Dropping my Apron
I can remember the excitement of finding out that I was pregnant with my second child in September 2019, after just giving birth to my first child, a boy in April 2019 at the age of 34 years old. I was beyond overjoyed to know that I would have another child. I was just 1 month shy of my 6 months breastfeeding my son which was my goal and I completed it, when I notice that my right breast would feel different when expressing milk.
I decided to check my breast at home and found a lump. I was not nervous at all as I thought that it was a milk duct swollen. My OBGYN did an in-office exam and sent me to a specialist to perform an ultra-sound.
There it was 2 lumps in my right breast. Due to me being pregnant, the doctors thought it would be best to update my chart to show that I had cancer. Their goal was to protect the baby and to protect me as well. I gave birth at 35 years old to an 8.8-pound baby girl and she was perfect. After breast feeding her for 6 months my journey began and boy, I was not ready for what happened next.
I took a genetic test on March 30, 2021, and it came back positive for not only BRAC2 positive but BRAC2 gene mutation as well as my PALB2 was also positive. I now was on a new journey that I would have never foreseen. Appointment after appointment, specialist after specialist, hospital after hospital, it did not seem to be a bright future ahead, but I stayed positive. I keep smiling and being the fun loving Mom that I wanted so badly to be.
On August 17, 2021, my breast cancer oncologist, along with the plastic surgeon, was able to remove all of the cancerous matter from my right breast. Do to the BRAC2 gene mutation and PALB2, the left breast had to also be removed.
On October 1, 2021, I was able to “drop my apron” as the last 2 of 4 drains were removed. I wore my apron for 7 weeks and wore it with pride. I am going through reconstruction on both of my breast and will have a total hysterectomy in January 2022.
I am grateful there was no cancer found in my ovaries, fallopian tubes or uterus, but due to the BRCA2 mutation these organs will be removed by my OBGYN oncologist to prevent any cancer that I may get in the future.
I am telling my story, because I want every man, woman and child to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is way to stay positive throughout your process, beating cancer is one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It changed me for the better. I now have a voice to help others and I intend on using it every single day.
Thank you to Novant Health, Mayo Clinic, Duke University Hospital, John Hopkins Hospital, American Cancer Society, Novant Buddy Kemp Cancer Center, Susan G. Komen Foundation and my family.