I found out that I had the BRCA gene mutation two and a half years ago. Two years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer after a biopsy on my 30th birthday. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer – the most aggressive and unresponsive to treatment. I had to hang on to whatever positive news I could get – that I was young and a fighter. My plan of attack was to give this thing everything I had until it packed its bags and left its ‘temporary’ host.
After being buffeted by shock after shock came the waves of decisions, specialist after specialist, waiting room after waiting room, all compounded by the upending of my well-laid plans. Within a number of days, my tumour was removed, and I went through a round of IVF. Following this, the only treatment available to me was intensive chemotherapy, which was gruelling and has no guarantee of success. To finish, I underwent a bilateral mastectomy and exchange surgery.
Whilst my prognosis is good, and I am on my way to getting back to “normal” life, I don’t like to use the words “survivor” or “in remission”. Yes, I had cancer and yes, it happened to me, but no, it is not a part of who I am. Like any other traumatic experience in life, you get through it, try to learn from it and then move forward.
A message from Jessica
It is so important to find out your family history and to make an appointment to get checked. Cancer affects people of every age, from all walks of life and the sooner you’re diagnosed the better your prognosis is going to be. I am one of the lucky few who knew my risk. I knew I had the BRCA gene mutation and because of this knowledge my tumour was found early. Had it been any later, my story would have been a completely different one.