Cancer impacted my life well before learning I carried a BRCA gene mutation. When I was 27 and in the early stages of my first pregnancy my GP sent me for a routine pap smear which showed abnormalities. Further testing found I had cervical cancer. My partner and I desperately wanted this baby and at 20 weeks pregnant we chose to continue the pregnancy while I underwent chemotherapy. Looking back I wasn’t once thinking of myself, I was just fighting for this little girl. I found that you just can’t think too far ahead or it just overwhelms you. I was also just trying to be strong for the people around me. Incredibly, after the first six weeks scans showed that the tumour had reduced in size by 30 per cent. Encouraged by the positive response, doctors upped the treatment to weekly chemo and at the 30 week mark they advised that the tumour had miraculously disappeared.
We were advised that the chemotherapy wouldn’t cross the placenta … but we were still nervous, as I didn’t feel her move a lot on my treatment days. On March 28, 2012, Eadie Piper was born at 34 weeks without a single health complication. I underwent a radical hysterectomy immediately following the caesarean and I was fortunate enough to retain one of my ovaries so we have the option of pursuing surrogacy in the future.
Eadie is now a healthy seven-year-old and she saved my life!
Then two years ago my Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent genetic testing and was found to carry a BRCA gene mutation. I subsequently had genetic testing and I too carry the BRCA gene mutation. I have been under going screening and am currently researching surgical options as I want to do everything I can to not get another cancer diagnosis. I can actually prevent it … no way is cancer coming back into my life. Watching my mum (successfully) beat breast cancer through chemotherapy, radiation and a double mastectomy has shown me exactly where my own fighting spirit comes from. That woman is made of steel.
I will be forever grateful to the Royal Hospital for Woman; it holds a very special place in my heart. Even more so recently when they introduced to me to Pink Hope; it’s such a great service for me to refer to now that I’m considering risk reducing surgery.
A message from Lisa
Screenings are #1, may it be a pap smear or a breast check/mammogram, especially if you carry a BRCA gene mutation
Early detection is everything – it is LIFE! We all know so many amazing woman, and we want these woman in our lives for years to come!
For anyone going through their own cancer battle, or caring for those with cancer. You are amazing!! Try not to think too far ahead, and just take each and every single day as they come.