My name is Sarah and this is my story.
On November 6th 2002, aged 32 and with a 16 month old daughter, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had surgery to have the lump removed, then further operations to have more breast tissue and lymph nodes removed. A few weeks after the operations, I began 6 sessions of chemotherapy, followed by 5 weeks of radiotherapy.
A year or so after treatment finished, my oncologist talked about new genetic research to do with breast cancer. She explained the link between breast, ovarian and prostate cancer and the BRCA gene. My paternal grandma had died of breast cancer in her 80’s, her 2 sisters of ovarian cancer and 2 brothers of prostate cancer. I decided to take the BRCA blood test, already knowing what I would do when I got the result I expected.
The test showed I had the BRCA1 gene – my high risk of getting breast cancer again was a risk I wasn’t prepared to take. So in Feb 2004, I had a preventative double mastectomy with immediate re-construction.
I had been advised that my treatment may have affected my chances of having more children, but in July 2006 I gave birth to my miracle baby girl.
With my lifetime risk of getting ovarian cancer with the BRCA gene also high, I decided to have my ovaries removed shortly after my daughter was born.
This life experience gave me a real ‘live for the day’ attitude and it’s really what drove us to move from London to our new life on the other side of the world in 2008.
Here in Melbourne i run a personal styling consultancy, part of which offers complimentary styling advice to women dealing with breast cancer.
The advances in genetic research and preventative operations gives me hope too for my two young daughters (now 12 and 17.)