I’m originally from Vancouver, Canada but I live in Melbourne permanently. I found out that I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation when I was the age of 26. Both my mum, and grandmother on her side of the family had breast cancer. I decided only a short time after I found out my results that I would proceed with getting a double mastectomy within that year as I wanted to reduce my high risk of getting breast cancer at some point in my life. Since that decision I have had a total of four surgeries over the past year and a half, and to be completely honest that is enough of hospital beds/surgery/surgical bras for awhile! I was very fortunate that during all of these surgeries I had the support of my family from overseas, my partner and his family as well as the Pink Hope community.
I have met some amazing girls over the past few years, who have similar stories and have struggled just like I did during all of my surgeries. I knew when I found out about the gene mutation that this journey wouldn’t be easy, and that there would be days that I would struggle . I knew that I wasn’t the only one out there that felt this way and I was determined to connect with fellow woman local or around the world. This is when social media was a massive part of connecting to other woman. I will forever be happy with my decision to be proactive and having my preventative surgeries to ensure that I avoid breast cancer as much as can, and hope telling my story helps other woman who have these challenging decisions know that they aren’t alone and that this community is crucial for all of us to be apart of along our journeys!
A message from Tess
You have bad days, and feel alone at times. But the people I have met through organisations like Pink Hope and on social media were so instrumental in making me feel like me again. And I will continue my journey meeting more incredible, strong and courageous woman who I connect with on a level that no one can explain!
I would say to any fellow BRCA mutation carriers out there, that you are not alone.