Kristy’s Story

09 Feb 2018 by Krystal Barter

My name is Kristy and this is my story.

I have a BRCA1 gene mutation. My paternal grandmother Heather passed away from ovarian cancer in the 80’s when she was just 61 and I always thought it was cervical cancer so I was very proactive at having pap smears and ensuring I would not succumb to the same fate as her. Fast forward to 2017 when I found a hard lump scratching a random mozzie bite on my breast at the age of 35, and as most young ladies I thought I was too young for breast cancer and it didn’t even run in our family so it would not be cancer. I sat on it for a few weeks until my best friend Larissa scheduled an appointment behind my back then called me to advise the time, forcing me to go, I hesitantly went as I know I would never hear the end of it from her as she works in the medical field.

My doctor scheduled a ultrasound for me but reassured me that at my age I was relativity safe, even the technician doing the ultrasound made me feel I was also too young. Oh how wrong we all were. I have just finished 15 rounds of chemo and will have breast surgery very soon. I will also have a radical hysterectomy this year.

I tried to be tested for the BRCA gene mutation six months prior to my cancer diagnosis as my fathers cousin had survived breast cancer and again I was trying to be proactive, the Genetic Counsellor said I did not have enough cancer in my family to warrant testing (even though they had the family tree and could see that Heather’s niece had breast cancer and her brother and one of her sons had died from prostate cancer, she had no daughters) and to just start mammograms at 40, so off I went thinking I was safe. As soon as I was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast cancer I qualified to be tested in record time.

My message here is know your risk and push for answers, you are never too young, if you have any type of risk be tested, push harder than I did, we are our biggest advocates. Cancer was not anything I ever thought I would have to deal with before 70 but here I am, if going through this nightmare can help just one person, it has all been worth it.

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