My name is Nikki and this is my Pink Hope story.
My journey began 25 years ago, my mum Rosa aged 36 was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. My mum suffered for two long years and when I say suffer I mean it literally as by the end her cancer had spread to her spine and brain. Incredibly throughout this time she didn’t lose her positivity or strength. The doctors told my dad at diagnosis that mum had only two years to live and two years and two months later mum died while in a coma. At just 38 she left behind a loving husband and five young children. I was only 15 and she passed away the day after my birthday. My siblings were, 17, 12, 8 and 3. My dad was a widow at 40, he devoted his life to my mum (and his children) and took care of her so well throughout her illness. What a hero he was and still is to take care of all of us so well. He was my hero then and is my hero now and I will always look up to him. We love you dad and thank you for taking care of us.
Fast forward to January 2015 and my younger sister Dani aged 30 was diagnosed with stage 2 triple negative breast cancer. She is married to an amazing man and they have two beautiful children aged seven and five. It was a shock to all of us and we were all shattered with this devastating news. Dani’s only request from us all was to be strong for her, no tears and that is what we did as best as we could. My dads words to me were “I can’t believe we have to go through this again”. All I could think about was my dad, knowing he lost his wife to breast cancer and to now have his young daughter go through it. My sister was absolutely petrified beyond belief and the news was very difficult to accept. But saying I’m proud of her does not give her justice for the way she handled it. Shorty after diagnosis she underwent genetic testing and her result was positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. Another devastating outcome but again she handled it like a trooper. With the genetic testing news as siblings we had a 50% chance of also being carriers. Even though the odds were stacked against me I still never believed that I would be a carrier too. My testing began in May, first the counselling, then the consent, then the blood test followed by the grueling wait for the results. June 22nd I received my results in the mail and all I saw in bold letters was “you have inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation
I was devastated beyond belief. All I could think about was my kids and how this was going to affect them and that they now have a 50/50 chance of also being carriers, that’s what hurts the most.
With an amazingly supportive and loving husband and the love of my two beautiful girls, Valentina aged six and Allegra aged four, I managed to get through my shock.
My 27 year old sister Joanne also married to a loving husband and with four beautiful children all aged under four tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. We have an older sister Virginia aged 40 and our brother Loui aged 35 who are yet to undertake genetic testing. Both my younger sisters have had double mastectomies within the recent weeks and are recovering well from their surgeries. I am having my preventative double mastectomy on 28 October 2015. I’m extremely nervous and anxious but I know in my heart it is the right decision. I will never have to say those words “I have breast cancer” to my children. My specialist said to me that I am lucky I found out that I carry the BRCA1 gene mutation, and that my mum and my sister never got a choice. Knowledge is power is what I was also told and this is so true and made it an easier decision. I am grateful everyday for the love and support from amazing family and friends. I feel empowered and lucky to be telling my story.
Thank you to Pink Hope for such inspiring information and stories from so many women, it really has been a life saver.