My name is Bec and this is my story.
My journey began 24 years ago when my mum was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and passed away 9 months later. I was 14. I always knew in the very back of my mind that if my mum had ovarian cancer then maybe it could happen to me but I guess being so young I put it out of my mind for many years.
My mother’s sister then died of breast cancer with a secondary cancer in her cervix. The cells of which were very like ovarian cancer. Something was going on in our family. There was no such thing as genetic testing at that time so my 2 sisters and I just went on as normal. As we got older we were advised by Dr’s to have ovarian scans and blood tests each year.
I then had 3 beautiful baby boys between the ages of 31 and 34 and it was no longer in the back of my mind. I developed a huge fear of dying young like my mother had. I could not think of anything worse. I continued to have my scans and blood tests always fearing the worst.
Unbeknown to me the worst was about to happen on the 10th March 2007. My husband passed away suddenly whilst out running. He was 42yrs old. He was also the fittest he had ever been. He was the most amazing man, husband and father. I miss him every day.
I was 36 and now on my own with a 4yr old, a 3yr old and a not quite 2 yr old. Obviously consumed with grief, I didn’t have much time to worry about my cancer fear. Then as time went on it snuck back into my mind but now it was worse because I was the only one left for my boy’s. What if something happened to me???
I then received a phone call in December 2008 from my cousin (daughter of my deceased aunty). I had not heard from her since my mother’s funeral. I was excited to hear from her as it had been so long and then she hit me with the news that she had ovarian cancer. She was ringing to let us know that they had used her pathology from her surgery and done a genetic mutation search and found that there was a gene fault in the family and it was now possible for all of us girls to get tested for the BRCA1 gene.. At first I was totally freaked out. You may as well have told me I had cancer, but 2 days later I realized how lucky I was that my cousin had phoned and what an amazing gift she had given us.
I now had the chance to be in charge of my own destiny and change it if necessary. I got tested in February 2009 and received a positive result 6 weeks later. I spent the first week digesting the news. I was not aware that I also carried a breast risk with this gene fault so I now had more decisions to make. The genetic councillors had told me all about the options I had .In saying that I knew instantly what I had to do. I was a single mother of 3 young boys and there was actually no decision to be made at all. I went into survival mode. Over the next 3-4 weeks I had booked in with the 3 surgeons that I needed to see. After 3 consultations and numerous tests I was booked in to have a prophylactic mastectomy and hysterectomy in June 09.
I am now 7 weeks down the track and feel fantastic.
I feel strong and very positive. Best of all I have lost that fear I had been carrying for 24 yrs.
I am not going to die from breast or ovarian cancer. Instead I am going to be at my son’s 21st’s, their weddings and hopefully hold their babies in my arms. And let’s not forget I will be doing all of this with the perkiest of breasts. How lucky am I!!!!