I am your average woman in her (early) thirties. I’m married and live in Norfolk with our 3 dogs, 2 horses and numerous chickens. We have a gorgeous baby girl, who has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the faulty BRCA1 gene. I work full time (but am currently on maternity leave) and live for the weekends to have some family time together!
My family, like so many others, has always had a strong link with cancer deaths. Even from a young age, on hearing the word ‘cancer’ you knew that it wasn’t good news. Then one year, after another female member died of breast and ovarian cancer, a test was done to see if there was a genetic fault. This is where we found the BRCA1 mutation.
When I first thought about writing something down, I originally decided that it could be an information tool for others experiencing the same thing and starting out on the same road. However on the journey I have been on so far, I have realised that this has become my own little safe haven and a place where I can put all my thoughts, hopes and fears.
It is a scary road to face, and not everyone’s experiences are the same, but hopefully by leaving no feelings or details out, I can show how I feel about discovering I have the BRCA1 gene mutation, how I made my choices about risk reducing surgery, the surgery itself and my recovery. I cannot tell you if surgery is the right option, or advise which surgery to choose. All I can offer is my experience of my personal choices. I hope that by reading about my experience it may be able to help others out there with their own journey.
Where my BRCA1 gene mutation came from
I inherited the BRCA1 gene mutation from my dad, Gary, who inherited the gene from his dad Alan. From here it is just guess work, but by looking back at the family tree, and death certificates, I believe that the gene was passed to my grandad by his mum, Emma. She died of breast cancer. I then beleive that she inherited the mutation from her dad Arthur, who died of prostate cancer. I am currently trying to trace it back further to see how far the trail goes!
None of this would have been possible without the support of some of my amazing family and friends. You have helped me along every step of the way in your own personal ways. From helping with decorating kitchens and bedrooms, making me smile when I felt a bit down, to helping looking after our animals etc!
I’m not going to name you individually, especially in case I forget someone! But you all know who you are, and will always have a special place in my heart. Especially you, my silly plopper head!