Member of the Month – March

11 Mar 2019 by Krystal Barter

Michelle´s Story

Walking in my grandmothers footsteps was something I’d never imagined doing in my wildest dreams.  Breast Cancer was something I’d never even thought about let alone the BRCA gene. One simple conversation with my sister in 2015 about our family history was what empowered us to take control of our future. At 29 years of age I was diagnosed the BRCA1 mutation – something I never thought could happen to me.

This genetic mutation has run rampant and undetected in my family for generations. Passed down from my Dad, the 50% chance of carrying this mutation was met with bewilderment. We had started to think something was going on in our family from so many people passing away at young ages or being diagnosed with the BIG C, but we never imagined this gene to be the cause.

Our journey started in 2015 when my sister and I went to the Familial Cancer Clinic at Peter Macallum together. We prepared ourselves for one simple blood test and 6 weeks of waiting for a result that we couldn’t control. I will never forget holding my breath, as my heart pounded, hearing the Genetic Counselor say “you both have the same result and you both carry the BRCA1 gene mutation.”

Being told “it’s not a matter of if you get cancer, it’s when” is something you never want to hear. The day that we received our results we also found, Pink Hope. The best word to describe Pink Hope is family. So this year in July under the guidance of our specialists and never ending support from our friends and family, my sister and I have decided to undertake a bilateral prophylactic double mastectomy together. We did this on the same day to prevent this gene from impacting our lives. We both know that we’ve got this – and all we can say is “bugger off BRCA, because you’ve got nothing on me”.

A message from Michelle

I know that it is a big thing to take in when you first find out that you carry the BRCA gene but it gets easier each day. Especially when you know you can do something about it! I’m very lucky to have Pink Hope and the support that the lovely women who are a part of it provide. Thank you so much, I don’t know what I would do without this community of strong women.

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