We are mothers. We are mothers of preschoolers and mothers of teenagers. We are wives. We are economists, teachers, authors and entrepreneurs. We are sisters, aunts, friends, and women. We are a breast cancer survivor and a breast cancer previvor – turned survivor as well. We are BRCA.
Our mother passed away just two weeks after she had turned 39. My sister and I were 7 and 12 years old at the time. Our mom had breast cancer that metastasized everywhere. It seemed extremely strange to have her die so young. Our aunt had also been taken by cancer years later. Our journey continued when my sister found her malignant lump within days of her 35th birthday.
It was then we discovered together, we are BRCA1 sisters. We both carried our mother’s genetic mutation which gave us approximately 87% of developing breast cancer and a 48% chance of developing ovarian cancer in our lifetimes. Since it is a genetic mutation, each of our 6 children have a 50% chance of carrying the broken mutation as well. In many ways, that is the most difficult pill to swallow.
We have both had double mastectomies, breast reconstruction and hysterectomies – I, to prevent cancer; and my sister to remove it, along with over a year of chemotherapy and several trial drugs. After that point, we looked at each other and said, “So, what do we do with all of this?”
We picked up and have each done various things “with IT.” Some big things we have done together include being featured in a Marlo Thomas book and honored at the Vice-President of the United States residence. We’ve each done many things in our separate communities as well. Ironically, in 2017, after spending a week together, I found a lump under my arm. How could it be??? I’d done every preventative surgery I could have done. I’m BRCA. There must have been a bit of tissue left over from mastectomy and it turned. Doctor’s had always said there would be 5% breast tissue that remained. Terrific!
After a few years, losing my hair, 46 cancer treatments, etc…I am Thankful for each breath, blessing, day, and tiny hair that falls in my sink! One of my favorite verses and the one Appreciate The World is based on is Genesis 12:2 when God says to Abraham (and us):
I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
We are Blessed to be a Blessings ya’ll!! I pray you are Blessed today and that you can Bless someone else.
Change Lives. Give to Others!