Know Your #MomGenes: My BRCA Gene Testing Story

I’ve just undergone my 7th surgery in 9 months. My body has had it, and I’m thinking about how this cancer could’ve been prevented if I had known I was #brca1 positive before. 

Immediately following my double mastectomy with expander placement. So sore. So out of it. My chest feeling empty and like rocks are filling it at the same time.

Learning You Have the BRCA1 or BRCA2 Gene Mutation

I didn’t find out I had the BRCA1 gene mutation until 2 weeks after I was diagnosed, one week after I had already had a double mastectomy. 

Even though my breast cancer was stage 1, it was also “triple negative,” or the most aggressive type, and my mother had survived three breast cancers before.

All of this meant that there really wasn’t an “if” I would get breast cancer again; it was only “when.” One week to the day of my diagnosis I was having both my breasts removed.

With my surgeon, before my #doublemastectomy, #breastcancer #brca
With my incredible surgeon, Dr. Beth Dupree, before my #doublemastectomy.

Waiting for Genetic Testing Results

Though my incredible breast surgeon, Dr. Beth Dupree, tested me for a BRCA gene mutation that first day we met, and though she contacted the company she trusts most, Myriad Oncology, personally and put a rush on it, it wasn’t until two weeks later I found out I had tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation.

In fact, though my mother had previously done genetic testing twice, it had always come back as a “variant of unspecified significance,” or a “VUS,” meaning they couldn’t say whether my mom’s genes were part of the BRCA mutations or not.

But miraculously, the very week my testing was sent to Myriad, Myriad reclassified my family’s specific VUS as part of the BRCA1 gene mutation. 

It’s confusing, I know.

As it was to us. As it continues to be to many. Perhaps, watching me explain the story in the video below helps explain. 

But the bottom line is this: 

1. Finally knowing my #MomGenes not only made a difference for ME, it helped by:

confirming my decision to get the double mastectomy was the right one,prompting me to get a full hysterectomy a couple months later (to prevent ovarian cancer, of which I was also at high risk), helping me know better how to prevent cancer from EVER threatening my children’s lives like it had already done to mine (see my next post on “Talking to your Kids about the BRCA Gene Mutation”); 

2. It also allowed my MOM to know she has the BRCA1 gene mutation,

and though she’d already had breast cancer and a double mastectomy, too, she was able to have her ovaries removed to prevent ovarian cancer, as well. 

3. It also empowered my SIBLINGS,

all of whom were tested and found NEGATIVE! What a blessing! Especially for my youngest sister, who had been getting mammograms and even MRIs for years, knowing our mother’s history, and had been planning, on the advice of her doctors, to do preventative surgery in a few years (after having her children), to remove her breasts and ovaries, too! Because of my testing with Myriad, and because Myriad was first to reclassify our VUS as BRCA1, my sister was able to finally get tested and know she is not only BRCA negative but never needed these intense surgeries she was about to do!

4. And it is helping me help my CHILDREN & GRANDCHILDREN prevent cancer from ever happening to them. (Read/watch “BRCA Gene: Testing Daughters AND Sons)

All of this goes to say…

Knowledge is power. Knowing your #momgenes is power. 

Watch & listen to my story (video above). It’s powerful. It’s powerful because it’s a warning for us all. 

Knowing my #momgenes means I know I’m at risk for other cancers; it means my kids have a 50% chance of inheriting the gene; it means it may have been too late to prevent cancer in me, but it’s not too late to prevent cancer in them. 

Our family, months before my diagnosis, minus one son.

Do you know your #momgenes?

Have you asked the questions? If you have a family history, have you done the testing?

If not, what is stopping you? 

Listen to my story. Learn from it. And pass it on. Together, we can prevent #cancer—in ourselves, in our children, in our children’s children. 

Visit the only company I trust, Myriad Oncology’s, website to learn more about genetic testing and the options that might be right for you or your family.

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By: Dr. Christina Hibbert
Title: BRCA1 Gene Mutation: What it Means to Be BRCA Positive
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Published Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2020 20:09:14 +0000

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