After testing positive for a BRCA1 gene mutation, I had preventive surgeries to remove my breasts and ovaries. Now, I am living my happiest and healthiest life.
Discussing Genetics with My Kids
I know that my BRCA gene mutation doesn’t only affect my health—I could also pass the gene on to my kids.
When my older daughter, Sari, learned about BRCA gene mutations in high school science class, she realized that she may have a BRCA gene mutation like me.
This began an ongoing conversation between me and Sari, now a young adult, about Sari’s breast cancer risk. Sari wants to pursue genetic counseling and testing in her twenties so she can consider how to manage her risk and family planning when she’s ready.
Having similar conversations with my other two kids, it’s often hard for me to hear them talk about such grown-up things. Still, I feel the more comfortable I am talking about my body and health, the easier it will be for my kids to make decisions about their health.
Putting My Health First
I feel better off having had preventive surgeries to remove my breasts and ovaries.
In addition to lowering my risk of cancer, these surgeries motivated me to live a healthier lifestyle by eating lots of fruits and vegetables and moving my body daily.
I love to stay active through water sports like paddleboarding and wakesurfing. I encourage all women to find something that brings them joy and a sense of accomplishment.
The Power of Knowing My Risk
I believe knowledge is power. Several of my aunts were diagnosed with breast cancer, and my mom and aunt have BRCA gene mutations. So, I knew that learning whether I have a BRCA gene mutation would give me the power to make better decisions for my health. And it did. It inspired me to protect my health and spend time doing what I love.