My name is Daniella. This is my story.
When you meet me you will find out that I am 37, I am a medical research scientist, I am a wife, I am a sister, I am a friend and more recently I am now a mother. These are my most important relationships and achievements in life and I am most fulfilled by them. However, on a daily basis my thoughts wander and I ask myself the question: What if?
Behind my smile is a worry, a worry that I may one day be diagnosed with cancer. There is reason for this as I, unfortunately, inherited a BRCA1 mutation from my mother who sadly passed away from ovarian cancer in May 2013 at the very young age of 59. Watching her battle this disease for six long years encouraged me to undergo major surgery such that I had both breasts removed and reconstructed. It was a considerable recovery process both physically and mentally however I am relieved of the worry that my risk of developing breast cancer which was extremely high at 80% is now below 5%. During my recovery, I decided it was time to reach out to others who are experiencing a similar circumstance in life. That is, those who are also predisposed to breast or ovarian cancer through a familial or hereditary history. I discovered the organisation Pink Hope who promotes awareness of this and it was because of this wonderful charity that I could connect with individuals who are in a similar predicament, who have lost a loved one, who have similar levels of anxiety as myself.
Following my surgery, my partner in life, my beautiful husband and I were fortunate to fall pregnant and we were blessed with a son who was born July 2017. My son has dramatically changed my life focus and perhaps my purpose. I am still an individual who has and continues to achieve yet he has provided my husband and I with immense joy. Having a child has allowed me to take a break from the rush of life that we in our present day society have created, and simply lay on the grass next to him watching the trees sway in the gentle breeze. My son has provided me with more of a reason to persist in maintaining my health both mentally and physically. For if I was to be diagnosed with cancer, who would care for him? I selfishly want to be here and watch him grow, learn and succeed. What mother would not? It is for these very reasons I continue to promote awareness of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. It is for these reasons I will undergo future surgery and remove my ovaries to eradicate as much the risk of developing ovarian cancer.
I am cursed with inheriting a faulty gene, yet I am blessed by being informed and having the ability to create my future, an opportunity my mother was not presented.
I am supported by family and friends, and I will ensure that I will see my son grow old and my husband’s hair turn grey. We will be that old couple that walks hand in hand together down the street at a pace slower than a snail, chuckling to each other. Just as in love as we were when we were young.