3 Year Mastectoversary

April 5th marked three years since my initial surgery. You can read the first post about my double mastectomy here, if you feel so inclined.  I didn’t even realize it was an anniversary until the day after; it just goes to show how much distance time can provide. At my oncology follow-up this week (I see her every 6 months now), my doctor talked about recurrence for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer, and cited some information about the highest likelihood of recurrence being in the first 2-3 years from diagnosis (more here). I guess it feels good to know I’ve reached that point, but I have a hard time breathing easy just because of some studies. I still feel like my risk of recurrence is high and I’m not sure that will ever go away.

I felt, on this date, that it was appropriate to share a recent NPR article about NOT having a double mastectomy: Why My Wife Didn’t Choose a Double Mastectomy. Of course, the woman in this article does not carry a BRCA mutation, so her situation is different, but I did want to highlight that mastectomy is not always the best choice, even for people WITH a mutation. When I first learned of my mutation at age 22, I opted not to have surgery and I didn’t plan to even start thinking about surgery until I was at least 30. Looking back, even though I had cancer, I wouldn’t have changed that decision. I think a lot of women get vilified for choosing not to have surgery, and I think it’s important to hear that they are not alone. The choice is so personal and people should be supportive no matter what. 

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2 thoughts on “3 Year Mastectoversary

  1. How about some “baby steps” ,instead of your thoughts below, why not try ” I feel my risk of recurrence has lessened slightly, and will continue to do so every day” . Cara, my beautiful daughter, there is an advantage to having a more uplifting attitude which I believe you are missing out on. I feel your blog post demonstrates a fear of allowing yourself to feel better about your future. I think, allowing yourself a more positive outlook will not cause some sort of retribution upon yourself. It might even speed up your mental recovery. Just like that mirror exercise , try saying at least once a day ” I am healthy and cancer free” , you might start believing it and it may also give you more antioxidants to keep you cancer free. (Your dad trying to tell you how to think.) One of the links on your blog is to a blog on TNC , I thought it was helpful.http://hormonenegative.blogspot.com > > > > I still feel like my risk of recurrence is high and I’m not sure that will ever go away.” >

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  2. I am a BRCA1 positive woman who has been lucky thus far. I had a PBM about a year and a half ago. I like what you’ve said about mastectomy needing to remain a choice – and for some women with a mutation the choice is not to have surgery. I respect that. Because I’m in my early 40s, BRCA1, and because we have had ovarian cancer in my family, I am facing the question of whether to have surgery to remove ovaries and fallopian tubes. I’ve noticed that quite a few people are uncomfortable with my decision to delay this surgery until at least 45. Like people who cannot see why a high-risk woman might live with her risk of breast cancer rather than have surgery, there are many who cannot understand my willingness to live with the real risk of ovarian cancer – which I know is lethal more often than not. Most of these people who feel they know what’s best do not have a mutation and will never face this decision.

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