As my car exited the I-95 ramp to downtown, I looked towards the tall hospital buildings reaching to the sky. I suddenly realized that I or my daughter have been a patient in each of them except one…until now.
Yesterday, I officially became a patient at the MD Anderson Cancer Center. It doesn’t seem real yet. Frankly, I don’t want it to be real.
This spring a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer and discovered the CHEK2 mutation. The discovery led to a domino effect for the rest of our family to be tested. I drew the not-so-lucky straw of carrying the same genetic mutation.
- Aggressive Screening. Every six months undergoing a 3D mammogram and contrast breast MRI, as well as years of tamoxifen to block hormones.
- Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy. Bye Bye Boobies. Toodle-loo TaTas. Got to Go Girls.
No one said life was easy, but damn I could use a vacation on a remote island right about now. Then again, I have never backed down from one of life’s shitty cards and I don’t plan to right now. I march forward with determination, positivity and a hell of a lot of prayers – thankful for my kick ass support system and resiliency that I’ve cultivated over the years. (Shout out to my better half for always knowing gerber daisies are the way to my heart.)
You might have guessed by now, but I plan to share this journey. I don’t share for thoughts and prayers, but in hopes my experience might help someone else. I have seen it happen time and time again as folks go through eating disorders, premature births and pediatric cancer and every other topic I’ve written on. I also share because this is my own therapeutic outlet.
Margaret CulbertsonAugust 13, 2020 at 8:46 pm
I have been praying for you in reaching your decision and I know it was very difficult for you and your family. This is a decision I think I would have chosen even at your age and certainly with the experience of 74 years. I hope the peace of mind you get from this will give you a sense of freedom over your body. Prayers for healing from the surgery and for blessings for all the wonderful years ahead with your beautiful family.
Tereasa OlindeAugust 14, 2020 at 2:11 pm
I will be praying for you, and I think you are very brave and I absolutely would do the same thing! What an amazing woman you are!
Lynne StokesAugust 18, 2020 at 11:34 pm
Facing the same decision or rather after seeing surgeon Thursday, I will know what options. I would choose a double mastectomy as well. I am much older than you, 75 yes old with lots of other medical issues. My older daughter is 4 yrs cancer free from non Hodgkin Lymphoma. She is a trooper but I’m not. My prayers are with you! I hope we can joke or laugh as we both recover well
LauraMarch 26, 2021 at 4:43 pm
I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have seen your blog. This morning I left the high risk breast clinic with an appointment to see their surgeon, way more information than I thought possible, and feeling like I wanted to cry. I’ve been just told that I have two mutations on the CHEK2 gene. So driving home I started to pray that my heart and mind would be open to the right answer…. then I saw this! Thank you for allowing us to follow your journey and I pray you heal quickly and live a very long, happy and HEALTHY life!!!