My name is Michelle and my friends call me Floss and this is my story.
For most of my life I have been daunted by the fact that I might be the next woman in my family to be diagnosed with cancer. My Grandmother passed away from ovarian cancer, and my beautiful mum passed away from breast cancer in her 40s.
I have always been proactive in keeping up to date with screenings, for the last 20 years. When I had the opportunity to be gene tested for the faulty BRCA1 gene, I grabbed it. Not only to potentially help me with my health along with future generations, but to finally have an answer as to why the women in my family were dying of cancer. Turns out, I have the BRCA1 faulty gene and I inherited it from my mum.
They say knowledge is power. I know that preventative surgery isn’t for everyone, I also knew then that it was what I needed to do and as soon as possible. I underwent surgery and had my ovaries and tubes removed, six months later at the age of 39 a double bilateral mastectomy.
Turns out I made the right decisions, and at the right time. Routine pathology came back two weeks after my preventative surgery. My surgeon was just as shocked as I. I had secondary breast cancer of the lymph nodes, I would now be requiring chemotherapy. Not really what what you want to hear after a preventative double mastectomy.
Chemotherapy was the toughest thing I have ever endured. I live to see another day.
I also have an immune deficiency, which requires monthly plasma infusions, to help my body fight infection. Due to my immune deficiency I was not a suitable candidate for the more traditional reconstructions or implants. Fortunately, my surgeon offered me a different type of reconstruction, it’s called a goldilocks reconstruction, and was done in the same surgery as my double mastectomy and I couldn’t be happier with the results.
I have been inspired and given hope by reading other women’s stories during my journey and it’s time to share my story too. Thank you Pink Hope.