My name is Anita and this is my story.
I am 36 years old and a busy mother of three beautiful children, Sophia 5, Annabelle 2 and a half and Charlie, 9 months old. In 2009, I decided to test for the BRCA gene when Sophia was 5 months old. I was honestly shocked to discover I was BRCA 2 positive because somehow I thought I would sense it, or know it instinctively.
My mother fought Ovarian Cancer for 15 years and was also a BRCA 2 carrier. I decided not to undertake the genetic test while she was alive because I was dedicated to helping her throughout her own journey.
After finding out I was BRCA 2 positive, my husband and I talked about the findings and decided we would get on with having our family and then at aged 40, I would undertake a prophylactic mastectomy. Luckily, I fell pregnant easily with Annabelle and Charlie and I was able to enjoy breastfeeding all my babies.
In May 2013 I read Angelina Jolie’s story and was taken back we were actually a similar age. Soon after, my husband and I decided to was proceed with the operation sooner, rather than later. With guidance from the amazing team at Prince of Wales Hereditary Cancer Centre and the Mater Hospital, on November 14 this year, I had a prophylactic bilateral nipple sparing mastectomy with expanders inserted.
It’s now less than 2 weeks since this date, but I am amazed at how good I feel. The pain management was excellent and I was really surprised to wake up with breasts that were bigger than when I went into surgery (one of the perils of breastfeeding three children!) Most importantly the pathology is clear and I am thrilled with my decision and the results so far.
Undertaking a massive surgery like this is not going to suit everyone, however for me it was the right decision because I felt we had completed our family. I am so thrilled to make this decision and to be here for my family in the future.