A few months ago a woman named Rachel was brave enough to share her story with us about how she changed her fate! It was both moving and inspiring and touched the hearts of all of our fans. We’re very pleased now to give you the happy ending to her journey and wish her all the love and support we can:
Family & Friends,
I want to share GREAT NEWS with you: This past Tuesday, May 6, I finally finished what I would call a LONG year of dealing with a hereditary gene mutation known as BRCA 1 which increased my chances of getting breast cancer to 87% and ovarian cancer to 54-60%. With completing the surgeries I have reduced my risk of related cancers to less than 5%.
This last operation, the “exchange,” replaced the temporary breast implants called expanders that were inserted during my bilateral double mastectomy back in January with permanent silicone implants.
While I knew this surgery wasn’t going to be as hard as all that I have been through these past 10 months, I got nervous all over again- I was freaking out! Josh, Blake and Billie all ran through my head. I arrived at NYU at 6 a.m. and with my cousin Barbara and Josh by my side, nervously made jokes, looked at pictures of Blake and Billie on my phone and reminded myself why I am doing all of this: to be here for them. Then it was time.
I heard a nurse call out 7:26 a.m. in the O.R.. I was soon waking up in recovery a little after 9 a.m.. The pain didn’t feel like the elephant on my chest like the last surgery. What a relief. By around 3 p.m., I was feeling well enough to go home. I couldn’t believe I had surgery that morning where I was intubated and I was walking out of the hospital with my thumbs up! I was proud of myself. We took a cab home, grabbed a bagel, slowly walked up the stairs and got me into my bed. It was all a little surreal.
Everything I have been through over these last 10 months feels like a lot: hysterectomy and oophorectomy, bilateral mastectomy with expanders, exchange surgery and, for good measure, a colonoscopy and a bone scan. However, looking back, it wasn’t a terrible year: my daughter turned one, my son turned three, my husband got a new job he likes, I continued to love my job and I spent quality time with my amazing friends and family.
It was a year of realizing how lucky I am in so many ways.
I am in pain today but it’s only two days post-op and I know the pain will subside. I remind myself when I look at my wounds and feel the pain why I did this. That, ultimately, I’m lucky to be feeling this way because so many people don’t get to take matters into their own hands like I did. I know this.
There’s a term for people like me who’ve proactively taken steps to beat a predisposition to cancer. We’re called previvors. And today, as I type this, I can finally say, I’m a previvor.
On Monday, I’ll return to work and life as normal. What I started planning over a year ago is all behind me. There are no more decisions to make, no more surgeries to plan. Now, it’s time to let the incisions heal and watch the scars fade. Sharing my story far and wide will be my prize for all that I have been through. I’m committed to this issue.
Thank you to my mom who I cannot thank in person, you saved my life, I love you.
And to my team and cheering section, you know who you are – I could not have done this without you.
Thank you all so much for standing by me