My name is Jayne. This is my husband, Mitch. I am a teacher and he is a fireman. We don’t have any kids yet… just two crazy dogs. This is a picture of us a couple of years ago at my best friend’s wedding.
There have been a lot of defining moments in my life. This blog will be dedicated to one of them… my diagnosis of being BRCA2+.
My mom died on August 17th, 2011 after an 8 year battle with ovarian and breast cancer. Throughout her struggle, she actually had two separate primary cancers. After her second cancer diagnosis in 2005, doctors asked her to have some genetic testing done. Shortly after, we realized why she had been diagnosed with such aggressive cancers at such a young age. She tested positive for the BRCA2 genetic mutation.
My mom is in the middle of the picture above with me and my friend, Danielle. Please excuse the crazy iphone cut and paste. I’m new to this blogging stuff.
Anyway, after my mom received a positive test result, I always knew I had a 50% chance of also carrying the gene. However, I never could get up the courage to have the testing done for myself. I was too busy taking care of her. And after she died, I just needed a break from cancer related topics. I needed to recover from 8 emotional years.
Finally, this summer I found the courage. I had my blood drawn, got approval from the insurance company, and I waited. Three weeks later, I returned to the doctor’s office and received the news. I also carried the BRCA2 mutation.
After the news, I poured myself into researching the data surrounding the gene mutation. I found out that a BRCA2 gene mutation seems to be fairly uncommon. However, those with a “deleterious mutation” have an extremely high risk of developing cancer when compared to others without the mutation. After a crazy amount of research, I discovered that having the mutation means I have up to an 87% chance of developing early onset breast cancer. It also means that I have a 45% chance of developing early onset ovarian cancer. There is no way around it… with the identification of this genetic mutation, I am looking at an anxiety provoking future.
Thankfully, I have been blessed with an amazing number of friends, family members, and doctors who have helped me decide how to cope with the genetic diagnosis. I could choose a screening route, which would require me to have constant breast and ovary screenings throughout my life to catch cancer early. Or, I could have surgery to remove my breasts and ovaries in the hopes of eliminating the possibility of developing cancer in the first place.
I have decided, without much hesitation, surgery is the only option for me.
I recently started on a path toward my first step in trying to beat cancer… a prophylactic double mastectomy. It is the beginning of an empowering, frightening journey. I have found an excellent general surgeon who will remove all my breast tissue. I also found an AMAZING plastic surgeon who will start the reconstruction process during the same surgery.
I’ve decided to start this blog to document my journey through my plan of action. It’s a long shot, but I hope to inspire others to educate themselves about genetic testing, proactive treatment, and overcoming a ridiculous destiny…. its my only chance to force something positive to come out of all this. Wish me luck.