Today’s story comes from Katie King of England. She was 30 when she learned that she carried the BRCA2 gene mutation.
Describe your BRCA journey in one sentence: A roller coaster, sometimes you feel heroic and sometimes you feel sick with nerves.
What made you decide to get tested for the BRCA gene mutation? My mums second battle with Breast Cancer and she tested BRCA2+. I just felt like life couldn't be a waiting game any longer.
Are you BRCA1 or BRCA2 positive? BRCA2
What did you think/feel when you discovered you were BRCA positive? How did it affect those around you? Initially I felt like a fighter, then reality set in and I felt terrified; now I am in the middle somewhere. I am still dealing with it but ultimately it is a learning curve for us and the medical professionals we meet... I feel the more prepared I can be, the better all that BRCA throws at me will end.
What surgical procedures (if any) have you undergone? I am awaiting my preventative double mastectomy, I am just on the UK NHS cancellation list, could be very short notice before my operation. I don't mind, as long as they come out soon 🙂
How has your BRCA gene mutation changed your life?
Everything really, my diet, lifestyle, how I see my future, how I see having children, how I want to plan things around future surgeries.... It isn't all bad, I have found my voice to write, I feel sure of who I am and I also feel like I have fulfilled something that was missing in my life driving awareness and meeting other inspirational women.
If you could share any tips of advice with women who have just learned they have the BRCA gene mutation what would it be?
Slow down, don't rush if you aren't sure... I was certain that I would have a double mastectomy before I had my test but I am still undecided, when, where and what options I am going to go for with my ovaries... That part I have decided on regular screening for now and let myself have a break, you will know when you feel right about a decision, the anxiety of rushing life changing choices can be stressful but also create a sense of doubt later on. The immediate response is to feel like you need to know your life plan and every detail that comes with it (children, partners and menopause) give yourself a healthy amount of time to think these things through...
Do you have a personal cancer story to share?
Really my story is my mums, looking after her through chemo is really what pushes me to think that prevention is better than cure for my mutation, all the women in my family that have had breast cancer twice. I have known what cancer is all my life and feeling like it is tapping you on the shoulder every few years is enough and now it is my turn to take on the war on cancer before it even hits me.