were my sisters. I too had the mutation that will change me in a way that was too horrible to envision, yet the trade off is that I will live. I will see my daughter grow up. I am in control.
As I mentioned the BRCA test looks for mutations in the genes associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. If you test positive, as I did, you have a mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene. In my case I tested positive greatly increasing my risk of developing both breast and ovarian cancers. The risk is so high that both my doctor and I agree that drastic measures must be taken to avoid what we believe to be inevitable based on my family history and test results.
Armed with this life saving information and with the help of my amazing doctors, family and friends I have decided to take a pro-active approach. I will be scheduled for a full hysterectomy this summer and a double mastectomy in the following months.
This blog is going to be a way for me to share the events in my life regarding the results of the BRCA tests that I took just six weeks ago, my surgeries, and what ever lies ahead. My goals are to educate others and myself on the basics of cancer prevention and early detection.
If all goes according to plan I will be updating this blog regularly with lessons learned from my experiences, fears that I have regarding surgery, the road to recovery, and whatever other useful information I can pass on to you.
I should say to be honest, I also have another goal, a selfish one…I hope this diary can help me cope and make me stronger. Eventually I hope to hear from sisters who have either been on this journey or who are beginning their path to health. I look forward to hearing your stories, your questions and comments.