My name is Brandi, and I have a long line of breast cancer history in my family. My mom passed away at 31 years old after being diagnosed with breast cancer. My grandmother, along with several sisters, great aunts, and cousins, have also lost their lives to breast cancer. It is said by doctors that our history shows that aggressive cancer runs in our family. Before my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer of the brain, I decided to have the genetic testing done that she asked me to do. I tested positive for the BRCA gene and carry the mutation that is linked to breast and cervical cancer.
After three years of having routine mammograms, MRI’s, and biopsies of questionable spots, I decided to make the decision of having my ovaries removed along with a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. I was told by my doctor that I was at an 81% chance of getting cancer in the future, and the fact that I am a mom, I should consider getting the surgeries done to help lower my chances to about 5%.
I didn’t have insurance and the state said they would not help provide insurance to me until I was diagnosed with active cancer. According to my doctor, if I waited they may not be able to stop the cancer before killing me. My team of doctors were all a huge help and helped me with charity care and payment arrangements. At the time I worked for ‘WAWA’ and they also helped with the payment of my reconstruction.
I am a full time college student online with the University of Phoenix, and I didn’t want to prolong my graduation. I continued my education while having a hysterectomy in April of 2012. This surgery was a piece of cake for me. I had outpatient surgery and was able to return to a somewhat normal life within a week. This past November in 2012 I had my double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery. This included a three day hospital stay. Once again, I could not let this stand in the way of graduating from college. I brought my laptop to the hospital and continued my studies while recovering in the hospital. I maintained a B average with my classes and will walk with my class in Philadelphia, PA on June 15, 2013. I would like my story to show others that nothing can hold us back, not even cancer! We can fight this and stand stronger than cancer!
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.